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How much did you or should you know about adult child’s divorce?

(34 Posts)
Nanamar Wed 20-May-20 14:46:26

I think I need a slap upside of the head because I’m plagued by my wish that I knew more details about DS’s and DDIL’s decision to divorce after 5 years. We’ve been told the decision is mutual and it’s amicable and it seems to be so far, although quarantine has added pressure I’m sure. We have a darling 4 year old GS and his parents insist they’re going to appropriately co-parent him. I know that our DS’s depression is a stressor on the relationship and I know that they bought a home that was too much for them, had their child by IVF, moved across the country, moved back, son was out of work d/t being in treatment for depression - all in the span of 5 years. My DIL has said that they are different people, and that she cannot trust him but that trust issue has to do only with their marriage, doesn’t affect anything else, our DS has said they’ve tried counseling but they are just unhappy in the marriage and says there was no infidelity. Why can’t I accept the fact that I may never know all the reasons? I accept I cannot fix it but I’m still troubled.

GagaJo Wed 20-May-20 14:52:28

Any one of those things could cause marital problems. I'd say you've got a good understanding already.

SueDonim Wed 20-May-20 14:53:25

It must be very sad to witness but it really isn’t your place to know the ins and outs of your son’s divorce. He may tell you all that he feels you should be aware of but he isn’t bound to give you any detail. He’s an adult and is entitled to his privacy.

You will just have to adjust to the new normal, maybe considering how you might have felt to have a parent involved in your marriage.

Pantglas2 Wed 20-May-20 15:00:14

You’ve been given the necessary info, anything more would be prying and to no good purpose. Let them muddle their way through amicably and be supportive to both in words and deeds. Even if your thoughts are different!

MissAdventure Wed 20-May-20 15:06:36

I'm not sure hearing the details would help, really.

It would be awful to hear things about your son's failings as a husband/lover, surely? (and no doubt he has some, the same as everyone)

AGAA4 Wed 20-May-20 15:45:03

Reasons for divorce are a private thing between the couple.

It is a sad and difficult time for them.

cornergran Wed 20-May-20 15:58:19

nanamar, it’s a human instinct to want to understand but you know this isn’t yours to understand. Having been in the same situation I know initially I thought understanding would help me. Gradually I came to realise knowing details wouldn't change the outcome and actually the details weren’t mine to understand Your son and daughter in law have made a mutual decision, no matter if their reasons are different, it’s just two paths that get to the same place. Congratulations to them both for remaining amicable. It sounds as if you have a good relationship with them so, if you can, let go of ‘why’ and concentrate on being neutrally supportive to both of them . That’s challenge enough I think but really worth it. I hope you feel more content soon.

BlueBelle Wed 20-May-20 16:10:04

It’s just not our business, I think remembering back I probably told my parents the least details possible
my youngest has parted after 19 years marriage I have my own thoughts as to what has happened but she hasn’t discussed it with me and I wouldn’t really expect her to
When she told me she said I don’t really want to discuss it and I said ok but you know I m here if you change your mind ....she hasn’t ..

Hetty58 Wed 20-May-20 16:16:00

It sounds like you know quite enough. They've decided not to continue their marriage. They both have new opportunities to be their true selves and maybe meet somebody new.

It's not bad news - certainly far better than staying in an inadequate marriage. Parents tend to want to see their children 'settled' whereas many people are happier single.

Nanamar Wed 20-May-20 16:26:11

Thanks so much - your wise words and shared experiences are very helpful going to take a screen shot of these responses and keep them handy in my phone photos to read when needed.

Hithere Wed 20-May-20 16:54:15

As much as they are willing to share

There is also the possibility that you are given all the explanations in the world but you do not agree with the decisions made.

Chewbacca Wed 20-May-20 17:10:40

I think it stems from when our AC were little. If anything went wrong in their world, we found out what the problem was and we could usually "make it right" for them. Once they're fully fledged, independent adults, we just can't sort out their problems anymore. But the maternal instinct in some of us is overpoweringly strong and we still have that basic instinct to "get to the bottom of it and get it sorted out". The trick is accepting we can't.

TerriT Wed 20-May-20 17:57:49

Just be there for both of them. They have been through a great deal ,especially ivf which I’m told is an enormous strain financially and emotionally.
As a parent we want our kids to be happy and it’s hard to not be able to help when they aren’t. But if they are unhappy together then wasting their lives livening like that has no point. Be on hand with practical help if asked but if not asked in any way then I’d advise you to stay out of it. No one,absolutely no one knows what goes on between couples . What things look like onthe surface are often far from what Is actually going on between people.

agnurse Wed 20-May-20 18:45:57


I agree 100%. This is why I always say that a parent should never get involved in an AC's relationship, and an AC should never ask them to get involved.

