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Estrangement

heartbroken son

(52 Posts)
Macgran43 Sun 11-Aug-19 21:06:06

Son’s partner wants to leave him after 24 years of living together. She says there is no one else. They have no children. Son is devastated and does not want to live without her. How can I help? Should I try to speak to dil.?

Luckygirl Sun 11-Aug-19 21:19:28

That is a long time to be together. Let us hope they can work this out.

I do not think you should try to speak to DIL - all you can do is be supportive to your son if he talks to you about it. Any hint of taking sides could backfire badly if they stay together.

What a very difficult time for you.

Tangerine Sun 11-Aug-19 21:23:14

It sounds as if DIL has made up her mind. I think I agree with what Luckygirl has written.

I suppose/wonder, if you are usually in friendly contact with DIL, whether you could (*with son's knowledge and blessing*) just send a simple message saying something like "how are you?"

BlueBelle Sun 11-Aug-19 21:31:41

I don’t think you should contact the daughter in law at all just give your son the support he needs Tough times ahead I m afraid but many of us on here have got through very tough times, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes dangerous parents can only ‘be there’ its the hardest job in the world

Tangerine Sun 11-Aug-19 21:34:52

Perhaps you're right, Bluebelle.

These problems are so difficult and sometimes there are no hard and fast right or wrong ways of doing things.

Bordersgirl57 Sun 11-Aug-19 21:45:10

Oh I'm so sorry, what a sad situation. It probably does depend on what your "normal" relationship with her is.

When I left my first husband, my MIL (his stepmother) wrote me a note saying that she was very sad and she didn't understand but that she wanted to say that she always grateful that I had invited her for meals regularly and encouraged her to have a relationship with our children. Ex would never have bothered but I felt it was important. She was a lovely woman and I often appreciated her occasional visits more that my mother's annoying frequent ones.

I hope there is a way forward for them and for you. flowers

Doodle Sun 11-Aug-19 21:54:03

So sorry Macgran. I hope they can work it out but I thought I would mention that the same thing happened to my neighbours son. He was absolutely devastated and very depressed, however he eventually met someone else and is now happily married again. I hope things work out for the best for your son.

FarNorth Sun 11-Aug-19 22:02:08

After my brother and his wife spilt up, my mother continued to be friendly with the ex-dil.

There were no children and my mother never tried to patch things up between them, and it seemed to work okay.

Macgran43 it's a very difficult situation for you, especially as your son is taking it so badly.
I think you should focus on support for your son, to deal with things in whatever way they play out.

BlueBelle Sun 11-Aug-19 22:54:16

doodle you can get over things without a new partner it’s not the only way to live on after heartbreak and doesn’t always happen

Macgran43 Mon 12-Aug-19 00:01:40

Thank you. I am trying to support my son and listening to him as he pours it all out. Liked his partner , but not recently, but if they separate it will leave a gap in our lives too.

Namsnanny Mon 12-Aug-19 00:47:55

Macgran43.....I'm so very sorry to hear this. It sounds definite from what you have written.

Do encourage him to try counselling. There will be things I'm sure you realise, that he wont feel comfortable talking to you about, (no disrespect).

A sad and difficult time for you, his parents also.

BradfordLass72 Mon 12-Aug-19 01:20:57

Macgran43 I believe your being there and listening is absolutely the best thing your dear son could have at this moment.

My son pours out all his problems to me in a way he could never do with anyone else. And always says how much better he feels afterwards.

From what you say, I assume you have a good relationship with your dil after 24 years, so as Tangerine says, at the right time and with your son's acceptance, perhaps you could talk to her, to express your sadness and appreciation of the relationship you've all shared.

I do hope this works out for you all; having been in this position I know how one grieves for one's unhappy children, whatever their age. flowers

agnurse Mon 12-Aug-19 03:31:47

You could send her a supportive email, letting her know that if she would like she can still contact you and spend time with you.

Please do not say anything about her and your son's split. That's between them. You can stay neutral and support them both.

