Gransnet forums


During lockdown, my DIL has told my son she wants divorce

(71 Posts)
Annali Tue 14-Apr-20 00:02:31

I wonder if you kind, wise ladies can offer me some advice and comfort? My son FaceTimed me earlier in tears - his wife told him last evening she wanted a divorce. Apparently, she has been unhappy for a while. They had tried couples counselling last year but obviously not much success. They have been married 3 years and have 2 yr old. I am devastated and so sad. They live in another part of the country, and are in lockdown as we all are. My son is now looking for to move out of their home and find a room to rent. I am so very upset for him, he adores his son, is a wonderful dad and the thought of not seeing him daily is hurting him so much. He can just about deal with the rejection from his wife but the separation from his child is going to be incredibly hard. It is going to be a grieving process for us all, I know, for the family life that was - how can I support and comfort him and also deal with my own emotions?

BlueBelle Tue 14-Apr-20 00:15:21

That’s a shame as they ve not been together long
Obviously the marriage has been in trouble for a while and probably the enforced time together under lockdown has brought things to a head Not the best time to look for somewhere else to live either
Could they part within the house for the time being until this crisis is over more or less dividing the house and the child going between them, far from ideal but at least he would see the little one every day until this lockdown is over and they can sort something more permanent out
Lots of couples who can’t afford to part divide the house, two members in my family have done this it’s not the best at all but better than nothing

grannyactivist Tue 14-Apr-20 00:52:49

Annali it's always very sad when a relationship breaks down and can be especially worrying when children are involved. My grandson, aged two and a half, is co-parented, with each parent having him fifty percent of the time. It works seamlessly because both parents are determined that the child's needs are paramount and are prepared to be flexible. So, please don't assume the worst will happen - it is possible for the parent/child bond to be sustained even in less than ideal circumstances.

Hithere Tue 14-Apr-20 02:03:51

Ask your son how you can support him

I am not saying you would do any of these things, I am just naming the most common mistakes from grandparents when their adult children divorce

Please do not express to him how this divorce impacts you, and what you would hope for your relationship with your gc post divorce

Do not say anything bad about your dil. If they get back together, it would backfire big time.
Your gc may hear you and that is not beneficial for him/her

If your dil hears you said something less than positive about her, she will not be happy, as you do not like her pre-divorce (info is in OP's background) and didn't have a good relationship with you

Adjust your expectations that your son will facilitate a relationship with his child during his custody time.
You may get less time than you are getting now as son may want to spend some time alone with his child without relatives while it is his turn to be with the child.

You will not be able to contact your future ex dil - your son is your point of contact.

In the most severe cases, I have seen gp pressure their adult child to ask for more custody time so adult child drops off the kid at gp's home for time alone with the gc.
Please please please do not even think about that.

Hithere Tue 14-Apr-20 02:34:36

If they could separate in the same home would be ideal, given our current circumstances- same feedback other posters have given

whywhywhy Tue 14-Apr-20 02:48:15

I feel so sorry for you, your son and everyone involved. This lockdown has certainly not helped any situations. I myself was leaving my husband before now and wish I had got out earlier. Now I am trapped here until this virus has passed over.

All I can say is that you need to be there for him whenever the need arises but please do not bad mouth his wife to him. You may feel like calling her all the names under the sun but she is the mother to your grand child. You will always see your son in a different light to her and maybe he hasn’t been the angel that you think.I am not saying he is in the wrong but we all see them differently to how the wife/husband/partner sees them.

Maybe this is just a blip and the lockdown has been totally suffocating for her to the point that she wants a divorce. One day she may come to you and you will see your grand child again. Either way try and be neutral. I feel for you and sending you hugs. X

Hithere Tue 14-Apr-20 02:54:33

Please don't react as personally as you did react when you were informed they would not spend xmas 2020 with you.
Your reply was - why are you excluding me.

