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justapapa

Daughter-in-law vs Ex Daughter-in-law

52 posts in this topic

I'm not sure where to start, but here goes. My son divorced his wife of 7 years, about three years ago. They were also companions in college for approx. 3 years. They separated with a mutual feeling of growing in different ways. There are two grandsons involved. Our ex dil has always been great with us and we have continued to be close with her.We see our grandsons when they are with her when ever we want. We will take the three of them out to eat on special occasions and from time to time a movie or the zoo. These outings ocur once or twice every two months. Now my son has remarried and she is a sweetheart that we have known from junior high age, all of my subjects are mid 30's. We took care of our grandsons every weekend while the courting was going on, and well into the first of marriage. So everything is cool between Ex and New they knew each other from awhile back and are cordial with eavh other. Now of course the new dil is first time married and no children, so some time on thier watch ( when they have the boys) is occupied by her parents and brothers grils, becoming family. Now comes the rub, a few months back our ex wanted to take the boys to an amusment park with rides for both boys but not together.So she mentioned this to us indecating that she could take her boy friend but if we were willing she would love to have us. Okay the boy friend wouldn't pick as much of the tab as we would but hey, I'm thinking better us than him. This was a three day trip, and a two month nightmare. My new dil through my son explained how weird this was for my wife and I to interact with the ex and proceded to cold shoulder us as well as have something planned for the family for the next several weeks. My son loves us and I know he was in the middle, and I also know that he must have peace in his home. Okay things finally settle down and we are having a little more interaction, until one of the boys birthday and I take them out to eat. Now I am in the dog house again. My son says that we must respect his wifes feelings. I did not ask exactly what feelings because I don't understand. How can I stop being nice to someone and in the same breath say hey can I have your children for the weekend. My son makes a good deal of money, they live in a new home, She doesn't have to work, a new car and more time with the boys than any of us. I don't understand how she can be upset we love her I have taken them on several vacations, we took care of the children and met them for an extended honymoon at thier request. I thought I was innocent and pure in my ways until i am read the riot act. Am I a terrible grandpa, I have allways been known as being generious to a fault and have treated everyone the same.

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You're not a terrible grandpa. You sound like a wonderful grandpa. And also you sound like the one in this picture who is putting the little boys first. I wish your son could do the same. I'm trying to convince myself it somehow must be better for the boys if he puts his second wife's pettyness and problems dealing with what she deems "weird" above his children.

It's a real shame your son's wife actually wants her husband's children to see their grandpa less. It doesn't cost her a thing. Well it costs her ego I suppose. Sorry but it really steams my peas when adults attempt to dictate other people's relationships. To put it plainly, it's absolutely _none_ of DIL's business what you and your grandsons do when she's not with them.

If she thinks what other people do is "weird", why not just leave them to be weird, and not make it her and everyone else's problem. Yes, the boys have a mother. She knew that when she married your son. DIL has her time with the boys, DIL doesn't want to give her time up to you, and your son's telling you his wife is so insecure that you have to spend less time with his sons during their noncustodial time in order to make his wife happy. That's weird. She fancies herself the puppetmaster who can tell everyone else who they're allowed to see and talk to or not. Honestly, if DIL is that broken and selfish that she'll use her position to deny the stepchildren she supposedly loves some good times and good love when she can't give it to them, well, that's where the term "stepmonster" comes from. That your relationship with another adult has caused unrest in your son's home, I hate to say it but I smell trouble in paradise. Ok, rant over.

Obviously, I am probably not the person to give you a balanced view on this. The smart thing to do is probably to do whatever your son dictates to you. His children, his rules, even when it's exDIL's rule time, blah blah blah. Your son will take his marriage troubles out on you if you don't do as he says, and your relationship with your son will suffer. Which won't help your relationship with his sons. And what's scarier is his busybody dictating wife is apparently capable of taking her overwhelming marital insecurities out even more on the innocent boys if you don't comply with her demands. Like she hasn't taken it out on them enough already.

