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Strained relationship with son - desperate

(28 Posts)
Nip1958 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:14:47

This evening my son is visiting me at home - my husband is away. I'm not sure how to handle the visit. I feel ashamed that it has got to this sorry situation. My son met his wife who he had know at school. He had only one other short relationship and spent most of his time playing computer games or buying cars. Not unusual - he did need a boot up the bum to get suitable work but we did what we could and bailed him out financially until he got a good job. His girlfriend had been married before and has 2 lovely little girls - she is quite moody though and bossy. Before my son never spent a lot of time with us or his brother often out or online with his mates - when he suddenly started turning up with girlfriend we were expected to stop and 'entertain' all a bit foreign to us with him! It became more regular, and as my husband worked away all week we would often plan to do stuff together but this would be curtailed by sudden visits. Which did get annoying as girlfriend would play on her phone, and we would play with the children. I decided that if I had plans I would carry on with them - this was seen as offensive by girlfriend. I had asked if they could phone before they came, but this was never done. My son sold his house which we had provided the deposit and moved in with girlfriend, we were invited to a birthday party of one of the girls but were not included in the conversation about weddings - so we chatted to grandparents and children - we paid a deposit on wedding venue as they asked for money. A few months later we had a call to visit them with her parents. I had a bad feeling about it and made an excuse, but my husband went. He was met with a torrent of abuse saying we don't respect said daughter. This really upset us lots of stuff was said none pleasant wedding was cancelled. Then out of the blue they said they were getting married my son came to tell us where and when - we were unsure about going to which son took as a no - next day we said we would go to the service but not reception as that would be awkward. But he had told girlfriend we weren't going - when he said we were she was very cross - so we didn't go.
Then we hear second hand that they are expecting a baby in 3 months time - our first grandchild. I haven't seen my son for over 6 months even though he lives in the same county - we have to prise the news from him- he rarely responds to txts and we mustn't phone him as now wife gets upset. Now baby is born - its been a month, and we still haven't seen him. We have gifts and friends keep asking us, but I have no news just one small photo sent to my phone.
There are two versions of this story of course, but this is how I see things. I am struggling with the pain of being left out of my sons life, my husband would love to see his grandson, but nothing seems to improve. We suggested family counselling, but this went down like a lead balloon. If I talk to my friends they offer so much sympathy and are so sorry for me it just doesn't feel constructive.
Any advice from people who have dealt with a similar situation would be so much appreciated.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Feb-14 13:35:21

Your son sounds very immature and rather easily led unfortunately. If his partner has decided they don't like you and he's not got much backbone then you'll get nowhere. Whether you try to keep contact going or whether you leave them be you'll be in the wrong either way. I'd suggest therefore you do whatever makes you happy. The odd phone-call or a text perhaps.

Jan45 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:37:01

I'm sure your son's wife has a completely different perspective of what went wrong than what you have, not to say she is right and you are wrong, sounds like there may be faults on both sides tbh.

If you really want a relationship with your son, then eat humble pie, write he a letter say you are sorry for what's went wrong, don't accept blame but do it in a way that it opens up the lines of communication, i.e., what has happened has can we move on and look to the future, emphasise your real desire to get to know your grandchild etc and to build bridge with this woman, she clearly isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

She might be moody and bossy for very good reason, perhaps you took too much of her behaviour as a personal insult to yourself when it possibly wasn't.

Obviously from their point of view they don't think you are respecting their daughter and either does she, she's not going to budge on this and if you want contact with your son and grandchild you'll need to swallow that pride and do what you have to do in order to make yourself happy iykwim.

DarlingGrace Tue 18-Feb-14 13:40:02

Does it all hinge on this:

A few months later we had a call to visit them with her parents. I had a bad feeling about it and made an excuse, but my husband went. He was met with a torrent of abuse saying we don't respect said daughter

I'm also guessing English isn't your first language - are there also cultural dynamics at force here?

For whatever reason his wife feels you have ostracised her. I'm getting the vibe that somehow you don't think she's good enough for your son? Do you view your son as a bit of a catch and she's a bit shop soiled?

You had the opportunity to mend bridges with the wedding. I really cannot conceive how you think not going to the wedding was going to help matters. You have publically expressed you disapproval of the relationship.

You need to bend over backwards to repair the relationship. She knows you don't like or approve of her.

diddl Tue 18-Feb-14 13:42:44

WEll it reads to me as if you never really had a relationship with him tbh.

If anything, you saw more of him when his wife came on the scene!

When he told you he was getting married you were unsure about going??

There seems to be quite a lot of miscommunication.

Tell him that you want to see them all & that you do like/respect his wife.

