July 15, 2019, 04:06:10 pm


"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."

In need of some advice

Started by forever spring, February 03, 2012, 08:21:25 am

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

forever spring

I haven't posted here for a while because what I'm going through at the moment is really rough and I didn't know how to put it into words.

Those of you who keep an eye on the postings on this forum will know that I never got on with my DIL right from the start. I was always respectful of their marriage though and thought that DS had found a support in her and was proud of what they had achieved together, 2 kids, nice house everything in the garden just wonderful!!

I was wrong. My DS has left her two months ago though he is still closely involved with the children and looks after her financially. He is with the children 3 days a week and works 60 hours a week, so I believe, without being too biased, that he takes his responsibilities very seriously indeed. He said that he could not live with her any longer, and thinks that the children will be happier in the long run because they do not have to live in a house where the parents are not happy together. My DH and I have to believe him and respect his decision even though we always believed that marriage is for life and thought our children would too.

We got on with the other GP and want to have a good relationship with them for the sake of the GC. As we don't live close I went to see the family for a fortnight last month to see how things were and also to be with the GC and the other GP. I had to go on my own because DH is still working, now I wish I hadn't. This visit has been a total disaster, because the other GP wanted me to talk my DS into going back to their DD - something I had no inclination or indeed power to do. My relationship with DIL turned from bad to worse because she accuses us, my DS and me of not caring enough and not being around when we should have been around. We believe that the marital problems they had are their own and we do not interfere. 

During the 14 days I spent near them I saw the GC once - and only because it was an emergency and nobody was available. I saw my son twice to talk to him about the change in the situation. He seemed distant but explained well why he left.  On my last day the DIL asked me to come to see the GC which I would have done, even though I had my doubts about being alone with her and the GC, as I thought she may accuse me in front of them. Fate had it that my train was delayed for 5 hours, so I couldn't see them after all.

My worry is now and I like to have some advice on this from this forum. I do feel really sorry for my DIL and the pain she must endure now and I would like to extend the hand of friendship and indeed express female loyalty and let bygones be bygones but at the same time I need to be aware that more friendliness on my part may be misinterpreted and I will be abused even more. I'm in a really bad situation because I may not see my GC in the future or only see them when DS has them. So what can I do now, be nice to her no matter how bad she treats me or take the risk? The other GP are now disappointed in me because I could not wave the magic wand.

I do know that it is early days and things may fall into place somehow. But for now I'm heartbroken. I envisaged many problems to affect my happiness but never this one and the worry about the small children is huge.



I'm of two minds about this.  1) Your son has the children quite a bit so you should be able to see them.  In that case, there is no need to step into the lions den, so to speak, and put your neck out there so the other grandparents and DIL can bite it again.

2) Perhaps there is a way to word an email to her that as the childrens grandmother you will always be there as a support figure in their lives while also drawing boundaries with her. 

I guess this depends on how much or little you think she will take you seriously.  In fact, I think you may just be a handy target for her and the other grandparents right now so extending yourself wouldn't be the first option I would take. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


My take: Perhaps, in retrospect, your visit was poorly timed. They are all in transition and "raw." I would get that it is theirs to work though and not complicate the dynamics any further between you, DIL and her FOO. They know where you are and that you care but everyone seems to be heavy into blaming and you just don't need that. Blaming is always a denial of responsibility, from my point of view. I would step back and stay out of the firing line. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Quote from: chelmsford36 on February 03, 2012, 08:21:25 am
Those of you who keep an eye on the postings on this forum will know that I never got on with my DIL right from the start.

I do feel really sorry for my DIL and the pain she must endure now and I would like to extend the hand of friendship and indeed express female loyalty and let bygones be bygones


Have you sorted these 2 out completely?  You never got along with her but now want to be friends, right?

I agree that maybe you should give yourself and the situation some time.  A friendship could develop in the future but now might not be the time to push it through unless you really like her deep in your heart.

Silver Spring

You can feel for her situation without having an especially good relationship with her. That doesn't mean you need to be friends with her. You simply have empathy, and that's wonderful.  I wouldn't try striking a supportive friendship with her now.