Please do not make this divorce about you

sodapop Tue 14-Apr-20 08:40:41

I agree that during the current crisis it would be better all round if your son and daughter in law could stay in the same house with their son.
Don't take sides just offer help where you can and don't criticise your daughter in law. I speak from experience. Give your grandson love and support as well. Let the adults work things out for themselves.

BlueBelle Tue 14-Apr-20 09:03:29

Well after reading hitheres link and remembering your thread very well I think the best you can do is stay well away

Offer your son and your daughter in law any support they need but offer NO advice, you already have a very tainted view of your daughter in law so this will add to it and all the blame will be heaped on her and NO ONE ever knows what goes on behind closed doors
Maybe this is why they told you it would be a very different Christmas for them next year Maybe they ve realised for a long time that the marriage is not working the biggest hope is they will manage this amicably and a lot more hope of that happening if they have no intrusion from a one sided point of view
I m true luv sorry for you that this has happened but your behaviour now can have a lasting effect on your contact later (if it’s not already too late) if your daughter in law has been badly hurt by your desperate need for this ‘big happy family’ further intrusion from you now could make the difference as to whether she stays local or ups and leaves with the grandchild Tread very very carefully

eazybee Tue 14-Apr-20 09:40:54

Your son would be foolish to attempt to leave his home at this time as he is in no position to view rooms for let, and it would be difficult for him to access his son. They should attempt to live separately under one roof at this time, and if his wife is not happy, she must be the one to leave, without the child. This can be done; I have a relative who did this and kept custody of the children, eventually joint custody, but he retained the family home. He needs to seek legal advice online, and sort his finances so he is prepared for divorce action, but he should fight for his son and not simply be ordered out of his home, particularly if he is fully involved in his upbringing and there are no contributory factors,.

Toadinthehole Tue 14-Apr-20 09:46:20

Yes, you can’t do anything except be there, emotionally not physically at the moment, if they need you. The lockdown may well have exacerbated problems which otherwise may have been sorted. He definitely shouldn’t attempt to move out now.....we’ll he can’t. Remember, it may not be as it seems. I’m not saying your son is lying, but you’re only getting his version. Stay out of it as much as you can. After this lockdown, the relationship can be looked at afresh, and you may find it’s repaired. Take care.

EllanVannin Tue 14-Apr-20 09:56:31

This won't be the first nor the last. It's now a testing time for couples.

MarieEliza Tue 14-Apr-20 10:08:54

Keep listening to each other is advice I once got. In relationships, in families and in friendships. Listening includes body language, misunderstandings and words. I became a part time counsellor and realised most of us don’t properly ‘hear’ each other. When we feel really listened to it takes a lot of burden off us.

Craftycat Tue 14-Apr-20 10:09:36

I understand how you are feeling as my elder son & his wife split up- after 3 children.
I really do advise you suggest counselling to them. It was the saving grace for son & DiL. They are now really good friends & do a lot with the children together- even a holiday sometimes. They have no intention of getting back together & both have had new partners but the counselling taught them that the children come first & you can still get on even after a nasty period. It was worth every penny & it wasn't expensive.
I get on fine with my ex too but it took time!!

SparklyGrandma Tue 14-Apr-20 10:23:58

Unlike some others, I wouldn’t suggest your DS tries to stay in the marital home now they are separating. It’s best he moves out and that you encourage him to do so.

As a mother of an adult son myself, I would rather encourage him to move out as she asks. You wouldn’t want things to escalate and for your son to end up in trouble.

And it’s not good for children to live in a fractious atmosphere.

janeayressister Tue 14-Apr-20 10:24:37

I think you have been given excellent advice already. My BIL went through this and he didn’t see his child for ten years because of his spiteful vengeful partner and ( by the way) his behaviour
Eventually when the child hit 18 she sought out her Father and his family and we all met her behind her Mothers back.
To me they have both screwed up their beautiful child. Those ten missing years could not be retrieved.
If you want to have a relationship with your GD, you have to convince your DIL of your good intentions towards her and keep your mouth shut as to what you perceive as her short comings. Tight shut.

