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Internet relationships are so difficult

Started by TM, October 29, 2013, 06:36:18 pm

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Hello all, well my life has moved on a lot since our DS was married and we now have a lovely little GS who is 5 mths old.  We visited a few weeks after he was born (we live in different countries) staying in a hotel and doing all we could to make a difficult time for new parents as nice as possible.  It was a good time and we enjoyed as much as we could without being overbearing.  All was well and we returned home with happy memories.
However, what I'm now finding so hard is being closed out of things on the internet (skype)which is the best way of communicating long distance and you can see each other like you were in the same room.  I leave my internet connection open at all times hoping they will 'pop in' when they have a few spare moments to let us see our GS.  Well, it hasn't worked out like that, I wait and wait and sometimes its a month between calls and I have to beg our DS (by SMS on the phone) for a time to have a call as they keep themselves showing as invisible so you dont know when they are on the internet.  Even when I will call at their given time our GS is whisked off by our DIL for any reason like bath time or food basically any excuse to cut short our precious little bit of contact.  I have tried to keep things on an even keel, pretending not to be hurt by this and hoping that it might change some day but its just not happening.  Our DIL is on every day to her own family who also live overseas (DS casually mentioned that) and our DS seems quite happy with the situation?  I find it so hard to accept and just can't understand it.  It's the almost begging ritual that is now wearing me (us) down.  My husband seems to be able to detach himself from it more than I can but it's so unfair and it hurts.
Anyway, I am starting to feel this is too painful to continue and am considering just letting things go silent and leaving it up to them to contact us, which to be honest hasn't worked at all up to now.  The time between calls is as long as I let it go before I relent and ask. I fear It might mean we have to accept a total break and just hope that somehow our son will come to his senses and see what is happening?  I also feel it will be playing right into my DIL's hands as I get the impression that she'd be quite happy if we disappeared never to be heard of again and only her family would be in their lives.
It's so hard I just dont know what to do. I dont want to turn away but what else to do as I cant get my head or heart around why this is happening. It's heartbreaking to be honest.  Help, I could sure do with some words of wisdom :(


I am sorry that you are going through this.  I am a DIL that lives away from both sides of the family. First off, I wouldn't wait on Skype for them.  Its unfair to yourselves. Additionally, since they are "hidden" users, I would think that they don't want you popping in everytime they log on.  Hurtful to you, yes but not necessarily intentionally.  (Btw, have you tried facetime? We find much btr audio and less interrupted connection)

Since you are feeling that the DIL is controlling things, how about trying to foster a relationship with her? After all, she is your son's wife and the mother of the grandchild.  Even if not through Skype regular phone calls or just email/notes to HER might motivate her to make more effort towards you all.  Ultimately, your son needs to step up and facilitate the relationship. 

I am sorry if there is a back story that I don't know.  For me the shoe was on the other foot so to speak but those are things I wished my Ils had done. A relationship is a two way street.  Hope things improve for you.


You once mentioned a book Im still your Mother.  Does it offer any support in terms of grandbabies? I hope that your hurt subsides and you know you can love that baby regardless of his parents actions or inactions. 


The hardest part for me in facing and getting though the impasse I had with DS was getting that he made sense to himself and didn't have to make sense to me. When I got that my hopes, dreams and expectations were mine...and he wasn't responsible to fulfill any of therm...I started to turn a corner but it took a long, long time. Sending love.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I'm so sorry to hear this, TM. It's really hard to deal with. I hope you all can come up with a solution that helps everyone feel comfortable, loved and valued.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


You had a good visit so I would try to build on that.  If DIL or DS really wanted you out of the picture, I imagine that visit wouldn't have gone smoothly at all.  They are living in a different country from both FOOs with a 5 month old baby.  Chances are, you are not even on their radar.  Do you know that DIL deliberately whisks the baby away to shorten your limited cybervisits?  Life is much easier when the baby follows a schedule so it's not impossible that your calls do coincide with bathtime or feedings or naptimes or whatever.  DIL may not realize how infrequently DS skypes with you.  Or she may not be aware you are unhappy with the status quo.  What's obvious to you may not be to them. 

Just because your DS casually mentioned DIL is skyping with her family every day doesn't mean that she really is every day.  His 'everyday' could be once a week.  Or even if she does Skype with her family everyday, it doesn't mean DIL or DS has to keep things even.  The attitude of "your family your responsibility" is pretty common.  I know this tips things in favor of the FOO with the AC most inclined to stay in touch, but is that really worse than foisting all the social responsibility on the DD/DIL because she's female?  Would your GC be better off if DIL cut down her contact with her FOO to match what DS does for you?  I know it's impossible not to compare the time/attention one FOO gets compared to another (just like siblings), but as our own mothers often told us, life isn't fair. 

I know I'm not coming across as sympathetic.  I actually do sympathize with you.  I live far from all my FOO and I have many times felt left out of things.  I even recognize that being left out by adult sibs isn't in the same ballpark as being left out of GC's lives.  The reality is, however, your GC lives in another country and DS and DIL are not inclined to keep in touch frequently using the latest technology.  My kids were born in a different country than all their GPs.  Back then there wasn't email, cell phones, digital cameras, Skype, etc.  At least not to the extent there is today.  It's nice that modern technology can keep us in touch better, but the down side is it sets the bar up high.  My kids' GPs had to be thankful for a brief phone call once or twice a month and a few pictures every other month (remember having to wait to use up the roll of film then get it developed then realize half the pictures were fuzzy?).    Maybe you could try some old school methods to stay in touch. 

Good luck.  I hope things improve.  I think in my garbled sentences above I was trying to say even though the situation isn't ideal, try not to assume any intentional slight by DS/DIL.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.