Daughter-in-law vs Ex Daughter-in-law
Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:25 AM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:32 AM
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.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:37 AM
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!
Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:41 PM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:31 PM
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?
Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:43 PM
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.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:43 PM
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.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:06 PM
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.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:41 PM
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.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:15 PM
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...
Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:29 PM
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...
Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:59 PM
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.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:26 PM
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.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:14 PM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:38 PM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:58 PM
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?
Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:01 PM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:02 PM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:04 PM
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.
Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:04 AM