Gransnet forums


Torn between husband and Daughter/soninlaw

(37 Posts)
juneh Sun 02-Jun-13 14:35:42

I don't know where to start but I am very distressed. My husband is set firm against my soninlaw and my daughter because he believes they have no respect for him. I agree they have been off with him and I should say he is my second husband as my daughter's dad died 12 years ago and I remarried 5 years ago and we have been very happy together. However my daughter and my 2 little granddaughters moved away to Cornwall which is about a 7 hour drive. If it was left to my daughter I would not get to see them only once a year so I go across there at least 3 times a year and I miss them terribly. To get there I have to travel an hour or so to the airport then fly to newquay which isn't cheap and then return home the same way. It costs an average of £200 for the flight plus what I spend when I get there but to be with my gorgeous grandaughters it is worth it albeit stressful.
My daughter make little or no effort to encourage the girls to contact me through skype or emails the oldest is 8. I sent presents and litle notes with spending money etc in order to let them know I have not forgotten them. I have suggested that this time hubby and I book a holiday down in Devon which would be about one and half hours from them and asked them if they would fetch the children to where we were planning to book a Hoseasons hol but they are insisting that we either pick up the girls from them and return them at the end of the holiday or meet half way betweeen. I am quite happy to do this but my husband is furious about them expecting us to do that when we have driven all the way down. It is causing a terrible rift and I am torn in the middle because I know my daughter and SinL think they are compromising by doing half the journey.
I have realised that my daughter is also caught in the middle but when I go on my own I do not find it a pleasent experience.
My hubby thinks she is dismissive of him and I agree but cannot quite put my finger on it as she is dismissive of everyone as is my SinL.
I have had a terrible row with hubby because he has dug his heels in as have they and it is of course me and the girls who are in the middle. I really do not want to go on my own but he is refusing to go to their house now and that means a very hairy future for me everytime I want to see them.
I am sorry to rant but all support welcome. Of course the only way I have now is to continue going across there on my own to see them.

whenim64 Sun 02-Jun-13 15:11:14

So many family members appearing not to be prepared to compromise, juneh and don't you also live near the coast? They could come for a holiday near you, too.

In my famiiy, we start off saying what we'd like to do, then find a way of fitting in with each other. Could each person not give a little so you can find a happy medium? If you're flying to Newquay, how about staying in the area so they can have a few days with you, then move on to Devon for the rest of your holday?

Perhaps the row is still too recent and raw for you and your OH to start problem-solving. I hope it all subsides and you can plan a famly holiday that you can all enjoy.

Reddevil3 Sun 02-Jun-13 15:12:38

Oh*juneh*- how awful for you! Having read your profile, I see that my background is very similar to yours and we both have children so can sympathise and can see what an awkward situation you have there.
It really depends on the relationship you have with your daughter- could you not write her an email saying how much you'd love to see them all, but as you're both getting on a bit (I hate to play that card, but needs must) that you will have had enough driving x hours to Devon and would really appreciate it if she would bring the girls to you? I wouldn't mention the row with DH.

Tegan Sun 02-Jun-13 15:12:39

Can relate to this up to a point in that my partner has taken against my daughter and her husband. This isn't in a blatantly obvious way but he will make comments about them which annoys me [my son can do no wrong in his eyes]. Blood relatives will ignore bad behaviour of any kind from their offspring and your husband can see that your daughter is behaving in a totally unfair way, both to you and your grandchildren. But that doesn't mean he's right to not help you to see the children. Does he have children of his own, because if he did he would, perhaps, understand more. I spend a lot of time biting my tongue. I know this is a silly thing to say but I need to get it of my chest. The S.O. expects people to take off their shoes in his house as he has new cream carpets but, in both of the houses that my daughter has lived in he seems to make a point of not taking off his shoes, even when everyone else is doing so. It was more important when they lived ina big city and the children were at the crawling stage and they wanted to keep the floor clean. I got very uptight yesterday when it happened again, but didn't want to turn to him and say 'please take your shoes off'. We always said as well that, within our family we can say things to each other that we can't say to step family ie that we have to be polite to them [does that make semse?].

