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AIBU to feel so hurt?

(130 Posts)
Lincolnfield Tue 10-Sep-19 15:38:44

My son has been with his partner for about fifteen years and I honestly don't know what, if anything, I've said or done wrong to her. She is a high flyer in her profession and, at the beginning of this year, she was appointed to an incredibly senior post. I was truthfully very pleased for her and very proud as well. Like my son, she comes from a working class background and has had to really graft to get to where she is.

I sent her a congratulations card and bought a silver paperweight for her which I had engraved with the date and her new post. Then, a couple of weeks later when she came over with my son I said to her how proud I was of her. Her reply was, 'Oh, I've had enough arse licking about it.' I was NOT arse licking! I was simply expressing acknowledgement of her achievements.

There was a big event in London for her appointment and her father, his girlfriend and her brother attended (her parents are divorced and the whole relationship in her family is a bit strange) and my husband and I were invited, which was nice. She paid everything for her father, his girlfriend and brother - their rail travel, hotel, meals in London. I was a bit apalled that they were so ready to accept it without even offering to pay for a meal for her and my son. In fairness, she offered to pay for us but I absolutely refused. I am quite proud and I paid for us. I told my son I wasn't going to scrounge off them even though they're a lot better off than us. It's just not my way.

My husband and I very rarely visit them because we don't want to intrude in their lives at all and to be honest, I always feel that she really doesn't want to spend any time with me. About once a month my job takes me to the same city where my son works. If he's free he will meet me for lunch and it's lovely to have an hour with him and a bit of a catch up. A couple of months ago, I happened to be working on a Saturday so son and partner both met me and she was absolutely fine, chatting etc. and it was lovely to be with them both. It almost feels schizophrenic.

They're both forty this year, son in two weeks and his partner in November. She did phone and say it would be nice to go out for dinner with us and the rest of our family - I have two stepsons as well as my son and we have five grandchildren. She has been vegetarian for years but this year has decided to be vegan so I searched everywhere to find a nice restaurant with a vegan menu. I sent her a copy of a menu from a lovely country pub that we have visited before and she replied to say there was nothing on the menu that she would eat.

I did loads of research to find an alternative place and when they came over a few weeks ago I showed her both menus on the internet. 'I don't mind at all,' she said, ' as long as they do vegan I'll be fine.'

They don't have any children but they had a lovely little rescue dog which they both doted on. Sadly, she had to be put to sleep a few months ago because she was very old and poorly and naturally they were both gutted. I completely understand how they feel because all my adult life I've had dogs. They are a big part of mine and my husband's lives and for the last thirty odd years we've always had three retrievers at a time - flat coats and goldens. My current golden is fourteen and getting very creaky. They came over a few weeks ago and I commented on my old dog. She snapped at me and said 'my dog didn't have the chance to get to that age.' Actually she doesn't really know how old their dog was because being a rescue, there was a lot of uncertainty about how old she actually was - and why does it matter? If my dog is older, then am I supposed to feel bad about it?

I've tried so hard to be friendly with her for my son's sake as much as anything, but if I text her for any reason at all she never replies. I texted her this week asking for some advice on a professional matter and she didn't reply which frankly, I thought was just rude. I very rarely phone her but if I do she always ignores my calls and I can tell she has hit the ignore button on her phone because it rings out and then stops.

I also lost one of my dogs at the end of last year but my boy was only five years old. He died in a freak accident when a tennis ball was wedged in his throat and it killed him. Seriously, it was the most traumatic experiences I've ever had. I was out on my own with my dogs and I couldn't save him. He died at my feet. One of the vet nurses at our vets sent me a lovely little card with some sweet words in. I came across her card this week in my drawer and, thinking son's partner would like it, I put the same words on her facebook page explaning who had sent it to me.

My son rang me this morning to tell me off and said I'd really upset her and I shouldn't have posted on her facebook page. He said, 'after all, it's still raw.' I'm sure it is but I thought the words would be a bit of comfort.

I love my son very much. We have always had a close and easy relationship. His dad died many years ago and I was on my own with him until he was four and I met my husband who is his stepfather and thankfully he has brought him up as his own. I don't say anything about the way his partner acts towards me because I always take the view that as long as they have a good relationship then it doesn't really matter if she doesn't like me but I can't help feeling hurt.

It's so weird. When she's there in my company with my son she is pretty okay except for her odd barbed comment - aka the one about arse licking - but when I do something in all innocence, like my comment on her facebook page I'm in trouble and the rest of the time she blanks me.

