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(91 Posts)
Lou2019 Thu 19-Sep-19 16:08:22

Wife of 36 years, happily married, three grown children, daughter 30 with two children, son 27 with fiancee and son 25 with fiancee it all sounds great doesn't it? We are a close family with mostly good relationships but oh how BAD the bad relationships have become. The youngest son's fiancee hates us, all of us, after living in our home for two years rent free because she couldn't live with her mother she is marrying our son on New Years Eve. Over the last two years our son who was working for the family business left, she had bigger and better things in store for him, he's suffered a lot with depression in the past and social anxiety. She pushed him into trying a job in the City she wants him to earn more money, it's not enough. Last year he collapsed with epilepsy out of nowhere, (I believe it's stress) , he has had separate terrible disputes with my daughter, her husband and my other son and last but no least me. The consequences of this behaviour are our son has distanced himself from all of us, accusing me of telling him he is weird and abnormal, but we have to accept that this is the girl he is choosing to marry. So this Friday we are off to family therapy to get to the bottom of it but as a 54 year old woman I am not sure how to behave, the fiancee won't be there, it's just me hubby and our three children. We all used to be such a close family as I am still with my daughter and my other son and both their partners, but I feel terrible day and night as there is something missing. I know I need to let go, and we need to accept our new daughter in law is his choice, how do we remain friendly and polite accepting of the situation?

mcem Thu 19-Sep-19 16:26:50

First, never utter or read/believe the awful saying that appears here whenever there is friction between mother and Dil!
You know the one "A daughter's a daughter for all of her life,
A son is a son ...............etc"

I haven't experienced your situation but do congratulate you on taking steps to help the whole family. Good luck!

g steps

love0c Thu 19-Sep-19 17:16:13

Whatever you feel, however you feel, just except the girl/woman your son has chosen. Believe me nothing good will come out of questioning, arguing or indeed anything else. The fact that you have already had such upset and heartache tells you all you need to know. Sorry, but I am trying to save you anymore grief. The sooner you accept and find ways around the situation the better for you. You either put up and shut up or risk being estranged from this son. Please do not go there, do not test it out. You can work around and accept. There will be grandchildren you will want to see and love, There is only acceptance if you want this, Stay strong, keep your family together.

annodomini Thu 19-Sep-19 17:17:12

I agree with mcem 100%. As mum of two now middle-aged sons, I'm lucky enough to have had great friendships with both DiLs. Though now one of them is divorced from DS1, I'm still on very friendly terms with her.
You have been extremely unlucky with your son's fiancée. She doesn't sound the sort of woman I'd d want for a friend, far less a DiL. I do hope the family therapy helps you all to work out your differences. It would be terrible to lose your son to a disastrous relationship. Fingers crossed for you.

Barmeyoldbat Thu 19-Sep-19 17:35:02

Yes I agree with mcim, the therapy sounds a great idea. All I can say is don't give up on your son. It speaks volumes that she couldn't get on with her own mother and she also sounds very controlling.

My son married a horrible controlling woman but we have managed to stay friends through thick and thin. After 24 years he is divorced, still friends with her and I get on much better with her now that she is divorced.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Sep-19 17:45:39

My brother's relationship with mum went to pot as soon as he was married. Mum could see what was happening. They divorced after 27 years----after mum had died, though she wouldn't have been surprised.
The one son that they had has nothing to do with his dad ( my brother )

Davidhs Thu 19-Sep-19 18:15:41

My sincere sympathy, my family are very good but my brother has 4 nightmare sons who seem to get everything wrong.
His approach is let them do their own thing and pick up the pieces when it goes wrong, they are still his sons. He and his wife have long since given up trying to influence them, they get on with their own lives. Leaving the younger generation to get on with theirs.

paddyann Thu 19-Sep-19 18:18:58

maybe she thought YOU were controlling him.Living together and working together isn't always a great start for a new relationship so maybe think about that.
Maybe your other children and their partners are happy to live in that kind of situation but she didn't like others being in charge of her and their lives .
He IS an adult so he must make his own choices whether or not its OK with you .Take a step back and let them get on with their life their way and she might come round and you can be close to your son again ,but dont try to come between them or you'll be the one who loses .

agnurse Thu 19-Sep-19 19:03:31

Your son is an adult now. You need to stay out of his choices.

You don't need to like his intended, but you do at least need to be civil towards her, if only for the sake of your son. Unless you raised him to be completely helpless, which I doubt, he is capable of making his own decisions. They aren't married yet and by the sounds of it there aren't any children, so if he is not happy, he has little that ties him to her.

His relationships to his siblings are not really any of your business either if they are adults.

Gonegirl Thu 19-Sep-19 19:44:27

If ever there was a case for a son to go no contact with his whole family, I think this must it. It all sounds so suffocating.

Are you really going to "family therapy" with your adult children?! How odd.

Take a step back and let go.

Sara65 Thu 19-Sep-19 20:09:31

I was a daughter-in-law entering into a family business, where it seemed nobody talked about anything else, and I was always on the outside. I think the situation was saved by my very astute father in law, who I always got on very well with.