(But, boy, I admit a little part of me wishes I could think of a way you could sit down with DIL and son and somehow convince them you love them (son and DIL) so much more than you care for ex and only want to show those little boys a good time. How time with grandpa is a stable family force for them when they're with ex, how ex doesn't have the resources to show them the fun you can, how much you value time with the boys, and how much you don't want to take away from time they as parents have with them and their time to bond further with DIL's side of family....its win/win/win .... and so that maybe once in a while if a unique opportunity comes up could you "run it by them first" before having to say automatic no every single time??? Maybe the fuhrer's problem was she heard about fun after the fact and wasn't asked to grant her permission for other people's fun first? And while a part of me thinks a little try might not hurt, something's else is telling me that's probably not wise; fuhrer DIL is probably too far gone into her case of the me-me-me's.).

I'm sorry for you, and I'm really sorry for your grandsons. No birthday cake for them without their stepmonster getting a slice too. I hope someone else will have better suggestions for you.

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Wow. This is a tough one! Like WWU, I think you, justapapa, and your DW (dear wife) are the "only" ones "putting the boys first." Nor do I see how your going out with XDIL, her BF (boyfriend) and your GSs takes anything away from your new DIL. You are being very generous and loving with all!

I take it, though, that new DIL has come to resent the relationship you have with XDIL. And the time (and perhaps, money?) that you spend on her and BF. IDKY. Perhaps she always did and just felt she had to wait till she was married to DS (dear son), for a while, b4 she could say so? Or he disagreed, at first, and they spent months discussing it b4 he decided to speak to you on her behalf? I'm very sorry if this is the case. And if new DIL can't see that her jealousy here is irrational and shouldn't impact on you and DW.

Then again, could it be that you've been relying too much on the fact that "everything is cool between Ex and New?" Is it possible that you and/or DW often speak of XDIL to/in front of new DIL? Maybe even talking about "what fun" you had on this/that outing or singing XDIL's praises, for this/that reason? Hopefully not, but it wouldn't surprise me if all this civility (as lovely as I think that is) and mutual feelings about this/that hadn't misled you and DW into thinking this kind of talk would be ok. If so, perhaps if you avoid such talk, from now on, regardless, new DIL will relax and be more open to your spending some time with XDIL again. But even if she doesn't, it's probably better, IMO, to avoid such comments, anyway (but chances are, you and DW know that).

No matter what, I can see you're between the proverbial rock and hard place. If you defy DS' and DIL's wishes, you risk hurting DIL (as irrational as that may seem to you), damaging your relationship with both her and DS and losing some of all of your access to the boys when they are with them. If you respect their wishes and stop interacting with XDIL, you risk hurting her, damaging that relationship and losing some or all of your access to the boys when they are with their mom! Groan! I totally sympathize!

No doubt, you and DW are going to have to decide what's more important to you and which choice is more likely to impact your relationship with the GSs. I'm inclined to agree with WWU that your best bet is to go along with DS. B/c I imagine that your relationship with him means more to you than that with XDIL. And b/c I think WWU is right that, if this issue causes any trouble in his current marriage, he's likely to take it out on you in any number of ways. But, in the end, it's your and DW's call.

Like WWU, also, I wish I could think of a way that you could convince DS and DIL to change their minds. But I can't. And I don't think the chance of that happening is worth the risk of the consequences of such a discussion if it doesn't work.

If you decide to go along with their wishes, I know it's going to be hard to tell XDIL. You don't have to "stop being nice" to her, however, IMO, in the sense of being friendly, etc. And I hope you tell her how much you appreciate the extent to which she has continued to include you in her sons' lives. Hopefully, if you explain that you can't socialize with her, anymore, at the request of DS and DIL b/c you love DS and want to maintain good relations with him, she'll understand (after all, she's a parent, too). Perhaps not but I hope so.

My heart is with both you and DW on this one. Whatever you decide, I hope you are prepared to see the boys somewhat less (no more 3-day vacations, for example, at least not if it's with XDIL) - but also, that you continue to enjoy them just as much when you do see them!

