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Post wedding blues

Started by TM, March 15, 2012, 04:51:05 PM

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Our son recently got married to our lovely new daughter in law who we love and have wecomed into our family.   We all live in different countries at the moment and all gathered in the bride and grooms new homeland for the wedding.  Our son and now wife have holidayed a lot with us and vice versa over the last 4 years or so and all has been well and we have got on brilliantly. 
We met our DIL parents for the first time a week before the wedding.  It wasnt easy as try as we might to be friendly and come all together they made it very clear by their cool behaviour it was not on.  Also, our son was treating his own family like we were just there while falling over himself to make sure they were ok.  It was quite embarrasing for us as we felt like 'guests' and of no real consequence.  Her family would do nothing to get to really know us and did their own thing.  We hosted an evening, cooking a meal for us all inviting them and treating them to our hospitality but to no avail.  It felt like they just wanted the wedding over with as quickly as possible with as little contact with us as possible and away.  Our son would not have any dialogue about it.  It would also appear regarding post wedding plans that the bulk of their time is going to be spent visiting with her parents/family where they live and we will be thrown a few crumbs.
We are totally floored.  We have no idea what on earth we have done to be treated like this.  Its like a bolt from the blue.  We cant believe our son behaved like this and think hes been abducted and replaced by an alien.  Its really bizarre.
I dont know what to do, have searched over and over and there hasnt been any problems nothing would cause something like this.   We have always been a close, loving family.  Please help somebody as we are at a loss.   Is this at all normal?  This is our first family wedding.  We have 3 sons and if this is what happens when they get married we are dreading the rest of our life.


We have two sons.  The description you gave describes our elder son's wife/family.  We were rarely included in any family activities or holidays.  One Christmas, they spent six days with "her" family; for us, they just stopped for 30 minutes on their way to "her" family's home (I think it was only to get their gifts).  We all live within half an hour of each other.  We just did not count.  This continued for 15 years; finally they divorced.  But, after so many years of poor treatment, the closeness we previously felt as a family has definitely been eroded.  It's sad as there are two grandchildren.  We do not see them that often as they continue to go to the "other" side.

Our younger son's wife is a treasure and we love her very much.  She actually treats us as "humans".  The first time she asked us for dinner, my husband said he did not know how to reply - we figured our first DIL was the way it is with a son's marriage and we were not expecting to be treated "normally". 

I really feel for you because there is nothing you can do.  It is up to your son to "fight" for your right to be included in the family and if he does not, then you are correct - you will be aliens.  But, hopefully, the other two sons may marry a gem - we got one and we feel so blessed.  When I think back to the past several years, I wonder how I survived them - depression, many tears, pleading and begging, weight gain and weight loss, high blood pressure, always searching for an "answer" (there isn't one) and wondering what I had done so bad and so wrong (actually, I hadn't done anything).  The only advice I can give you is to take care of yourself - exercise, eat right, find other activities/hobbies, lean on your husband (and vice versa), connect with other family and lots and lots of friends.  I'm so sorry ....


Hi jdtm
and thank you so much for your reply.  Its good in one way to know we're not weirdos and this happens a lot but, on the other hand it's so sad.
You're right we do very much have the feeling that there's nothing we can do and it will be up to our son to fight for our corner.  We dont want to whinge about it to him and want him to see this for himself but right now he seems blinded. 
The other family are all women, the grandma,  2 girls and and the Mum who seems to be in charge.  The father came across as a nice man who just had to do what he was told.  He was the only one who tried to have a conversation with us and the other SIL was jumping around trying to keep his wife & his MIL happy.  He escaped every chance he got :)
We were totally blindsided by this.  If we'd had any warning it would be we like this we could have been prepared somewhat?  It just makes no sense, I feel like I'm in a bad dream.
Our family behaved impeccably.  I'm so proud of them as it was hard for them to witness this and be treated like that. Our second son is angry and the youngest confused.
Where do we go from here? 
We've wept and our minds are burned out trying to find reasons.  As you say, we will just have to live our lives, which fortunately are full of other good things, and take what we are given.   We have loved our new DIL since she came to us and will continue to do so and hope that she can see that. 
Thats about it. Not coping well right now but hopefully time will help.
Thanks again for your support.


MM, I'm so glad you found us and so sorry you need us. Many of the MILs here have had similar experiences - the 'bolt out of the blue' as you describe happened in my family too. We were baffled, saddened, hurt, angry and finally resigned. We backed off, let DS step up to let his new ILs know we existed and were always going to be important to him, and things have slowly improved. Good luck to you.

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Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Hi Pen
Have read the open me first info.
Thank goodness for this forum.  Feel better already just sharing this with people who understand!
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd be in this position with one of my children. Feel like I'm dreaming and I'll wake up and it will all be gone....


Welcome MM and as others have said, you are not alone.  My OS/DIL have taken the route yours has while my YS/GF seem to enjoy our company.  Stop looking for the why's.  Sometimes there just isn't any and you just have to accept their decisions.  You don't have to like it, but you have no control.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


MM, you will find comfort and good advice here.  I did.  My DIL does not like us, will not let us visit her home (said she would go to a motel if we came), and my son was always in tears whenever they were in the same room with us.  I say "was" because we finally realized that being together with them was not going to work.  Her family, OTOH, well ....  the usual story: long visits, vacations together, etc. 

