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Parents of Sons who leave & cleave to wife's family

Started by still-count?, December 13, 2018, 05:32:14 am

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My husband and I totally understand "leave & cleave"  and dealt with it in our young marriage with his Mom, but it worked out, and I loved his Mom, and she loved me.  However as parents of 3 sons and 1 daughter, "leave & cleave" is taught so much in our churches, but no word on the daughter-in-laws who are close to their own Mothers, and everything seems to swing that way.  We are in second position, and sometimes not even regarded.  Sometimes I want to scream from the housetop "I gave birth also!  I nursed and parented and raised children!".  We feel as if we have to fit in with our son's in-laws and their culture. Our sons & their families travel to see daughter-in-laws parents all the time, because she wants to be with them. We have to go there or hope to be invited in order to see them. If we step out of line at all, we are scolded. We love our daughters - in-law and feel our sons have chosen wisely, but the who comes first in the parents role is so obvious, it hurts!  Would appreciate some feed-back and wise counsel/answers.


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My serious issues with my eldest son didn't involve my DIL's family. His 'about face' came when he was in his teens. He decided I was not the mother he would have chosen and his friends had fared better than he did. A mother who virtually never left the kitchen and never spoke a word looked much more appealing. What transpired for me might be of some help to you since he carried that attitude on into his adult life, marriage and parenting.

I eventually learned I was the one who decided my value and gave myself the respect I knew I deserved. My expectations were of my own making. Back then they were the norm in the culture in which I grew up. I got stuck in self-pity for much too long. It was healthy at first but eventually kept me from learning and growing.

My lesson was I mattered, if I said so. Respect wasn't something that another bestowed on me or withheld at will. Self-respect was available. My husband helped me with this and I move beyond would'a, should'a, could'a. We knew we had both been good parents...and the issue was my son's to resolve or not. He choose not. We restructured our lives, looking to what we had instead of what we had lost. My son passed his beliefs on to his youngest son. However, his eldest son and our youngest son never bought into it.

My point is that for me, actually for us, the impasse no longer dominated our well-being. We looked to what brought us joy and fulfillment and healing followed.

Sending hugs your way...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I know exactly how you feel because as a mom of two sons I get the same treatment. It's a very hard pill to swallow when you see the kids you raised and love so much treating you no better than an acquaintance  (until they need something.) When we rarely hear from them and they express no interest in our lives and make no attempt to visit and keep us included in get togethers and so on......the sting of that is incredibly painful. Even more so when you know you have done more and sacrificed more than any other person has and then you get treated so indifferently. It just isn't right and all of us here know it. I do feel the wives have a hand in this because they could include us if it were in their heart to do so. These women don't seem to have a heart at all when it comes to us (the guys family). I think they are quite controlling and don't want us around because we represent something to them that they interpret as threatening. Therefore they do everything they can to keep us at bay and out of the picture. Now I do believe ultimately the responsibility lies with our sons to keep us involved and make sure we aren't excluded. There was a time when I thought  mine might step up and do that but it has yet to happen and I finally got fed up with harboring illusions. I no longer expect that it will ever change and have made adjustments within myself so that I am not going around sad and upset about it, at least not most of the time. I do have my days though when I just can't help it, especially around the holidays when I know their time will be spent with her family and we will come second if at all. We all know people make time for what is important to them. Their actions, or lack of, have spoken volumes. I do get tired of always being the one to reach out or go by to visit but I know that is the only way I will see them. At at the end of the day though we have to accept that there's nothing we can do to change another's heart and we have to learn to take care of and be good to ourselves. Coming here to this wonderful place has had a huge hand in helping me get there. Just knowing I can come here and express myself if I need to or just read and give input has been very cathartic. My thoughts are with you, please check in often!


Quote from: still-count? on December 13, 2018, 05:32:14 am
We love our daughters - in-law and feel our sons have chosen wisely

As a mother of both a son and daughter, I thought that when the time came, I'd be in a better situation with my DD.  After all, the saying is that "a son is your son till he takes a wife, but your daughter is your daughter for life"?  :-X Well I must have missed that memo?  As a mother of the DIL to another family's boy/DS I can tell you, the maternal family is not always the one that benefits from the extra attention because they are connected to the daughter. :'(
Nevertheless I think your comment about your DILs is lovely, and I think if you remind both your sons and especially the DILs themselves of this, adding that because of such pride and joy that you would like to see more of them it might help?  It may not solve the in balance immediately, but it can't hurt and maybe reinforcing it over time, will help turn things around in your favour with a little extra consideration.
In the meantime, as painful as it might be (and I know it is) try not to focus on the problem too much, but rather be kind to yourself and know that you deserve all the love and respect, as much as the DILs families do but ultimately, you have to be the master of your own happiness and can't rely on anyone else to fulfil you.  Be happy, it can be very contagious and hopefully enough so to rub off on them that they will want to share in your joy! :) 
Hugs to you xx :)


December 20, 2018, 05:36:29 am #4 Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 06:42:42 am by luise.volta
If you read my past posts you can see that my husband and I are going through this also.  My DIL's mother stays with them for weeks.  My DIL takes the kids to her mother's home and stays there for school breaks and over the summer for extended visits, sometimes leaving my son,( her husband, the kids father,) home alone working.  After many years of banging my head and much crying I am realizing that what happens in their life is their choice and I have no say in it.  We get a visit sometimes on holidays.  It is usually last minute, after hearing that "it's not right that DIL's mom is left alone" and then the night before we find out plans have changed and they come to us. It's hurtful every time.  Last year I was told that "MIL does not feel comfortable with us".  Does that mean that MIL is pushing us away?  Maybe it's her, maybe my DIL.  My son can advocate if he really wants to see us.  People do what they really want to do.  My husband and I are hurt, but after dealing with this for years we have no choice but to enjoy what we get.  This place has great support and has gotten me through so many of the down times.  Try not to make their choices personal to you.  You will get through this.  Sending hugs.