Welcome to this site and this group! And please keep us posted!

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I cannot tell you RR135 and, WWU what a relief your comments are to me. You must know that any thing that I have done, as far as, these 'events' were completely inocent in nature. in all honesty I did not think that there would be any hurt or hard feelings because I did not know i was doing anything wrong I was just trying to facilitate a good time for EXDL and her sons and we were included. When my son confronted me with my DL's feeling that it was "weird" for us to interact with our EXDL I was kind of blindsided. By the way our GS's have never been privy to any of these conversations. I would also like to note that the relationship with our grandsons has been a constant from the time of their birth. We had asked them DS and EXDL if they wanted a date night a couple of nights a month, they accepted and that has been on going for ten years. Also the GS are still at the ages that they still do a lot of the asking "can we stay at GPand GM's". So the other thing is we are a very close family and always have been. My DL was a member of my DS's group and spent a lot of time with our family, so we have been close for 20 years. I guess I just want everyone to be happy and for my GS's to have all of the love that we can give them. Our EXDL's family lives away and frankly only visit three or four times a year and we have pretty much been there for her from the start. We took care of most of the wedding, our house for most birthdays, holidays, ect. So it,s really hard to think about phasing her out. I am trying to think of what kind of damage it might do to DS,DL and EXDL interactions long term. My DW and I have cried over this so many times and have felt like we were walking on eggshells for so long that we are just sick. My DS is always the one we talk to the DL just talks in his ear you can hear her when we are on the phone. I know it's tearing at my son I can hear it in his voice and when he says DD I just want us to get along and I love you guys, it's from the heart. I have gone on long enough and I hate that this is happening at Christmas. I don't want to, in the future, remember this as, the time that the family blew up. This has been so therapeutic, I was just worn out from tring to do what was right. Do you think a sit down face to face should wait till after the holidays are over? This is my biggest vice, Christmas that is, and the though of anything spoiling it for the GS's is unthinkable. As always, I will be, just a papa, trying to figure it out!!!!

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If you feel you need to discuss it, I'd wait til after the holidays, because there is a chance things could go sour and ruin things for you.

I think in this situation, talking about it with your DS could help. You absolutely had the best of intentions with your GSs, I can't see anyone disputing that. Maybe there is something you can work out between all of you - maybe still spend time with GSs but not socially with exDIL. You seem to like her personally, and she was a big part of your life so that might be hard, but I think if your DS and DIL would prefer you not socialize with her I'd go along with that. The risk if you don't is losing contact with them and less time with your GSs. If your exDIL is a level headed, mature person I hope she would at least understand if you explain to her that you've been asked not to socialize with her and it's nothing personal.

My parents divorced when I was small, and it was my DM who maintained my relationship with my paternal GPs. I don't know if it ever bothered my DF girlfriends or his now wife, but I would've had little contact with them if left up to my DF. He has a lot of guilt now about the time he didn't spend with GM earlier, since we've lost her mind to Alzheimer's. I wasn't privy to what went on behind the scenes, but it seems the adults in our lives had the sense to put us first. Our parents were pretty good about not putting us in the middle of anyone: them, GPs etc. My ILs put DH in the middle when they divorced (he was a young adult) and the amount of stress and anxiety I've seen in him over that makes me sad. MIL has tried to put DS in the middle of his GMs, and it makes me nuts. I don't understand why people just can't see that the more love and consistency a child has in their life the better?

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This is all my opinion and subject to change at any second, as well as subject to the error opinions can have. A three day trip with an ex-DIL might be seen as extreme by some. Your new DIL might have wanted a 3 day trip with you and the grandkids, and felt left out. Maybe she's still figuring out her spot with you and the kids and this led her to feel she didn't matter as much as she'd like. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have taken the trip, it just means she felt bad about it.

I'm not sure what you meant by "as well as have something planned for the family for the next several weeks." Did you mean nothing was planned or something was planned and you weren't included? I'm confused.

If you don't know exactly what feelings and didn't ask, then your hands are tied to try to fix it. Can you talk with your son about it more? I know you want this all to work out! He does too. Gosh, everyone does!

