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Feeling hurt and confused

(92 Posts)
Deepblue Sat 28-Sep-19 16:00:36

I have one son who I’m quite close to, although we don’t live in each other’s pockets. He’s now forty and has been with his partner of the same age for about 14 years.

They both have very high flying jobs but no children.

His partner has always been a bit odd to be honest. They had a lovely little rescue dog who sadly had to be put to sleep a couple of months ago and before the dog died, she frequently said, ‘when anything happens to ‘dog’s name’, I’m off.’ I asked my son what she meant by that, as it seemed quite a nasty thing to say and he just said, ‘oh ignore her, she’s always saying that,’

Anyway, this year, I’ve increasingly noticed she’s has been more and more unpleasant towards me - although not really when my son is there.

I lost one of my dogs, a lovely retriever, just before Christmas through a tragic accident. He choked to death on a tennis ball that wedged in his throat. We’ve had retrievers for many years and my lovely husband, knowing how traumatised and upset I was, bought me a beautiful retriever puppy for Christmas.

Son’s partner visited on Boxing Day and lectured me on how wrong we are to buy pedigree pups and not to have rescue dogs - despite the fact that we’ve also had a number of rescues over the years.

She got a really important appointment in her job and when I congratulated her, she said ‘oh I’ve had enough arse licking lately.’

If I phone her, which is very rarely and only if there is a reason, she doesn’t answer my calls. If I text her, she doesn’t reply.

After their little dog died, I was very upset for them because I know how much they loved her and how heartbroken they are. As they’re both forty this year, I paid to have an oil painting of their dog done for their joint birthday, which they both said they were pleased with.

Then, and I admit stupidly, I posted some words about losing a dog on her Facebook page. It was a little poem that a friend sent to me which I just thought might comfort her a bit. Then my son phoned me to tell me that I’d really upset her and I shouldn’t have put it on her Facebook page, I apologised profusely. I tried to ring her but no answer so I texted her to say I was really sorry and never meant to hurt or upset her. She never replied.

Now I’ve noticed she’s blocked me on Facebook which, of course, is entirely up to her but why couldn’t she speak to me? If she said she’d be happier not having me on her friends list, I’d have been hurt but I’d have taken it on the chin.

To make matters worse, we’ve organised a family dinner for both of them with my husband, stepsons and their families in a month’s time and now I’m left wondering if she’s even going to come. The dinner was her idea by the way.

Over the years, we’ve occasionally arranged to meet them for a meal and then my son has arrived on his own saying she’s too busy to come.

I can’t tell my husband all this because he already thinks she’s difficult and also he hates Facebook with a vengeance and is always telling me to keep off it. With hindsight he’s probably right.

I just feel so miserable about all this. I don’t expect her to be my best friend but just to rub along on the odd times when we’re together.

What do people think?

stella1949 Sat 28-Sep-19 16:36:40

It seems that she is just "one of those people" who is difficult to get along with. No matter what you do, you're going to be wrong in her eyes so don't try to change things.

In your position I'd just make a decision to keep right out of any communication with her. If you want to talk about this planned dinner, or anything else involving them, talk to your son and leave her out of it.

If she doesn't come to the dinner, so be it. There is no need for you to be miserable about it - she has apparently been like this for years so it's not a new thing. As your son said to you "She's always like this - ignore her". Good advice.

Doodledog Sat 28-Sep-19 17:32:14

I agree with stella1949 that she seems a very difficult person.

It's not always possible for in-laws to like one another and get on; but TBH she sounds very rude - the comment about having had enough arse-licking is inexcusable, and it would be understandable if you wanted to stop seeing her, or tell her how her rudeness makes you feel.

I understand how tricky it must be for you, as she is your son's partner, and presumably you don't want to risk alienating him.

Maybe it would be better if you saw him without her as much as possible? I suppose that this is only possible if they live fairly nearby, though.

annodomini Sat 28-Sep-19 17:43:53

It's up to her, isn't it. If she doesn't come to the family dinner, the atmosphere will probably be a lot more relaxed without her, so don't let it prey on your mind. If she does turn up, leave it to her to make an effort. If you try too hard, it will create tension all round.

Smileless2012 Sat 28-Sep-19 17:45:31

Agree with stella and Doodledog Deepblue. Make any arrangements with your son and as stella posted if she doesn't attend the dinner 'so be it'.

