By: Natasha Archary
Do you or don’t you attend the funeral of an ex? That is the question on Kaya Drive with Sizwe Dhlomo this Monday, and the answer is a tricky one, with a number of factors coming into play that may influence your decision.
Was your split amicable? Were you married? Do you have kids together? How would their family feel about you attending?
These are some of the points of contention that were raised by the team with the ladies against attending the funeral of an ex but the gents expressing that there would be no ill feelings or external powerplays that would influence their decision.
Listen to the Kaya Drive team’s views:
It’s understandable that many felt attending an ex’s funeral would be considered disrespectful to the family, especially after a contentious divorce or if the relationship was toxic. Their family would have been present while your ex endured the dissolution of your relationship and may still be harbouring unresolved emotions around your role in their loved one’s life.
But attending the funeral of an ex isn’t about their family, it’s about closure and paying your last respects to the person who at some point played a big role in your life.
Here are 5 etiquette tips for attending the funeral of an ex:
When children are involved
The general etiquette expects children to be accompanied by the surviving parent. In this regard, it’s not advisable to have children attend their late parent’s funeral alone. Granted, you are no longer a part of the family so don’t expect to sit with your ex’s family. Ensure your child/ren are with your late ex’s family while you are in the background.
Extending your condolences to your late ex’s family
Out of respect to your ex’s family, offer your condolences to grieving family members. Keep it brief and simple and remove personal differences from the situation. This is not the time or place to cause a scene and if you feel your presence is causing undue strain on the family then extend your condolences after the funeral proceedings.
Involvement in your ex’s funeral
Depending on your relationship with their family, you may want to take an active role in the funeral. Whether it is to help with flower arrangements, food, offering to drive family members who don’t have transport or staying to help behind-the-scenes, offer to help but be understanding if their family declines.
Respect their /your new partner
If your ex remarried or had moved on prior to their passing, your role in their family and at the funeral is minimal if anything. Remember this isn’t about you and it’s important to remember that even though you were once deeply involved with the person, there is someone else in that position who is actively grieving. Express your sympathy in as few words as possible but don’t linger. If you are unable to control yourself enough to show respect for the fact that your ex moved on, don’t attend the funeral.
Be mindful of your emotions
Funerals are hard and have the potential to bring up emotions you thought were resolved. If you find yourself visibly upset at the funeral, excuse yourself until you’ve composed yourself.