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I need good advice!

(21 Posts)
Pythagorus Sat 28-Dec-19 13:43:41

I don’t want to make things worse but feel I must do something.
My son and ex DIL were divorced 5 years ago when the children were 8 and 5. DIL had an affair and decided she wanted to divorce my son and be with the new man. It was exceptionally acrimonious because there was a fight about family money which had been loaned to them under a deed of trust. DIL egged on by her controlling father took my son and my husband and I to court to try and get as much as she could. She ran up huge legal bills which cost her over £100k. She ended up getting the majority of their marital pot but none of the loan which had to be paid back. My son ended up with little from the marital pot as often happens and so we had to help him start again. It was a very stressful time and my son and I ended up ill as a result of the 3 year court nightmare.

My son eventually was able to see the
children every second weekend, a day during the week and half the holidays. He has a fabulous relationship with his children and they have their own rooms with him and his new partner. The man his ex went off with has now left her, so she is on her own at the moment. But she is so angry. Not sure why. She didn’t get the amount her father tried to get her? This was our family money, not the marital pot! She has regrets? Anyhow she hasn’t spoken to my son or us since the court case.

Communications with my son are via email. She was always the Boss, a real controller. And there is no reasoning with her. My son treads a fine line to try and avoid making the children piggy in the middle.

However now the children are getting older, they are acutely aware of the atmosphere and they are having to try and tread a careful path to avoid a reaction from their mother. They can’t say they had a nice time at dads for instance.

As a grandmother, I would like to ease the path for my grandchildren if I can.
How can I make a tentative approach to ex DIL to try and break the deadlock?
Can she see how damaging this is for the children?

A card? A letter? An invitation?

I really would appreciate advice.

aggie Sat 28-Dec-19 14:02:31

my instinct is to stay out of it ...... sorry

GagaJo Sat 28-Dec-19 14:11:01

I think stay out of it too. If you start being in contact with her, she'll either eventually turn on you OR she'll try to get you on her side and cause issues with your son.

This isn't new 'bad' behaviour from your ex daughter-in-law. As you say, first she had an affair and then she tried to screw everything she could out of your son. AND as you say, she is the controller. Don't take her on. If your son couldn't handle her, an elderly grandparent won't be able to.

If you try and fail, it could well result in her deciding you can't see your grandchildren and could cause issues with your sons contact with his children. This happens to grandparents and some parents with great frequency. Don't risk it!

If your son has a good relationship with his children, I would very much let sleeping dogs lie. My much beloved grandmother was very anti my mother when my parents divorced and would try to get information out of me. I was 10. I remember wising up FAST as to what I could and could not say in front of my grandmother.

10 and 13 is plenty old enough to filter what they say in front of their mother. It is sad that they have to do it, but it IS doable.

Grannytomany Sat 28-Dec-19 14:24:06

Do nothing. You’re likely to make things worse rather than better.

wildswan16 Sat 28-Dec-19 14:33:17

Don't. The best thing to do is to keep a good relationship with the children, talking with them about the difficulties they face and gently, matter of factly, letting them know you understand how hard it is for them (without any malice towards their mother).

It is something the children are used to (unfortunately) and is unlikely to change over the coming years.

Your DIL is more likely to take offence than to see the error of her ways - and that could make matters a whole lot worse.

Sara65 Sat 28-Dec-19 14:43:59

Oh no, please do nothing.

vena11 Sat 28-Dec-19 14:53:25

Do nothing .

Pythagorus Sat 28-Dec-19 15:00:52

Well the advice from all so far is to do nothing,. Just be supportive to the grandchildren, which of course I am. Poor darlings, it’s not their fault.
This why I needed advice. I want to fix it but it seems I can’t.

Grannyben Sat 28-Dec-19 15:03:12

I think everyone is singing from the same song sheet in this one. Please keep out of it.

