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Relative Semantics | blog.deanland.com

Relative Semantics

Relative Semantics, Part 1

There are all sorts of words and terms for family relationships.  Cousins, second-cousins, sister-in-law, step-brother, relative by marriage, in-law, great aunt, and so forth.  There are terms for former relatives, such as one's ex, or former brother-in-law.  Which leads to the first of a few questions under the heading of relative semantics.

A little background:  back when I was married to the ex, she had two nephews.  I didn't know them (one was just an infant back then) and hadn't met them or developed any sort of relationship -- I simply became an uncle by virtue of circumstance.  Along came a niece, from another of the ex's siblings.  We lived closer to that couple, saw them with some frequency (as opposed to the California nephews), and had watched the pregnancy progress.  I felt more like an uncle when this niece was born.

Then came the birth of my daughter, then another niece, then my son.  Having children of my own changed everything.  I'd had no nieces or nephews before marriage; all these cousins of my children came from the ex's side.  Once I had kids the perception changed: these were blood relatives of my children.  Family ties, a bond of note. The closest I'd felt to this was toward the children of my cousins, some of whom I know better than other relatives, mostly due to geography and relationships.

Perceiving the ex's siblings' kids as family took on a new dimension when I became a parent.  The kinship and blood relation that my kids had with their cousins changed my perception of "unclehood."  My kids, my progeny, and the relationship of them with their cousins, enhanced my sense of being an uncle.

Then things changed,  The ex became the ex.  There's only rare contact with the ex's family.  And so I ask this question: with divorce, does one lose one's status as uncle to the cousins of my children?  Am I their ex-uncle?  Is there a who or a what to determine this status?