Forty years plus years later, I have three children working in the same business, and it’s mostly what they talk about all the time, both girls are in relationships, but their partners are not involved, our son is single, but if he marries, I’ll worry that however much we try to make her welcome, she’ll feel excluded

BlueBelle Thu 19-Sep-19 20:35:33

Let your son and the woman he loves get on with their lives do you need to be so involved? They lived with you two years and that was kind to give them a start but it sounds as if you are over protecting this son and you think the girlfriend is pushing him too much but that might be what he needs your son has now distanced himself so perhaps he thinks there’s too much interference going on as well
You’re miffed because he’s left the family business and the close knit unit you think you should still have and you blame her for ‘taking him away and pushing him into a different form of work’
Let them live and breathe for themselves if it all goes pear shaped he will have learnt a vital lesson if not you may have learnt you can’t control an adult child’s life
I have no understanding why you are all going for counselling (except the two people who are involved sounds like a family ganging up to control the prodigal son)

BradfordLass72 Fri 20-Sep-19 09:26:03

What do you want most, a good relationship with your son, or your own way?

I am sure you know that if you truly want the former then you have to let him lead his own life, without interference, even if that means being pushed into a breakdown. Heartbreaking though this may be for you.

Going to family counselling may help you and the rest of the family, but you would be unwise to then use it as a rod to beat him with. It doesn't matter how many people agree with you - it is his life.

GrannySomerset Fri 20-Sep-19 09:32:45

My very wise MiL told me long after we were married that she had vowed to love whoever her precious only son chose to marry because she couldn’t afford not to. Something to think about?

magshard20 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:17:45

10 years ago, our only son married a girl who was 6 years older than him, and acquired 2 stepdaughters. They have since had a daughter of their own. My DIL is very distant from us, if we visit she stays upstairs with a headache (funny how they appear when we go to them). We arrange to meet them at a local restaurant and only son and granddaughter arrive.
It really makes me and OH feel very uncomfortable. Son gave up working to look after daughter while she was at uni for 3 years, she is now a qualified nurse and has a good job, but means son is still a househusband ( which to be fair he enjoys ). As the saying goes it takes all sorts to make the world go round......or something like that !!

Magrithea Fri 20-Sep-19 10:20:01

Be guided by the therapist at the session.

Good luck

jaylucy Fri 20-Sep-19 10:20:24

It sounds like a good idea to have a therapy session as it may air and go part way to the problems that have obviously been festering in your family for some time.
At the age of 25, you would really expect your son to be adult enough to make his own decisions and I think it is sad that you blame everything that has gone wrong for him recently on his fiancee.
As she has lived with you for 2 years, I would have thought that you would have got to know her quite well. Have you ever thought that her "pushing" him into leaving the family company and moving into a different field of work may be at least partly his idea? maybe he felt that as the younger son in the family business that his thoughts and ideas were being ignored and was being treated like just any other worker?
Or maybe by leaving , he will be getting a decent enough wage to be able to buy his own house etc?
It's a great shame that you are so anti the fiancee, with possibly no concrete evidence and I'd guess that whoever he was engaged to would not be treated favourably either.
There seems to be this idea that all families should move around together en mass forever, with no disagreements marring the picture perfect life. This is something of Hollywood movies and rarely happens for real without a lot of give and take and compromise.
Just be pleased and very proud that you have raised a son that can be independent enough to strike out to make his own life and accept the girl he loves may not be your choice, but is his.

GG65 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:22:56

How do you know that your son’s fiancé pushed him into leaving the family business and starting a new career? Did he tell you that?

Has your son always suffered from epilepsy or is this recent? You seem to be insinuating that your son’s fiancé is the cause of this.

CleoPanda Fri 20-Sep-19 10:26:21

Everyone wants the perfect partner for their child. However no parent could or should make the choice, in my opinion. Maybe his stress is due to his own conflicts? He left the family business; he wants to please his family but is torn by his need to make his own decisions? You see the partner as controlling; he sees her as a breath of fresh air? You don’t say why you think the partner hates you all. Surely not because you took her in for two years? The family counselling sounds like a great idea to me. A chance for everyone to be honest and state their case. At the end of it, you all have the chance to make a fresh start and try to rebuild the good relationships you had. Sometimes having a great relationship does not involve actual closeness, but a more separate, independent but loving situation.

4allweknow Fri 20-Sep-19 10:30:48

As impossible it will seem you have to let your son do what he wants. You are taking steps to address the breakdown of relationships with you and your other family members for which you are to be applauded. Do hope you find some solace in your efforts. If all is as bad with your DS he may well realise how controlling his wife to be is.

knickas63 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:31:16

All those saying such a close relationship is odd. Really? I think family therapy is an excellent idea. It takes a village to raise a child, extended family are very important, and if there are family issues, then therapy could sort out a lot of future problems. The OP may realise that there are faults on both sides during therapy and mend bridges with the DIL, the the son may find out he is being manipulated, or that he or his future wife have deeper issues. It sounds as if he has always had a few issues, and perhaps the expectation of being in the family firm was too much for him, and she has helped him realise his dream? Therapy can help with that. Close families are a boon and not to be seen as weird! A Close family does not have to be interfering or smothering.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:32:32

