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Feeling unwelcomed

Started by plankster14, July 03, 2012, 07:20:22 pm

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My DS married his 2nd wife who had children more than a year ago.  We only seen her a couple of times before they were married.  My DH and I considered her children our GC.  The couple of times I spent a week with them in their home to visit my GC, I felt unwelcome as my DIL would always busy herself with other things and we barely had any conversation during my visits.  My DS would come home from work and the two of them would go about their normal life leaving me out of conversations.  Occasionally my DS would ask me why I was quiet not realizing I felt as if I was being ignored.  Of course, my feelings were hurt and I would tell my DH I would not go back as I felt unwelcome.  A couple of months later, I missed my GC so much so I asked if it was okay to come and visit.  My DS always tells me it's okay but I come away with hurt feelings.  My DH says that all of this is petty feelings and I should just forget about what goes on when I visit.  Should I just keep my distance and hope they will do the inviting instead of me asking to be invited?  Any suggestions?


Welcome, MamaP. If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to read the pink highlighted items under Open Me First. We ask this of all new members to make sure the site is a good fit.

I understand how the awkwardness can make you feel unwelcome, but the good news is that your DS always tells you it's OK to visit and it seems as if no one has come right out and said anything rude to you. You have a lot to work with here, lucky you!

Here's what I suggest: Take some little personal projects so you can keep busy and look occupied. Practice smiling a lot so you don't look grim (I happen to have a sad face when I'm just sittin' around & my DIL thinks I'm mad unless I remember to look cheerful.) To remind yourself, wear a certain piece of jewelry or other accessory that will cue you. Practice some "entry" lines beforehand so you can ask questions about their day that require more than yes or no answers.

I've had the same sort of thing happen when visiting my DS/DIL at DS's request. It's a strange feeling after having had years of easy conversation w/DS, and it reminds me how much I miss just talking with him :(  Other than staying away, which like you I've decided to do at various times, we need to be prepared. I think you can fix this if you take the steps to do so now; letting this fester might make those invitations harder to come by.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Thank you for the welcome.  As like you, my DS and I were always close and talked with each other frequently.  When he remarried and moved away, it was hard not to see or talk with him like we had done in the past.  He is always so busy working and blending in with her and the kids, that he doesn't really have the time to just talk.  He seems to have slowly drifted away from his FOO.  His grandmother also feels as if he's drifted away as he has no time to talk with her either.  It just hurts to see him be happy with his new family and have no time with his family.  I will do as you suggest keeping myself busy and smiling when I visit and hopefully, my DIL will start feeling comfortable around me enough where she can just have a normal conversation with me instead of short replies.  I truly enjoy visiting with my GC as I have a special bond with her youngest child which I feel makes her uncomfortable by her actions when my GC and I are together.  My DH has also mentioned how he's noticed from the first time I met the GC how much of a bond the little one and I have.  I am careful to always include the other GC as I love them just as much, but it's so hard to really enjoy myself with them because of the coolness I feel when I am around her.  I just hope in time this gets better.


Welcome!  Boy do I understand that feeling.  So many times I visited... (not overnight as my DS lives close) and got that vague feeling that I was a problem.  Conversation was stilted and then DS and DIL always seemed to be angry at one another.  It took a brick wall to fall on me before I realized that they were fighting about ME!  About me being there, or perhaps the very notion that I was breathing.. lol!!   When I would ask my son what the problem was, all I got was "nothing".... or "It's not you it's me"   But it was about me as I later learned.   Talk about mortified...  I will not visit. (but that's a whole other story)  Anyway,   DS brings the kids to see me when he can.   I understand that it's different in your situation as they are not your son's bio-kids... but perhaps he would be able to do that anyway.  It makes for a much better and much more comfortable visit.   Can he bring the kids to see you without her?

lancaster lady

hi Mama P ....

Perhaps a week is too long , how far away do they live ?
Maybe if you go for a week , stay in alternative accommodation and visit each day , or perhaps
take the children out for a treat .
Not all families like their inlaws staying with them .
That might be the problem , maybe suggest it next time you visit .


Hi MamaP-

I've come to think that the way to go about visits is to act like a guest, like if you were visiting non-family members.    I also think that if you look more at the positives in the situation (he wants you there, you can actually visit and know his family, etc), the other stuff will rearrange itself into the background.