FB can be a mine field, I don't use it but Mr. S. does. It's seems all too easy to cause offense on it IMO. I think she's over reacting TBH and perhaps it suits her purpose to be 'really upset'.

welbeck Sat 28-Sep-19 17:58:42

just avoid her.
to be honest it does sound a bit like you were being a bit intrusive with that facebook posting, since it was uninvited and you know she does not warm to you or encourage contact.
I think you just need to stand back and don't expect so much; you get on with your life and leave them to get on with theirs. keep in touch with your son, and be pleasant but don't ask anything specific about her.
she doesn't want to be your buddy, that's all, and sees no reason to pretend otherwise. it's not an insult, it's just how it is. she probably finds you annoying, you have different personalities, ways of being, norms and expectations. it only becomes a clash and upsetting if you clatter into her space. learn to side step.
I know women who are mothers-in-law and some I find overly involved in their children's lives. they mean well but cannot seem to butt out. it's as if they think they are still involved in arranging their children's lives, making everyone happy happy. like when they arranged play-dates. it's kind of sad.
I try to say to them, how often did you ring your mother/in law when you had young children, except for baby-sitting.
I'm trying to make the point that AC want and need to live their own lives. enjoy them as adults. resist the urge to interfere, however well-intentioned.

Tedber Sat 28-Sep-19 18:10:15

Sounds like she isn't that keen on your son either! More or less saying she was only staying for the dog? Or maybe that was just to wind you up?

Either way (as I think others have said) don't rise to it. Carry on doing what you are doing. If she wants to join you - fine. If she doesn't then accept it. Don't give your son grief over her - he probably gets enough as it is.

I disagree with previous about the Facebook posting. I have seen posts sending condolences on the loss of parents! I think total over reaction as it was done with compassion not malice.

Deepblue Sat 28-Sep-19 20:58:24

Thank you everyone for your wise counsel. I was thinking of writing a letter to her just apologising - again! - re the Facebook thing, but reading what you’re all saying, that would probably just make things worse. So I’m going to just leave well alone and I shan’t even mention her blocking me on Facebook to my son. When he told me how upset she was about my post, I was mortified as I seriously meant it kindly - given it was the same words sent to me when my darling dog died so cruelly - and he kept telling me not to beat myself up.

They live in a different city to me but fortunately, my job takes me there about once a month and my son is always happy to meet me for lunch if he’s not too busy and it’s always lovely to see him. His dad, my first husband, died from myeloid leukaemia when he was only two so we’re probably closer as a result even though my lovely second husband has been a brilliant father to him.

Like I said originally, I don’t expect his partner to be a best friend. She has her life and friends and I have mine but tbh the constant walking on eggshells and whatever I do or say apparently causing offence is really what has made me feel so down.

I think, as well, their lovely little dog, who I was very fond of, was very old and had come to the end of a long happy life, whereas my dog was only five years old and from leaving home for our walk within twenty minutes my beautiful dog was dead at my feet and I was screaming for someone to help me. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not into the ‘my grief is worse than yours’ rubbish but I’m a long way from getting over what happened to him and dealing with it is hard enough together with the guilt of not being able to save him. I really can’t cope with feeling miserable because I’ve upset my son’s partner.

Nansnet Sun 29-Sep-19 05:52:21

Deepblue, you're obviously still grieving over the loss of your dog which, I know for many of us, is like losing a family member, and I think that's why you're feelings seem to be intensified at the fact that you've upset your son's partner. She does sound like a very difficult person to get along with and you obviously have a clash of personalities. It's highly unlikely that she's going to change the way behaves, so I think you need to try to let it go, and try to ignore her unpleasantness. You seem to have a good relationship with your son, so don't spoil that by speaking to him about her behaviour towards you. Go ahead with your family meal, and enjoy it, whether or not she decides to grace you with her presence. Probably be better if she isn't there by the sounds of it!

BlueBelle Sun 29-Sep-19 07:22:13

As others have said you are two totally different characters that doesn’t make you wrong and to be totally fair it doesn’t make her wrong either Just keep yourselves apart as much as possible if the meal happens make sure you sit away from her and I really wouldn’t engage, above loose pleasantries
You are obviously a emotional compassionate person and maybe through her background or maybe genetics she keeps her compassion (if she has any) well and truly hidden
My advice would be ^
* do NOT write a letter^
* Do not invest any emotions in this lady stay cool pleasant but detached
* Remove yourself from her fb account you don’t have to unfriend her just stop ‘following’ enjoy your friends and other family on fb but NEVER post on another’s page if you are not totally sure it would be welcome
* do not expect a friendship just because she’s part of your extended family
* lastly keep a little shell around yourself in her company
Your son obviously loves her they ve been together 14 years I would imaging the sentence about leaving if the dog died was a caustic sense of humour just like someone might say ‘if he does that again I ll kill him’
Keep your relationship with your son as it’s always been and treat her with politeness but no emotion involved
Good luck and I hope the meal goes well

MaggieTulliver Sun 29-Sep-19 07:53:20

You will never do the right thing in her book OP (you sound lovely BTW). I agree with the others, limit communication to your son. I’m so sorry on the loss of your dog and I think you did the right thing getting another one.