BlueBelle Mon 12-Aug-19 07:03:48

As if she won’t know why you’re sending an email all of a sudden

sodapop Mon 12-Aug-19 08:18:41

All you can do is listen and support them where you can. It's hard seeing our adult children with these problems but they do have to work things out themselves. So much easier when they were small and we could stick on a plaster and kiss it better.

jaylucy Mon 12-Aug-19 11:27:47

I feel sad for your son as he must be going through the "what did I do wrong?" stage and can only say that possibly nothing or sometimes the cracks may have been showing for some time and he has ignored them, hoping they will go away or just putting it down to "women's things"
I would say that his partner has been unhappy for some time and don't think it would be out of line to contact her and arrange to meet up somewhere away from the home - stress that you are not taking sides , but would like to hear just why she is feeling this way.
Once you hear this, you should be fully armed to support your son, without giving any criticism of her - you will no doubt be accused by your son of taking sides, so be ready for the flack!
Beyond that, just be a shoulder to cry on and help him through his grieving process.

Aepgirl Mon 12-Aug-19 11:28:19

You just have to be there for your son. If his partner contacts you, you could say ‘.... is deeply hurt’ or words to that effect. Avoid criticising or expressing your opinion. After all, it is their problem, not yours.

Grandyma Mon 12-Aug-19 11:36:56

Can this break up not happen on friendly terms? If you have had a good relationship with your dil why does that have to change?? It seems you are in position to support them both through this. Sad as the situation is there is no need for animosity surely! Be there for your son of course and help him all you can to get through this but continue the relationship you’ve always had with your dil. Things have to change sometimes but change can be positive. I wish you all well in this sad situation xx

Nanny41 Mon 12-Aug-19 11:39:20

When my Son divorced I was devastated, I still have a great relationship with my ex Daughter-in-Law.I didnt interfere, just kept up the friendship.My Son and his ex wife still have lots of good contact with each other. I really hope your Son can have the same Macgran43

Theoddbird Mon 12-Aug-19 11:45:37

Many moons ago relationships only lasted this long as death came early...are we programmed for that length of time? I split with ex after 25 years and know many who have. Nowadays still young enough to have a whole new life. Saying that I would just be there for your son. It is not fair on daughter in law to talk to her...she has made her decision and it should be respected. She is young enough to have new adventures and live her now chosen life. Your son has to accept this and make a new life for himself.

FC61 Mon 12-Aug-19 11:45:39

I divorced at age 45, overweight , depressed, feeling old as the hills, and looking to make the best of being on my own for rest of life ( can travel, be free blah blah) . Six months later I met the love of my life, got married , happy ever since! He’s everything I ever wanted in a man ! So you never know what’s around the corner! Trouble is what you think can get you down. Better not think just do. I’d have him on whatsapp and send questions messages , pester him to go on holiday, keep him occupied. He probably thinks he’s going to be on his own forever and so it looks bleak. Just need to get him through first weeks. Every day will , God willing , ease the pain. Therapy is great.

Craftycat Mon 12-Aug-19 11:50:26

When I left my first husband my in-laws were still friendly with me. I was very touched & grateful that they did not hate me. I dd not see them except at my son's weddings but they were always lovely.
I think that was the reason my ex & I managed to stay friendly too. It took a while mind you but now we get on very well.
Maybe you can have the same relationship with her in time.

4allweknow Mon 12-Aug-19 11:51:34

You refer to DS's partner not wife so one tiny fragment of consolation will be no trauma of a divorce. Still, a long time to have been together so there will be heart break and anger. Don't interfere in any way contacting the partner other than perhaps a note expressing your sadness but wishing her well. Your son is your main focus, listening, including in your life when appropriate.

grannybuy Mon 12-Aug-19 11:58:34

Some years ago, while involved in Adult Lieracy, I worked with a chap whose wife had left him. At the time, he'd been devastated, and felt suicidal. By the time I met him, he'd met someone else, and was very happy, and realised that it hadn't been the end of his world, and that he'd gotten through it. This will be the worst possible time for your son, and he will think at this point that he can't move on. He will need your support, and perhaps even professional help. I hope that time eases his anguish, and that the future brings him peace and happiness once more.

