Gransnet forums


It’s been almost a year

(23 Posts)
Stiff Sun 10-Nov-19 17:31:01

Hello all, this is my first post and I am so glad I found this site. Just looking for support really. My son married his wife about 3 years ago and since then everything has started to go downhill to the stage where now we are no longer in contact only with his wife when we arrange to see our two grand daughters ages 5 and 3. The contact is about the arrangement and nothing else. Things seemed to be ok until they got married. However, since they married we’ve never been allowed to visit without making an appointment, and if we have just popped by, we’ve been kept on the doorstep and never been invited in. We were not allowed to be part of their wedding. We were invited just as any other guest but were not treated as the grooms parents. Despite me asking my son in the past on so many many occasions what it is we’ve done wrong, he has always dismissed our estrangement as though its all in our heads. When we have said we never see you anymore, he has just said he is too busy. My husband spent over a year a couple of years ago working on their house for them, building an extension and rooms in the roof, not for payment, he would never have expected payment. And then shortly after just this gradual relationship decline. Seeing us less and less with no explanation. Our son married into money and is now a fairly wealthy young man. He has siblings who he no longer has contact with either. His choice not theirs. There seems to be no real rhyme nor reason for our estrangement except one thing. We moved house when all this started to happen. We downsized and I can only suspect that my son and his wife expected to receive some money from our equity which didn’t happen. I think they suspect that our other children benefited from our equity and not them. There doesn’t seem to be any other explanation. Money is very important to my sons wife, very important and she always wants to be seen as a wealthy young lady. She has no interest in mixing with people from what she sees as a lower class to her and maybe, just maybe that’s what she sees our side of the family as, despite us being professional people (we are nowhere near as wealthy as her family's side). We are down to earth, don’t mind getting our hands dirty type of people. I hate what has happened between us all but am trying to learn to accept it but I am seriously considering rewriting my will and not including them in it. They have made it perfectly clear they do not want a relationship with us, any of us. I suppose I should be grateful that we still see our grand daughters although if I am being honest, even this seems to be getting less and less. Has anyone else been in a similar situation and if so, any advice would be gratefully received.

Namsnanny Sun 10-Nov-19 17:53:44

A warm Hello Stiff smile

And yes yes and yes! I'm sorry to say that 2/3 of your story is mine almost to a T.
Advice is varied but the upshot of it is (IMV) that there is little that you can do to stop the rot, if that is what they want.

If I have any advice at all, it is to immediately take the sting out of your situation by getting some help by joining a group, (if there is one in your area) to talk openly about this with other like minded people.

Counselling is recommended but I've found it to be sporadic in its usefulness.

Try very hard not to challenge them if you want to keep seeing the gchildren.

Unfortunately for people in our position there is no one answer or recourse.

Always read and post here under estrangement, and you will get genuine support, but there is nothing like face to face discussions when painful emotions need to be expressed.

The more I read about estrangement, the more often money comes into it.

It's not the be all and end all, but it certainly is high on the list, and it sounds as if it is with you, and so it was with us.

I am so sorry you are going through this, until one has, it's quite difficult to explain it to others isn't it?

Please keep posting. shamrockflowers

Luckygirl Sun 10-Nov-19 18:25:09

I am very glad to hear that you still see your GC - that is a huge plus.

Jane10 Sun 10-Nov-19 19:25:37

You seem to be reading a lot into the situation that may just not be there. It's obvious that you don't like your DiL and she probably picks up on that. At least you still get to see the GCs. I suspect that they're just a very busy family at a time when you are older and at more of a loose end. It's life. Don't try to overthink it or build up grudges. Keep busy with other aspects of your life.

March Mon 11-Nov-19 07:56:47

It's not an appointment, its making sure they are not busy and arranging a time that it's best for both, not just you.
I don't understand the bit about the wedding? Do you mean not sat at a certain table?
If your DIL is still in contact with you and your son isn't, that speaks volumes. You still see your Grandchildren because of her.
You don't really like her, she'll know that.

If shes wealthy, she won't want your money. I don't really see any faults, maybe it's just a mismatch (sp) of expectations and them pulling away.

Oopsminty Mon 11-Nov-19 08:01:56

Just busy, maybe?

She may well not be a 'pop in' type of person.

I'm certainly not.

