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Need strategies to deal with ex-DIL

(37 Posts)
Nanamar Tue 20-Feb-24 23:08:09

For the last two years, my son, his ex, and their son and I have lived together on a property in Southern California with two buildings - a main house and an addition which has a half bath but no kitchen. So my ex DIL lives and works in there while my son and I live in the main house and their son goes back and forth. She shares the main house’s kitchen and shower. I pay the mortgage since they don’t have the funds. The living together was basically out of financial necessity but we all felt it was also good for my DGS not to be shuttled between two houses. Quite abruptly my ex-DIL has decided she and DGS need to move out and find a separate apartment. Part of this decision involves a school they would like him to attend. I knew this situation couldn’t last forever but didn’t expect this so soon. Neither did my son. For example, two months ago she needed to travel to New York to attend a funeral and we mutually decided I’d go along and we’d bring DGS and we could expose him to all the Christmas activities and theater there. We had a lovely time. So now I have whiplash - I feel as if a switch was flipped. Obviously I’m struggling with the changes to come but I know I have no choice. This decision of hers forces my son and me to sell this house since it’s too big and too expensive for just the two of us. I understand her need for autonomy but am having difficulty dealing with her behavior. She will barely speak to me, she’s holing up in her quarters - often sequestered with DGS - not eating the food that I prepare when there’s plenty of all of us. I know I need to keep a positive rapport because I don’t want to lose contact with DGS - he’s my only GC and my husband is dead, I’ve no siblings. How do I handle this??

VioletSky Tue 20-Feb-24 23:16:23

You let her move forward with her life and you move forward with yours

Keep things polite and friendly and make it easy for her and your son to co-parent well

Tinacleaver Tue 20-Feb-24 23:20:02

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Callistemon21 Tue 20-Feb-24 23:21:35

I'm sorry you are having problems and remember you posting before about your DS and DIL splitting up and that your DS suffered with MH problems.

Perhaps your DIL really feels she needs to make a break and to try to stand in her own two feet, make a life for herself and her son.
I do hope you can all move on but thst you will be able to maintain contact with your grandson as you are obviously very close.

Is the housexjust in your name? Is your DIL paying part of your bills? It does sound like a big property; can you all downsize to two smaller properties?

The best way is to try to understand your DIL and why she is doing this and try to maintain an amicable relationship.

Callistemon21 Tue 20-Feb-24 23:22:52

Please excuse typos.

Tinacleaver Tue 20-Feb-24 23:24:44

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Nanamar Tue 20-Feb-24 23:35:19

Sorry for the double posting. Aside from the stress of moving again so quickly after landing here and my sadness about no longer seeing DGS every day once they move out, I’m also feeling that any affection or regard she seems to have had for me is gone - due to how she is acting with me. It’s like a loss of a relationship and I lost DH just three years ago. The house is in all three names so we’d share sale proceeds proportionally since most if the costs were paid by me. .

Callistemon21 Tue 20-Feb-24 23:36:21

Having glanced at a previous thread, Nanamar, I see you expected this situation would happen at some time in the future but it has happened sooner than you expected.

It's not surprising, really, as the arrangements may have suited all of you at the time but your DIL must feel she's not moved on after the divorce and now the time has come where she needs to make a different life.

I do hope you can maintain a friendly relationship with her. Do try to talk to her calmly and with understanding.

NotSpaghetti Wed 21-Feb-24 06:50:32

How is your son doing with your daughter-in-law? You say "they" like a particular school.

Almost no grandparent goes sees their grandchildren every day and uou knew this time would come. It's probably good that the little one spends more and more time with their mum in preparation for a move. I'm sorry the change has come so soon. flowers

You have been a great help and you will still be able to support your son in his patenting.

It sounds like your daughter-in-law intends to stay reasonably close. I suppose she could have decided to move hundreds/thousands of miles away.
Don't forget, finding the right place could take a while...

Smileless2012 Wed 21-Feb-24 09:32:54

Perhaps she feels uncomfortable Nanamar, knowing that her decision will have upset you and that's why she's keeping her distance.

Have you told her that you understand her decision and that you always realised that this would be the case at some point?

Nanamar Wed 21-Feb-24 11:32:03

Yes I’ve told her that I understand her need for autonomy and that I bear no animosity toward her and that I know we are not family but at least we have functioned as friends who have GS’s welfare in common. I am just overwhelmed by how suddenly this has come although she’s probably been considering this for awhile. The divorce was quite amicable and they cooperate well with regard to things that pertain to their son.

pascal30 Wed 21-Feb-24 11:58:45

It sounds,fromyour various posts, as though your exDIL has been supremely adaptable and helpful with regard to both you and your son. But it's clear that something has changed for her.. I would bite the bullet and sell your property ASAP and allow her to move forward with her life.. The more you enable this to happen the better chance you have of maintaining a good relationship with her.. She is possibly avoiding you because she knows how difficult this will be for you to let go.and she probably feels guilt.. Make this as easy as possible for her and don't get into arguments.. You could all find it is the best choice possible and that it allows you all to grow and develop fresh interests...
it can't be easy for your son to rebuild his life as he probably needs some space alone as well.. I hope it works out..