Movedalot Sun 02-Jun-13 15:16:50

Sorry to hear this june. Could you go on the holiday together and then just you go and pick the girls up? Would your husband agree to that?

I am sure there isn't a 'right' answer to this and that all any of us can do is offer suggestions..

When he calms down can you explain to him that it is not about them but about you? If you could make him see that you understand how he feels and that you feel the same but are prepared to forget your pride so that you can see the girls and how much it would mean to him to help you do this? If he feels pushed out perhaps he is and your understanding and agreeing with him might make his feel better?

Good luck.

whenim64 Sun 02-Jun-13 15:20:13

Sorry, just realised you'd be driving down this time. It is a long journey, but hopefully your OH and daughter will still bend a little to meet the rest of the family part way when they know how much it means to you?

juneh Sun 02-Jun-13 15:34:12

Thankyou for all your replies believe me I have done everything to try to compromise with both sides. It would seem that I may have to go down once again on my own but I so wanted a holiday with the girls away from the parents. However after some arguing my husband has agreed to get to Devon and then next day drive half way to pick them up as my daughter requested but I can see that it's choking him. Before he agreed I said that I would go alone and rent a cottage for a couple of weeks in the school hols and that way they could come and go.

I think the route of the problem is my daughter does resent me having remarried and it's true she is very off hand with OH which I too find difficult. Sometimes I am shocked at how off hand and bad mannered that is I have told her but she just denies it. I feel better for having got it off my chest thanks again all. It does seem that as I get towards 70 and she to nearly 50 our relationship is deteriorating.

HildaW Sun 02-Jun-13 15:56:10

juneh, I saw your post almost as soon as you wrote it and my heart went out to you,but I did not have time to reply then. I had been thinking about it and I too wondered if your daughter had resented your remarriage. My Mum died a bit too early and my Father seemed to put himself 'back on the market' a bit too soon for all of our liking and it hurt like hell. I am not trying to say you are at fault in any way - just point out that children (at whatever age)who loose a parent can find it very difficult to see the remaining parent in another relationship.

I am also in a second marriage and the dynamics of step-children relationships are fraught with spoken and un-spoken tensions no matter how long the family has been 're-constituted'. If your husband is set in his ways about how he feels about your daughter, going over that arguement time and again might just be a bit of a waste of emotional energy. He sounds quite set and perhaps you will just have to ask yourself whats more important. Perhaps just finding away of getting what you most want (contact with Grandchildren) and putting up with what your husband can cope with might be how its got to be for the time being. Always best to play the long game, your grandchildren are getting older and will be able to form the relationship they want with you as time passes. As to your daughter (I've got two and it can be so tricky), perhaps just addressing the issues you have with each other separately from your grandchildren might be helpfull. Mind you, I'm no great expert, I think I upset my younger daughter yesterday by waffling away on the phone and missconstruing something....hey ho....I'll just bide my time and have another chat with her in a day or two. Good luck and just hang on to whats important.

whenim64 Sun 02-Jun-13 15:56:56

Good to hear there is a temporary solution, june. You must dread it every time you want to see them. Could your daughter not be happy for you that you have somene that you care about, who cares about you? Is there a way of making light of this tension so things do not get heated again? I remember my friend leaving her husband and daughter's boyfriend (they were very brittle with each other) together in her sitting room, and as she went out of the door she joked 'I don't want any bloodshed - that room's just been decorated!' Since then, they have both been frendlier when they are together, although her husband still can't stand him!

Dresden Sun 02-Jun-13 17:42:32

June I sympathise with you and your DH. I had a similar problem with my stepson in the early days and found it difficult to spend a lot of time with him. As he lived abroad we really had to find a solution so that my DH didn't miss out on seeing his dgc. We found that the best way to tackle it was to build in some time alone during our visits doing things that I enjoyed. We would spend 3 or 4 days with the family, then go off somewhere else for a few days, before returning to see the family for another couple of days. I think this took the pressure off everyone and worked very well.

Eventually, things got easier and we became quite good friends. Now I am close to the dgc and regard them as my own. DH and I have been together for 29 years now and it probably took about 10 years before we all adjusted to each other.