Do you have Christmas plans? Are you feeling funny about doing anything that involves your ex-DIL? It's hard to throw someone away that you've loved for years, even when you feel you must do it, considering circumstances. My heart feels for what you're going through.

Maybe after awhile, you all can talk this out and get it to work for all of you. It's a shame to have this putting up hurdles between you and people you love, when it's obvious that all you want to do is make things wonderful for your grandkids.

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Do you see your GS more when they are with their mother, i.e. when she has physical custody of them, or do you see your GS equally between when they are with their mother and they are with their father?

It may be as simple as seeing them more when they are with their father, rather than when they are with their mother. I completely understand that you have a prior, existing relationship with your ex-DIL that you want to maintain. And I'm not saying that you should cut all ties with her. But as said upthread, it's a little much, to me, to see that you went on a three-day trip with ex-DIL, GS, and ex-DIL's new bf, just to spend time with the GSs.

Quite frankly, I think your "problem" here really exists on two fronts, first that your DS' new wife wasn't really prepared for life as part of a blended family and between your DS and his new wife, in that he and she seem to not be communicating well about how much time you're entitled to see your GS. The latter "problem" isn't up to you. I would gracefully stay out of it anytime it comes up. In fact, when your DS mentions his wife's feelings again, I would say something along the lines of, "Son, I think this is really a problem between you and your wife. I respect your wife. I respect her role as your wife and as your children's step mother. And I also respect the mother of your kids and want to maintain the relationship that I have with her as the mother of my grandkids."

But I think before I advise you further, I would like to know how much time are you seeing your GS when your son has physical custody of them. If you are not seeing them as often as when they are with your DS, either because your DS doesn't want you to have them (for whatever reasons--it's his right to do that), that may be where your remedy lies. Attempt to see them more equally when they are with either custodial parent.

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Hopefully, if you explain that you can't socialize with her, anymore, at the request of DS and DIL b/c you love DS and want to maintain good relations with him, she'll understand (after all, she's a parent, too). Perhaps not but I hope so.

NewMama, on 11 December 2012 - 09:31 AM, said:

If your exDIL is a level headed, mature person I hope she would at least understand if you explain to her that you've been asked not to socialize with her and it's nothing personal.

Just something to consider if you decide to disclose this information about DS/DIL to EXDIL is how that disclosure could affect the relationship between DS and his EX. It seems like they have been getting along pretty well with each other as divorced co-parents, which is a huge blessing in itself for those children. Even though DIL and DS are the ones who want you to pull back from EX, pointing that fact out to EX as they're the reason might create a new set of problems. EX might confront DS or ? Just trying to think ahead to possible ramifications. Right now the boys aren't told of the problems. But what if EX is told the truth and when the boys ask EX to see Grampa and EX manages to say "We can't honey, your stepmom doesn't think that's a good idea" because she doesn't want to be seen as the one keeping the kids from you, and then the boys may ask DIL about why not, and what DIL might say or do to the boys (or you) if they ask her, who knows. DIL puts herself above all even in situations that don't involve her, so that's where things seem most risky for the kids. It is all really such a shame. Again, I'm sorry.

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It looks to me as though at some point of time in the future if EXDIL would remarry her new husband might also have a few thoughts on the why's and where's of the EXHubbys parents expecting to spend as much of 'his time' with his family. This could all work itself out in the future without hurting anyone.

Is it possible to be 'the babysitting' grandparents for either / both parents? Maybe the new wife is really wishing you would offer to take the boys with their dad and stepmon on a fun filled three day get away. Sometimes it is easier for kids to bond with a new stepparent under a fun filled sky that at home on the weekend when there are household chores to do. If new wife isn't working, they are probably on a tight budget if he is paying out child support especially.

I think it would be a good thing to have a chat with your son after the holidays and see if the two of you can come to an agreement without you seeing less of the boys without seeing as much of the EXDIL.

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So glad we brought you some relief, justapapa! You certainly deserve it!