I’m wondering why you need to be so involved in your sons life he’s an adult, it sounds too claustrophobic for me: this girlfriend soon to be wife probably doesn’t want him to be so tied up in the family business and stand on his own to feet doing something else. Nothing wrong with that, she probably doesn’t want to live n breathe family business, you do need to try n accept his wife to be it’s his choice, just because you don’t like her, she’s the woman he’s chosen to hopefully spend the rest of his life with, going to family therapy with your adult children sounds a bit strange to me, sounds like ganging up to me, I’m obviously very different to you and once my children who are adults of 40.38 36 31 make their own choices in life, sounds to me like you can’t get over the fact he’s left the business, surely he can do what he wants to do with his life

Lizzle10 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:33:19

Am I over reacting ...

My son and his girlfriend are expecting their first child next year and he is busy making plans to move and build a home . Tbh she’s not who I would thought my son would have chosen but if he’s happy so am I . I live 2 1/2 hours drive away as I relocated after my marriage broke down but my son and daughter live back home with their dad . Neither of them are keen on her but I don’t intend to make life awkward I had those issues between my family and my husband and it makes life very miserable . So I’ve happily thrown myself into being an expectant grandmother buying what I can and being supportive . My son doesn’t visit me I met someone new and I think he feels if he doesn’t come and acknowledge it then it doesn’t exist . Not ideal but I’m not arguing I go back as often as I can and stay over in a hotel and spend time with him. It’s an expensive trip but what can you do . So anyway son is buying a flat and hopefully in the future I will be able to stay there when I visit. We were recently talking and he said about me coming down when the baby was born etc and he said the GF is happy for me to visit to see the baby as soon as it’s born but she wants the first 2 weeks alone so I can’t stay I’ll have to return a couple of weeks later to see them . I didn’t expect to stay for days encroaching on their special time but I am a bit hurt that I’m expected to drive down say hello and then disappear . Maybe I’m over sensitive but my daughter is fuming she says my son needs to grow a back bone and stand up for what he wants . We’ve always been very close but I guess it’s time I move aside for his new priorities . Am I just being too soft ?

RonsGranFranksGran Fri 20-Sep-19 10:33:50

100% believe old adage ‘a son is a son until he gets a wife’. There is a good reason behind it. We all need a mum. A girl is getting a mum when she marries but often times a man is. So essentially for a man he is getting a new mum, but he can also sleep with her, which obviously top trumps the normal type!! Those lucky enough to get a sweet, good hearted daughter in law who have had a fabulous relationship with their own mother have absolutely no comprehension of what it is like for the poor mums who get a daughter in law who is jealous of the close relation ship between mum and son. So you could say, easy for them to say! Essentially the plain truth is, if a man loves a woman he is giving ‘anyone up for her’ even his own mother because essentially that wife can meet all his needs (in a way a husband couldn’t for a daughter). My nan (who died in 1981 at 72) had a fantastic relationship with her son’s wife. Her son continued to be a living son because their daughter in law enjoyed being part of the family and encouraged the contacts. When the marriage broke down (she went back to her first childhood sweetheart) my uncle married again. The second wife came from a family that was not close as ours was. She felt threatened by our close family. She wanted him to sever links with his family. The bet result was my nan lost her son, my mum lost her only sibling, her brother. Us kids lost our uncle after already losing our lovely auntie and my nan died a couple of years later. My lovely mum died ten years ago without seeing her brother again. You could say he was he nasty man but he wasn’t he was a lovely man and a lovely son, brother and uncle but when it came to hey lads hey, he did not want to lose another wife. Most men will go along with the wishes of their wife for a peaceful life believing a happy life is is a happy wife. If you don’t like the old adage a son is a son until he gets a wife, add the line ‘unless his wife allows him to continue being a son’ because in my experience that is the long and the short of it. Those that deny the truth of it ought to thank their lucky stars that they have by sheer luck got a daughter in law that puts in the effort to make sure their husband maintains family links and accept it is no special parenting on their part simply but simply pure and fortuitous luck of the draw.

Sb74 Fri 20-Sep-19 10:34:50

I am a mother of two children aged 10 and 12. I am also a DIL. I see both sides. But I think you are maybe more at fault than you realise and family therapy sounds ridiculous I’m afraid. You are no longer the core family unit that you once had and still want. You will always be there for your children but you sound suffocating. Your son is merely growing up. His girlfriend has different views to you and maybe so does your son. He might blame his fiancée to break free from you without hurting you. You expect the same intense relationship as when he was a child but that’s unreasonable. Children grow and find their own way and just because it’s not how you want it doesn’t mean you can decide the dil is evil and that you need to drag your poor son to family therapy where the rest of you have a go at him! It’s all quite strange. You are the one in the wrong. You need to accept he is a grown man. Love him and be there for him but let him and his wife live their life as they choose. They are not out to hurt you. You are just not the centre of your sons life anymore. And rightly so. He will enjoy a good marriage being a loyal husband and you should want that as it will make him happy. I think you are being quite selfish. It’s hard I’m sure but you have to rise above it. Good luck.