My children will let me know when they are coming and vice versa

We're all different

Hetty58 Mon 11-Nov-19 08:59:57

Perhaps your son and DIL are under huge pressure from her side of the family. Who paid for the wedding? Maybe her folks have 'taken over ownership' of your son? Some families are very possessive.

He probably just wants a quiet life (like most men) and is avoiding any conflict or hassle. He has to live with her and may feel that he has little in common with his birth family now.

Keep on seeing your grandchildren. Try to be polite and good humoured. Make sure that he always knows (perhaps through your GC) that you love him and you're proud of him.

Don't display the hurt feelings to make him feel guilty about his distance/absence. That could drive him further away. He will always choose to prioritise his own wife and family. Finally, don't ever just 'pop round'!

Alexa Mon 11-Nov-19 10:30:59

it's okay to ask you to ring them before you meet. This is standard politeness in the case of the daughter in law who is not on such familiar terms as the son used to be.

The wedding may have been a casual affair with no special honours for relations. Many people don't have ceremonial weddings.

Your explanation for the dearth of social contact is more complicated than the more likely explanation that the young couple have developed new interests as couples do. They probably have not considered what your feelings might be.

If your daughter in law is so narrow minded you will not enlighten her by hostility of any sort. Better to be as patient and kindly as you can and support your son as and when he needs supporting.

Smileless2012 Mon 11-Nov-19 13:53:54

Welcome to GN Stiffsmile. I hope that posting here will be of some help to you.

It's a pain beyond description when you can see your relationship with your own AC drifting away, and is understandable to try and find the reason(s) why, but if your son isn't forthcoming then all you are left with is speculation.

Having asked what the problem is, and not being given an explanation apart from it's "all in your heads" I would refrain from asking in the future.

As difficult as this is for you, and having been estranged from our son for 7 years I do understand, please try to concentrate on the time you do get to spend with your GC.

I'm sorry that this contact is becoming less frequent, but for as long as is it maintained, you are making memories of and with your GC which is priceless.

Hithere Mon 11-Nov-19 14:05:34

Adding to what March said, your dil does not look down on less rich people or she wouldn't have married your son or still facilitating a relationship between you and the gc.

Grammaretto Mon 11-Nov-19 15:47:53

Am I allowed to post on here? I have read the OP with interest but I can't see that she is really estranged, might be in danger of, but not the real No Contact.
We have 4 in-laws now and we definitely have different relationships with each. One whom I like and admire has her own parents nearby and they see far more of the DGC than we do but that's just how it is. I don't begrudge anyone. Her DP have taken our DS under their wing and he is the boy they never had, so he is happy.

I am truly grateful that our DC have found love and happiness and will always be here for them but since they married, moved away and most importantly, become parents themselves, as we have got older, there has been a seismic shift in the bonds between us which is almost tangible.

Daisymae Mon 11-Nov-19 17:39:25

It sounds like they want the relationship to be on their terms, which is fair enough. You still see your GC and can visit if you call first. This does not seem unreasonable. Maybe you expected too much? It is quite right that your son puts his wife first it is the way of the world and certainly the way to a happy marriage. Maybe you would feel happier if you relaxed a bit and accepted that you will now have a different relationship with your son and GC? I would try to take a step back and not put your son on the spot. The fact that you still have contact is something worth holding on to.

Madgran77 Mon 11-Nov-19 19:28:53

I agree with Smileless

Madgran77 Mon 11-Nov-19 19:30:24

GrammRetto I think she fears estrangement is coming. I recognise that feeling and I think she is right!

Kathy1959 Fri 15-Nov-19 20:07:03

It does rather sound as if it’s something to do with money and status. It must be so hard, but look at the positives in your life, your husband and other children. I do understand, because we were estranged from our daughter for 18 months. Won’t go into details, but time really did help. Your son needs to have time to “ miss you “ if you understand me, and he won’t do that while you’re still in the picture. Take yourselves out of the picture, and wait. In the long term, hopefully he’ll come round. Don’t write him out of your Will. This could be disastrous later on and perhaps put to bed any chance of reconciliation. Look after yourselves, give it time, and I think he’ll come crawling back. If I’m honest, it sounds like he had a good up bringing with you, and the marriage won’t last. All the best.

Smileless2012 Fri 15-Nov-19 20:19:14

Yes Madgran I too feel that the OP is right to fear estrangementsad.

I hope for the OP's sake you are right Kathy but we've been waiting for 7 years for our ES to 'miss us'; still waiting.