I finally made peace with the knowledge that I wasn't at fault, and that the best thing I could do for my son was let it all go.  I finally stopped trying to make it better, stopped sending her gifts, flowers, cards ... finally stopped crying in my sleep.

I hope it doesn't come to that for you, but if it does, know that many women here have gone through that pain.  And with the help of other women here at WWU, we have come out on the other side.  Whole and happy once again.

lancaster lady

Hi MM and welcome ,

You have to hope that he will miss his family , and will seek you out .Just make sure you remain in contact with him
every now and again .
At my sons wedding we felt we we there to make up the numbers , we hardly appeared in any of the photos
and weren't asked for family groups.
MY DIL arranged everything from start to finish with no input from my DS at all , and the muppet was quite
happy for her to do it ! Consequently he knew nothing about what was happening , neither did we .
Lots has happened since then , they had to move in with me for financial reasons , but since they have moved
out , they have hardly been back to visit . They live an hour away .
So rather than fade away to the background , I visit them .It's always my son who invites me .

You have to hope he will tire of the inlaws and long for his own family .
There are lots of Moms who miss their sons on this Forum , we aren't first on their lists anymore . :(


Welcome MM :)

I don't know if the particulars of your situation is normal but I think it's very normal for quite a lot of things to change in the adult childrens life after marriage.  IMO, the first year is very tough for the couple in figuring out what they are going to do on just about anything. 

I think asking them for a conversation about all this could backfire on you and is probably not a good idea.  Just give them a bit of space and see what unfolds. 

I'm sorry that you were treated differently at the wedding, I'm sure that hurt but it's probably best not to let that cloud what is going on now.  They aren't actively excluding you, they are building a marriage. 

DH and I went through the same things all other newly married couples do, and on top of the stress of figuring out to live a life with someone we then had MIL telling and demanding us to do what she wanted.   She had certain expectations she demanded fulfilled (I'm not saying you're doing exactly this, just an example) and we did act a circus act for a couple of years trying to form our marriage and satisfy her wants.  Eventually something had to give and it ended up being MIL.  And my parents weren't even on the table back then because we had so much going on with us and MIL. 

Now though, my parents (even long distance) see and spend time with us so much more than the in laws because they were supportive, didn't make demands on our time, didn't want to talk to us about how we aren't fulfilling their needs right after our marriage.  I know they weren't happy with some things but they didn't make it our problem.  So since they stepped back we naturally came to them.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Hi Pam
thank you so much for your reply and every way of looking at this is valuable. 
I now realise that the main problem here is that our new DIL'S mother is the one calling all the shots.  I haven't gone into much detail about all the things that went on in the week running up to the big day, because I don't want to make it all sound petty, but the manipution that was being used was incredible to behold. A final very personal attack on me and my family came at the end of the big day when everyone had left and we were subjected to a rant. We all just looked at her in stunned disbelief while she stood there stamping her foot and yelling a load of nonsense.  The fathers were outside in the garden enjoying the last minutes of the day and actually getting a chance to enjoy each others company.  I politely but very firmly told her she would not speak to or treat us like that and we left when our cabs arrived, very timely.
We met the next morning, the two families for breakfast and when the newlyweds arrived they already knew about it.  Obviously even on their wedding night/morning she'd been on to her DD piling it on.  The hour we spent at breakfast she apologised and was all over me like a rash trying to be the friendly person I had hoped to meet in the beginning.  Her explanation was that it was just 'something she does'.  It was all a bit overwhelming and to be honest bizarre.  We left for the airport and headed home in a daze.  The newlyweds were also leaving on honeymoon shortly after us.
This all affected everyone and what should have been a wonderful time in all our lives was almost turned into a fiasco by one person.  Everything and everybody was in a tailspin and she was basking in the centre of it.  Now, I'm able to step back and look at it from distance it's easier to see but at the time you feel like you must be in the twilight zone. I've never come across anything like this.
We've never been overbearing parents and have held our children in open hands so it is difficult when you think you've got the last 30 years wrong and have done something awful.  It flies in the face of everything that has been good. 
It also does cross your mind to aim blame at your new DIL but we've got to know her over the 4 years and realised none of it fitted with her either but the dynamics when she was around her mother had all changed.  I realise now she had to conform and our son had to do the same and dance around the IL's for the whole week.  We felt like they were just wanting to please them and we were just there and of no consequence.  How blind.
I'm happier now that I can see more clearly I understand in some ways it could be easiest to blame your new SIL or DIL for upsetting the applecart when infact, as you say, it's all about trying to please everyone and balance it all.  I really feel for them they had to go through all this for one day.  It should have been a pleasure.  Fortunately we made sure the wedding day itself was truly amazing and the guests were oblivious.
On a final note our son told me on the morning of his wedding that when they are back in home country for a friends wedding (and we are also back visiting our elderly parents) that the MIL wants them to have a church blessing and a big party. DS and DIL did not want a church wedding but I suspect this was part of the bargain between DIL and Mum to keep her happy.  Guess what it takes up all their time and we are nowhere in the picture.
So, you see, it's all a bit of a conundrum. If you are like us and take the back seat to make it easier on your children and not cause problems then have to just take what the other IL's allow you to be thrown and you realise that YOU are also being manipulated by the bully.  The DIL also knows she is being manipulated but has done it all her life to keep everyone happy, prevent outbursts and will possibly continue to do so. Where does it all end?  It's a yucky situation and basically we have to swallow it and hope that our son will fight for our corner. Horrible, isn't it?  That can take a lifetime.  Who are the fools?  Who's right and who's wrong?