I know it can be very painful being a step parent and feeling that you are not wanted. I always said I felt that I had all the responsibilities of a parent but none of the pleasures.

I hope that you manage to enjoy your holiday and that things get easier for you.

juneh Sun 02-Jun-13 18:26:49

You have all been so kind and it has helped a great deal. We have now sent an email saying we will pick the children up and asking them to let us know as soon as possible so we can book the holiday.
We will see how that goes.
I do think that it's abig thing between my daughter and my husband I was a widow for 3 years before I remarried and never thought I would.
I think she feels jealous that I didn't move to Cornwall when they did but I wouldn't want to do that anyway even if I was alone. I like it here in Llandudno

Deedaa Sun 02-Jun-13 20:50:33

What an awful situation juneh I know step families can be very difficult, but I was surprised at your daughter's age - she's sounding more like a stroppy teenager!
I have had similar problems with my husband & son in law. It started because they were friends and then he started showing an interest in our daughter. Instantly it turned into a My Best Friend is seducing my Innocent Child situation. (She was only 17 and he was 10 years older) Thing were very iffy for a long time but it's been an armed truce since they married in 1997, with just a few eruptions. Fortunately fate has kept us living close together, or I imagine I would be trying to arrange holidays like you.

juneh Sun 02-Jun-13 23:16:42

It seems that whatever I say to my daughter seems to get redefined into something else', something more complex but I get confused by it. Feel got at and defensive then get seen as the difficult. I feel quite sad because my relationship with my daughter is breaking down. I know life is difficult for her she is an older mum, working and struggling financially etc etc but we have all been there. hey ho!

juneh Mon 03-Jun-13 06:39:34

Hello Deeda your story sounds awfully worrying sometimes life gives us such trials doesn't it? For us it is the distance that is the problem, well it certainly doesn't help. I miss my grandchildren a lot and know I should just go across on my own but the journey isn't easy. Driving for 7 hours on my own is hard even though I have done it.
I sound like a whimp I know and a few years wouldn't have worried like this but getting older has certainly affected the way I go about things nowadays. Is it just me?

HildaW Mon 03-Jun-13 16:23:47

juneh, not just you at all....was having conversation about this I get older I find myself fretting over so much - did I say the wrong thing? what did she actually mean? have I missread something? is she keeping something from me? should I have said such and such? the list is NO, you are not alone.

juneh Mon 03-Jun-13 20:05:03

Thanks HildaW you are very kind yes I am a bit paranoid about things especially when it comes to my daughter these days. We never had this tension between us a few years ago and I am putting it down to having 2 young children and being on the menapause she is nearly 50 having had her girls late. I know she is tired and finding working part time difficult but we have all been there and she chose to live such a long way away from any form of support. We all do things without thinking about the future don't we?
All I can do now is try to get back to where we were a few years ago but that probably means just doing what they want like me going down there 3 times a year. Thanks again for your support

Maggiemaybe Tue 04-Jun-13 20:18:13

I was wondering if the menopause might have something to do with your daughter's attitude, juneh - it must be difficult for her coping with young children and work as well if she's having a bad time of it. But of course we can all see that that's not your fault and it shouldn't be affecting her relationship with you. Family life can be so difficult sometimes. I hope that you enjoy your next trip and that it brings you all closer together again.

juneh Wed 05-Jun-13 21:16:50

Happily things have settled but of course I agree that my daughter's life is not easy, two young children when your nearly fifty. She has only just gone back to work after nearly 8 years at home I think she has found that hard but anyway as I say it's a bit better. Hubby however is not so happy but it will pass I am sure. Thanks for your support and all who have it was great to be responded to in they way everyone did. Most helpful and caring. smile

HildaW Thu 06-Jun-13 12:56:41

juneh, good to hear from you. Yes, daughter's life sounds hardwork. I went through menopause in late 40s (seemed early compared to work collegues) and it certainly upset my state of mind. In fact it was not until I was almost through the worst that I fully appreciated how much it had affected me. Everyone talks about hot flashes but few talk about the complex feelings you go through (and everyone is different).
Hopefully you can just let things drift a bit now. All families have differences, and unless its going to cause real problems I must admit I tend to just let be and see how things turn out. Sometimes keeping quiet is the best action even though its difficult not to have ones 'five pennithworth'. Lots of luck.

