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Has anyone been reunited with an estranged child

(50 Posts)
Jennyluck Sat 02-May-20 22:04:15

With everyone on lockdown at the moment, I was just wondering if anyone had been reunited with their estranged son or daughter ??? This could be a perfect opportunity to get in touch.
Unfortunately it’s not the case for me. My son fell out with me 3 years ago over his wedding. He’d say my jealousy caused it, I’d say it was him being inconsiderate that caused it.

Anyway, my husband is 76, coping with dementia, I’m only 64 but having to isolate for 12 weeks.
So I did wonder if my son might think, we’re not getting any younger and maybe this is the time to get in touch.
But no, it seems not.
I know it works both ways, but when we fell out, I was heartbroken. I just couldn’t go through all that again, if he rejected me a 2nd time.
So it has to come from him.

Starblaze Sat 02-May-20 22:15:03

I think it's probably a bad time, everyone is stressed enough without hashing out arguments on top, especially if the two of you can't meet in the middle with whatever happened.

Smileless2012 Sat 02-May-20 22:55:38

I understand about your fear of being rejected a second time Jennyluck.

I'm sure there are many estranged parents who thought this current situation may be a 'game changer', and the adult children we've lost, may look ahead to a time when we are no longer here, and then it will be too late to attempt to repair the relationship.

As you say "it seems not" and as difficult and heart breaking as it is, we must deal with the reality of our estrangements and try not to think about how things may be, because they may never be any different.

It must be very hard for you to be in isolation with an older husband trying to cope with dementia, and to be estranged
from your son. I'm so sorryflowers.

Grammaretto Sat 02-May-20 23:14:39

Sorry about your situation Jennyluck
In your position with your DH getting older and I think I would try another time. People do change and something like this could be a reason for breaking down barriers.
You don't need to be on bosom close terms, (well you can't be anyway) but you could write and tell him you love him and think of him and hope he and his family are doing well.

Grandmafrench Sat 02-May-20 23:17:15

jennyluck you say that this could be the perfect opportunity to get in touch. Then you say that unfortunately it is not the case for you. Does that mean that you hoped your Son would make the move to reunite? And he hasn't. That's sad, but there could be all sorts of reasons for that and 3 years have passed. Could you not steel yourself to send him a message, tell him that you're so sorry that you fell out and that you and your DH miss him very much and hope that he's o.k ? Would a fear of rejection really stand in the way of your doing something like that? It surely depends on just how much you'd like to see him again. I've no idea how close you were before, but I'd go for it and know that at least I had tried, without making anything complicated, without discussing what had happened, just a brief message to give him the chance to respond. After all, it was over a wedding. I know it was HIS wedding, but seriously, most people know that weddings should come with a Government Health Warning!! One of the best chances ever of spending enormous sums of money and falling out with relatives at the same time!! If there haven't been endless problems between you and your Son before then, I would think that it would be a very good chance for you to make the first move, be the bigger "man" and hope that it just might start to work out. You won't know if you don't try and it's better than waiting and continuing to feel rejected, surely?
Good luck whatever you do, estrangement is so very sad.

HolyHannah Sat 02-May-20 23:42:24

My son fell out with me 3 years ago over his wedding. He’d say my jealousy caused it, I’d say it was him being inconsiderate that caused it.

After 3 years of him feeling that you created an issue for him at his wedding that hasn't been dealt with, it is unlikely he would initiate contact if he feels your perspective that he was "inconsiderate" remains unchanged.

I would use this time to examine why he feels your jealousy was an issue and re-examine what you consider "inconsiderate" about his behavior.

As Starblaze said, these are stressful times already and I doubt now is a good time to reopen 3 year old negative feelings for both you and him.

Starblaze Sat 02-May-20 23:49:20

For reconsiliation to work at any time, you have to be completely honest with yourself about what happened to cause it.

Even if you absolutely did not intend any problems on his wedding day, there were problems and he has real genuine feelings about it.

He isnt here to talk to but you are. You are the one we know definitely hopes for reconsiliation and the only one I can advise to be the bigger person.

If at some point you can bring yourself to apologise for his valid upset that his wedding (an important life event) was soured. An absolutely no ifs, no buts genuine apology. He may reciprocate.

This definitely means no guilt trips about health or pandemics or 3 years.

If you aren't willing to do that, it's not really fair to expect him to.

I would wait though. A random rainy day when lockdown has ended and people are under less stress and pressure would be best.