Quizzer Mon 12-Aug-19 12:01:12

A similar thing happened to my son after 10 years with his partner. She had declined his offers of marriage and did not want a family, which he accepted. He too was devastated. After a decent interval his friends signed him up on a dating website called something like "Fish in the Sea". He met a lovely girl and a wedding and two great kids followed. Just support your son and help your him to move on.

GoldenAge Mon 12-Aug-19 12:01:12

Personally I would send dil a card and say just enough in it (that’s why not a letter) to let her know that you are very sorry to hear of the news and thar you want her to know you have always felt kindly towards her and have valued your relationship - I would add that I’d there were any possibility of restoring the relationship and you could help in that respect you would be more than happy to be there for them both - and then of course you leave it at that and be there for your son

Craicon Mon 12-Aug-19 12:04:41

I think it would be kind to write to DIL expressing your sadness at the split and wishing her well.

Definitely do not add your opinion or suggest she re-thinks the situation because you don’t know all the ins and outs and chances are, your DS has left out some relevant information.

Plenty of in-laws choose to side with their child (even when infidelity is involved), so I think if you can remain on friendly terms, that does you credit.

Notsooldat75 Mon 12-Aug-19 12:04:51

This happened to me recently, the only thing I could do was reassure both of them that whatever one said about the other, I would never ever repeat it. I was not going to be a letter box in any way.

Bugbabe2019 Mon 12-Aug-19 12:07:12

You should keep in contact with her
But not in an interfering way.
Just message her and day you’re sorry about the situation and if you can help in any way to get in touch
She might not reply, esp if she’s having an affair, as she will feel guilty, but she won’t be able to turn around and say that you haven’t bothered .

Davida1968 Mon 12-Aug-19 12:09:31

MacGran, you mention that they have no children. Also they aren't married. Did DS's partner want marriage and children? Sometimes if people want different things, it can lead to an eventual break-up. (I know of a couple in exactly this situation.)

BlueBelle Mon 12-Aug-19 12:20:22

When my ex left me my mum in law stayed my friend in fact she told me how ashamed she was of him I didn’t expect that from her by that time she lived in another country but we kept up correspondence I sent her photos and school reports etc etc and we were writing to each other (before mobiles etc) until the day she died

Willow500 Mon 12-Aug-19 12:29:05

So very sad especially after such a long relationship. There is nothing you can do other than be there to let your son talk - no doubt they have done a lot of that together already to have reached this point. Perhaps you could ask him if he would mind if you just sent his ex a message to express your sadness at the situation - after all 24 years is a long time to have had her in your lives too. As everyone else has said don't take sides - just be a support to your son during the next weeks and months while they work through the split.

GabriellaG54 Mon 12-Aug-19 12:48:33

My answer is no.
If she made the radical decision to leave, you can take it that she must have thought of other options and the pros and cons of that decision, otherwise she wouldn't have voiced her plans.

I take it that your DiL is 40+ and knows her own mind and that her reasoning is not skewed by medication or illness, mental or physical.

You cannot make her fall back in love with your son simply because he's devastated or because of the length of time they've been together and you have no right to try to change her mind.

I divorced my husband after 40 years of marriage. No other party involved and we're both still single but I simply wanted to be on my own. No other reason whatsoever.

It happens.
Let them work it out themselves. It's their marriage, not yours.

Jacqui1956 Mon 12-Aug-19 12:50:50

When my ex husband left me for another woman my MIL stopped speaking to be and my 2 children. Apparently I was the reason he left! Lol
Be supportive to your son but let your DIL know that your there for her as well. Sometimes people just fall out of love.

newnanny Mon 12-Aug-19 12:51:08

There must be a reason for dil saying this, maybe she just does not love him anymore. I would tell her you are sad to hear about breakdown in relationship but leave it at that. Just support your son And encourage him to plan for futurexwithout his wife.