I just feel as though I'm walking on eggshells all the time with her and everything I do or say is wrong.

formerbabe Tue 10-Sep-19 15:49:57

and it was lovely to be with them both. It almost feels schizophrenic


Digitalash Tue 10-Sep-19 15:57:46

It sounds a bit 6 of 1 half a dozen of the other. I don't think it sounds like she is being rude, she is nice to you when you see her and tbh I'm terrible with the phone, I see people have text and constantly think I'll reply in a minute and before I know it 3 days have passed.

The dog thing, while it came with good intentions my dog died in april and I would have been upset to be hit out of the blue with a reminder of it too.

You could talk to your son and make sure you aren't doing anything to upset her but it sounds like she's just a busy woman and doesn't mean to intentionally upset you.

Lincolnfield Tue 10-Sep-19 15:57:58

What I mean by that is that from time to time when she's with me, she is so lovely to be with and I start to think it's me who's bonkers. Then, she continues her usual pattern of ignoring me. It feels like schizophrenic behaviour.

WhatsMyPassword Tue 10-Sep-19 16:00:06

All that because of the vets card?

Christ on a bike.

Twinkles72 Tue 10-Sep-19 16:05:26

I'm so sorry I don't have any advice, but just wanted to compliment you on your nice writing!! This was a really well written post. Random comment, I know smile

Aquamarine1029 Tue 10-Sep-19 16:05:53

Personally, I would leave her completely alone. No texts, no calls. Of course, you need to be pleasant/cordial when in her company, but aside from that just communicate with your son.

Doyoumind Tue 10-Sep-19 16:07:53

She doesn't particularly like you. She makes a vague effort for the sake of your DS but doesn't want any interaction with you that doesn't involve him. Sorry to be blunt but that's clearly the case. Don't push for more of a relationship with her than she wants because it will only make matters worse.

Shoxfordian Tue 10-Sep-19 16:08:56

Doesn't sound like she dislikes you, just doesn't want to be best friends. Understandable really.

Stop texting her or messaging her and just concentrate on your son when you see him

onanothertrain Tue 10-Sep-19 16:08:57

This all seems quite intense, I'd be backing away too. I just don't think she wants the same type of relationship as you do but is trying to make an effort.

GiveMeHope103 Tue 10-Sep-19 16:10:56

You come across very nice but something so fake about it. Sorry op, that's just how it reads to me.

I told my son I wasn't going to scrounge off them even though they're a lot better off than us. It's just not my way.

Well if you are saying things like this then I dont blame her. Like this comment, you come across as if you are doing something nice but in a very snide, passive aggressive way.

WhatsMyPassword Tue 10-Sep-19 16:12:41

She paid everything for her father, his girlfriend and brother - their rail travel, hotel, meals in London. I was a bit apalled that they were so ready to accept it without even offering to pay for a meal for her and my son. In fairness, she offered to pay for us but I absolutely refused. I am quite proud and I paid for us. I told my son I wasn't going to scrounge off them even though they're a lot better off than us. It's just not my way.

This bit stuck out to me. I wouldn’t like you much either. I actually think it's beyond rude to refuse her hospitality, make a whole song and dance about paying your own way, then calling her family scroungers by implication. Your son must be so embarrassed.

TBH, her relationship with her family is none of your business and just because you didn’t wish to accept her hospitality; it doesn’t mean no one else should.

Lobsterquadrille2 Tue 10-Sep-19 16:13:30

OP, maybe stop making such an effort to be nice? She just has a busy life and doesn't want to be best friends. I'd be hurt if anyone posted a comment on Facebook regarding the death of a pet, no matter what the context. It invites a flood of "so sorry to hear that" follow up posts. As for paying for her family - you said that she comes from a working class family and this may give her great pleasure.

WindsorDuchess Tue 10-Sep-19 16:15:18

I agree with aquamarine1029.

I was in a similar relationship with my MIL and i'm happier now I've accepted the relationship we do have rather than always hoping for a more positive / close relationship with her, which I would prefer.

I don't write as eloquently as you so I hope I've made sense.

Funghi Tue 10-Sep-19 16:17:17

Sorry about your dog, that does sound incredibly traumatic.

She sounds like she enjoys being an at arms length kind of person so just allow her to be it. Keep your healthy relationship with your son, include her and ask after her but maybe don’t contact her directly.

moobar Tue 10-Sep-19 16:18:11

Oh sounds difficult OP.

Just different people I think, doesn't sound like its you or that she doesn't like you.