I definitely agree with NM and Sue that if you do have a "sit-down," it should be after the holidays. IMO, your gut feeling is right - If you do it b4, I'm worried that something that gets said might set DIL off and ruin your Christmas or New Year's.,,, sigh... or, as you say, "(spoil) it for the GS's."

Also, IMO, WWU makes a good point about the possible negative impact on the relationship between DS and XDIL. And I would add, between EXDIL and DIL. In fact, that might be a good point to bring up with DS when you talk to him. How does he think you're going to break this to EXDIL? Is he concerned it might hurt their relationship as mutual parents of those boys? Does he care? Does he expect you to just cut EXDIL off, w/o an explanation? Does he want you to lie and take the blame on yourselves for some reason? I'm not, not, not suggesting taht you argue with him - that is almost sure to backfire! I'm just suggesting that you point out that this is a trickier situation than he and DIL may realize.... IDK... I'm just searching for some ideas... Others may see reasons why this isn't a good one.

Be that as it may, I'm sorry you didn't ask more specifically what DIL's "feelings" are. Ok, we know she feels your socializing with EXDIL is "'weird.'" But does she object to it, entirely? Or does she just draw the line when you take 3-day vacations with her? I know you say you've taken DS and DIL on vacations, too, and have "treated everyone the same." But perhaps that's DIL's problem? Maybe she feels it's some kind of "disrespect" to her as DS' current wife to treat EXDIL "the same" as if she still were, too? I know you and DW are probably looking at this as a matter of EXDIL, DS and DIL all being the parents of the boys and that "disrespect" is the farthest thing from your minds. But... sigh... DIL might be looking at it quite a different way. You can't really know, unless you ask.

Has DS said the extent to which DIL would like you to cut down on your relationship with EXDIL? IOWs, does she want you to stop socializing with her, altogether or just not continue to participate in such events as "3-day vacations?" If it's just a matter of avoiding certain activities or containing the time involved, it may be more workable than you think. But again, you won't know unless you ask. In fact, that may be the one question you want to ask now so as not to risk running into a problem during the holidays... Just a thought...

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And thinking about this some more... Like GE I was wondering whether or not you, generally spend more time with your GSs when they are with DS or EXDIL? Also, if you could begin to change it if you see them more when they're with EXDIL? I'm wondering, too, if one parent or the other tends to be more willing, generally speaking to give you more time with the boys? And if DS and EXDIL have joint custody, as it seems they do, or it one of them, actually, has legal custody and the other has them for, say, weekend visitation or whatever? B/c if EXDIL is, basically, the "custodial parent," I realize that might make it difficult to make such a change...

Also, I think Sue makes a good point when she says, eventually, if EXDIL remarries, her new DH might question your and DW's close involvement with her, too. And he might not feel comfortable with her ex' (your DS') parents around so much. Even this new BF, currently so accomodating, might change his tune if and when they tie the knot, just as DIL has now. Maybe not. But perhaps, it would be just as well for everybody if you and DW began cutting down the time you spend socializing with EXDIL, anyhow. If only DS and DIL will be satisfied wth a partial or gadual change... Food for thought...

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I would like to answer a few questions and clarify a few things. The boyfriend of EXdil did not go on our three day trip, just the GS's, GP, GM, and EXdil. DS makes "plenty" of money. DS has no problem with us and the GS"s being together, he loves it. But he also knows that the GSs must now have there time with new GP and GM as well as others new to the family and wants DIL to be happy. We did in fact go on a huge vacation, California, Catalina,and a ten day cruise, and Florida, the whole Disney package. If you were to put stuff on the scales they are tipping toward DIL.

They do have joint custody.

Exdil has said to us I know there will be a time when the boys will have other interests, but as long as they ask to be with you, I am willing.

I have taken some advise from kind of all of you + RR135, and talked with my son. DIL says it hurts her feelings for GP and GM to spend time with EXDIL. I asked how do I cut this off and he is of a mind that it is simple, just don't do it any more, meaning no more time with EXDIL.