RomyP Mon 12-Aug-19 13:27:11

Support your son but be open to the partner contacting you if she chooses to but I really don't think you should contact her. Time apart might be enough to heal the rift, it can happen but it's unlikely. We never know what really goes on in other people's relationships and usually only hear one side of things when there are problems, if his partner decides to speak to you treat what she says as confidential unless she asks you to relate her issues to your son, likewise the things your son tells you, then if they do ever reconcile you'll still be trusted. I think it's important you don't bad mouth her at all for same reason as rebuilding a relationship is very difficult and if anyone has said anything against the other party they're risking having it thrown back at them. It probably is all over and I suspect she's unlikely to contact you, concentrate on helping your son rebuild rebuild his life, not easy after 24 years together. I'm sorry for your son's pain and confusion about what's happened, I hope he'll gradually come to terms with it and learn to enjoy life again.

sarahellenwhitney Mon 12-Aug-19 13:38:13

You must be devastated to hear of this and your son will not want to bring you into the reason why after 24 years his partner has decided to leave.
The only way son can' move on' is to 'unburden' and this can be achieved by professional help. His GP will advise on how to obtain this.I would suggest this to him making sure he knows your door is for ever open

.

Mauriherb Mon 12-Aug-19 13:53:24

I'm surprised that so many people are saying not to contact your dil. I'm very close to my dil and couldn't imagine not contacting her if something like this were to happen. Obviously you can't take sides or get involved but it seems quite harsh not to have any further contact with someone who has been part of your family for so long

icanhandthemback Mon 12-Aug-19 14:09:48

My son's marriage is quite rocky at the moment. I have been very careful to let his wife know that, as a family, we would not abandon her if she really feels she has to leave and that her happiness is important to us. I think after 24 years, unless you have had a disastrous relationship with her, it is good for her to hear.

blue60 Mon 12-Aug-19 14:32:45

It's always a shock when a partnership ends after such a long time. I would have thought there were signs for your DS long before this, even if not to you.

We could never understand why my sil left her husband after 40 years of marriage - but she had been having an affair for some time, and a number of others before it, when she decided she no longer wanted to be in that relationship.

As time went on, she told of the many problems and difficulties she'd had over the years, unbeknown to us.

I guess the best thing is not to judge, and just see what happens.

Phoebes Mon 12-Aug-19 15:25:36

Quizzer: Plenty of fish?

Ooeyisit Mon 12-Aug-19 16:49:11

Bag off spuds in a fancy sack. it always amazes me how people can’t see they look awful , That being said I haven’t always had much to spend on clothes but have with the help of charity shops always managed to look smart on a shoe string . The uniform of the old used to be crimplene dresses and poplin macs ,then it went to crimplene trousers and fleeces .Now we have descended-even further with the leggings and tops . People in the main have forgotten how to dress . Sadly .

Tillybelle Mon 12-Aug-19 17:51:57

Macgran43
I can't add much - sorry.
I simply wanted to say how sorry I am both for you and your son. Break-ups after 20+ years are not actually all that uncommon. The shock to your son must be terrible, I get the impression it came as a shock.
I agree with those who say do not try to talk to his Partner. I think that would be unhelpful in many ways. Your role is to be your son's pillar of strength. Listen to him, feed him, keep him going, let him take time-out, rant or cry, but just be there for him. In many ways this is like a death and he will go through a mourning for his relationship overlaid with self-recrimination about what he could have done to prevent it. At some point he may turn against his partner. It may be quite a bumpy path while he gets through the horrible process of this change in his life.

I have not mentioned that his Partner might change her mind simply because I do not want to set up false hopes. To try and persuade a person to remain in a relationship they want to leave is not always a good idea.

I agree that counselling is a very good idea. The couple could be helped to get through the end of their relationship in couples counselling if that could be found. But certainly your son would be helped by a good counsellor who could be a valuable sounding board for his feelings and help him make some sense of this horrible time in his life.