I was in love as a youngster and when my boyfriend broke up with me, I ran to his mother and cried. She told me she loved me and would do anything in her power for me, but that she could not make him do a thing to stay with me. That woman has gone on to be one of my best friends now, and it's been 20+ years. I came to her, so I think I was open to that sort of relationship. She is dying of pneumonia as we speak, so I find your topic very timely as that memory has always been a dear one to me, even though it didn't work out like I'd hoped initially.  Something better came to pass.

Your DIL has shown that everything must be on her terms, therefore, let any idea of a friendship with her be on her terms as well. You have certainly done your due already. You're already open to the friendship, so you're open...if she feels compelled to reach out, she will.


Chelms - can I ask why you weren't invited for those 3 days a week that DS has with his kids?  If he has them 3 days out of 7 and you were there for 14, how come you only saw them once?

I would honestly NOT try with FxDIL.  If it was hard while they were together, it's just going to be harder now.  I would work on your relationship with DS.  So that you can see the GK's when he's got them.  Because it troubles me that you weren't included on his visits, while you were in town.


Oh Chelms, I'm sorry to hear you had to experience all that stuff when you were hoping to spend time w/the GC. I agree that you should set very firm boundaries w/xDIL & her Ps; let them know that for the sake of the GC you want to have an amenable relationship with them but that you are not comfortable taking sides in the issues between DS & DIL. It seems reasonable to see the GC on DS's days & not put yourself in the line of fire w/xDIL & her Ps.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

forever spring

Thank you so much for your sound advice and for taking the time to respond.
Yes the timing was bad but FOO pleaded to visit to see for myself and I responded. In the end I think they just hoped that I could persuade DS to change his mind. They were not very forthcoming to include me, never have been even when things were good between DS and DIL. They could have invited me to spend time with them and the GK as they had them for the some of the days I was there. Sadly this didn't even cross their mind.
I couldn't see the GK when DS had them because they are in their own home with him and DIL is often there too. They try to have 'foursome' days to make the children happy.
The advice to have a future relationship with DIL on her terms was really helpful. I will back off now and be very very very patient and trust that time will heal wounds and that my love and commitment will come into its own in time.
Wish me luck and thanks again for your help.


Chelms - you are a very caring, unselfish mother and MIL.  My hat's off to you.  Here you are, wanting to give moral support to a DIL (who was never nice to you) when you learn she and your son are soon to be divorced?   Talk about turning the other cheek! 

Of course you are concerned about the GKs.  I do not have grandchildren, but as I try to put myself in your shoes - learning that DS is about to divorce DIL - I think I would feel somewhat relieved and perhaps pleased to have the DIL out of my life.  With no children involved, I find myself thinking - "if only I could be so lucky!"

Am I the only MIL on these boards who would secretly welcome a divorce between DS and DIL?

forever spring

Quote from: Silver Spring on February 03, 2012, 12:12:07 pm
She is dying of pneumonia as we speak.

So sorry to hear about your friend, my thoughts are with you Silver Spring. So sad to see her go.
I also had a good friend who was the mother of a former boyfriend. She passed away many years ago but this friendship meant a lot and I only have good memories. Our life is so multi-faceted, I do celebrate this even when I'm in pain.


I think this is a topic not addressed very often.  Chelms, like you I was pulled into DD and SIL's divorce (DD wanted divorce, SIL did not) and deeply conflicted.  I think the common consensus is that  'you always stick by your own flesh and blood'.  When it happened to me, to my family, I was under such stress that I went to a family counselor and she looked at me and said 'well of course, you must stick by your own child in this'.  However I, always seeming to be a person outside the box, did not see it as black or white.  I had loved my SIL.  He made plenty of blunders but they both did.  Losing him after his being a part of my family for 15 yrs was a deep loss, and I had no where to take the grief, nowhere it seemed anyone really understood or validated it.  I would do things differently now, in hindsight.  I would hold the line from the beginning, explaining that under no circumstances could I discuss with SIL anything whatsoever involving the marriage and/or divorce situation.  Much easier said than done.