At 10 and 13 you are on the home run to them being young men. Don't jeopardise thing now when things are working reasonably well. Your son certainly won't thank you if you make things worse for everyone.

notanan2 Sat 28-Dec-19 15:09:39

Oh god no I can't imagine this wouldnt make things 10 times worse!

Starblaze Sat 28-Dec-19 15:21:42

Yes definitely stay out of it. Listen if they talk about it but don't say a bad word to the children about her. Having been in this position myself, I was desperately trying for my mums approval and love and anyone speaking badly of her would have had a huge negative impact on them. My father never said a bad word and he is the parent still in my life now as an adult.

Pythagorus Sat 28-Dec-19 18:33:39

Thank you for all the advice! I will take it! X

SalsaQueen Sat 28-Dec-19 18:52:22

Mt son has a similar situation with his ex. the mother of his 2 girls (8 and 5). I'm afraid you'll never be able to reason with her or appeal to her good nature - if she's anything like my son's ex, she will use the children as pawns in her controlling game.

All you and your son can do is what we do here (me, my husband and other son) is be a supportive family for your son and his children. Never, ever discuss their mother in front of the children. Don't ask too many questions, and don't react to anything bad they may tell you about their home life.

I always ask my GDs what they've done at school, what games they play with their friends, things like that.

My son (the father of the 2 GDs) never criticises the mother, never says anything bad about her, in front of the girls. In reality, he loathes her and knows that she's a controlling bitch. He keeps things amicable towards her, only for the sake of the children. It's what we all do, and so must you. It's difficult, and I wish you well. x

Tedber Sat 28-Dec-19 20:18:32

Another: stay well out of it am afraid! Not often all gnetters are of same opinion.

Just be there for your lovely grandchildren as and when you can. In a few years they will make their own decisions and perhaps already know how unreasonable their mum is?

Good luck

Namsnanny Sat 28-Dec-19 20:32:30

As Tedber, and others said.

Just a loving ear when needed pythagorus which I'm sure you already do!

What does your son think?

Tangerine Sat 28-Dec-19 23:35:37

Stay out of it. I do feel sorry for you.

Pythagorus Sun 29-Dec-19 17:21:25

Namsnanny - Have not broached it with him yet. He has never been able to deal with her. She has been much too strong for him. By having the affair she did him a favour as he would never have left the children. He is much happier now. I guess she can’t bear losing control over him and therefore the only control she has is to be difficult regarding communication. Sadly if she doesn’t learn from a failed relationship she will carry on repeating the pattern! I have decided to leave it be for now!

Hetty58 Sun 29-Dec-19 17:31:55

Good - as it's not your place to attempt to 'fix' things Pythagorus. Time moves on and the children will soon have their own ideas anyway.

endlessstrife Sun 29-Dec-19 18:47:40

Your GC may ask you for help one day, as I did once with my granny. Until then, absolutely back off. Chances are they would just turn on you.

Starlady Sun 29-Dec-19 21:11:53

Hugs, Pythagorus! It must be so hard not to take action. But I agree w/ everyone here that you should stay out of it, and I'm glad you're taking that advice.

As for your GC, I feel for them. But their mum is only hurting her own relationship w/ them, no one else's. I'm sorry they can't admit to her that they had a good time at DS', but they can say it to him and you, etc. And one day, when they are adults/out on their own, they will be able to say what they want w/o fear of mum's reaction, unless they CHOOSE not to upset her. Besides, as long as they get to continue seeing their dad - and you, etc. - IMO, things will be ok.

agnurse Mon 30-Dec-19 02:39:24

Do not EVER get involved in your children's romantic relationships. Let me explain.

A parent's instinct is always to protect a child. That's normal. That's okay. That's what parents are supposed to do. That's how parents are wired. But it also means that parents aren't objective third parties when it comes to these types of situations. It is quite possible that your son made some mistakes in his marriage, too.

The most I can suggest is ensuring that he has a good solicitor, and helping him with the kids when he has them.