I am sure he will get through this with you to support him. You are clearly a wonderful mum, he is lucky to have you. I wish you and your DS all the best and hope the future will bring some happiness and not too much pain. 🌈🦋🌺

heidimargaret Mon 12-Aug-19 18:25:56

Please ask him to see his GP. So as he may be referred under the care of the mental health team. There are so many avenue's open out there now. Do not let him slide into a deep depression. He may well feel life is not worth living and i can understand that seeing what he is going through. Please persuade him to get help. He may be unable to fight this alone even with your support

crazyH Mon 12-Aug-19 18:40:50

It's heartbreaking, isn't it? A few weeks ago, I thought my d.i.l. was going to leave my 'difficult' son. He has a lot of good qualities, but .........even I find him too annoying at times.
So when she phoned to say she was 'fed up ', I just listened. She didn't leave, things are better, but there is always that fear, and sometimes I think it's better not to get too close to our d.i.ls.
I wish your son all the best...hope it all works out for the best !!

Tillybelle Mon 12-Aug-19 19:14:52

heidimargaret. I think that is very good advice. I hope Macgran43 will do as you suggest.

Tillybelle Mon 12-Aug-19 19:37:18

Mauriherb. You raise a very good point. It really depends on the relationship between them. If it is like your relationship with your DiL then showing unbiased friendship might be a most natural thing. The problem arises when it becomes "two against one", which is very hard to avoid when one party, here the woman, wants to leave and the other wants her to stay. If his mum joins him to talk to the one wanting to leave, she cannot help but feel she is on her own against two. It needs a very strong relationship between MiL and DiL and very careful handling. So much depends on all the circumstances surrounding the situation.

We do not know how long she has been thinking of leaving. It might have been going on for a long time. Possibly something has happened to her, somebody talking to her maybe, that has made her appraise her life and situation and led her to decide she does not want to go on as she is, in this relationship for the rest of her life. Sometimes we know deep down that things are not right but we think we need to soldier on and it will get better, then something happens or several things happen to enable us to see ourselves and our lives differently and we know we need to make changes. However kind and tactful and caring this man's mother is to the partner who wants to leave, she will inevitably feel that his mother and he are upset with her and are trying to persuade her to stay. She will possibly become more entrenched in her decision as a result.

I do think it wisest for his mother to keep out of it and not try to talk to both of them. Many things go on in a relationship that a person would not want to discuss with their Partner's parent, however close they felt to them. This girl knows how much her MiL loves her son, she might feel uncomfortable about talking to her at the moment. I doubt if she is feeling on top of the world herself. It probably took a lot of courage to take this step.

Tillybelle Mon 12-Aug-19 19:45:37

Phoebes It's a dating Agency. Plenty More Fish.
www.plentymorefish.com

I have no idea if it is good bad or ugly! I have never used one! I googled it out of curiosity because of this thread. I would be far too scared to use a dating agency and anyway the last thing I need is another close relationship with a man! I love being on my own!! (With the dogs of course!)

CarlyD7 Mon 12-Aug-19 20:33:15

Personally, I would contact your DIL - just with a nice card saying how sorry you are and asking if there's any help you can offer. Apart from anything-else, you never know - at sometime in the future they just might get back together again, so it's a good idea to keep the relationship friendly - just in case. Try not to take sides.

llizzie2 Mon 12-Aug-19 21:08:02

Is he really considering ending his life? I hope you can disabuse him of that thought. It is not just the prospect of losing her, but the prospect of being alone. To someone in this position it is like grieving for a spouse. It takes a very long time. If their relationship has ended completely the result in terms of human misery is the same. Your son will find things very hard and your shoulder may get very wet.

He may be more open to suggestions about his future after a while. He will not consider it helpful if he is actively encouraged to move on and find another partner until the hurt ha subsided. Criticising the one he loves won't help either. He will come round though. People do and any thought of not wanting to live without her must be taken out of his mind without a 24 hour watch. There are signs to watch out for.
Wish him well.

annodomini Tue 13-Aug-19 19:33:17

Just keep out of it unless you do have a specially friendly relationship with his partner. Be there for him, but don't push it. Let him come to you if he needs a shoulder to cry on.

fizzers Wed 14-Aug-19 11:18:35

I think all you can do is be there for your son , offering as much support as he needs. I would keep out of it and not approach the daughter in law, it could quite easily back fire on you, and you could be seen as meddling or interfering.