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WWYD ? In laws/step mother

(13 Posts)
OnEdge Tue 30-Aug-11 01:27:31

I will try and keep it short.

FIL had an affair when DH was 18. He left the family home, breaking DH's Mum's heart. DH looked after her and his younger sister. A year later his Dad returned. My DH went travelling for a year to get away from it all, he found it difficult to welcome his Dad back with open arms. 4 years later his Mum died of cancer. My DH and his sister loose contact with his Dad. My DH just doesn't want to know about his Dad, has no respect for him, and will never forgive him.

13 years later, I bump into FIL, he has since remarried. I allow him to have access to his grandchildren, and become friends with his new wife.

My husband keeps his distance, but approves of the kids getting to know them.

Now, his new wife knows nothing of her husband's affair whilst he was married to DH's Mum. She can't understand my DH and his sister's behaviour toward their Dad and becomes understandably upset. She keeps trying to sort of force the issue and gets frustrated when my DH won't be all friendly with his Dad. She must just see my DH and SIL as being nasty to their Dad for no reason. He has not told her why they behave like it.

I can't really explain to her what happened before she was married. I think the Dad is making a fool of her because she says things like "He is as good as Gold, he would NEVER have an affair" Its hard not to do a hmm

I feel like my DH is being made to look like a shit, his step Mum is pretty disgusted by him, she thinks he is rude. Her husband will never put her straight, I can't. It is really hard to stand by and watch it all. It seems to me like his Dad is happy allow my DH to be misunderstood. I think its unfair on both DH and his stepmum.

It wasn't short was it grin sorry.

piprabbit Tue 30-Aug-11 01:33:32

Why can't you say something to her next time there seems to be a 'moment'?

You don't have to go into the details of the affair - just that your DH struggles to forgive his Dad for hurting his Mum so badly when he left for a while.

Better still, talk to your DH and agree how you are going to approach this together. If her attitude isn't bothering him and he doesn't want her to know what happened, then you will just have to learn to ignore her comments.

OnEdge Tue 30-Aug-11 01:43:26

Well, thing is, she is lovely, and she would probably be very shaken to learn of her husband having an affair in the past. I know for her it would come as a shock and upset her. If I say FIL hurt DH's Mum very badly she will be shocked and want to know why and all about it. I don't know if I should do it and take on the role of causing so much sort of upset.

I'm really angry with FIL. His affair is still causing hurt 22 years later. He should have explained to his new wife why his children dislike him. I think he ought to sort it out. Trouble is, its all very middle class and nicey nicey. I am crap at confrontation and the thought of doing it makes me cringe.

I suppose I could do as you say and learn to ignore it.

OnEdge Tue 30-Aug-11 01:46:50

I might refer to the affair as though she knows. When she is all shock i could say I thought you knew. She will still be upset though, I know it.

piprabbit Tue 30-Aug-11 01:50:23

What does your DH want to do about telling her?

OnEdge Tue 30-Aug-11 02:13:08

He hasn't said. He isn't bothered how he is perceived by her really. He just does what he has to to make it ok when they come round to see the kids. He will say hello, be polite then he will disappear upstairs until they have gone.
If I talk about it, my DH is quite dismissive and just has a black look about him. I'd say he pretty much hates his Dad, but he loves his children so puts on a front for them. It is really very sad. I don't force the issue because I'm guessing it upsets my DH to talk about it. I can't really discuss it with DH. I wish now that I had never encouraged FIL. I thought it was a good idea at the time for him to have a relationship with his grandchildren. Now it just brings hassle into the home on Wednesday afternoons when they come round.

BumptiousandBustly Tue 30-Aug-11 07:57:05

Can you not say something like: "I am very keen for you both to continue seeing the children, but the situation between DH and his father is complex and has developed over a long time and is not for either of you (i.e. you or her (just to soften it)) to deal with. However she needs to leave it alone when shes at your house as its DH home and he doesn't need the stress. - "and you can never really understand the situation between two other people can you, especially when its developed over so many years."

i.e. LEAVE DH ALONE

cjbartlett Tue 30-Aug-11 08:02:19

I'm feeling a bit sorry for his dad tbh
He had an affair 22 years
His wife forgave him and let him come back
But his children won't and you want to ruin his current marriage
Does he have to pay for the rest of his life?

cjbartlett Tue 30-Aug-11 08:03:05

Sorry 22 years ago

MmeLindor. Tue 30-Aug-11 08:09:20

Sorry, I agree with CJ.

I understand that your DH was upset with his father, but he does not know what happened between his parents all those years ago. His mother forgave her husband and took him back.

At some point, he has to put the past behind him and concentrate on his family, his DC and their relationship with their grandfather. What kind of an example is he setting to his children, that if you make a mistake, you will never be forgiven?

Step-mum needs to butt out. I liked what Bumptious said.

squeakytoy Tue 30-Aug-11 08:25:19

I think both the men involved in this need to do some growing up.

The father needs to be honest with his wife. Secrets like this (which are hardly a secret if everyone but the wife knows) have a habit of coming out.. and it will blow up eventually. I feel sorry for the woman, knowing that something is wrong, but nobody will tell her what. She must feel very much an outsider to be treated like this, and when she does find out, will feel like a fool.

The son needs to move on, and accept that parents are not perfect, and he should be mature enough now to realise that relationships have breakdowns. The children in this deserve to have a grandad in their lives, he has done nothing to hurt them.

oldwomaninashoe Tue 30-Aug-11 08:38:26

Squeakytoy, is completely right, no-one knows the circumstances (apart from your FIL) of the marriage breakdown and affair.

However it sounds like your DH and your SIL, sound like rather than dislike for their father they have developed indifference toward him. That can never be repaired, I am afraid you will have to go with the flow, I too think that the story will come out eventually but it is not your story to tell!

OnEdge Tue 30-Aug-11 20:26:52

Thanks for the replies.

CJ I don't know what makes you think I want to ruin a marriage, that is exactly what I DON"T want to do. Did you read what I wrote ??

I think I will just go with the flow.

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