Jani Tue 14-Apr-20 10:26:37

I agree with all your wise words - just be there for your son - at the end of the phone anytime - just listen and love - no advice is necessary - I know I have been in this position too - yes it is so sad but it’s just your support he will need . You will all get through this - it will just be different . Sending hugs to you xx

BlueBelle Tue 14-Apr-20 10:33:43

Well I don’t fully agree sparkly I don’t think it can be that black and white but of course it does depends on the two ...a close family member did just this for three years until one could afford to move out the children just went from mums rooms to dads rooms and anything between they totally accepted it and later as older ones told me it was much better than when they were arguing now they have separate homes and a week on week off arrangement
I also have a nephew in law who has lived like this for a good while in London no chance of wages covering two homes they are now very together as friends although the last time I saw then it looked as if they might be more than friends again who knows ?
If there is violence or massive rows and nasty comments then I do agree best to part but it didn’t sound that in this case it just sounded like sadness

Luckygirl Tue 14-Apr-20 10:36:24

So sorry that you have this additional worry in these troubled times.

Shared care can work well though once the initial hurt and anger begins to subside.

GrannySomerset Tue 14-Apr-20 10:39:19

We have had a similar experience with our son leaving his wife after 22 years of marriage and two adopted and now teenage children. They have put the children’s needs centre stage from the start of the split and have remained on good terms, co-parenting really well. We remain in regular contact with our ex-DiL and son’s new partner has been very grown up about the relationships involved. We have expressed no views about either of those involved except to one another! So it can be done.

kwest Tue 14-Apr-20 10:40:29

Hithere gives very sensible advice.

Grandmafrench Tue 14-Apr-20 10:48:19

Sad news, but possibly not a total surprise.

My own advice would be that our Son should stay where he is and genuinely promise his Wife that he will seek advice and whatever is necessary, including somewhere to live, as soon as these exceptional circumstances in all our lives are at an end.

In the meantime, don't give him your opinion, don't ask him questions, don't bad mouth your DIL, don't say anything which makes it look as if it's going to be soooo difficult for you. Stay practical, stay calm and stay neutral.

The dust needs to settle. He is probably reeling, there will probably be many changes of mood and attitude between now and any divorce proceedings, so don't be eager to get in there and have all the updates. It's not about you. If he needs to speak to you, then you should listen and not judge. Try to remember that. However sad you are for your Son, it's his life, it's his to sort out as an adult, Husband and Father, and he'll do it once he has had time and opportunity to process it all.

It will be so much better for the future .....whatever the outcome...... if it's clear that you haven't featured in any of their arrangements for the future. Do not cross swords with his Mother, it will then be so much better for your Grandchild because hopefully he will not become the matrimonial stick to beat you with !

Florida12 Tue 14-Apr-20 11:00:11

This is so very difficult, we have to step back and take a view in situations like this. Don’t give advice unless it is asked for, we have to remember they are adults.
I had the same bombshell on Saturday by my daughter who after ten years has asked her partner to move out. It has been coming for a while.
She didn’t want to tell anyone as she didn’t know how to deal with her own feelings. I told her not communicating this to me, made me worry more. As hitheres and BlueBelle have said, just listen and don’t get involved. My daughter replied, “because then it all becomes about you mum, and how you feel rejected because you cannot help”
Ouch! Stung to the bone with those words.
But she is right, we cannot make everything alright all the time, they are adults. Just let your son know that you will be there for him. Sending hugs.x

NemosMum Tue 14-Apr-20 11:04:26

Hithere has given good advice. You are hurting, of course, but if you want to help your son and be part of your grandson's life, you will need to exercise supreme control over what you say and do right now. Good luck!

glammanana Tue 14-Apr-20 11:08:27

I know you will be worried about your DS and not seeing your DGS but please remember that they have been married such a short time since they became parents and the pressures that it brings to a relationship so at this time they are probably finding it very difficult being together 24/7.
Keep in touch with your DIL & DS and do not mention the present circumstances to her as much as you want to any interference will come back and bite you hard.