As for the will, I agree it's early days but that said there does come a time for some EP's to consider who will be the beneficiaries when they die.

When that time comes, you can only do what you believe to be right for you.

Kathy1959 Sat 16-Nov-19 11:22:14

Awww, sorry to hear that Smileless, and yes, I can understand you may think very differently after 7 years. Hopefully, you have some good positives in your life too. You just can’t make people behave in a certain way, just be there when they are ready. I wish you all the best.

Davidhs Sat 16-Nov-19 11:53:18

That is such a shame, his wife sounds a real snob, there is little you can do other than get on with your own life and see the GC when you can. Don’t bet on your husband having a lot of money, her family are probably favoring him because he married their daughter.
If in the future they fall out he could be out on his ear with very little, wealthy family’s usually have ways of ensuring money stays with the family. So don’t make an issue of it with him because he is following his wife’s orders or quite likely MIL.

Smileless2012 Sat 16-Nov-19 13:00:44

Thank you Kathysmileand yes we do have some good positives in our lives. One another, a wonderful marriage, lovely DS who sadly lives in Aus. good friends and other family.

That's a good point about wealthy families wanting to ensure the money stays with the family David.

BlueBelle Sat 16-Nov-19 13:02:27

I m always so conscious we only hear a one sided view I wonder what the daughter in law would say if she could come on here
It is terrible when families are so fractured and I find this non contact thing completely unexplainable how any mother/father could deny any contact between her children and their grandparents is beyond me I can certainly understand it in cases of abuse or neglect etc but just because someone says something wrong it’s absolutely out of order However that hasn’t happened at this stage and my only advise is swallow your expectations and carry on as grandparents with whatever contact you are given
Strangely in this case the nastiness seems to be coming from your son as the daughter in law does speak to you and makes arrangements for you to see the children so why has she become the baddy in your eyes? Unless your son tells you what is niggling them you’ll always be in the dark I m afraid

Smileless2012 Sat 16-Nov-19 13:28:00

I agree Bluebell about finding "this non contact thing completely unexplainable" along with denying children their GP's.

It's very sad for all concerned.

Starlady Sun 17-Nov-19 14:54:44

Welcome, Stiff! I am so sorry that you are disappointed in your experience as a MIL and a GM. It sounds to me like it is mostly a case of "mismatched expectations." I take it that you feel you should be able to visit often, including being invited to come in when you just drop over. But it seems that DS and DIL feel visits need to be less often (maybe b/c they have other things going on - visits w/ her relatives, socializing with friends, play dates for the kids, etc?). And that they do not care for drop-ins. Some people don't (I'm one of them). IMO (in my opinion), refusing to ask you in when you just pop over is a clear sign that they don't want anyone dropping in. (I hope you and DH have stopped doing that.) Frustrating, I know! But if you go along w/ the visits the way they prefer, I think you'll be ok.

Obviously IDKY the visits have become less frequent. Perhaps it's just that they have gotten busier with other things. As kids get older, extracurricular activities often increase, etc. which often means less time for GPs. Could this be what has happened?

Then again, perhaps you and/or DH have questioned/argued about the way they're handling things? Pushed for more time w/ them or the DGC? Or continued to just "pop by," now and then, even though they don't seem enthusiastic about that? NOT accusing you of any of this. But IF you and DH have been doing these things, that may be why they seem to be pushing you further away/cutting back on visits. IF this is the case, please stop.

Whatever the reason for the change, I wish DS would be honest w/ you. But since he brushed your questions off, I would take Smileless' advice and stop asking. Just keep enjoying the DGC when you get to see them and avoid doing things you know DS and DIL don't like (e.g. the drop-ins).

Since you still see the DGC, I wouldn't cut DS out of your will just yet, if ever. Later, that will just make them think they should have cut you off completely. Besides, some of the money you leave them may be used to your DGC's benefit. Also, hopefully, you will live a long time, and your will won't come into play for many, many years.

Starlady Sun 17-Nov-19 14:59:19

P.S. It also sounds as if you and DIL are just not compatible personalities. Or maybe your family and DS/DIL are not totally compatible since you say he doesn't have much contact w/ his siblings either. What was his relationship like w/ you/DH/your other AC (adult children) before he married DIL? Could it be this situation is just an extension of long-standing tensions between DS and the rest of your family? Regardless, sending you hugs!