Peonyrose Sun 29-Sep-19 08:17:24

Deep blue , So sorry what happened to your beautiful dog, a freak accident which must have been traumatic and you both must miss him so much. I agree with Maggie, you sound lovely and caring, limit contact the with Dil who can't be pleased, keep your distance and communicate with your son who sounds great. Think it must be much nicer when she's not there.

love0c Sun 29-Sep-19 08:23:21

From what you say she is not a very nice person and never has been. You have obviously tried hare to get on the last 14 years. My advice, stop trying! The more effort you make the more she will rebuff you and then 'turn' it around to make it your fault. The poem on facebook for example, congratulating her on the job. Make her work to gain your attention and approval. If she make no effort which may well be the case then at least she can't accuse you of anything. If she tries to just totally ignore her. Try not to let this rule your life. I know it is hard but she certainly will not be letting you rule hers. Why is it horrible people seem to hate kind people? take care and best of luck!

Jaycee5 Sun 29-Sep-19 09:21:22

Choosing not to come seems the sensible decision really if you don't get along and she doesn't want to be there. She doesn't want to be as friendly with you as you want to be with her so just back off and leave her to it. As long as your son will still come, she is not coming between you and I think you just have to shrug and accept that is the way she is. I can understand why she was upset about the poem but her comment in response to the job was just rude and odd. You would both need to want to fix it for it to be worth making any effort and she doesn't so continue to invite her but in the knowledge that she probably won't come. She is probably like that with other people and she makes your son happy so it is what it is.

Ooeyisit Sun 29-Sep-19 09:22:59

Buy her a pair of running shoes for Christmas and if she runs off tell your son not to run after her in case he catches her

Sandigold Sun 29-Sep-19 09:28:23

Sorry you find yourself in this position. You've had some great advice. What a traumatic way to lose a pet, Deepblue! ... I could recommend a book on pet loss, the writer also offers a service to help with recovery. If you are interested in knowing about this do let me know. flowers

ecci53 Sun 29-Sep-19 09:30:18

Deep blue, you and she are clearly very different people. I think that she says those sort of things as she thinks they are funny and has no idea that they can be hurtful or insensitive. You are clearly not an important part of her life and, from her point of view, she probably views you as being of little or no interest. I think you will have to accept that you and she will never get along well, and take a step back. I know it's hard, when you want to have some input into her life, but it will be better for your wellbeing not to try.

Fenton95 Sun 29-Sep-19 09:33:07

You sound lovely. Some people are just impossible to please and it doesn't seem you have done anything to warrant her rudeness and unpleasantness. As other PPs have said, don't try and win her round. Just be pleasant, caring at a slight distance, for the sake of your own sanity.

So sorry to hear about your dog - they are a part of the family, very sad. ❤️

red1 Sun 29-Sep-19 09:43:54


red1 Sun 29-Sep-19 09:48:39

as said you sound lovely. Some
people are awful.toxic etc, because you are nice you are affected more, than someone for example like her!
I would keep my distance ,your son has made his choice of partner.The gift of the oil painting was lovely.......

Lilythepink Sun 29-Sep-19 09:53:24

Don’t beat yourself up, Deepblue, you did the best you could in an awkward situation and crucially, you were coming from a good and genuine place. I think, carry on being your usual pleasant self but don’t over-compensate. You are not responsible nor to blame for her attitude and tendency to be easily offended. Remember you are not responsible for how she reacts.

trendygran Sun 29-Sep-19 10:00:42

Just to say that regarding phone calls and texts you are not any means. I no longer ring my DDand SIL’ s landline as they never answer it. Frequently I get no answer to text messages ,especially if I have asked a question . Phoning on mobile is the only chance of a conversation and then my 5 year old DGD often interrupts! Bless her! When we do meet we are fine.

JennyB Sun 29-Sep-19 10:06:21

My sympathies Deepblue, I have had similar responses from my soon to be ex dil, for the last 10 years. No shows, usually met with sigh of relief from me, no thanks for weekly childcare of our much loved grandson and rudeness and bad tempered outbursts. The divorce is all my fault it seems as we bought up our son so badly and not due to her terrible temper and dislike of his new working environment- just outside Venice. I keep quiet still as we want contact with our lovely grandson. Moral is sometimes mils can be awful but sometimes dils can be awful too.

ReadyMeals Sun 29-Sep-19 10:09:29

You say she's not so bad with you when your son is around, which immediately made me wonder why you're spending time with her when your son's not around. I think in your position I'd immediately restrict all contact with her to times when you are seeing them as a couple. It's fairly clear she's not interested in having a friendship with you, so just see her when you have to due to it being a whole family or couples occasion.

BusterTank Sun 29-Sep-19 10:11:58

Sounds like she has some issues . Perhaps you could speak to your son on the quiet about it . At least you know where not put your foot in again .