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To feel disappointed about my adult son’s relationship history?

(99 Posts)
Rosey60 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:18:21

I don’t want to come across as being ungrateful or the dreaded MIL from hell but I have been feeling increasingly sad about the lack of relationships that I now have in my life now my sons have grown up. I have no RL support about from my DH and a few colleagues that I go to lunch with sometimes. I am nearly retired and thought I would be spending my retirement with my family around me, DS’s, DIL’s and DGC, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out like that and I feel I am losing my family if anything.

Two DS’s are in their early 40’s. DS1 was married at 30 to a lovely girl and they had it all, nice house, good jobs and a precious little boy who is now 9. We were beyond gutted when DS just upped and left his wife after only 5 years for an OW he met at work. It totally broke us all as a family. DS1 and his exw had a long bitter divorce and he now has limited access to his DS. Me and exDIL tried to remain friendly but when she made me choose between her and my new DIL I felt pressured and chose new DIL and she has since cut me out of her life and DGS. I now only get to see him when she lets DS1 see him, which is sporadic. After spending a vast amount of money on solicitors and court fees I now feel my DS1 has given up fighting for his son and is just grateful for any time he gets with him.

I regret choosing my new DIL over my old DIL and I know that sounds bad  . DS! Has been married to OW for five years now and I still can’t get to know her. She is aloof and seemingly rude. Me and my DH have only met her six times in 5 years, one of which being their wedding. They only live a 15 minute drive away. I don’t get invited to their house and she never visits when DS1 visits, which is dwindling.

DS2 and his gf got pregnant young (21). Although we were disappointed we were excited about being grandparents and supported them. Even though they never married I treated DS2’s gf as a DIL and we were close. Sadly their relationship ended when DGD was about 4 but they remained very good friends and excellent parents to our treasured granddaughter who is now 19. I always thought / hoped that DS2 and his ex would get back together, they got on so well and neither of them have really had a serious relationship since. I remained close to his ex as DS2 had 50/50 childcare so was an active part of their lives. She would come to family events etc still. However, now things have changed. DGD is off at uni and we hardly see her. I think DS2 and his ex are finding their feet now they don’t have their dd around. DS2’s ex has got a new job so we never see her, and DS2 has started dating! I feel sad as I really thought they would end up back together.

I don’t know what I can do to bring my family back together.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Fri 09-Sep-16 15:22:36

YANBU to be sad but the truth is you can't "bring your family back together". You just have to concentrate on you and your life and not expect to live through your sons.

I mean that in the nicest possible way.

GeneralBobbit Fri 09-Sep-16 15:25:27

You've put all your eggs in one basket

Go hunting for new eggs. Join shit, clubs, walking groups, the WI.

You can't make a Walton-esque family out of your lot but you can make some lovely friends and build a life. flowersflowers

Freedom2016 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:25:54

Sometimes our real life family doesn't work out how we picture it. My mum is very friendly with a couple of yound families near her and all the kids call her nanny. If me and my sibling and our families were nearer, things may be different, but we aren't. I think my volunteering or trying to become involved in your community might be an idea rather than dwelling on how thingsight have been.

Rosey60 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:32:07

I guess i did put all my eggs into my boys and their families, I supported them all and now i feel like they have all abandoned me and it hurts.

user1471517900 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:41:15

No offence but it seems that you'd rather your sons remain in relationships they're not happy in, just so you can have some friends. It's not your sons job to give you people to hang out with. A nice bonus perhaps, but this isn't the reason to have children!

Rosey60 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:44:37

Its not that I want friends to hang out with, i've never really had close friends, only colleagues or ladies i'd chat to at the gym / school gates etc.

I miss my sons and I miss my DIL's and my grandchildren so badly. I don;t see any of them anymore. I feel like they have all abandoned me.

ShotsFired Fri 09-Sep-16 15:45:35

Oh Rosey, I do feel your sadness coming though in your posts.

But you must know, as a rational intelligent woman, that you bring your children up in order that they can fly the nest and be independent adults who will form families of their own? It's the whole point (so I am told).

So now you have to dry your eyes and accept that this is what it is, and only you can find more eggs for your basket, as a pp says.

Also as Freedom2016 says, Sometimes our real life family doesn't work out how we picture it.

My partner's mum is very odd like this. She seems to think she is some kindly Ma Larkin type, and fabricates these homely scenes in her head of her in a rocking chair with all her children adoringly at her feet. When in fact some of them are NC, one is an absolute bitch and even my partner has as little to do with her as possible. I'm not suggesting this is you - just agreeing with the comment that we can't force our wishes into reality.