It's a two way street though & visits should be when convenient to everyone.

Mishmashfamily Tue 18-Feb-14 13:46:19

The invite to the wedding was an olive branch.

If it was me, I would have accepted to both the ceremony and reception. Would have put my best smile on and tried to enjoy the day. Wild horses would not drag me away from my dds weddings.

You choosing not to go to both would have been as a snub that your ds own mother wouldn't be celebrating with them.

I think your ds and his wife will have a very different story to this. If you want your son and gran kids in your life, change .

VeryStressedMum Tue 18-Feb-14 13:54:22

The ops English seems fine. I agree though that you may need to eat humble pie for things you don't feel you've even done. However you may need to accept that things as you see them are perceived totally differently by others.
just wondering did you invite them round ever or did they always turn up to visit"
You hesitating over going to the wedding for whatever reason could have made them think you weren't interested in going do you think?

but ultimately if you want to see your grandson and your son you'll have to bite the bullet and make contact.

VeryStressedMum Tue 18-Feb-14 13:56:35

Sorry forgot your son is coming to visit...personally I'd see what he had to say then respond. But you'll have to decide if you want to be right or actually have a relationship with them.
good luck.

Blossomflowers Tue 18-Feb-14 14:01:11

I am sorry OP I think you sound rather precious.

diddl Tue 18-Feb-14 14:09:31

Also, what "plans" did you have that you went ahead with when they turned up?

And did your husband stay or did they have to leave?

Offred Tue 18-Feb-14 14:34:50

I have no idea why you have mentioned all the money you have stupidly given him in this post unless you were expecting it to buy him; either manners, consideration or time?

It is clear anyway that what you have been doing is raising him to feel entitled to have anything he wants from you but expecting him to do things your way. When this has caused conflict there has been a load of childishness and passive aggression on both sides which has made it worse.

I think it probably did come across to the gf and her parents that you had no respect for her because it seems like you are saying your son had his problems but is a good lad and that he has been led astray by her.

I can see why they would want to protect their new family from the drama of parents who want to be in control of their children's lives.

Unsure what she has done to annoy you so much really, sounds like your son is the bigger idiot if all you can think of about her is that she has been a bit moody and bossy and even though it was based on something so small, you let it get so out of hand that you didn't go to their wedding.

Rebecca2014 Tue 18-Feb-14 14:37:44

This is why I am glad I do not have a son.

Blossomflowers Tue 18-Feb-14 15:36:36

What a silly thing to say rebecca I have 2 sons who like all girls give you problems over the years especially teenage. My DS 22 can turn up anytime with the grand kids and his girlfriend who I accept for who she is, and would be happy to see them.

Mishmashfamily Tue 18-Feb-14 15:42:52

Why rebecca ?

diddl Tue 18-Feb-14 15:52:00

OP, you haven't seen him for six months & he didn't eveb tell you that he was going to be a father.

That can't all be down to his wife, can it?

Quitelikely Tue 18-Feb-14 16:04:11

Hi

What is clear is that you are upset and you do not want this situation to continue. Sometimes there are no rights or wrongs in situations. Some parents like to be given advance warning of visits, some don't actually mind. No one is in the wrong. I am wondering if you and your husband turned them away or kicked them out due to yous having 'plans' now that wouldn't have been nice, there are ways and means of how to do these things.

If you want to make amends here, write a letter to both your son and his wife, explaining that you are sorry for upsetting them and explain that you would like to be part of their lives and those of their children. Apologise for not going to the meeting, say it all got too much for you. Holding grudges against them will be a ball around your ankle do try to let go.

Also this poster is allowed to say she gave her son money for a deposit or whatever else. I would be peeved if I helped my child on the ladder, they got of the ladder but kept my cash to use on something else. The op might not give cash for just any old thing but I guess it's a risk she took by not making that clear.

So op please swallow your pride, apologise, apologise and explain your regret at not attending the wedding. Here you really did cut your nose of to spite your face. And I do hate to say that. Good luck

Jan45 Tue 18-Feb-14 16:11:22

Rebecca, silly, silly remark and no I don't have a son.

MadIsTheNewNormal Tue 18-Feb-14 16:22:27

What was it that triggered the meeting and the 'torrent of abuse'? You must have said/done something to really upset her, but you've left that bit out. But you had a 'bad feeling's o you must have known it was coming.

It is clear you don't think she's good enough and that you are concerned that your son is going to be manipulated and maybe taken for a ride financially. Perhaps you are right, perhaps not, but here's the thing - you need to make sure you just fix on a smile and say nothing, let him make his own mistakes. No good can come of voicing these concerns. And besides, you may be wrong.