You say she has a strange family setup and mention her dad and his partner but not her mum, does she have a difficult relationship with her which may mean she keeps you at arms length?

The arse licking comment, could just be her humour. I'm not very good at being complemented, would move it on quickly.

I do wonder about the celebration. Whilst I appreciate the sentiment behind your refusal that may have been perceived as a snub by you. She wanted to treat you all, you refused, bit like saying no to a gift.

The Facebook thing I would have been the same. I don't know what she like on Facebook but I'm on it to see what is going on and that's it really. My sister put a big happy birthday post and I made her take it down. She perhaps doesn't want work colleagues or others knowing about dog, bringing it up. A card to her personally may have been better.

It's difficult when it's just a snap shot. The menu thing for example, if I was busy at work, saw an email for a pub, I might have mistakenly glanced at usual menu. Then when you spoke to her on off time and she as thinking properly about it she did say she would eat anything.

So could just be crossed wires there.

Some families are closer than others. My uncles wife was a high flying professional. I know my grandmother found that relationship hard. It muddled along over the years and my aunt was genuinely upset at her funeral. She meant much more to her than my grandmother ever would have realised. Just very different people.

audreylivesagain Tue 10-Sep-19 16:18:57

Take a step back from trying to have a relationship with your DIL and just speak to your son. If your in the company of your DIL act normal but I wouldn't try and push for anything more. I wouldn't even like or comment on anything on social media either.

AnneLovesGilbert Tue 10-Sep-19 16:18:58

Stop contacting her, she’s made it clear she’s fine being civil when she sees you with your son but doesn’t want her own relationship with you, which is fine. You don’t have a close relationship so asking for work advice and posting about her dead dog could be seen as intrusive.

While she was rude about your gift and congratulations on her new job, your reaction to her kind offer to host and pay for the celebration could be seen as a very rude rejection of her attempt at generosity.

You need to accept things the way they are. Stop trying to create something she doesn’t want and focus on your relationship with your son.

Drum2018 Tue 10-Sep-19 16:19:01

Just speak to her when you see her. There's no need to be texting or calling her. She obviously doesn't want you to. Maintain your relationship with your son and just be polite when you're in her company as long as she is being polite to you. Outside of that her relationship is with your son and, while it's not ideal, she really doesn't have to form a relationship with the rest of his family.

harriethoyle Tue 10-Sep-19 16:19:22

I think your scrounging comment was REALLY rude. Definitely sounded like a dig at her family even if you didn't mean it to be...

64sNewName Tue 10-Sep-19 16:21:07

Sorry but how is that paragraph about her paying for her family, and offering to pay for you too, relevant to your point? confused

It sounds a bit like you don’t have a real sense of how her life works or how you fit into it, so you kind of just aren’t connecting. And it sounds like your expectations of the relationship don’t match.

I don’t think she’s being particularly horrid to you, tbh. But you seem to be saving up minor examples of inconsistency (the menus - meh, so what?) or what you imagine to be personal slights (not answering your calls - totally normal for a busy working woman) in order to support the idea that she’s difficult.

HugoSpritz Tue 10-Sep-19 16:21:33

You refused her hospitality and then think she is the rude one!! It was her celebration and they wanted to treat everyone and you literally threw it back in her face!

As regards the facebook post just don't. Not everyone wants sentimental stuff out there for all to see.

SoupDragon Tue 10-Sep-19 16:22:19

I think this could look very different from her side (and I don't mean that you've done anything wrong, just that you do things differently!)

Playing devil's advocate...
The silver paperweight could have been seen as over the top.
You refused her "hospitality" for the promotion event.
You rarely go and visit and, in fact, seem to prefer to see just your son.
I'm guessing the first menu had no vegan options so might have come across badly
The dog/Facebook thing could well have upset her, no matter how well meaning.

I'm not sure what the solution is though (or if there needs to be one!).

Have you asked your son?

bridgetreilly Tue 10-Sep-19 16:23:22

You sound a bit bonkers and very needy to me, sorry. If she's hosting a celebration, you accept. It's like offering to pay for your meal at someone else's wedding. And the dog thing is just weird - it was your dog that died, it was traumatic for you - why do you need to pass on the comforting messages to her?

She has a busy life, it sounds like a stressful job, and she doesn't always have time for you. But it sounds as though she's perfectly comfortable being with you when she's relaxed. Things are fine like that.

Aquamarine1029 Tue 10-Sep-19 16:23:48

I think you might have really offended her when you refused to let them pay for your travel to the celebration. I fear she might be thinking, "Well, I tried to do something nice, but no, so why bother?"

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