MM, I had to let all that "who's right, who's wrong" stuff go. You said it, "It's a yucky situation and basically we have to swallow it and hope that our son will fight for our corner." Yup! What choice do we have?
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


MM, your DILs Mother and my MIL could be one and the same!  That is the exact stuff MIL does here too. 

Trust me, what you're going through will get easier.  Those kids (DIL and DS) are going to have some tough, tough work to do in regards to her.  It won't be easy for you to watch, it probably won't be better for at least a couple of years.  BUT if you remain out of it, they will come to you. 

There are several posters here that are either in the same position as your son (ME!) or have children in the position of your son.  Pen and Tryingmybest come to mind, you can look through their postings and get a feel for how things seem to unfold. 

Your son is in love and married a woman who is married already.  (nothing sexual)  She is married to her mother, my husband was married to his mother.  This is going to be a terrifically hard time on him understanding what is going on.  You may think you know a person but wait until you marry them and find out they were already married. 

If you have time, the book "Toxic In Laws" may help you understand what your DS and DIL are going to be going through.  Her mother will likely ramp up her behavior because her daughter married.  As DSs Mom you're going to be in a tough position because anything you may so or do might come back to bite you.  This book might help and explain what I'm inadequately trying to get across.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


I am just blown away by how many mothers on here have experienced the same turmoil that I am going through with my son / his wedding / his new in-laws.  I could have written many of the same posts about my broken heart.

Pen wrote about feeling:  baffled, saddened, hurt, angry....and finally resigned.  It's been 27 days since my son's wedding, and I feel like I'm still in a "grief" stage.....I keep telling myself to move on, focus on the other good things in my life, but it's so hard to move on when I just DON'T UNDERSTAND why I was treated with such indifference and then virtually ignored at the wedding 
Alas, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope for some peace of mind, if only from feeling "resigned" to the situation....
Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
(Voltaire  1694 - 1778)


Hi, Whitney. It seems to be an epidemic these days, who knows why? It can't be entirely because we're all big jerks (there are some of those, I know) who brought it on ourselves, there are too many of us. I suspect some savvy young women have figured out they hold the power and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on...men are caught in the middle, don't want to be seen as going against their wives wishes, so dear old moms get the boot since men know their moms will always love them, no matter what. I certainly wouldn't expect my DS to jeopardize his marriage due to his FOO, and I've told him so.

We moms move on because to not do so only hurts us more in the long run; they aren't wasting a minute in pain over us, are they? I don't want this to ruin the last third of my precious life. Not another minute of it, actually.

That said, I still have my days even after all these years. I miss DS & my dreams (expectations?) of how our family/extended family could be, and can get caught in the downward spiral if I'm not careful.

Acceptance is a more positive word than resigned, which is the term I used early on. I'm working on acceptance now...two forward, one back, rinse and repeat. Baby steps forward, Whitney :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Hi Whitney :-)
Things must be feeling very raw for you at the moment but you've come to the right place.  Lots of us here who've had similar experiences so you're not alone. :)
For me its just a little more than a year on from being where you are now.  I know all our experiences will be different but they have the same undercurrent that pins us together.  It hurts like hell.  We felt sick for weeks (DH too) after the wedding and it was hard not to think about it constantly and try to make sense of it.
We eventually decided to take control of what little we could in the situation. That was to respect ourselves, set boundaries re not accepting any further abuse, and get on with our lives.  We waited for our son to come to us and he did eventually.  There was no conversation about what happened and our relationship is not the same now, just different.
We keep ourselves busy with our own lives, doing everything that we would do if our relationship was still 'normal'.  We get together when they want to. We expect nothing so we're not disappointed and enjoy it when we get 'something' however small. 
In a way we've accepted the situation and set our son free to live his life in whatever way makes him happy.  We're there when they want us and busy enough with our own lives when they don't. We suspect MIL is still trying to control but realise DS will have to deal with that how he sees fit and he needs no extra pressure from us.
I realise that things happen for a reason and this is part of DS path and life lesson.  It's also been a lesson for us in that we've had to let go and let God (don't mean that in a preachy way) and trust that all will work out for the best.  Hopefully DS and DIL will find us easy to be around because we have no expectations and they will appreciate that?  It's all we can hope for.  It takes time Whitney but you will find your own way to give you peace, one day at a time.  Be gentle with yourself.