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Children divorcing

(5 Posts)
GrandmaH Tue 10-Apr-12 14:25:38

My son told me some months ago that he & his wife are getting a divorce. It is now past the stage where they might change their minds & I am devastated. I love my DS & DIL & they have 3 small children who are the most adorable & well- adjusted children. There is little animosity between them now- I'm sure there has been- & they are doing it all as 'nicely' as possible.
I thought they were the perfect couple & it has hit me really hard. I don't live close to them but I can get there in under an hour & have always gone over once a week to see the children & they stay with us at weekends sometimes so I have a good relationship with them.
I would really welcome any comments from those of you who have been through this. I really feel as if all I had thought was right with the world has crashed down. I understand divorce- I was divorced & so were my parents but when the children concerned were a lot older- I was 16. I know how children suffer & I cannot bear my own grandchildren to be hurt.
How did other Grans cope with this?

Carol Tue 10-Apr-12 14:45:40

It's tough GrandmaH and your DIL needs to feel she hasn't alienated you in this process - it's so important to stay as friendly and supportive as you can, if she will let you (my ex-DIL wanted open hostility). Keep doing as many normal things as you can with your grandchildren and if you are able to keep contact with her side of the family and remain friendly, that really does help.

If and when another relationship develops, there's a fine balance to tread, being welcoming to the new person and not making them feel you prefer the first partner, but also remembering the first partner might feel ousted if you are friendly to the new person - bit of a minefield!

I have found with my daughter and her ex that he has wanted to distance himself, but I always remember his birthday and send joint Christmas presents for him and the children for when they are staying with him, and I send him supportive texts, even when I know he's being difficult about shared parenting. I don't intervene, but try to be helpful in the hope he will have a conscience and improve. Her new partner sees me being friendly towards the ex, and I have said a couple of times to him that I want things to remain on a friendly footing, but this doesn't mean I am cosying up to the ex - her new partner of a year is delightful and much more suitable in my opinion, and I hope he feels secure about how we relate to each other. As a couple they have invited her ex round to BBQs and the children's birthday parties, but he has declined so far - they will keep inviting him.

Having been in two different situations where there has been friendliness and hostility, I've found the obvious - the children are happier and able to be themselves when they don't have to take sides and can see their parents coming together in their best interests. The first year after such separations isn't usually a good gauge of how things are going to be, as both parties will move on and the split won't be as new and raw. Good luck flowers

petallus Tue 10-Apr-12 14:57:57

When my DD's first marriage broke up it was with much acrimony and disturbing goings on, including stalking, threats and so on. Despite this I tried to stay on good terms with my ex sil, not least because two of the older children decided to stay with him.

When DD remarried there were further problems in that new sil resented me being helpful/in touch with previous sil.

Hopefully you won't have such a problem because your son and dil are on reasonably good terms. I found I adjusted to the new situation after a while. Grieving at what has been lost is to be expected.

Good luck!

GrandmaH Wed 11-Apr-12 09:50:14

Thank you both- I hadn't even thought about what could happen when one of them finds another partner- it is a total minefield.
I just pray they stay on good terms & obviously the main priority has to be the children's peace of mind.
I suspect we have some rocky months ( years?) ahead.

Thank you again

tanith Wed 11-Apr-12 10:07:51

One thing I'd add is to try hard as it might be to stay neutral in conversations with either of them, listen nod and empathise but don't voice your opinions that might be misconstrued if repeated to the other party at some point in the future.. hopefully things will continue in the friendly vain but you just never know when things can get so emotional.