Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Son seperated and I feel betrayed

(40 Posts)
Elaine15 Thu 13-Feb-20 23:03:15

My son was married for a number of years. They had a baby boy who is now 3 and a half. He worked from home for the last 5 years of the marriage and during this time he became my grandson's main carer. This involved my son going to him during the night when he was upset , getting him dressed and giving him his breakfast each day and bathing him each night ready for my DIL getting in from work. He was also responsible for all the domestic duties including cooking. Consequently my son and grandson developed an extremely strong bond. Unfortunately partly due to stresses in the relationship with his wife and my son's addictive personality he started to gamble 'on line' Unfortunately he also gambled all of their savings and got them into serious debt. He eventually confessed and understandably his wife threw him out and he moved in with my husband and I. We were absolutely devastated and provided support to him and our DIL. This included clearing a substantial amount of his debt and giving her
thousands of pounds to help her move on.
Our son has received counselling to help him overcome his addiction. I also had counselling to help me come to terms with what he has done and to cope with the impact it has had on the wider family. He has now moved into a lovely house and has his life back on track. He has told us that he will always be grateful for our help and says he is guilt ridden about what he has done to his wife and child. Consequently he has submitted to all her demands relating to access to his son. Prior to the separation I shared childcare with her mother but since they split up her mother looks after him most of the time. My son does have some access based on negotiations with his ex. During negotiations and in an effort to placate his ex he has basically taken my access to my grandson as his access time and left his ex with all the weekends and her mother with her normal days. In other words there has been no impact on my DILs family only on my 'one to one' time that my grandson has always had with me. There is also no opportunity for my grandson to see his cousins ( who he loves dearly) on our side of the family or to be with the wider family on any weekend.
When I tried to discuss this with my son he told me to negotiate my access with his ex as it's not his place to do this and basically shouted at me about it. His ex and I have always got on quite well but due to the circumstances of the separation she does not want to meet me on a one to one to discuss anything. I had (and still have) great sympathy for her but she has always been quite a difficult person to interact with so I can't see this situation changing.
I am bitterly disappointed in my son's actions but also proud at the way he has moved on. My son also pays a substantial amount of child maintenance each month. What I am finding hurtful is the fact that he has done his best to ensure there is no impact on her parents when it comes to having one to one time with my grandson but has no problem using my time with him. I feel really hurt about his lack of thought for his own family when we have done nothing but support him. I am also disappointed that he had not fought to get greater levels of access to his son bearing in mind the strong bond that they have. I apologise if this seems trivial to some but I am struggling to deal with this issue after what has been such a difficult year. Any advice would be appreciated.

rosecarmel Thu 13-Feb-20 23:28:39

I can only imagine that it was difficult for your son to negotiate his time with his child, so doubt it was an oversight but rather a priority for him and his ex to work out their co-parenting schedule -

I understand how and why you feel the way you do but wouldn't press- When you gave, you gave with a whole heart, not with expectations -

Hithere Thu 13-Feb-20 23:29:39

May i ask how long is your son sober?

Your son did not do the right thing on asking you to talk to his ex so you could see your gc.
He is the father and he deals with that.
Right now, you can still see your gc while gc is in your son's custody time?
Could he also facilitate playdates or a relationship with his extended family (cousins, etc)?

Does your son pay child support as the law calculates or another amount?

Your son has committed the sin of financial infidelity and that his devastating.

Babyshark Thu 13-Feb-20 23:37:07

I’m really sorry for what you’ve been through and can understand why you’re upset.

I would only note that if your grandson is living with mum, having childcare by gran and having visits with dad, I can see how also having specific visits with you also would just be too much for the little boy. I think at this time as hard as it may be ( and unfair considering the set up with mgm) you having 1:1. With him just isn’t a priority.

Can you see your grandson when he sees his dad and maintain the relationship that way? The fact that it isn’t 1:1 doesn’t need to impact on your bond with him.

I would worry this little one is being pulled in a lot of directions by everyone concerned about their rights in all of this when really, it’s about whatever helps him feel secure. 1:1 time as opposed to seeing you with his dad won’t assist this, it could hinder it at this time. Unfortunately due to your sons actions he cannot be the decision maker on this, it’s his mum.

You have my sympathy and it sounds as though you have been used to an extent to get everyone back on track.

Elaine15 Fri 14-Feb-20 00:34:52

Thank you for your prompt replies. You are right when you say that my grandson is the priority and he has eventually adapted to the new arrangement after some initial trauma. I do sometimes have the opportunity to see him when my son has him and I do enjoy and appreciate my time with him.
I think I was venting because I have given so much emotionally and financially to my son this year without conditions attached that I am starting to feel used by him. You have reminded me that what's important is that my grandson is happy and is not pulled in too many different directions at this difficult time. Thank you for reading my rather long winded message and your supportive comments.