Smileless2012 Wed 21-Feb-24 12:07:40

Thank you for responding to my question Nanamar, I can understand this apparent sudden and drastic change being overwhelming for you flowers.

Mamasperspective Fri 23-Feb-24 11:26:07

She's your ex DIL so she wants distance to have her own life which is completely understandable. She can't move on and hope to find happiness with someone else if she is in such close proximity to you and your son (and that includes emotionally too)

The only thing you can do is tell her you will miss her (don't just make it about your grandchild, show her she's valued too) and ask if there's anything you can do to help support her transition into her new place. That way you have done everything you can to be kind and supportive and foster a positive relationship. You could maybe even offer to take her for lunch or a coffee and some cake before she moves out to spend time with her before the actual move (while your son looks after his child)

That way you stand the best chance of your contact with your grandchild being dramatically reduced (as she will be busy with her own life setting up home)

greenlady102 Fri 23-Feb-24 11:26:08

You may not want to hear this but had you thought she might want to start dating again? That would be pretty much impossible living with ex partner and ex mil and very hard to discuss.

Mamasperspective Fri 23-Feb-24 11:27:27

*not being dramatically reduced

Gangan2 Fri 23-Feb-24 11:29:16

I can understand how you are feeling OP but I think you have to allow everyone to move forward with their lives . The way you have all dealt with the situation has been to admired and so lovely for your GS but it wasn't ever going to last for ever.
I suspect, possibly, the reason your DIL is appearing somewhat withdrawn from you is the fact she may very well know how upsetting it is for you and maybe she feels guilty about doing this ? I am also wondering if she has met someone else , hence the need for her own space 🤔 all totally understandable. Things never remain the same after a divorce. Keep the door always open to her and I am sure it will work out. I wish you all much happiness wherever this leads you 💐

icanhandthemback Fri 23-Feb-24 11:39:22

Whilst I understand the pain and upset this will cause your son, I think she is probably doing the right thing for all of you in the long run. Eventually this sort of arrangement would lead to a crossing of boundaries and things might have got even worse.
Her apparent lack of affection and keeping away from you is probably her way of putting some distance between you whilst things are worked out. She will no doubt realise how difficult it will be for you and may be trying to minimise the feeling of walking on eggshells. My advice would be to tell her that you quite understand that things have to move on, that you hold her in high regard still and wish her well in her future plans. I suspect that once everything settles down in your new world order, absence will make her heart grow fonder.

As for not seeing your grandchild everyday, that is going to sting for a while but it is a more normal relationship and you can make the time with him special. He would eventually get to the stage where he would distance himself naturally so once you are resettled, start making time for you and a social life.

Callistemon21 Fri 23-Feb-24 11:40:03

greenlady102

You may not want to hear this but had you thought she might want to start dating again? That would be pretty much impossible living with ex partner and ex mil and very hard to discuss.

I would have thought that was quite possible and quite a reasonable thing for her to want to do as I believe she and the OP's son are divorced.

The young woman is having to live in a time warp, she is trapped.

crazyH Fri 23-Feb-24 11:54:47

Divorce is tough all round. I do feel for you. Your exDIL will probably want to start dating again , and it will be quite awkward with the present living arrangements. Just give her your blessings and hope you and your son can continue to have a good relationship with the little boy flowers

Summerfly Fri 23-Feb-24 12:01:38

Yes Mamasperspective. I thought that too. She may already have met someone.
Hope it works out for you all.

Babamaman Fri 23-Feb-24 12:32:19

I can’t understand why she makes no contributions financially but can afford to move out & get her own place?
I hope you’re not finding this move for her!
You’ll be fine once you’ve found a smaller place, you’ll make a different relationship with your grandson and now start living your life for you!
Let the shackles of your DL go.
It’ll be fine

4allweknow Fri 23-Feb-24 14:22:50

Nothing stays the same forever. Your ex DiL is just that, ex, abd oribabky wants to live her life as she pleases. You have certainly helped her with accommodation but had you not been in a position to do so where would she have been be living? Perhaps up to now the inevitable has been postponed. Be polite, try to maintain a relationship albeit a changed one especially for your GS.

Bugbabe2019 Fri 23-Feb-24 15:05:12

Maybe she’s met someone?

Callistemon21 Fri 23-Feb-24 15:08:23

Babamaman

I can’t understand why she makes no contributions financially but can afford to move out & get her own place?
I hope you’re not finding this move for her!
You’ll be fine once you’ve found a smaller place, you’ll make a different relationship with your grandson and now start living your life for you!
Let the shackles of your DL go.
It’ll be fine

I can’t understand why she makes no contributions financially but can afford to move out & get her own place?

In previous threads, I think Nanamar said they all contributed one-third to the multi-dwelling property they now own.
Thst is why they need to sell, to release the DIL's equity in the property.