BlueBelle Sun 03-May-20 06:22:12

*but when we fell out, I was heartbroken. I just couldn’t go through all that again, if he rejected me a 2nd time.
So it has to come from him.*

Have you thought he may be thinking exactly the same thing

In three years you ve no idea of his situation he could be ill, unemployed, divorced anything and you re afraid for your own feelings
I feel for you as you have a lot on your plate with your husband and your own demons it doesn’t really matter who was at fault your actions whatever they were over his wedding caused him enough pain to walk away from you and you need to make the first move whether you were right or wrong

Good heavens I d walk backwards over hot coals if I was in your position

mumofmadboys Sun 03-May-20 07:54:55

Good post Grandmafrench. Go for it Jenny! Apologise and say how much you miss him. Tell him how sad you are about it. Life is too short for fallouts.

Calendargirl Sun 03-May-20 08:03:30

Yes, make the first move. Tell him you’re sorry for the upset, and you have missed him very much the last three years.

If he doesn’t respond, well, you have done your best. Surely a second rejection is worth the risk? Otherwise you will spend the rest of your life thinking ‘If only....’

kittylester Sun 03-May-20 08:06:20

I was an estranged child!

My mother and I had a fractious relationship but we became reconciled (after a fashion) when my niece found mum collapsed and her own parents were away.

That was a different kind of stressful situation and we all had to pull together to sort it out.

But, we didnt have time to think and dwell.

At this juncture, we have too much time to mull things over, in our heightened state of anxiety, so I would wait.

GagaJo Sun 03-May-20 08:36:46

I’m estranged from both of my parents, for different reasons.

I have been back in touch with my mother since the virus. We talk once a week on the phone, carefully avoiding sensitive areas.

The estrangement with my father is permanent. Before I cut contact, I thought about how I’d feel when he died if we’d stayed estranged. I decided then I’d be ok with my choice. I still am.

Jennyluck Mon 04-May-20 00:39:27

Thank you everyone for your advice and comments.
Before we fell out, we got on just fine, no arguments or falling out. I’m fairly easy going with my children, try not to get involved with their choices. So welcome their partners.
And was thrilled about the wedding. My son is gay by the way.
But the months before we fell out. We saw him less and less. But he was spending a lot of time with his in-laws. Especially his mother in law. I felt 2nd best. The final straw for me was being told they were taking her to London for the weekend, to see a show. For her birthday, for my birthday my son alone not his partner had tickets for the two of us to see a show in Birmingham. This was the end of a string of holidays and outing together.
Yes, I was jealous ??? and humiliated.
My husband won’t have anything to do with him.
Fortunately I have 2 other children and a grandson. We get on just fine.
So I know deep down I’m not a bad person.

notanan2 Mon 04-May-20 01:02:02

Worst possible time in most people's living history to open a can of worms.

Estrangement generally means youre already dead to the other person, so "not getting any younger" becomes moot.

P.s. your son took you to a show for your birthday and that was hum5iliating?

HolyHannah Mon 04-May-20 01:12:33

Jennylook -- You said, "He’d say my jealousy caused it, I’d say it was him being inconsiderate that caused it."

Then you move to, "Yes, I was jealous ??? and humiliated."

So your son is correct about the jealousy being the reason, from his perspective and by your words for the estrangement.

The final straw for me was being told they were taking her to London for the weekend, to see a show. For her birthday, for my birthday my son alone not his partner had tickets for the two of us to see a show in Birmingham.

So what your son did for you wasn't "good enough" and instead of being grateful for what he did do, you turned it into a competition with his MiL...

I would suggest you re-examine what you consider "inconsiderate" about his behavior. It seems like your reaction to what he does is the issue, not him being "inconsiderate".

Hithere Mon 04-May-20 03:20:31

Your son does have good reasons to point at your jealousy issues.
That could have been the straw that broke the camel's back - estrangements do not just happen over one incident.

Unless you do apologize sincerely for your wrongdoing, no pandemic will be the magic wand you are looking for.

As an estranged adult daughter, this is the busiest time in my life.
Taking care of my kids, working from home, being in meetings the whole day, keeping the house in one peace, getting a slot to get groceries delivered....
So no, a pandemic has not changed my mind about my cut off family who still think I am the black sheep of the family

I have enough on my plate to add unnecessary drama to my life.

Hithere Mon 04-May-20 03:21:42

Piece, not peace

Sparkling Mon 04-May-20 08:19:59

I would look at this from a different perspective Jenny. Your son was getting married so naturally things change. His wife arranged those things for her mother, your son arranged an outing for his mother, no doubt he would have liked his wife there but she probably refused. She could have sensed you felt left out and a bit jealous, lots of mil rifts happen because of that. I just accepted I was back in line but I wanted my son happy. Is him being inconsiderate enough to have this rift. If so most of us would be estranged.
Young people as well as are victims of Covid, not just the elderly, I would want him to know I missed him and was sorry I hadn't handled the situation well, but you wanted him to know you hoped he and his wife were safe and coping through this, he could have lost his job or anything. If it meant losing a little pride and he didn't respond you would be no worse off than you are now. To think of the rest of my life not seeing my son would be to much to cope with. I accept that his wife comes first now and the Dil usually calls the shots.

