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

(35 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.

Nanamar Thu 21-May-20 22:02:40

Again thank you all! As I said in my first post, I think (really I know) that I needed to be slapped on the upside of the head and not worry about the reasons for their decisions - and just trust their judgement. Many of you have fortunately reminded me
of how much I disliked it if/when my parents questioned or expressed doubt about decisions I made. That was definitely a reminder that I needed!

Txquiltz Thu 21-May-20 16:56:52

DS divorced and chose to tell me the basic reason with none of the details. I am glad to not know all the messy parts. He has recently remarried and is truly happy. More happy than I have ever seen him. I am just glad to enjoy the good parts....the bad parts are history. Let your son handle the details in the way that is right for him.

Rabbitgran Thu 21-May-20 15:52:12

It can be difficult to know to what do for the best. It is usually good to be supportive and non-judgemental and not interfere or require details that aren't freely given. Sometimes though parents are told about unacceptable behaviour/coercion during the relationship. Then the adult child seems to change his/her mind, resuming the relationship/contact and is maybe at risk or has children at risk. What to do then? I am speaking of psychological coercion and risk not physical violence. It's heartbreaking and very hard to know how to behave responsibly as a parent in this situation. No good asking advice even within the wider family, it makes everyone uncomfortable.

GardenofEngland Thu 21-May-20 14:21:20

I would keep my feelings worries etc to myself. My daughter broke up with her fiance after over 5 years. I loved that lad and I thought they would marry and live happy ever after. She was the one to initiate the breakup and I could not help but blame her, not directly but asking too many questions, and this caused a massive rift between us for over 4 years. She is happy now with another lovely partner who we did not meet for 3 years as she had moved abroad with him and it is only since she had a baby and returned to the UK we are now reconciled. I do wonder what did happened but know now to keep my thoughts to myself.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 21-May-20 11:36:44

I think you should only know what they are prepared to tell you, and sometimes not even that.

If you want to continue to see you son's wife after the divorce, I would say the less you know the better.

They are adults and have made a hard decision.

Be willing to listen, but be careful how you answer direct questions.

JaneRn Thu 21-May-20 11:30:08

It sounds brutal to say its none of your business, but at the moment it isn't. I was very close to my mother but I would not have expected to confide in her all the details - some might be very personal or even embarrassing - of why my husband and I had decided, mutually, to divorce, and I know she would not have expected me to. You have such an important role to play, especially for your little grandson, so just bide your time, make it clear you are not taking sides - difficult as your daughter is involved - and perhaps later you may learn why this marriage had to end.

Sometimes it is very hard being a mother, isn't it, but we cannot live our children's lives for them, or make everything perfect much as sometimes we wish we could!

icanhandthemback Thu 21-May-20 10:52:27

I'd be glad you don't know the ins and outs of their marriage. My SIL and DD have both discussed the intimate details of their problems and now I am just waiting for the axe to fall. After venting for about an hour, my SIL asked me to be there whilst he told my DD that he wanted out because of her faults. I gently declined and I am so glad I did because a week later my daughter told me a few things which put things in a very different light. At that point, I vowed to take a step back and hoped they wouldn't involve me further but I do worry that they are stumbling on unhappily with ill effects on the children. I can't even bear to think of the battle about custody which would take place if they were to split.
The only thing I would urge my children to do in the case of a split is to do their best for the children and, no matter how much their spouse has hurt them, to try to put that to one side as far as the children are concerned.

TrendyNannie6 Thu 21-May-20 10:39:23

Oh gawd, why do you need to know the ins and outs of your sons divorce! Why is it your business? It is very sad when our AC relationships come to an end! It happens,

Jani31 Thu 21-May-20 10:32:26

We separated in 1997, OH had a fling or 2 when working in America for 3 months. We went through the usual counselling and Relate with a free half hour with a lawyer via Citizens Advice Bureau who gave us options for an amicable parting. Divorce, legal separation or a parting. We split houses, he moved out, girls were in their teens and it all seemed so easy. By 2011 when he died, I was still the executor of his will. I am now his widow but his works pension is 1/6th of what I should have as we were separated, so annoying.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.