I posed the question what happens if down the road the GSs find out that DIL said no more socializing, DS, says worry about that if it happens.

I told him I would have to sit with it a while but that we need to cruise threw these holidays as smoothly as possible, to which he agreed.

The thing that just sits heavy on my mind is why DS has to relate all of this to me, instead of DIL giving me a call.

I did in fact text a lengthy apology and I love you note, which netted only a I know you are and I love you from DIL.

Your suggestions have made a huge dent in this huge wall of emotions that I have been dealing with, and for that I am forever grateful.

It's not over but at least I have some direction and a few things to think about.

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I'm glad you're talking with your son about it. His responses, "just don't do it anymore," and "worry about that if it happens," can be seen as male personality responses. Men tend to be more into getting it done rather than examining all the emotional implications. He's also caught between his wife and everyone else, and that's difficult. So, maybe he just wants it to be done, so he can go on to other things that aren't stressful.

Anyway, your new DIL says she knows you are sorry for hurting her feelings and also said she loves you. That's pretty awesome. Maybe give her some time to sort this in her own mind. I would think it's not easy to be a step-mom who isn't sure what that means, exactly.

You sound like a really nice grandpa and dad and dad in law. It's nice to know you're doing all you're doing for your family, to help them be happy.

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I couldn't see letting someone tell me who to be friends with. How are you going to explain it to the GC when they are old enough to understand if you decide to let your friendship with their mother go? The new DIL is being childish. You will be the one to bear the brunt of their marital woes but the children will not understand if you are cold and distant to their mother. I guess it comes down to who can handle the stress of all this more.

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I just wanted to add that it's appropriate you're talking with your DIL's husband and not with her about this. I understand that you probably think, "But GE, if she has a problem, I'd appreciate it if she would just come to me herself." I want to offer that not only are more young couples (part of one here!) taking a more his and her approach to their families, sometimes therapists recommend (when there's family trouble) that each part of a marriage, "deal" with their own respective families. The reason for that being, you have a shared history with your son and whether you recognize it or not, difficult topics are easier to broach and work through if you're working on them with the "child" you have a shared connection with (built on years of knowledge and trust) rather than the one you just met maybe a year or two ago. Please, if it crosses your mind to tell DIL, "Next time, come to me," I urge you to just to swallow that thought and continue to work things through with your son. I think it will work out better for you in the long run.

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I just wanted to add that it's appropriate you're talking with your DIL's husband and not with her about this. I understand that you probably think, "But GE, if she has a problem, I'd appreciate it if she would just come to me herself." I want to offer that not only are more young couples (part of one here!) taking a more his and her approach to their families, sometimes therapists recommend (when there's family trouble) that each part of a marriage, "deal" with their own respective families. The reason for that being, you have a shared history with your son and whether you recognize it or not, difficult topics are easier to broach and work through if you're working on them with the "child" you have a shared connection with (built on years of knowledge and trust) rather than the one you just met maybe a year or two ago. Please, if it crosses your mind to tell DIL, "Next time, come to me," I urge you to just to swallow that thought and continue to work things through with your son. I think it will work out better for you in the long run.

At some point the adults need to talk to each other. How long should he wait to do that? If he wants a better relationship with her when should he start that?

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I have a problem with talking to the son about the daughter in law. Some would see this as talking behind her back and it wouldn't be taken kindly. Maybe, justpapa, you could ask your son if he thinks she'd be receptive or not, and take it from there.

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You know as I type this I am thinking my DS can not be saying some of these things, he was not raised to treat people like that. I can't believe that DIL could be so hurt that she could not come to some compromise. Altough my DS was not with DIL when I spoke to him, so maybe after he talks to her things may change? Could this be a power or control thing she is a very strong female and lets you know it, very structured. A place for everything and everything in its place, I am more laid back, but to each their own. I would like to some how have DIL be t, I thank you from he one to explain to EXDIL the situation! I have worked with kids all my life and when one throws a fit or tantrum, I have allways been able to resolve it with a lot of patience. MY two GS's have also been open to compromise. Thats why I wonder if there is somethinh thatI am not hearing, you know something deeper. To everyone that has responded to my depression, I am leaving that last word I meant to say disscusion, but it is kind of where I am at, I thank you for all of the iideas and comfort. I will be watching and waiting, and will report back, I will not do anything in haste.