Summerlove Fri 14-Feb-20 01:04:05

I’m sorry that you were in the situation. It sounds incredibly difficult.

I hope in time that your son will find a way to get more access to his own child

Summerlove Fri 14-Feb-20 01:04:37

Sorry, I hit post too soon.

I hope that if your son gets more access he will have more time to see your grandchild

Babyshark Fri 14-Feb-20 07:48:52

I hope that has things settle down a situation naturally arises where you get some more time with your grandson. He will be at an age soon where he can tell mum and dad who he wants to see. I say this as a mum who has been mithered to death to arrange a sleepover for my dd with my mil.

Best of luck.

Greymar Fri 14-Feb-20 08:31:25

Mmm, tricky, if your son has addiction issues and you have rescued. Perhaps you have inadvertently set up something.

Jillybird Fri 14-Feb-20 10:03:28

Oh that's tricky. I can feel your pain. I'm imagining how I'd feel in your shoes - same as you, I guess. I think I'd tell myself I gave freely, with love and no expectations. It's really tough for you, but I think you must take a deep breath and move on with your own life and no anticipation of change. Know that you have done everything you could in the circumstances and been very generous into the bargain. Breathe, move on and try to enjoy other parts of your life. Sadness, bitterness and disappointment will only damage you and not help the little boy. Time to give yourself a bit of love. X

M0nica Fri 14-Feb-20 10:04:37

A year is not very long and problems like your son's can take a long time to play out. Quick results, do not necessarily mean instant bounce back and gratitude.

Your son has done really well to be able to kick his addiction so quickly and manage to negotiate reasonable access to his son, but that doesn't mean that the problem is worked through and gone. It may be several years before your son has completely processed the depths to which he sunk and his climb out of it.

And believe it or not, try and believe it, gratitude can be an immense burden for the recipient to process. To have to accept that in adulthood, a married man with a child, he so messed it up that he became a child again dependent on his mother to get himself out of trouble can be an immense burden of shame on his shoulders.

It is nice to think, that he has bounced back after a year of problems and will immediately be full of gratitude for all you did, but he has huge scars on his psyche and they are still red, raw and bleeding. Open appreciation of all you did for him is still someway down the line. Be compassionate and patient with him.

Elaine15 Fri 14-Feb-20 10:21:03

Thank you to for your thought provoking comments. I have found all the feedback really useful and it has helped me focus on what is important. Hopefully as time passes things will improve further and the adult relationships will become less fraught and eventually stabilise. In response to the first lady who mentioned child maintenance. My son is actually paying more child maintenance than he is legally obliged to. Luckily he has continued to work and since leaving the relationship has not gambled.

paddyanne Fri 14-Feb-20 10:22:28

You say you gave "without conditions" so you must put the giving away and not factor it into the situation.There has been a marriage breakdown ,your GS is at the centre of it and he must be the main consideration.For now he needs to get accustomed to the new situation he's in.That often appears to be better than it is from a distance .Give the wee family time to adjust ,its hard but I've been there with both my children having breakups and the children took a lot longer than a year to come to terms with it,in fact 10 years down the line one GD is still having issues about her Dad who she adores leaving them .I hope it works out well for you all time is the key .

polnan Fri 14-Feb-20 10:24:28

It can be very hard being a grandmum,, we are all different, have different issues,, so I can only pray for you andyours.

Annaram1 Fri 14-Feb-20 10:27:25

Having developed a gambling addiction after my husband died I can sympathise to some extent with your son. I am gradually paying back what I owe but am still £15000 in debt. It is not easy to kick an addiction.
You have done a wonderful job in helping your son and I am sorry you are feeling used. I hope all works out well for you this year and that you get to see your little grandson more often.

Scottiebear Fri 14-Feb-20 10:30:39

This is a heartbreaking situation in which you have found yourselves. I think you have done wonderfully to get through things with hopefully getting your son back on the straight and narrow. I think perhaps you are underestimating the effect this may have had on your DILs family. They have had to support their daughter through a very difficult emotional time. It may have also affected your GSs behaviour. Its still early days and they may just be getting into a settled routine and be afraid to complicate things. Could you send a really nice letter to your DIL saying how sorry you are shes had to go through this and that you hope shes ok. Leave your son out of the equation. Say that you dont want to put any pressure on her, but when she feels able, could you come to some agreement so you could occasionally see your GS as you miss him terribly. I think, rightly or wrongly, everything is going to have to be on her terms. I wish you luck.