You know that old saying "leave and cleave".  It sounds like that's what he's doing.  This is what their household looks like.    At this point in my life, a DIL who allows visits with the GC, keeps busy and doesn't talk much sounds like a dream!   

Oh, and welcome to WWW. 


My MIL was always welcome in my home. I did everything I could to make her comfortable, and she did everything she could to be a non-judgmental, loving MIL & GM to my kids. When she helped with housework or childcare I was very grateful & never took offense; are you kidding? Another pair of helping hands? It was wonderful! What a gift to my DH that he didn't have to referee or feel like he was being torn in two. Now that she's no longer with us I am glad we only have happy memories; I miss her terribly.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Welcome :)

Just a question, but how long are you staying and where are you staying when you visit? 

For  a while here at WWU there was a pretty clear consensus that most posters prefer the 3 day rule, regardless if they were the host or guest.  Longer than that does seem to put strains on people. 

Additionally, this may just be your DILs personality.  Some people are quieter or introverts that have a hard time socializing for long periods of time.  My husband can only take a couple hours -- even with his own friends.  Just a thought.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Thank you pam1.  They live about 5 hours away and I stay at their house.  I would understand if my DIL was shy, but when other people come by, she can sit and talk for hours.  I think it may be a personality conflict on both our parts.  Hopefully in time this will change but I am having a hard time slowly losing my DS.  I guess I have to work on realizing he has his own family and that's his priority, it just hurts.


Maybe she just doesn't know you that well, yet?  And given time she'll warm up?

At the very least, she's having you over, so all is not lost yet :)  I will say that I can be a chatter bird but when I first met DHs parents I was a little on the shy side, I really wanted them to like me.  So it could be that too.

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Not sure how old you DS and DIL are, but one thing that comes to mind is it seems like the extra work of visitors often gets dumped on the woman of the house (laundry, meals, scheduling, socializing).  When someone is visiting it seems we are fine with a guy working in the garage or mowing the lawn but if the woman is absent the place falls apart. So if DIL already has a full schedule and really needs some alone time, having someone there all the time upsets this--especially if DS is not responsible to check on your needs.

Second marriages are way more fragile. Having an IL there for a week would be a lot, I think. Do you have your own room?  Do you bring groceries? Do you ask DIL (she is the QUEEN of the house, after all) if there is something you can do to help her?  Does it seem as if you are more excited to see DS than DIL? Does DS do the laundry when you leave (sheets, towels, etc?)  (I'm just brainstorming, don't expect answers).

Personally, having someone here for more than two nights really invades my space.  I can imagine myself saying, "It's YOUR mother, so you better be entertaining her because I don't know what to talk to her about!! LOL) Your situation may be completely different, but these are just some thoughts I am throwing out there.  Good luck.  (And I stay in a hotel with a pool so the kids can come swim...everyone loves that deal).
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)


Welcome MamaP.  I haven't ever even got an invite to come over to DIL/OS house for 5 minutes, let alone an overnight so I can't say anything :)

I can say that I have FDIL of YS actually living with me right now and I have learned not to take anything personal.  She's a very good person, sense of humor and not shy.  But for 4 days last week, as soon as I came in from work, she said "Hi" and went upstairs to her room.  Came out a couple of times to get a drink or such and right back up.  I had a choice to make.  I could either get all offended thinking that she didn't like me any longer and didn't like my company, or give her the space and see what happened.  I picked door #2 and on the 4th day, she sat down at the kitchen table and just looked at me for a few minutes.  I finally looked at her and said, "Want to tell me what's going on?"  She just smiled and said, "Nothing."  I kind of gave her that Mom-look and went, "Yeah...Ok." and grinned.  She finally said, "I guess I'm just going through a major "I miss him" phase.  Sorry."  I smiled and said, "I bet you are.  Well just remember, we love you."

She's been fine since then.  So it could be nothing personal with your DIL either.  It could be like the others say, she's just uncomfortable with guests period. 
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

lancaster lady

My DD moved out again last week ....so relieved !


Time for LL to kick up her heels & enjoy her own space? That's great news!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

lancaster lady

My ds left it up to me and his dw to sort ourselves out , what a cop out .