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Feeling hurt and confused

(93 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?

TrendyNannie6 Sun 29-Sep-19 10:21:16

You sound a very kind lady and a great mother in law, she doesn’t sound that nice to be honest,not being very nice when your sons not there, whether you buy pedigree dogs is none of her business you buy what you want, your money your choice very opinionated isn’t she! I would be civil but keep my distance, you’ve tried with her but she obviously has her own reasons for not being that nice to you, such a kind thing to do to give them an oil painting , wish you was my mother in law I had the mother in law from hell lol

Deepblue Sun 29-Sep-19 10:23:23

Once again, so many wise words! Thank you everyone who has so kindly taken time to respond to me. The main thing, of course, is that my son is happy, so I suppose it doesn’t matter what she thinks of me.

My husband, wise man, has never warmed to her. Being a man ‘of a certain age’ he has remarked in the past that he thinks there is something disconnected in her brain. I’ve always defended her to him but despite him not having the best way to talk about anybody, I’m beginning to think he has a point.

My son is lovely. He’s a very kind man and rarely speaks badly about anyone. When my Taggart, my dog, died, I was a complete mess. I was out on my own with him and he had run across the fields, something he’d done hundreds of times, with his ball in his mouth. He didn’t come when I called him which was unusual so I walked back looking for him. I found him dead with the ball wedged in his throat. It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced. We’d only been out for no more than twenty minutes and my happy, crazy, beautiful dog was dead. My husband phoned to tell my son what had happened and he just dropped everything to come over to us. Life hasn’t always been kind to him. Clearly it wasn’t ever so easy for him growing up with two older stepbrothers- one of whom was pretty horrible to him. Sadly, he doesn’t remember his father but he was very close to my mum who died when he was eighteen and had just left home for university and thankfully he and my husband have a great relationship. Then his first partner who he met at university, suddenly after five years announced she was lesbian and left him for a girlfriend. She also left him to pay for the contract on their flat which they had just renewed.

Sorry! I’m starting to ramble, but basically to say I’d never do anything to cause him any pain and I absolutely don’t want him to be a pig in the middle between me and his partner. So! I’ll sit on my hands, keep my mouth shut, and as so many of you have advised, keep my distance from his partner.

Once again, thank you. Offloading on here is helpful for sure and makes me put a bit of perspective on this.

lovebooks Sun 29-Sep-19 10:29:05

FB is indeed a minefield, as I recently discovered to great emotional cost, and I've been on it for years with no problems! Something I naively posted (and shouldn't have) on one of my FB pages was seized upon by my son's wife who really dislikes me. Neither of them is a routine FB user, and this was on a professional page which I'd assumed would interest neither. Lesson painfully learnt.

Grape1 Sun 29-Sep-19 10:41:01

I certainly feel you are trying to be helpful, but feel the time has come to concentrate on yourself and your own feelings, otherwise you could lose your son. This has happened to me . The old saying “ A daughters a daughter for all of her life ... a son is a son til he gets a wife “ is just so true I’ve found. My son has a new partner ( the best friend of his ex ... who he’d been very happy with for 20 years ) .... and to be honest he’s besotted and anything she says goes. I never see him, he’s not in touch, she deletes my messages to him and she’s alienated other close family members. He just doesn’t see it. He’s never been good with money and I’m afraid he’s living the High life and I’ve spent the last two years ( my husband died two years ago ) worrying. It’s affected my health too. However, I was given good advice saying that I’d done my best, he’s not a young boy ( late forties ) and it’s time I started to look after myself. It’s not been easy, I still am very hurt, but I realise that my life is going along way too quickly ... and am now trying to concentrate on my own life. I do hope you can solve this, but you do need to think about yourself. I agree so much with JennyB ... unfortunately my dil won’t be going anywhere fast , I know she’s in it for what she can get out of it !

Marjgran Sun 29-Sep-19 10:45:14

I think this is a complicated painful situation - your much loved son is living with someone who makes you feel bad and you keep trying and trying to make it work. You think about it, it is hard to ignore even though that may be the best “strategy”. I think she does know she is hurtful. She may be conflicted about it but she knows. Maybe she is finding herself hard to like? She is 40? A crossroads time for a woman - to be a mother, or not. I wonder whether there is an issue playing out between them? I wonder what it is your son loves in her, likes about being together, a couple? Does he have doubts about the partnership, has his early loss of father influenced him to avoid the loss of separation? Anyway, enjoy your son, best not to criticise his partner to him but to be open to exploring how he feels? Good luck, take care of yourself.

