Ex and family at son's graduation

(27 Posts)
Jan49 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:31:14

It’s my ds’s graduation in September. He lives with me in the town where the ceremony will be. We can buy up to 8 tickets. His father (my ex) plans to come with his current wife and his parents (my ds’s grandparents). The thought of being at the event with those 4 people upsets me terribly. My ex and his parents are hostile to me. His parents find the situation of our divorce embarrassing and deal with it by avoiding me and treating me like something unpleasant when they see me and they sometimes ask people not to invite me to an event if they or their son will be going. My ex had an affair and left me for OW but is with a different woman now. My ex’s parents are of the opinion that you should work on staying married at all cost but as it’s their son they just sweep it under the carpet. My ex’s current wife just agrees with ex in everything. If I go, I can sit anywhere and won’t need to sit near them, and our son will be seated separately from guests, but obviously just before and after the ceremony we’d all expect to be with my ds taking photos etc. and I can't arrive at the last minute as they have strict rules about timings, so I'd need to be hanging around for at least 45 minutes beforehand.

I’m thinking of not going. I’d see ds before he leaves for the ceremony, and I could celebrate with him another day. My ds won’t care who goes, whether his mum or dad or anyone else. I haven’t said much to him about it. He is autistic. He doesn’t understand how I feel and when I’ve sometimes said anything about being reluctant to be near my ex and his wife, he thinks I’m being silly. I’ve been to an awards event for ds where ex and wife went but it didn’t involve spending time together and it’s the fact that his grandparents will also be there that makes me feel I can’t do this – 4 hostile people against me. Although we could get tickets for more people, there isn’t anyone suitable to invite to be there ‘for me’. My parents are long dead. It’s so horrible that whilst I do everything to support my ds, I also get put in this kind of situation. I’m the one who will be treated like a pariah and have to go off alone afterwards whilst the other 4 go with my ds for a meal. My ex-inlaws won’t say anything negative to me, just avoid me. So WWYD?

CMOTDibbler Fri 28-Jun-13 10:35:56

You need to be there. Ask a friend if they will accompany you, then put on a big smile and your nicest outfit and brazen it out by being super nice to ex and family, even if in your head you are forced to use my dh's technique of your mouth saying polite things and you silently add 'f*ck you' to the sentence.

Then go out with friend to somewhere you like for squishy cakes or cocktails after.

babyhmummy01 Fri 28-Jun-13 13:50:56

I don't mean to be unkind, but you are being incredibly self centred.

The ceremony is about your son not you and the fact he is autistic and has achieved this is amazing and he deserves to have you there.

I understand that you feel uncomfortable and you have good reason to but you really need to suck it up and be there to support your son, by not going you are playing into the hands of your ex and his parents as they will see that it still bothers you.

As CMOT says, smile, dress nice and take a friend you can have a laugh with and don't let them get to you.

You have to be there for your son.

wannaBe Fri 28-Jun-13 13:57:28

one of the things about having children is that if the relationship ends there will inevitably be situations where you will have to come face to face with your ex, even if the relationship has broken down irretrieveably. Graduations, weddings etc. This is not about you, it's about your ds, and you need too put your discomfort aside for the purposes of supporting your ds.

willyoulistentome Fri 28-Jun-13 13:58:09

They're right. You need to suck it up and go!
If it helps, try to think how it will look to the ex and his family of you DON'T go. They will mutter amongst themselves that you 'couldn't even bother to attend her own son's graduation.'

FriskyHenderson Fri 28-Jun-13 14:01:14

So there are 8 tickets and they have 4? So you take your 4 and round up your friends and family and go amd have a blast celebrating your wonderful son.

NatashaBee Fri 28-Jun-13 14:08:31

You need to go. Take a friend with you, make yourself look amazing, and have a bottle of wine or some chocolate waiting for you when you get home as a reward. At least they can't bitch about you if you're sitting right next to them... but they probably will if you don't show up!

phantomhairpuller Fri 28-Jun-13 14:13:51

Are you really considering not going to see your autistic son graduate?! Just because YOU might feel a bit awkward around your ex and his family.

It's your son's graduation day, it should be about him and not you.

Get over yourself, suck it up and brazen it out.

MerryMarigold Fri 28-Jun-13 14:14:14

Wow, this is a really difficult situation. I feel for you OP. If I were you, I would do what others have said and be lovely and polite to the family and try not to let their reactions to you affect you. Your mantra needs to be, "It is not my problem." Their issues are their problems and they are probably very embarrassed that their son has treated you in this way. Just be super gracious. Do you have some friends, or a sibling, or does your ds have friends who could come and use up the other tickets. I don't think you would forgive yourself for missing your ds's graduation.

OddSockMonster Fri 28-Jun-13 14:15:46

Definitely go! As the others have said, invite a friend and enjoy it even if they are there. Plus, if you have a friend, they can take a lovely photo of you and your DS to remeber his big day.