GeneralBobbit Fri 09-Sep-16 15:46:23

Have you thought about apologising to your DIL and trying to build more of a relationship with your grandson?

Your grand daughters at uni. Maybe offer to visit and take her out for tea on a day convenient to her?

badtime Fri 09-Sep-16 15:48:53

They haven't abandoned you, they have other things in their lives.

You should get some other things in your life. Sitting around waiting for other people to decide to see you so you have something to do isn't healthy.

AnnaMarlowe Fri 09-Sep-16 15:49:06

I'm sorry you are feeling lonely. Retirement is an excellent time to build some new relationships through volunteering, clubs etc.

The problem is even if your son's relationships had remained stable and they had both had mutiple children that wouldn't necessarily have filled your gap.

Children grow up and go away to colleague or for work - that's normal.

Even if you had small grandchildren you wouldn't necessarily see them
more than once a week or not even that if they moved away for work.

You can't expect your DILs to be your social structure, they have their own friends, jobs, lives to see to.

You need to get out their and take responsibility for your own happiness I'm afraid.

Best wishes flowers

Jackie0 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:49:27

It's sad though isn't it?
I think growing up we all imagine what kind of parents we will be and what kind of grandparents .
I don't know anyone who has that lovely perfect set up.
So many families experience marriage breakdown, illness , bereavement or don't get on for whatever reason .
There appears to be an epidemic of children with additional needs and women my age struggling to care for elderly parents.
I think all any of us can do is count our blessings even if they aren't what we thought they would be .
I never imagined we would be unable to have children but I'm grateful every single day for the relationship I have with my husband . It's just recognising the good in life and making the decision o live well. It took time for me to learn this however.
You will be okay.

wannabestressfree Fri 09-Sep-16 15:49:45

I agree with General. I have good relationships with my ex mother in laws but they took time to build and I understand that they feel conflicted where their sons are concerned (we just don't discuss them). Maybe a note through the door- something sort and sweet and no mention of OW.

SandyY2K Fri 09-Sep-16 15:55:12

This reminded me of a recent thread regarding grandparents being closer to their daughter's children.

It's sad that you don't see your DGS. Your Ex DIL shouldn't have made you choose, but I imagine it felt like a betrayal to her.

Although infidelity shouldn't mean he doesn't get to see his son surely? I mean if he's paying CS, why can't he see his son.

Some things are just out of your control and I don't think it's a case of you BU, but they've choosen that way of life for themselves.

randomer Fri 09-Sep-16 15:56:38

aw its sad. I wonder if you could be depressed? sorry if thats harsh

Rosey60 Fri 09-Sep-16 15:56:40

I have tried over the years to re-connect with my ex DIL but my DS1 tells me I am making things worse. at one point she was letting me see Dgs but not him and I fear she was using me for free childcare in the holidays as she went funny again when the summer holidays ended. I would turn a blind eye to this on order to have her as my DIL again and to see more of dgs, but I know my DS1 would be upset with me for interfering and has previously accused me of taking sides with his ex. She has been awful to him with regards to contact and i admit in the early days I did not support his new relationship. I was disappointed when my exDIL made me choose between her and new DIL. I feel bridges have been burnt with both now.

General bobbit - I have been to visit dgd once since she was at uni but I think it was exam time and she seemed pre-occupied. She comes home once every few months and will pop in, but thats about it. She was round here all the time growing up.

I miss children round the house. And i miss family dinners and bbq's and catching up with what everyone is up to at work etc. I literally have none of that now.

user1471517900 Fri 09-Sep-16 16:02:24

You should probably stop referring to your DIL as the OW then. You also say that after "only" 5 years he met someone else, but that's a fairly long time and more than enough to decide how happy relationship is. Also if he's still with his new partner 5 years on, it sounds like he made the right decision for his happiness, which he's right to do (even if the means were not good).

Rosey60 Fri 09-Sep-16 16:06:40

I still work 4 days a week so that keeps me busy, but I find the weekends lonely. It seems my peers are always babysitting and have their children round. I literally never seem to see any of my so called family now.