25Avalon Sun 29-Sep-19 10:45:49

Please stop beating yourself up. You have bent over backwards to be kind to your dil. You can do no more. Your DH finds her difficult so it's not just you. At the moment because you are grieving for your beautiful dog for which You have my heartfelt sympathy, you are going to react a bit more emotionally and be more hurt by your dil's attitude when in the circumstances she should be kinder to you.
I do wonder if she is jealous of your relationship with your AS and feels insecure and threatened as a consequence which might explain some of her behaviour. Your AS and you have always been close and understandably so following the tragic loss of your first DH. He knew how you felt about dear doggy and came straight to comfort you. Does he do the same for your dil? Maybe she doesn't like him meeting up with you without her.
There is nothing you can do about this situation and you are not to blame. To protect yourself you need to step back from dil, give her space, but always be your usual kind self when you meet. If she doesn't come to the family event then that is up to her, but she does sound a very unhappy lady. If anything feel sorry for her.

Deepblue Sun 29-Sep-19 10:53:02

Grapel - that sounds awful for you! Certainly puts my problems into perspective. I think the one think my son’s partner can never achieve, and is at least sensible enough not to even try, would be to cause a rift between me and my son.

I don’t see a lot of him and don’t expect to. He’s busy with his own life and that’s exactly how it should be. My mum used to say children are like birds. You must teach them to fly and then let them go, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.

He meets me for lunch when I’m in his city, usually every month or so and it’s always lovely to see him, and I’m quite content with that as long as he’s okay and happy, which he clearly is.

Curlywhirly Sun 29-Sep-19 11:15:29

I agree with 25Avalon, I think your DIL has issues and they could very well be connected to your closeness to your son. You sound a lovely sensitive lady and I am sorry, but to me your DIL sounds awful. I really don't get why she would be incensed that you put a poem regarding losing a pet on FB? However, if she had not posted on FB that they had lost their dog, and your poem was the first mention of it, then that is a different matter. I would agree with other members, be polite, don't contact her directly unless it is an emergency, don't discuss her with your son and carry on meeting him for lunch and definitely stop apologising!

Loislovesstewie Sun 29-Sep-19 11:30:57

I am always amazed that people think that they should get on with their in-laws!
We all have different upbringings, expectations, ways of behaving etc. What one person thinks is insufferable bad manners another considers to be high jinks and perfectly ok. i have experience of that !It can be difficult enough coping with expectations from a partner without having to consider what in-laws expect. We all complain about our husbands and their funny little ways don't we? And I do find that expectations for DIL can sometimes be really unrealistic.

I am not saying you are wrong BTW , but I can also see that if she has a high flying job she might want to have time by herself to unwind and not to have to mix socially. I know I did.
I don't do Facebook for exactly this reason, things are often taken out of context and cause more problems.

Missiseff Sun 29-Sep-19 11:33:11

I think some partners are jealous of the relationship their other halves have with their Mothers, no matter how high-flying they are. They somehow see them as a threat, because they don't feel fully 'in control'. No matter what you do, or how kind you are it will never be good enough. I fell fowl to excitedly posting pics of my first grandchild on fb, didn't ask first as my Son (the child's uncle) had done the same a few days earlier. Except I was the one who got put in my place and told not to do it again thank you very much. I would say don't take it personally, but it is personal I'm afraid. You just need to develop broad shoulders, don't turn it into a war and know her behaviour says a lot more about her than it does you x

Jennyluck Sun 29-Sep-19 11:35:27

How horrible for you deepblue, if that happened to my dog, I would be distraught. Loosing animals when they’re old is hard enough, but a freak accident like that would be awful.
Like everyone else has said, I’d take a step away from your sons partner, don’t follow her on face book, and don’t contact her. You don’t need her in your life, just keep in touch with your son. Some people are just toxic and best avoided.

MissAdventure Sun 29-Sep-19 11:36:36

She is who she is, and you are who you are.
Neither is wrong, so I wouldn't bother to try so hard.

It probably irritates her, and it upsets you, so best to leave things as they are.

Jaye53 Sun 29-Sep-19 11:43:31

So sorry your dog died in such tragic circumstances Deepblue. poppy.Could you see your way to adopt another dog when you are ready? So many animals are languishing in rescue centres waiting for their new best friend to take them home.

Deepblue Sun 29-Sep-19 11:57:29

‘can also see that if she has a high flying job she might want to have time by herself to unwind and not to have to mix socially.’

Please don’t misunderstand me. I have no expectations of her mixing socially at all. In fact, the only expectation I have, is a little kindness when, for whatever reason, we are together. I have to watch everything I say which is exhausting. I worked in London for thirteen years and during that time I made friends with people from all over the world who had come to work in England. We called ourselves the League of Nations. As we’re now all over the globe, we tend to stay in touch via Facebook and she told my husband she thought it was very dangerous my communicating with people ‘she doesn’t really know’ - her words not mine and not bothering to ask me how I know people who live in South Africa, for example. She told him that my friendships could ‘compromise her security’. I can’t explain more because the nature of her profession does carry some risks, but my chatting to old workmates on Facebook about their new grandchild or husband’s new job is hardly high risk, surely?