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At some point the adults need to talk to each other. How long should he wait to do that? If he wants a better relationship with her when should he start that?

Oh, I understand that you think the DIL is being childish in this situation, but I don't agree for the reasons I've previously stated and you've quoted in your post. I also don't think the OP has a bad relationship with his DIL. I think there's just trouble communicating here and I'm hopeful everyone will be able to communicate better in the future. Also, she doesn't have to communicate with him to have good communication.

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I would change better relationship in my first post to healthy adult relationship. Adults who are healthy mentally and emotionally do not tell other adults who to be friends with. If he had this with this DIL there would be no problem with the exDIL.

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This whole thing is going to play out over the next couple of weeks. This coming weekend happens to be EXDILs four days. We have already made plans for some holiday traditions, the GSs will be hanging with us as we help their GGM and GGP on my side, decorate the tree. The GGP and GGM, played a huge part in my sons lives. I am thinking even though this is not my DIL and DS time, maybe inviting them to participate with us might start to smooth things over, before Christmas parties start next week and ultimately Christmas at DIL and S home. Does this make sense and do I just see if the situation is brought up for discussion and if it doesn't, do GP and GM just remain silent. My GW has read all of the advice from you all and thinks that you hit the nail on the head. But caution seems to be the theme that we may follow.

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Yes, it makes sense. Do what works for you. I will keep you in my thoughts.

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First of all, I want to say that I think it's wonderful that your GSs have a GGM and GGP and vice versa! And that GGM and GGP are well enough, etc., for them to be able to spend time with/enjoy each other!

As for including DS and DIL, I think this is a great idea, provided the GGPs are ok with it (b/c this is in their home, yes?)! Since DIL is such an "everything in its place" type of person, well, if she is rigidly so, they may decline, of course (b/c she may take the position, "But this is during EXDIL's time!"). But hopefully, they'll accept and, IMO, inviting them is a very lovely gesture, regardless!

Meanwhile, your description of DIL as an "everything in its place" type is giving me more of an idea of why she's reacting this way. I'm just taking some guesses here, of course... In her mind, I imagine, once a marriage is over it's over and the extended family on, say, the guy's side no longer spends time with the EXDIL and vice versa. Never mind how much they liked each other, etc. If that's how she thinks, then I can see why your socializing with EXDIL would seem "weird" to her.

But beyond that, even though she knows you love her, I'm guessing she sees your friendship with EXDIL as a sign that you, somehow, haven't fully accepted her as DS' wife/one of the family. That would account, IMO, for her "feelings" being "hurt." If she's a truly rigid personality, she may not be able to see the situation any othe way, unfortunately.

I'm glad you spoke to DS and that he agreed that the holidays should go as smoothly as possible. I think it was appropriate, at this point, that you brought the issue up with him since he's the one who brought it to your attention. As GE mentioned, a lot of young couples, today, take a his/hers approach to extended family. So that may be why he comes to you with these concerns, instead of her. If there ever is a problem with her side of the family, chances are, she'll talk to them about it.

But I know what Kalana means when she says that, after a while, if you keep discussing this with DS, alone, it can begin to seem as if you're talking about DIL "behind her back." So yes, maybe you should ask him if she'd like to talk to you directly. Then again, if you have that sit-down, eventually, I imagine, all 4 of you will be involved - you, DW, DS and DIL. So that issue, IMO, will resolve itself.