If she feels inferior to you (for example if you are richer/posher than her own family) and she has a chip on her shoulder about it then you are stuffed I'm afraid. If she has decided you look down on her then nothing will disabuse her of that idea, whether it's true or not, and you can look forward to a lifetime of defensiveness and chippiness from her.

Your son obviously still wants you in his life if he is coming to see you. Is he going to bring the baby with him?

Offred Tue 18-Feb-14 17:04:35

That's really the point though quitelikely. When you give someone a deposit for their house as a gift you don't get to control what they do with the money from the house when they sell it. If it is a gift when you give it it becomes the other person's. Giving money is often done by parents to try and control their adult children's lives and this is unreasonable.

SerenaBracken Tue 18-Feb-14 17:33:38

I too wonder why that bad feeling so as not to attend the meeting with the in laws was.
If my child, I'd have been anticipating their break up, or announcement of a new child. Cant think of any other reason and IMO, they were well out of order.
If that was my daughter having clashes with the in laws, I'd listen and calm and advise if she wished. What I wouldn't do is call a meeting with them. Ridiculous overreaction.

I think OP sounds alright. She butted out when she should, she gave them money and I haven't seen her criticise how it was spent.
Sometimes, treading around our kids is just like on eggshells.

Amazing how many take the money and then turn on the giver. If the girl or her parents feel she is not being respected, pay the money back, the kids stand on their own feet and let OP and her husband go off somewhere nice.

I just hope for the OP's sake, the son isn't returning tonight to ask for cash.

MrsKent Tue 18-Feb-14 17:40:08

So you didn't see him much... Since he met her they visited often... But you did not know how to "entertain" them and kept your "plans"... And you wonder why the relationship is not good???

MadIsTheNewNormal Tue 18-Feb-14 18:51:06

I think it's ok to give a gift of a large amount of money with conditions attached, but you need to outline the conditions (and perhaps even get it agreed in a legal contract) first.

Giving your child money to get a secure start on the property ladder only to find they've remortgaged their house and spent it all on shoes or whatever would be gutting.

And I agree Seren, lots of young people seem to be happy enough to take their parents money but not their advice.

Deb2202 Tue 18-Feb-14 19:38:05

It doesn't sound to me like you have welcomed DIL into your family very warmly.

I've had massive issues with my pil not dissimilar to yours (although they came to the wedding after lots of drama and threats not to which upset us deeply). However we are 5 years further down the line but still think back to those hurtful things in the early days.

We all rub along and make an effort for the kids but it is strained and difficult and visits infrequent.

The only way I can ever see our relationship truly sorting itself out and putting everything behind us is for them to apologise for certain things and have a open discussion and iron things out. Without that there is always an elephant in the room.

My advice to you for what it is worth is that if you want to build bridges and and have a part in their lives you need to try and make an effort and sort things out.

Offred Tue 18-Feb-14 21:05:36

Ok mad, that's fine because the person receiving the gift would be able to make a choice whether they want to take it or not. You can't just give it with no conditions and then feel that gives you the right to interfere in what happens to it forever.

I think if you give a gift to anyone you have to let go of it and if you can't then don't give it because you can't buy people and you don't own them if you give them money. They are entitled to be stupid with the money they've been given once it becomes theirs. The op's son didn't sell the house for shoes, he sold the house to invest in his new family and moved in with his gf and her children.

The whole thing just reeks of a mother who was far too involved in her son's life, who kept him childish and dependent and has taken a dislike to his gf/wife because she doesn't want to lose control over him.

Where she describes the son's irresponsible and childish behaviour she (minimises) says it isn't unusual and he just needed a kick up the bum (from her?) and constant bailing out and funding of him during this period.

The worst she can say about the gf was that she came across a bit moody and bossy and played on her phone. That they both started wanting to visit her and her husband more! It all got massively worse from then on until her parents, the son and the gf herself tried to stage an intervention which didn't work and caused the op to boycott their wedding!

I am not surprised at all that they decided to go NC if that's what has been going on.

Charley50 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:16:47

This post could be read a different way. The OP wasn't used to entertaining DS's girlfriends and then suddenly had them coming over every weekend. She asked them to let them know in advance if they were coming but they just turned up anyway... Could be seen as a little rude. OP and her DH looking forward to spending time together but then often had to sit and look after DS's girlfriend's kids whilst girlfriend played on phone and neither made an effort; left wondering why the frequent visits when not being sociable.
Got a bollocking of son's girlfriends family who they barely know. Felt confused and unwelcome at wedding. Made a little mistake re: accepting wedding invite and now being blanked by DS's controlling girlfriend... That's how I read it. Anyway hope you manage to make amends with them both and can start afresh with your grandchild.

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