Chelms, I walked a tightrope, and it was not easy.  It was bitter for me to witness my SIL evicted from his home and children, and witness such grief that went on for a long time.  I had to stop taking phone his calls, and find a way to distance myself (which led to DH taking the calls from SIL and getting the topic away from marriage).  I was caught in the middle a lot.  My G/S were always very close to their df, and remain so, therefore I knew keeping a pure and caring relationship with ex-SIL was important, for my G/S sake. 

But now that the dust has settled, I have to tell you it was worth it.  SIL and I communicate through the g/s in the way of 'tell Grammie I love her' or 'tell Daddy grammie hopes the new job goes well', etc.  It would have been far easier to have just put on my boxing gloves and remained in my DD's corner.  I felt that there had to be another option, one with more integrity.  This is how I've managed to try and pour oil over troubled waters.  I honestly think it has earned some degree of respect from both DD and SIL, and one thing they both know for sure, is not to ask me a question or an opinion if they don't want a truthful answer, I won't coddle accept lame excuses for bad behavior, especially if it puts my grandsons at any disadvantage. 

Almost three years have passed.  I was never entirely comfortable with this.  It was a 'no mans' land'.  I still find it very disturbing. 


I don't want DS & DIL to divorce, but I must admit to wishing sometimes that her FOO would move far away, lol...except that DIL would want to follow, and then DS would go too :(

Ruth, good for you that your DD, XSIL & GC can expect you to be fair and honest with them. Sometimes the best way isn't the easiest way. When DS came to us very upset with DIL, DH & I refused to jump in and criticize her (not that we weren't tempted since she'd treated us horribly.) At first I think DS felt betrayed, but now he knows we are on his side by not undermining his marriage. It really pained me to think that DS felt that we weren't supportive of him, but as you said there is "another option, one with more integrity." That's how we felt, too.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

forever spring

Pen, when everything was fine with my DS and DIl - well not fine exactly but so so, I also wished that FOO would move away but they didn't and I'm not blaming them but in a way they may have been a minor contributing factor in the break up. They were always there and probably made my DS feel inadequate. I would so much like to 'muck in' with practical help with the GKs now and would go out of my way to make this happen. However FOO fulfil this task adequately as they showed me when I was over and they didn't call on me at all. (However, they are complaining that it's all getting a bit too much for them now.)

Ruth, thank you so much for sharing your experience of the breakup of your DD and SIL. They are similarities in that your DD left SIL and as in my case DS is the one who has done the wrong thing in the eyes of the family. The difference is that you liked your SIL and felt a sense of loss when he went. I don't think I like my DIL deep down inside but I do feel compassion with the situation she finds herself in at the moment.  Compassion for somebody in pain goes beyond mere likes or dislikes. I do try and put myself into her shoes and I'm hurt when I imagine what she must be going through. Everything that she has been certain of, a loving DH who was at her beck and call almost until the minute he left, her marriage to him and the memories of this time, the well-being of her children, her status amongst her friends, her entire future etc. etc. I see all of this, even though I realise that I can't totally feel it as I'm not IN the situation on a daily basis. I would like to express my compassion to her but I know that this is a NO NO for the time being.
However as you said Ruth, we must keep out of their affairs. You found a way of dealing with the situation and though it seems that the wound will never heal completely you have made the most of a not so good situation and kept your integrity. It is about setting boundaries, this is something I'm learning now - the hard way. It's touching to hear how you communicate with your SIL via the GK, they are blessed children who have such a lovely grandma. I hope in three years' time I can talk about my own success in dealing with this.

Ruth, your words meant a lot to me and have given me strength to take myself back even though this is the most difficult thing to do. Mind you, I do write nasty letters to everybody concerned and vent, vent, vent but those will never be sent and get destroyed when they have fulfilled their use of extinguishing my red hot anger. If walls could talk!

I'm very sad now but the little voice inside myself says that things - though they will never be the same - may morph into something positive that will make us all a bit happier. Their marriage must have been very unhappy for a long time. My YDS, DH and I never felt relaxed around DS and DIL, so the break-up may be cleansing. Time will - as always - tell.

Thank you again for listening. I will try and reserve a space for my sorrow now and not allow it to overtake my entire life. I've got other commitments too.