Iam64 Mon 04-May-20 08:57:02

Sparking, the OP mentions that her son is gay, so there is not wife.

Jenny - I'm with posters who say this is not the right time to be attempting any kind of reconciliation, especially as you clearly still feel as you did when the estrangement happened.

Hi there puts it well - we all have enough drama in our lives currently without setting out on a path you already fear will lead to further pain and no peace.

Starblaze Mon 04-May-20 12:22:10

I can't imagine feeling slighted and jealous because someone else got a different treatment. I would love the 1 to 1 with my son, and is there something a vastly different between Birmingham and London as a place to go see a show? I don't understand at all.

Your son is married now, his partner is now his number 1 priority. You and MIL aren't top of the list anymore I'm afraid.

Your husband also refused to have anything to do with him over this?

I really don't understand your attitude, you sound like you threw a tantrum. Until you can understand your behaviour was wrong here I don't think you will ever get anywhere.

I would be heartbroken if I went to all that trouble for a special night with a loved one and they behaved as you have.

notanan2 Mon 04-May-20 14:36:04

Theres no point trying to explain the problem with the OPs examples of jealousy.

Theyre already estranged so they were probably just the straw that broke the camels back.

OP if he found it hard to have you in his life in good times then he is less likely than ever to want you back in it in bad times/lockdown.

Sparkling Tue 05-May-20 08:54:26

Sorry I missed partner was gay, but I can't see how it matters. Do I say her sons husband then? I don't know. Love is love and you are effectively not number one in their lives, their partner is. They set their rules and put each other first. If I thought I was resented by my mil I don't think I would be keen to include her. I was blessed with wonderful in laws and I still miss them. The never interfered or went on if we missed a call which is what happens when you're a young family, you're so busy and they have more time on hand.
Lots of people refuse to acknowledge they have been wrong and even if they know it, won't apologise. You have more to gain by being a friend than an enemy.

Jennyluck Wed 06-May-20 20:32:49

I’m not a fool, I know my sons husband would be his priority. His husband was not the problem anyway. I got on really well with him.

When a couple get together and marry, so often the couple seem to get on better with one family than the other. This was our situation. Hence we saw our son less and less. He lived close to his in-laws so it was easy to pop in. Before they met our son moved back in with us and stayed for 3 years.
We were so pleased he’d met someone and moved in together.

All I ever wanted was to be treated equally.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if I’d known how it would all turn out. I would have said nothing. And kept my broken heart to myself.

Hithere Wed 06-May-20 21:47:26

What is being treated equally?
In the example you gave us about the birthday celebrations (yours vs mil), how do you establish you had an equal birthday?
Time wise? Location wise? Money spent on the occasion?
What is your criteria of "equal treatment"?

Ironflower Wed 06-May-20 22:38:28

My parents would say the exact same thing, us favouring in-laws led to our estrangement. In reality my parents being nasty and toxic caused us to favour the in-laws. They constantly gave us the silent treatment when we didn't do what they wanted or called us stupid for not following their advice. Generally if you were complaining or turning everything into a competition then they would've wanted to spend less time with you.

Jealousy is only human and we all get it. Doesn't make us a bad person at all. However you have to realise that couples can't spend their time making sure that both parents get exactly the same treatment (like two kids carefully cutting up a chocolate bar into equal halves). It is mentally draining to constantly try and make sure you spend and do exactly equal.

Also remember that it is just your perspective that they favour the in-laws (especially at first). My parents constantly accused us of spending every weekend with the in-laws or having them babysit all the time, we hadn't seen them in months but my parents refused to believe what we said and just stewed in their anger.

You were petty and jealous, it would have been exhausting listening to your complaining that it wasn't exactly the same treatment as MIL after they did something nice for you. You're not a bad person, I think I would probably feel a little jealous in your situation but its important to not compare. Enjoy what your children do for you and don't compare. If you were always complaining and comparing then naturally your son would gravitate away from you.

It is true that living closer to one set of parents can mean that you are closer with them. We actually lived with my parents and then moved near them. My in-laws never once complained. We visited when we could but let's face it, it was impossible to give them equal time (or even close). My in-laws never complained or ruined things. They treated us so nicely and now we are way closer to them because they are always pleasant to be around. We are essentially no-contact with my parents due to jealousy and control (long story).

If you aren't sorry for your actions then I wouldn't seek him out. If you're genuinely sorry for being jealous then you definitely could send him some flowers with a note saying you miss them both and hope they are doing well. This would take swallowing your pride. I doubt he is going to reach out to you. From his perspective you brought drama and jealousy and possibly ruined his wedding?

Remember not to compare and try to suppress jealousy (not an easy thing to do). If you are a pleasant and happy person, then people will generally want to spend more time with you.