Tonight, after 9 months, I got a phone call from someone on my STBX’s side of the family. I hadn’t thought that there were sides to a family until he filed for divorce.

She was very conversational so I was, too. We didn’t mention my STBX. I decided when he filed that I wouldn’t answer any questions about our situation from his family until the legal stuff is over. She referred to the upcoming holidays and asked what size clothing my daughter wore now, and I said Oh, just send a card. But she insisted that she was almost done with her holiday shopping so I told her the size. Then I realized there would be another year of gift exchange.

I’ve been mulling over whether I should stop with the gifts and cards. But, you know, f**k it! Stopping would be making a statement. It would be dramatic. And you know what feels right? To show my strong emotions only to people I’m close to.

Suddenly, making nice no longer feels like copping out. I’ve been making nice a lot as a short-term coping mechanism. If someone at work deliberately doesn’t respond to my Good Morning but starts up a conversation at 2:17 in the afternoon, I‘ve been making conversation back. But making nice is now starting to look like a good long-term way of life, too. Superficial behavior to go with the relationships that others have made superficial. Why should I put energy into superficial relationships? If I don’t value the relationship, why invest my strong feelings toward people who are not supportive of my daughter and me? Why get all reactive to their problems? Just send cards and modest gifts to family and they do it back. That’s our American culture. Those who really care will get the gifts with meaning, whether that be things or words.

And, who knows? Maybe someday they will be there for my daughter. I’m not going to cut any ties. I’ll just continue to be pleasant. Maybe some of these people will someday care.

Meanwhile, I’ll be their relative’s soon-to-be Stepford ex-Wife.