As far as raising the subject at GGM's and GGP's house, I agree with homey that you and DW should do whatever "works for you." But if it were me, I don't think I'd bring it up if they didn't, due to the presence of the kids and the GGPs. I don't think the kids should hear about any of this until the adults worlk everything out. Nor do I think it's fair to visit this upon the GGPs. Besides, the GGPs may feel compelled to get involved in the conversation and Ms Everything in Its Place may feel they "don't belong" in it. (Actually, I would feel that way, myself, and I tend to be a more laidback person.) Besides, they may just, unintentionally, of course, comlicate things. And since they're your parents, if they agree with you, DIL may feel "ganged-up on." And hey, how will you and DW feel if they side with her? So no, I don't think you should bring it up there. But really, it's your and DW's call.

Regardless, I'm sorry DS doesn't realize how awkward it will be for you to, suddenly, just drop EXDIL, socially. I think Kalana's right, he just wants to get it done, get it behind all of you and be able to move on. If that's as gender-related as Kalana suggests, DIL may, actually, understand that part better. In the end, I hope they will agree to your pulling back gradually or only partially. But IDK...

As far as DIL's reply to your apology - I think that's a good sign! It shows she knows you love her and didn't mean any harm. On some level, I think she realizes that this is mostly a matter of her POV (point of view)/ how she thinks relationships between ILs and XILs "should" be. Yes, it may be, partly, a 'control" issue - she wants to implement her POV and hers only. But if it makes you feel any better, I'm very sure she really thinks she's "right."

I'm glad you shared this thread with DW and that she appreciates it. And I agree that whatever you do, you need to proceed with "caution."

Once again, I'm so sorry that you and she are in this position. DS may not get why it's so difficult for you but, trust me, we posters do!

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Justapapa, thanks for coming back. Can you answer for me the question I asked earlier (maybe I didn't see the answer, so sorry, if you did)?

Do you see your GSs equally when they are with their father or mother, OR do you see them more frequently with one parent or the other? Do you see them more often when they are with their mother? Do you see them more often when they are with their father?

Thanks!

I think you're on the right track.

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DIL says it hurts her feelings for GP and GM to spend time with EXDIL. I asked how do I cut this off and he is of a mind that it is simple, just don't do it any more, meaning no more time with EXDIL.

I guess that means next time Ex mentions taking the boys somewhere, he means don't offer to join. And next time Ex asks if you want to celebrate GS's birthday, he wants you to tell her no thanks you've got other plans to celebrate with them at another time even if you don't. And after 5 or 10 times the offers and calls will stop coming.

I really hope that your Son offers your sons more time to spend with you during his custodial time. For his sons' sake. Like you said, there's DIL extended family to share their social time with. The only extended family the boys really have when they're with Ex are you and your wife. I understand it hurts DIL's feelings for you to spend time with Ex, but it's not like you spend time with Ex without the boys there. You don't take Ex out to dinner. You take the boys out to dinner and their mom is there.

For your Son to deny his children something so good for them JUST because it hurts his wife's "feelings" (read: ego) makes me sad. He's decided her ego trumps his children's feelings of well being. While it's her job to deal with her own feelings, if he's arguing its his job as a husband to reassure his wife - then he should reassure his wife. Instead of making his children sacrafice to go through the motions of spousal reassurance on his behalf. It's certainly not their job to reassure his insecure wife for him. He shouldn't use his kids that way, imho.

(To switch gender, imagine a divorced and remarried Mother of two who gets along with her Ex-H. And her new husband suddenly demands her own mom can't spend time with her children from her Ex when they're with Ex. Maybe it's just me, but the phrases "abusive control freak" about him and "sad mother who's that desperate to try to please a meanie of a man she sells out her kids happiness" comes to mind.)

Just to drive home that you are a really good grandpa and did nothing wrong, one of the many things family court judges tend to look at in custody cases is how much access one parent gives to the other parent's extended family. (As long as no abuse, neglect, addiction, etc). Why? Because doing so is truly considered in the best interest of the children. The court recognizes it as a reliable sign of a parent who puts their children first, and can rise above adult resentments and issues for the children's benefit. (Not that your son and Ex are planning to go to custody court anytime soon, but in theory if they did and this somehow came up, theoretically that decision might work against him.) Just to illustrate that what you were doing as Grandpa and what Ex was doing as a parent doing is 'objectively' considered a good thing.

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