A parent's instinct is to protect a child. That's okay. That's normal. That's what parents do. But it also means that a parent is not an objective third party to a dispute involving a child.

Aepgirl Thu 21-May-20 09:09:40

What more do you need to know Nanamar? I think you should concentrate on the well-being of your grandson. He’s the one who will suffer most.

Leolady73 Thu 21-May-20 09:11:15

I’m so disappointed with my grown grandchildren as they haven’t been in touch during the lockdown, except when I’ve initiated it. Three are local and three live in Another county I am seriously thinking of leaving them out of my will. Has anybody else felt this?

Americanpie Thu 21-May-20 09:27:19

I point blank refused to tell my Mum any details of why I had left my husband after 20 years. She had been very stressed during my brother's divorce and the subsequent fall out. My Mum actually thanked me later for not having dumped my problems on her.

jaylucy Thu 21-May-20 09:45:48

Sorry, I don't think that it is any of your business!
From the info you have given, which quite honestly hold more than enough reasons why a couple would split up, it seems to me as if you are trying to apportion blame to one side or another. It very rarely is 100% one person or another at fault - both usually could and should have done something, if they had wanted to .
Just leave it. Your place now is to be supportive for both sides (yes I did say both).
I refused to tell my mother exactly what had happened in my marriage, beyond the fact that my ex no longer loved me enough to want to be married to me.
What happens between a couple stays between a couple in my book.

Froglady Thu 21-May-20 09:58:42

I don't recall my mother knowing very much about my divorce at all. I think I just said that we were going to get a divorce and that was it. We're not a family that talks much about sensitive things to start with so I wouldn't have thought about talking it over with either of my parents or my two sisters. Maybe the fact that we didn't live near other helped with that.
If your son wants you to know anything else, either now or in the future, he will talk to you. In a way, it isn't your business and he is an adult and I think you have to learn to let go of this one or it could maybe push you and your son apart. You may not be expressing your feelings to your son, but he might be able to pick up that there's something bothering you and that might lead you to situations that are upsetting for both of you and an awkwardness between you.

Missiseff Thu 21-May-20 10:14:02

Sounds like you've got plenty of reasons there already.

annodomini Thu 21-May-20 10:15:09

I was distraught to learn about my DS and DiL's split. I was not kept in the dark about the reasons and had to accept that it was going to happen. They had arranged to take me with them and the children on holiday on France, before they had decided to separate but the atmosphere on that trip was difficult. I wasn't about to take sides and both were able to talk to me. It made it easier for them to have me with them. Eventually it all worked out for the best. They had an amicable arrangement. She kept the house and shared the equity; he has his own house not far away. My GD lives with him and GS with her. Both are well balanced teenagers. And my DiL is still my good friend.

crazyH Thu 21-May-20 10:18:00

I knew that my daughter was not happy in the marriage - although she never complained too much. She was a golf widow. He spent most weekends on the golf course and she was left to keep her children entertained. They had nothing in common.
I tried to warn her before she married him. But she was in love with him and would not listen .
She divorced him, but has not found anyone yet. I hope she will find someone who will love her and give her the attention she deserves.

NannyG123 Thu 21-May-20 10:20:06

My son got divorced recently, I didn't know reason why. He know I'm always here if he wants to talk. That's his decision. Being truthful they have both met someone else now, Both seem happy, his 13yr old son. Is welcomed by both new partners, that's what I care about most.

CassieJ Thu 21-May-20 10:20:40

I have been divorced and told my parents that we were splitting and that was it. It is up to the couple as to how and if they let people know the reason no one else's.

My parents were sad about it, but they never questioned my reasoning's as they trust me to know what I want.

It really isn't any of your business as to what has happened, just be there for them and your grandchild and respect their choices.

Craftycat Thu 21-May-20 10:21:24

Never mind WHY they are splitting- they have their reasons.
Just be there for them both & under no circumstances take sides.
Been there - done this & my son & his wife are now very good friends & the children are very happy. They take them out together & even have had a holiday together but they have no intention of getting together again.
Just offer your unconditional support to them both.
It takes time but just be there if either ever needs babysitting or just a cup of tea & a chat.