…on dealing with grandchildren in a divorce

(NOTE:  This is one of a series of letters posted under “Form Letters” for those of you who would like an idea or a beginning for a letter of your own.)

Dear Son,

I’m not sure why you were so upset over me spending time with your ex-wife when I made the transfer with your son, my grandson.  At the time you told me that you didn’t want me to maintain a relationship with her.  And although I respect your feelings in the situation, my feelings are different.  I’m conflicted, because if I abide by your wishes I feel I could be sacrificing parts of my relationship with my grandson.

Your ex-wife was my daughter-in-law.  When you married her I made the decision to love her as my own.  Although things  didn’t work out and I know the difficulties you have had, I still have loving feelings for her and do not feel justified in cutting her out of my life.  If it weren’t for the child you have together, I believe our bond would  become less and less important over time,  as relationships do when we don’t tend and nurture them

Yet you do have a child together.  That grandson is precious to me.  And I feel that my having a normal, conflict-free relationship with his mother is the best for him.  It will give him a feeling of safety and security to know that his two worlds are connected.  If I make excuses not to see her, or am uncomfortable when I meet her, he will  sense the uncertainty of the situation and not know why his mother is unacceptable to me. I don’t want him to take that on himself.

Also, she is an important link in the relationship between me and my grandson.  I don’t know what the years will bring, but selfishly I know that maintaining my connection with her is guaranteeing my access to him.  For all of our sake, I can’t risk that tie being frayed or broken.

I hope you understand that this is not a criticism of your thoughts or feelings. You are a good husband and a wonderful father.  I have great respect for the way you have handled a difficult situation.  It’s just that we are coming from a different place.  In the treacherous geography of a family reorganization, I am Switzerland.  I have no angst with any of the relationships and am capable of  loving each of  you and all of you.

Of course, I love your new wife, too.  And I will not do anything to jeopardize or threaten your marriage now. I am wholehearted in my joy for your new beginning..

My philosophy will always be that there is plenty of love to go around.  My seeing or contacting your ex-wife is not detracting in any way from you or your new wife and daughter.  We are all a family…redefined and reconstructed.

I’m looking forward to staying with you next week on my way north.  And it’s fair to tell you that I will also contact my grandson even though he will be with his mother.  I won’t let him think that my seeing him wasn’t important.

I hope that we can agree to disagree on this and that you feel my deep and abiding love,  and support.  Let’s talk.



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