sunnybean60 Fri 14-Feb-20 10:37:43

I understand how upsetting this has all been for you and your need to vent your frustrations. That is exactly what we are here for its a safe place to say how your feeling. Hoping time makes a difference whichever way things go. My access with my lovely grandson is changing because he lives quite far away and he is about to start school this September and therefore he won't staying over anywhere as much as he used too. In fact no where near as much but it's something I know I need to adjust to and am also grategul for the time I still have with him as do many grandparents sometimes have contact denied.

trisher Fri 14-Feb-20 10:37:49

I can only agree with what has been posted so far. You are feeling very hurt but I'm sure your son is trying his best to make amends to his child and ex-wife and perhaps hasn't managed to cope with your feelings as well. As things settle down you may find that things change and you will have more contact. Perhaps you could contact your ex DIL and suggest that you would like to arrange a special time out with him during the school holidays occasionally if she would agree. If you really needed to talk to someone Family Mediation do deal with GPs as well, but I think you would be better just offering to take him out. It won't be the same as regular contact but it may open the door to more.

moggie57 Fri 14-Feb-20 10:38:33

how about getting some advise like a meeting with all involved.or maybe writing a letter .missing out the bit seeing you paid the debts you have rights over her child. things need to settle a bit.....write her a letter .not a text.

Grannytwoshoes Fri 14-Feb-20 10:59:34

Hi. .. I’ve read and re read your post and I’m so sorry you have been through hell and back. Would I be right in saying that it is your sons actions (shouting at you) that really triggered this off?
I too have a son with whom I have been through the trials of addiction.. alcohol. ... and thank God he has come out the other side like your son. As time goes on I find it very difficult when I try and talk to him that he can get quite aggressive. I then become wary of what I say just in case I trigger off that slippery path again. I am now having to try and learn to step back and curb my critical and judgemental attitude. All because I care. It’s so hard,
It’s early days yet and your son is well has somewhere to live and is earning... take each day at a time and I’m sure he will come round to seeing how much you have done for him and what you have had to give up. Like me try to step back.. we can’t change them but we can ourselves.. so they say!! Actually that’s a saying I find very aggravating! But I’m trying and I’m sure it will ring a bell with some Grans!! Good luck

Pumpkinpie Fri 14-Feb-20 11:08:07

What a sad state of affairs. You sound as if you really love your family and have moved mountains to do your best.
Sometimes circumstances get in the way and there are no winners.
I think further counselling might help you express this anger you feel before it eats away at you. Your mental well-being is important.
Stepping back from your son emotionally maybe helpful, let him stand on his own whilst you take time to find some other joy in your life.
Maybe with counselling and some distance you will in the future be able to talk to him/ he may realise he needs to act more proactively to enable his son to better his family relationships.
At the moment thoughI don’t think much more can be achieved. Show your Ex DIL you are still there, with birthdays etc and can be trusted to not gloss over your sons actions.
Maybe a 2 pronged long term patient approach will help?

Buffy Fri 14-Feb-20 11:08:35

Hard as it may seem, initially it has to be what is right for your grandson and his mother.

endlessstrife Fri 14-Feb-20 11:15:09

I feel really sad for you, and you did so well in supporting your son and his family. However, and sorry to say this, your daughter in law and her family have been the innocent victims in this, and there is no reason why they should suffer from it. You are innocent too, but he is your son, and unfortunately, you and your husband would be first on the list to support him. It would be the same for any of us. I think all you can do is offer your help as and where needed, and then just wait. The dust needs to settle, and hopefully it won’t be too long, when your grandson starts asking about you. All the best.

Nitpick48 Fri 14-Feb-20 11:34:59

I imagine the other gran might appreciate help with child care - as much as we love them it is often tiring. Maybe just let her know your DIL your love hasn’t changed and you’ll be there if they need help. Don’t mention “rights” - we don’t have rights to our grandchildren unfortunately, and that will just get her back up. Send little presents maybe? Time is a great healer and hopefully she’ll come round. Always keep the door of communication open with friendship and love. If your son has said to negotiate with her I would definitely try that, even though it might seem it’s “his job”. I would imagine he’s feeling very guilty and doesn’t want to rock the boat. Unfortunately the DIL holds all the cards in this type of thing, so it’s her you have to stay on good terms with.

Jishere Fri 14-Feb-20 11:39:29

Elaine15 have you thought about writing to her saying how you miss your grandson and if she needs you to baby sit you are always willing.
I have a feeling that sadly she may feel giving you access will lead to your son seeing more of him and it sounds like she doesn't want that.
It all sounds like she's hurt and trying to move on and subsequently your son is being punished whilst feeling guilty for destroying the family and sadly you are as well.
Grand parents do have rights it would just be costly to fight for them.