juneh Thu 06-Jun-13 13:59:48

thanks HildaW I remember the menapause too and used to feel so ill throughout, the night sweats were the worst and working full time as well but by then no children at home, so I do feel for her and anyone who is menapausal. I agree it's not just the body which is affected I remember feeling so down some days and as I had only one child who was at university then I had so wanted more. I remember thinking that I was grieving because I had so wanted more children but it wasn't meant to be. All past now as I am 69 can just focus on my granddaughters smile

HildaW Thu 06-Jun-13 17:08:38

juneh, understand you so well when you talk about grieving for what might have been. I also get quite worked up about what I could be doing for my two darling GC now that I have time and we are 'comfortably' off. However, I must also remind myself that they have loving and wonderfully capable parents who are there to guide and raise them - that's not my job and no matter how much I would like it to be I am 'only' a Grandma and must accept that I have to be patient and respectful of how they are brought up. I have had to learn to be tactful and accepting of visits as and when they can manage them (lives today are so much more complex with shifts/childcare etc etc). But, when they do come its wonderful. Its chaotic and exhausting and takes me a week to get over (I keep that bit quiet). But everyone has a lovely time and (so far) they are always happy to come back!
Just by way of a hint, years ago I had a wonderful but long distance relationship with my Grandma. We exchanged letters regularly from the time I was old enough to write. We kept it up more or less until I was married and it led to us having a very close emotional bond that I treasure to this day.

KatyK Thu 06-Jun-13 19:10:43

HildaW. Your post to juneh made me feel so much better. I too thought it was just me. I am finding it increasingly difficult to talk to my daughter these days for fear of saying the wrong thing. As soon as I put the phone down I am thinking 'I shouldn't have said that' or 'maybe she'll take that the wrong way'. I have even called her back to say I hope she didn't take what I said the wrong way. She just says 'what are you on about'. When texting I am the same, 'did that come out right', 'will she think this'. If she doesn't ring or text for a few days I am thinking it's something I did or said/didn't do or say. Obviously she is just getting on with her own life. I find it very stressful I have to say.

HildaW Thu 06-Jun-13 21:13:20

KatyK....I think its called 'overthinking'.......I read allsorts into the smallest things. E.g. Elder daughter not phoning for four or five days when she can phone me three days on the trot some weeks, has be thinking the worse. Of course it just means she's been busy living her life and everything is FINE! Wish there was a pill you could take but hey ho.....some days are better than others. I find it helps to fill my days a bit more and now that husband and I are back on our feet after several years of coping with family illness etc I am beginning to find things that interest really me. Its wonderful to have a busy useful day and suddenly find myself thinking 'gosh I've not been worrying about such and such all day'.

KatyK Fri 07-Jun-13 10:04:30

Wise words Hilda. I agree it is overthinking. When I talk to my husband about it he says 'it's not all about you you know'. It is hard though isn't it not being as involved as you were? I do have a pretty full life in my retirement and try to 'let it go'. Nice to know I'm not alone in this. Thank you.

juneh Fri 07-Jun-13 21:11:06

I know for sure that my daughter is the most important person in my life and having 2 little granddaughters has made that more so. Sometimes I suspect that I have become more of a grandma than a mum and think I probably make a far better grandma than a mum as I was so very young when I had my daughter.
In our last conversation she told me that I didn't seem to want to spend time with her any more and just wanted the girls which I think is true at the moment but that is more about her being very stroppy with me and quite rude at times and even though she is nearly 50 and me nearly 70 it seem as if she is lacking in respect for me. Sometimes I come away from conversations with her feeing really hurt but I don't say anything generally making excuses for her. They say a daughter is a daughter all of her life and in truth I realise that's it but on the other hand feel I need to guard myself from her moods and metophorical slaps which she gives me in one form or another.
I know she is angry most of the time and don't know why, I suspect it's not about me but then the way she is often very sharp with me and although I am fedup with her attitude I do understand it.
Been there, seen it and tried it as they say.