Yes, my DS1 does pay child support, way over the odds I’m told. Each time his exw breaks the court order it costs him a fortune to take her back to court. it seems she pulls all the strings. Over the years he has got tired of it and the stress of it has made him ill. I think he has just given up now and won’t fight anymore. I was so close to my DIL and looked after dgs one day a week when she went back to work. If I was to re-connect with my exDIL then I’m not sure how she would feel about my current DIL, even though I have no real relationship with her. I also worry that if I did re-connect with exDIL then this would finish off my relationship with DS1 and his wife, which are relationships I would ideally like to be nurturing and improving!

Chottie Fri 09-Sep-16 16:07:11

OP - sometimes life doesn't turn out as you hope it would.

Very few people have the picket fence /rocking chair on the porch / cluster of DGC around them type of life.

In your place I would definitely try to broaden my horizons, volunteer, join an interest group, enrol on an evening class for example. I would also keep in touch with DiL1 and DGC, but in a very informal and undemanding way.

Rosey60 Fri 09-Sep-16 16:12:36

I guess I still see DS1 wife as the OW. I feel like she broke up my happy family. I know my DS is as much to blame (OW was married too) but the damage that has been caused our side is far worse than the damage that was caused her side. The fact that we haven’t been given the chance to get to know her has made it hard to get away from this viewpoint. The fact is I now see less of my DS and my DGS because of her.

I’m sure she is a nice girl, my DS seems very happy with her, but I can’t get to know her.

DS1 has also accused me of being depressed and even suggested I should try counselling.

GooseFriend Fri 09-Sep-16 16:13:11

Ah op I can see you're sad, but you've lumped together a set of things which are different.

Dgd 19 is at uni. She's no longer a child not local. We all get swallowed by uni at first but you will have to adapt to seeing her holidays only pretty much. And once she's working she'll have less holiday still. This isn't abandonment it's a child becoming an adult.

Ds2 - how much do you contact him and invite him round? If you don't ask if he wants to come for weekly/fortnightly/etc dinner then...well he's not going to.

2 exDIL you need to move on.

DS1 - the more you bang on about exDIL or unfriendly new DIL the more you'll split from him.

You need to be the architect of what you want. If you're sat at home never reaching out how are they meant to know you want them? They might be thinking 'oh mum never rings or comes round now we don't have the kids'. This is just as much your responsibility as theirs.

Don't become a martyr.

WannaBe Fri 09-Sep-16 16:13:39

The reality here is that when we bring up children we do so in order that they will one day leave and form their own independent lives.

My ex mil had the right idea IMO, she always said that it was lovely to see everyone, but that she would never expect people to pander to her wish to see them, I.e. She never understood these people who insisted that the children must go home for Christmas etc.

You need to make your own life now. Find a group, join a club, start making independent friends/acquaintances, and factor your relationships with your children in around that.

I don't know many students who would really want a visit from granny at uni TBH. It's not personal, it's just that they're building their own lives at that age.

You need to stop thinking of it as being abandoned and start thinking of it as them going into the world to find their own place. Talk of abandonment etc would make me far les inclined to keep visiting....

CheckpointCharlie2 Fri 09-Sep-16 16:19:49

I'm really sorry that you feel hurt but you sound very needy and I would feel a bit smothered by you I think if I was a dil.

Yours sons are living their own lives and you can't be so invested in them. There are hints of disapproval in your post, being disappointed that your ds2 was young and not married, and saying your dil is rude, I can imagine you being quite expectant of what how your relationship with her should be and how your sons should behave towards you.

Also I am sure you dgd loves you from afar but again she is embarking on her own life and has moved on from her childhood.

I am genuinely sorry you feel sad and am not trying to make you feel worse but really you need to pick yourself up and create your own life now, think about how well you have done as a mother to create such independent children and find some interests for yourself.

Rosey60 Fri 09-Sep-16 16:19:58

DS2 will pop in and see us every few weeks for a cup of tea. He works shifts so not always around at weekends / evenings etc. He was round here all the time when his dd was young. Now he spends his spare time with friends, or at the gym and meeting women. He was never really interested after he broke up with his dd mum. I believed she was the only woman he loved and thought they would get back together one day. He has spent the past 15 years being the best dad he could and now wants some fun apparently. I cringe a bit at the thought of him dating at 41. He even had a gf for a few months a while ago. We met her a few times and she seemed nice. She had an 8 year old son and we got our hopes up that we would finally get a family around the place again, but then he split with her as it wasn’t what he wanted. We were quite upset. It seems like he is acting like he is 19 again.

user1471517900 Fri 09-Sep-16 16:22:02

And why not. It's his life to lead. Why not have some fun? 19 can be a fun age to relive!

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