I was very surprised then, when, a couple of months ago, out of the blue, she spoke to me when my son had phoned - he said she wanted a word which was unusual to say the least - to say it would be lovely to have a dinner, somewhere nice, with us, my stepsons and their families to celebrate both her and my son’s fortieth birthdays.

I leave any suggestions of visits up to them because I’d hate to be seen as a ‘hover mother’ who won’t let go and I really do try not to be a nuisance in any way, but as other people have observed, sometimes I feel that whatever I do, I’m wrong.

Eva2 Sun 29-Sep-19 12:03:37

Shes an unhappy woman for sure. But you arent the root cause!!!!.
You are just getting caught in the cross fire.
Stand down, give her some space. This will play out in time. I suspect shes not going to be in your family long term.
Stay cordial, dont initiate contact, communicate only via your son. Do not feed her demons. Stay on your high ground and the next time she reprimands or undermimes you; dont roll over. Ask her if she feels better for speaking to you disrespectfully.
Shes behaving like an opinionated bully who is probably a nightmare to work with and doesnt know how to transition into respectful family life.
Oh....And talk to your husband. You need his support, yes it may come with a bollocking but lm sure it will be worth it. All the best.

MissAdventure Sun 29-Sep-19 12:09:16

Well, I do think it could pose a risk, chatting about too much.

A couple of members on here have been recognised, and one had trouble caused for them in their 'real life', so it seems it is a possibility.

Merryweather Sun 29-Sep-19 12:20:08

If her security is that much of a risk then she shouldn’t be on Facebook!!!!

Eglantine21 Sun 29-Sep-19 12:22:02

Do you chat about what your son and DIL are doing when you are on Facebook with your friends? I have been quite cross when friends have posted things about my life in their chats to people I don’t know.

Just recently I telephoned a family member to tell her of a bereavement and it was up on Facebook and I was taking phone calls before I had a chance to tell some other family and friends.
On a lesser note I’ve had pictures of my birthday party of my new house or comments on my travels posted by other people without my consent.

I’ve posted on another thread that what helps one person in bereavement can be agony for another and though you were trying to help the picture and the poem may just have made her feel worse. Please consider this might be a possibility.

I think you are just very different people. You probably both find each other difficult just because you are so different. You have a good relationship with your son. Let that be enough.

Ellianne Sun 29-Sep-19 12:28:22

I think you almost need to separate your mixed feelings about your son's partner from your heartfelt feelings about your lovely dog. Don't waste time trying to make up with her, it's clear from what you say that you need to put your energies into remembering your retriever and grieving the loss.

Summerlove Sun 29-Sep-19 12:34:15

I’m sorry for the loss of your dog deepblue.

DIL sounds like a lot of work, and I think you are right to back off. I think this is largely a case of different expectations. With regards to Facebook, did she publicly mention her dogs death before you did? Some people keep Facebook to be “seen” but rarely post anything personal.

Keep being kind, and just go with the flow, you really sound like you’re doing your best x

sarahellenwhitney Sun 29-Sep-19 12:42:10

Talk to S, on his own of course Say how/ what you feel as you have said on GN.Let him decide for you. He knows his wife better than you.

VRH1 Sun 29-Sep-19 12:46:14

I’d seriously not bother with her to be honest. I’ve got four sons and two of them don’t speak to me because they’ve got unpleasant partners. I think you’ll find there is some sort of unspoken past resentment. If you want to keep humiliating yourself with profuse apologies which won’t alter her mindset, carry on. She sounds like some kind of feminazi drama queen. Facebook always causes arguments. I personally would block her on Facebook if she’s chosen to unfriend you. Knickers to her.

Lolarose4 Sun 29-Sep-19 12:47:14

You sound lovely and caring . Complete over reaction to what you put on Fbook you were just being kind . Sounds like my sister in law nasty bitch .You can’t be nice to people that are like this believe me I have tried . Just ignore and don’t feel guilty you haven’t done anything wrong .

love0c Sun 29-Sep-19 12:54:13

Please be very careful when talking to your son. The reason being it will be very difficult to talk without even a hint of disapproval about your sons' partner. If he questions anything and you need to add or justify I feel he may just pick up on some disapproval and you will find yourself in a hole. I have found this out so often. I have then been accused of all sorts! The saying 'attack first is the surest form of defence'. So please be careful. You are already feeling very vulnerable and will hurt very easily.

GillT57 Sun 29-Sep-19 12:57:36

So sorry to hear about your dog, that must have been so traumatic for you, my dog does that, runs off with her ball, and then dashes back to drop it at my feet to throw it; the thought of finding her with the ball stuck in her throat is horrific. As to your DS's partner, as many have advised, don't try to be friends with her, she does sound a very controlled person, just keep it polite as you are, and don't let her spoil your lovely relationship with your son. Your priority here is keeping your relationship with your DS and training your new puppy!