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Girlfriend staying in the car 'with the dogs'

(90 Posts)
mosaicwarts Fri 21-Jun-19 12:17:59

I do feel upset. It's my son's birthday tomorrow.

He sent a text this morning to ask if he and his girlfriend could drop in for coffee on their way home to Durham. They have two small dogs, and I have a sheltie who isn't used to dogs coming into the house.

I wasn't expecting to see him, and felt pleased, and went out and bought him some cake at our local coffee shop. I was going to transfer his birthday money into his account, but got the cash out instead. I'd already posted his card, he's 26 tomorrow.

He texted again to say he'd be coming about 1 pm, so I asked if he'd like lunch. He said no, he wanted to walk his dogs and have chips at our nearest town a few miles up the road. I said I didn't feel very well today, and would rather not do that, but if he called in on the way I'd got cake and cash for him.

They've been in the car for about 45 minutes by the time they get here.

He came to the door a few minutes ago - his girlfriend was going to 'stay in the car with the dogs'. They've been going out together for about eight years now, and I've probably only seen her eight times.

I felt really angry she was going to wait in the car, it just seemed so rude. I've got a private drive so the car windows could all have been opened, I'm sure the dogs would have been OK for a ten minute visit.

Unfortunately I was as rude as her as I more or less shoved the cake and cash at him, kissed him happy birthday, and said goodbye.

FlexibleFriend Fri 21-Jun-19 12:36:41

To be fair without knowing the dogs they could be destructive when left so try not to think of it that she's avoiding you.

mosaicwarts Fri 21-Jun-19 12:38:52

That's a nice way of thinking of it FlexibleFriend, thanks. Now I'm on my own I am super sensitive smile

TwiceAsNice Fri 21-Jun-19 12:52:22

For goodness sake even if you thought the girlfriend rude it’s up to her if she stays in the car, why be so mean to your son

Jane10 Fri 21-Jun-19 12:58:29

I suspect that was a spur of the moment kneejerk reaction by the OP who obviously is thinking about the incident after the event. Yes the girlfriend should have made more of an effort but mosaicwarts could have been less short with them both. What a pity that such a potentially nice occasion has been spoilt in this way. Any chance of sending a conciliatory text to the poor son?

Summerlove Fri 21-Jun-19 12:58:51

I’m sorry you were hurt.

Try not to take it personally. There is so much out now about not leaving dogs alone in cars.

Grammaretto Fri 21-Jun-19 13:07:38

I hate when that sort of thing happens. The short visit, unplanned and not to suit you.
I sympathise. It makes you feel awful.
Just try to relax now.
One of my Dil never takes her coat off when she visits, or hardly ever.
It isn't personal though as I've discovered she does, or rather doesn't, at other houses too.

GrandmaKT Fri 21-Jun-19 13:09:55

Sorry, but I think the girlfriend was out of order. The dogs could have been left in the car or tied up in your front garden away from your dog (or could your own dog have been put out in the garden?)
A shame that what could have been a nice little get-together was spoilt by lack of thought and consideration.

Smileless2012 Fri 21-Jun-19 13:20:39

If she's been your DS's GF for eight years, and you've seen her less than a dozen times, I think it highly unlikely that you'll ever have anything that even resembles a relationship.

Try not to worry and be upset by it mosaicwarts, what's most important is that you have your relationship with your son.

Explain to your son that you find it hurtful that his GF appears to have no interest in getting to know you, and that you'd hoped to enjoy the cake you'd bought for his bday and allowed your disappointment to get the better of you.

Plumcushion Fri 21-Jun-19 13:22:47

OP, I think you overreacted. But it's done now. Maybe a text to say you are sorry and possibly they could all come back for tea after their dog walk? Is the weather nice there? Could you sit outside?

Hithere Fri 21-Jun-19 13:34:08

Please apologize to your son and gf.
They made the effort to visit you and you lashed out to him when you did not get your 10 minute visit.
You yourself said you did not expect to see him so why were you unhappy when they stopped by to say hi? You need to be honest with yourself and recognize that you did expect him to stay for coffee at least or lunch.
Remember, she did agree to stop by too.

It is not up to you what he and his gf decided to do with the doggies. They are adults and they make their own decisions. You need to respect them.

I think the main problem here is your perceived lack of relationship with his gf.
How often would you ideally want to see her? What kind of relationship would you like to have with her?
Remember that her being his gf does not warrant a relationship with you.

They may get married and she may be the mother of your grandchildren. Having a respecful relationship with them is the key to being able to see them in the future

3dognight Fri 21-Jun-19 14:13:35

I can see a couple of other ways it could have gone.

Firstly, you could have suggested walking all dogs on leads together. All walking together with your son and girlfriend, you and your sheltie. Dogs are pack animals, and for the most part enjoy the company of dogs they know, when walking nicely and ignoring each other as they trot along, they could then have all been led into your garden or yard.
You could have all enjoyed a coffee or whatever on the patio, in the garden or whatever.

The other thing you could have done is, after speaking to your son for a few moments, at the door, go over to the car and say hello to the girlfriend and give their dogs a fuss and a treat. Even if you only 'talked dogs' with her it would have been better than nothing. Obviously you like dogs, or you would not own one.

Perhaps you were disappointed and annoyed in equal measure, and just lashed out? If it was me I would try harder to forge a relationship with the girlfriend, and their dogs!

Don't beat yourself up about it though, hopefully you will get another chance to restore the balance.

mosaicwarts Fri 21-Jun-19 14:36:02

Thanks for all your replies, how lovely of you to take the time.

I've been thinking a lot since I posted, and I did completely overeact, unfortunately.

I should have put MY dog in the car, they both could have come in with their dogs, and we should have had ten minutes together for coffee and cake.