Jan49 Fri 28-Jun-13 14:37:31

I think the people who said I should take a friend are right. I need someone I can stand with and talk to who is with me and 'on my side', so I'm not hanging around alone. But we moved here last autumn for ds's university and we're hundreds of miles from friends and family. I don't think there's anyone I can ask who would come. It's on a weekday too so I'd be asking someone to take time off work and spend a few days here. I don't know anyone here well enough. It's tempting to think of paying someone local to come alone for a few hours as a kind of fake companion but obviously my ds would know so I can't do that.

I think my ex and family will be glad if I'm not there and are unlikely to think I can't be bothered to go. I don't think I'm being self-centred. I expected to go and see my ex and his wife there. I just didn't expect to have to face all 4. It's easy to say that it's right to do something, but not so easy to do it. I can tell myself I should go along and act like it's all fine but I'm in tears at the thought of it. I can put up with seeing my ex and his wife but seeing the ex-inlaws seems too much, particularly as they'll act like I ought not to be there. And of course if I do go I'll be excluded once the photos are taken as they'll want to go off to lunch with ds and without me. It's much much worse than feeling a bit awkward. It's reminding me of what I've lost and the family that has dumped me. It's putting salt on a wound.

There aren't actually 8 tickets. It's just that you can buy up to 8 per student, which enables ex to include his parents. I assumed there would only be about 2 or 3 tickets per student. I've got a month to decide, as tickets aren't available til August.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 28-Jun-13 14:42:48

I'd be SO tempted to buy all 8 just so they'd have to call me to arrange to get some from me.

I am so childish blush

Use all your 4. Take the 3 people you know who are in your life who love your son the most.

babyhmummy01 Fri 28-Jun-13 14:59:20

I am sorry, but you are looking at this solely from your own feelings. Look at it from your sons position. As an autistic man he has achieved something amazing and even without the autism graduating is a huge deal and deserves to be celebrated.

Refusing to go because it upsets you is incredibly self-centred even if you can't see it.

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 28-Jun-13 15:04:59

I'd ask your friends. Yes, they'd have to travel, but they might surprise you. Explain why you need them and try to invite 2. Your DS going off with his father and grandparents for a meal afterwards would free you up to go out with them for a meals and drinks.

Owllady Fri 28-Jun-13 15:06:47

I imagine this is very difficult for you sad but you must go.

You don't have to sit with them do you?

CMOTDibbler Fri 28-Jun-13 15:07:27

If you were near me, I'd come with you. In fact, thats offer - I'm W Midlands, and not an axe murderer grin.

If you aren't near, you've got 6 weeks to meet a nearby MNetter.

OddSockMonster Fri 28-Jun-13 15:40:36

Try asking your friends & family anyway. I'm sure they'd understand if you say why.

And I'd happily offer S Yorks if you're really stuck.

mamas12 Fri 28-Jun-13 19:29:00

Yep I second going!
You really need to go to be in those photos and I would especially get in the group photo of ALL of you with you dead centre holding onto ds so that would be a brilliant permanent reminder for them where they can't edit you out haha
Go on just to do that
Why would they be taking ds to a meal ? You take him then tell them that he will be available for another meal/whatever at so and so time
Try and be a bit more pro active

Jan49 Fri 28-Jun-13 20:06:24

Thank you ladies. Sadly I'm not near the places you mention. CMot, you might be particularly useful to me if you were an axe murderer.wink

They'll be travelling long distances to come and staying in hotels for a weekend so I'm sure they'll expect him to spend time with them straight afterwards and the event ends at lunchtime. All hell would break lose if I suggested he should go out for a meal with me instead and see them later.hmm

ImperialBlether Mon 01-Jul-13 07:10:12

Are you in Liverpool? I can come if you are

ThisKnifeitDoesNotCutDeepEnoug Mon 01-Jul-13 07:15:45

Just echoing that you must go for your son, and for you to celebrate what he has achieved and dint let them get to you! Does your ds have any friends from home who would also be interested in going?

SweetHoneyBeeeeee Mon 01-Jul-13 07:47:39

You need to suck it up and go. My mum missed my graduation because she had fallen out with my dsis and I had refused to stop speaking to her. I have also had loads of grief recently off various family members as someone else posted a pic of a large group including me and my dad on Facebook and apparently this is a public humiliation of my mother. This, along with A LOT of other (more serious) issues means I have no contact with my mum...but do not underestimate how important these things can be.

It's not your son's fault your exh is an arse (not yours either!), but you need to suck it up and go.

Jan49 Mon 01-Jul-13 17:23:27

Thanks for the advice. I've no idea what I'm going to do. The fence edges are digging in my rear.blush I'm not near any of the places mentioned but thank you for the offers!smile The trouble is partly that we're miles from everyone including my son's friends so it's asking someone to take on quite a long expensive trip. There's a few people who would come if it wasn't so far.

ajandjjmum Mon 01-Jul-13 18:06:51

Where are you Jan? There are bound to be MNers around.

ImperialBlether Mon 01-Jul-13 19:09:49

What you could do is take matters into your own hands. You could suggest (well in advance) that they go off together and have lunch "as he hasn't seen you for a while..." and say that you will give him a celebratory dinner in the evening. When it comes to the ceremony, I think you'll have to just grit your teeth. It's a horrible situation, I know, but the alternative is that you don't go.

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