I think the root of it all does boil down to me rather sadly wanting attention now I'm widowed, and her still having zero interest in getting to know me does upset me. I've never met her parents. Also, on the rare occasions my son does come here, she phones or texts him constantly and often he has to go back earlier than planned.

I've just got to learn to live with it, she's not interested. I do envy people who have DIL's that are like second daughters.

Thank you for your support smile

Plumcushion Fri 21-Jun-19 14:40:24

You still have time to change today's outcome. Just message them now. Say sorry. Ask them to call back to you. Don't let this turn into something bigger when you can solve it.

mosaicwarts Fri 21-Jun-19 14:49:50

Thank you Plumcushion, I have apologised and said I should have put my dog in the car - he's sent me a lovely photo of his dogs in return smile They were on their way home an hour away from here, so can't come back today. I hope we are friends again, I only have him and my daughter smile

Hithere Fri 21-Jun-19 14:53:53

I am impressed with the introspection in this message

This is just a bump on the road and you will be ok.

Regarding not meeting het parents and her not wanting to know you, it boils down to different expectations. You are wise to adjust them.

A friendship or relationship to work, it has to be organic and forcing it is the worst you can do.
Who knows if you will be friends in the future? Maybe.

3dognight Fri 21-Jun-19 15:00:48

Just say sorry, you over reacted, in a text.

You say the girlfriend has zero interest in getting to know you. If you have any interest in getting to know her I would make the first move. As another poster has said she might be the mother of your grandchildren at some point in the future. This is just my opinion but being the older woman I think you just have to rise above it, plaster a smile on when you see her again and try to be interested in her, her work, her family and interests. Try to start to build a bridge, as anything is better than what you have now.

Just my two penny worth.

Elvive Fri 21-Jun-19 15:07:11

Maybe you could have walked the dogs locally?

It's strange and rude behaviour but sometimes things are not what they seem.

Plumcushion Fri 21-Jun-19 15:13:28

That's nice to hear.
It's hard not to have high expectations of seeing your DS but next time have a few scenarios/plans in place/in your head. Make it simple and easy to see you, take a step forward to his GF, pet his dogs. Do what they don't expect you to do. I think your wish to see your DS may feel a bit intense to him - my DD told me once that my overwhelming emotion was too much for her so I diluted it right down and it changed things for the better.
I'm proud of you that you said sorry! Try and start a new way of seeing things and you may find you get less anxious.
Bright and breezy is the way to go.

BlueBelle Fri 21-Jun-19 15:16:18

Oh dear why on earth get angry and fussed over that
Your son made an effort to visit you on his birthday she thought it best to stay in the car with her dogs perhaps knowing you have a dog yourself, or perhaps shes over daft about leaving them in a car, but that’s her choice, you don’t have to take offence it’s her problem so why worry, you could have have enjoyed a brief but good visit with your son and then gone out and have a brief chat with her in the car and all would have been avoided
Don’t worry over it too much you ve apologised and hopefully another time you ll think before you react and don’t make unnecessary enemies of an in law if it can be helped

GoodMama Fri 21-Jun-19 15:19:23

We all overreact from time to time. You recognized it, apologized and have made amends with your son.
Good for you, OP. Hugs to you as you go through this difficult time of grieving and change. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself.

When you are ready seek out friendships and activities that make you happy and feed your soul. You can have a full and wonderful life. And you can carry the love of your wonderful DH in your heart forever.

You have a son who loves you. Take heart in knowing he went to see you on his birthday. It clearly wasn’t very convenient for him (i.e. the dog and GF debacle) but he did it because he loves you.

Don’t worry about the GF. Maybe when you are up to it invite them both to an activity or event out that you will all enjoy. Sometimes it’s easier to get to know some one when you’re not sitting in a room trying to fill the void with awkward conversation. But getting out together provides wonderful fodder for conversation and distraction during those cringe worthy pauses.

I wish you the best.

Starlady Fri 21-Jun-19 15:48:23

Sorry this happened, mosaicwarts. I'm glad you realized that you overreacted and that you found it in you to apologize. Also, glad that DS responded nicely to your apology.

The fact that you've seen GF so infrequently and haven't met her parents suggests a few things, I think. One is that they may not be as serious as you think. Another is that she isn't that interested in a relationship w/ a BF's parents or in having the 2 sets of parents meet. Some people are like that. Overall, as another poster said, it seems like just a matter of mismatched expectations.

IDKY GF stayed in the car. Could genuinely be fear for the dogs. Could be laziness. Could be avoiding conversation w/ her BF's mum/you. It seems rude not to even wave or say hello, but she might not have thought of it. In the future, I wouldn't expect the level of communication, etc. from her that she's not willing/able to give. It's disappointing, no doubt,and it may be rude, but it is what it is. I think you'll need to accept that.

MacCavity2 Fri 21-Jun-19 17:06:54

I’m just about fed up to the back teeth with people falling over themselves to defend the incredible bad manners of these badly brought up younger people. We are all supposed to defend their rights to treat members of their partners family with callous indifference and think it’s just the way they are nowadays. Surely with rights comes responsibilities. Do they want partners to come without the baggage of Mothers, Fathers or siblings.

Are families totally redundant? Are we not allowed any respect for caring for our children. I despair for the next generation to come if that’s the message they are taught.

Hithere Fri 21-Jun-19 18:34:56

May I ask how those responsibilities are established? Who decides those?

Elvive Fri 21-Jun-19 18:50:48

Very well said McCavity.

I drilled into my kids over and over again....please/thank you/excuse me.

Son's gf ( aged 25) always, always thanks us for pub lunch, cup of coffee or whatever. We are not best buddies but that will suffice.