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Worried about adult son's relationship

(56 Posts)
Pigeon Mon 30-Apr-12 08:33:14

How do you stop worrying about your children? My 30 year old son is in a relatively new relationship with a really nice girl who I've met (accidentaly) on a couple of occasions.
She was with someone else when they met but they both fell hook, line and sinker for each other and she ended it to be with him. I have never seen him so happy and was so pleased to think he might settle down with her after being on his own for a couple of years. They both have pressures at the moment (work, money, studying etc) and she is quite a highly strung person. this weekend, after avoiding him all weekshe told him that she feels pressured and "needs some space". He is devasted as she had led him to believe the was "the one" but now he thinks she wants to end it.

Yeterday I spent time trying to reassure him that he would cope whatever the outcome but when I came home later on, I felt drained and full of anxiety - as if it was my relationship about to end! What is the matter with me? I seem to be unable to cope with problems these days? I think in my quest to see him happy and settled, it has almost become an obsession! I just feel so disappointed it may not work out for him.

This morning I am giving myself a good 'talking-to' as I don't think my reaction is healthy! Worrying is one thing, getting all worked up about something that happens to millions of people every day is another thing completely. I will blame the hormones (or lack of them) as although i admit to being a bit of a worrier, I'm sure I'm getting worse!

whenim64 Mon 30-Apr-12 08:47:36

Pigeon I know how you feel! Some of us Gransnetters worry when things are not going well for our children's relationships and others seem to sail through it and not let it get to them. When you can foresee heartbreak for your children it's hard not to feel anxious about them going through some turmoil. I hope it works out for them both without too much pain smile

shysal Mon 30-Apr-12 08:48:44

We never stop worrying about our offspring whatever their age. The feeling of helplessness is difficult to cope with, but we have to let them make their own mistakes and just be there for them if things go wrong. I know I too worry more as I get older, probably because I am retired and have fewer other things on my mind. I hope you will find it helpful to come on here and offload your thoughts, it definitely puts things in proportion when we hear other similar stories (and worse).
I hope your son finds happiness, even if it is not with the current GF. flowers

pompa Mon 30-Apr-12 08:54:13

The only way to not worry is to not have children!.
Ours are 30/35 with children of their own, but we worry about them morr than ever now. It is what parents do. So don't worry that you worry about them it is what we do. Just tell yourself that in 6 months time you will just be worrying about something different and todays problem will hsve sorted itself out.

Not muvh hrlp, am I grin

pompa Mon 30-Apr-12 08:57:25

Sorry about spelling - smart phone plus fat fingers !

gow1 Mon 30-Apr-12 08:58:19

Oh goodness how I feel for you, it's very difficult isn't it? we never stop worrying about our children even when they are adults. It's only natural to want to see him happy and settled. I think your reaction is probably quite normal, when a similar thing happened to my son I felt overwhelmed by my feelings. I found this site enormously helpful, somewhere I could speak my mind and be understood. It enabled me to help my son by not clouding his issues with mine if that makes any sense?
the thing is it may happen to millions of people ever day as you say in your post but right now it's happeneing to your son and you.This place is very good for letting out your thoughts no matter how mad/daft they seem. Mums who worry about their children, no matter how old they are, tend to be rather good parents you know! The opposite would mean you didnt care. Be kind to yourself, I received some very good advice along these lines and it made a huge difference to how I coped with seeing my son unhappy. That old saying this too will pass has proved to be true for my son and hopefully will be true for yours.

flowerfriend Mon 30-Apr-12 09:03:02

pigeon I too am a worrier but there comes a time when I believe it is best to attempt to divorce oneself from the day to day worries of ones children. However it sounds to me as if your son wants you to help him with his current emotional problem.

This is not a good thing for either of you.

My sons are 42 and 41 and 34. Things happen from time to time in their lives which give me the odd sleepless night but I try to keep my feelings and my opinions to myself. But I still hold the opinion that I should concentrate on my own personal problems and let them get through life without the hindrance of yet another view on it.

I know what you are going through and I feel for you.

Pigeon Mon 30-Apr-12 09:49:29

Big thanks to all of you who've replied. It's great advice and very reassuring that others have had similar feelings/worries and got through things ok. I was quite overwhelmed when I saw all your messages as I only found and joined this site today. You've no idea how relieved I am to find such a place. I can see already that I'm going to be an avid user.....but perhaps will make an effort to post something cheerful next time!

Thanks again to all x

imjingl Mon 30-Apr-12 10:14:18

Pigeon, There is nothing you can do about it. sad Perhaps he will get dumped, or perhaps it will all work out well for them. You are perfectly normal in worrying about him. It's horrible when things go wrong for your children. You feel so helpless, and if you're anything like me, angry with the daft girl for letting such a fantastic catch slip through her fingers.

Just be ready with a shoulder if necessary.

And remember there will be a next time. smile

greenmossgiel Mon 30-Apr-12 10:31:14

Pigeon, please don't think you have to have only cheery posts when you come onto Gransnet! All life is here. We've discussed very deep issues to do with our families and I have had tremendous support and I hope I have been able to give a little, too.
What mother doesn't want to see their adult child happy and settled in a relationship, if that's what they want themselves? I started a thread a while ago about the worrying I do about mine, and the replies came tumbling in, as they did with yours! It really did make me feel better, too. We don't worry because we want to, we worry because we feel there's a need to do it. As Pompa remarked, the only way not to worry about our sons and daughters, is not to have any!
One of my very good friends (who lurks on here, so she'll read this, no doubt!) said to me the other day, "Isn't it wonderful when everything's alright with them?" How very, very true.
Your son will alright, Pigeon. My son (40) has been my main worry over the years. He's a great one for saying for saying, "Take it as it comes - it'll all work out in the end......." Why can't I HEAR what he's telling me? smile

firstimegran Mon 30-Apr-12 12:28:12

hello Pigeon. Like you I am new to the site but I have already found it a good place to feel supported. Our son had a horrendous time a few years ago and is now happy. I absolutely agree that the only way not to worry is not to have kids but as one of my daughter's said to me, 'but sometimes its good and happy things happen'. We are just coming through another hard time with one of ours and it is important to hold on to your need to look after yourself. We have 3 children - all grown up- but we have always thought that if 2 are ok 1 of them will be having problems. Maybe having 3 was taking too much of a chance but they are all wonderful really, and different, even if they do cause us pain and worryas well as joy. Do they deliberately take it in turns? Sorry for rambling but maybe that's the beauty of the site

Pigeon Tue 01-May-12 16:01:50

It's been another day of tea and sympathy with DS, although he's bearing up quite well to say the silly bint is still leading him a merry dance.

Imjingle was right when she said about being angry with her for letting him slip through her fingers. Of course, I'm biased but he reall y is a lovely bloke -clever, funny and kind (and gorgeous too, I'm told!). It's her loss as far as I'm concerned. It's all I can do to stop myself going round and giving her a piece of my mind - but he's not six years old, so I won't.

Flowerfriend, I wish I could just let him get on with it but I'm afraid it's the family rule (we are a large, close, brood of mildly dysfunctional rellies) that we help each other out in difficult times. If I thought it wasn't helping I would stop but it seems to be getting the right results so will carry on until the time comes to tell him to 'man-up' and get over it.

I have told him that when I eventually end up old and with dementia (it runs in the family), he will have to return the favour and look after me single-handedly. I will settle for nothing less! wink

Wiz Tue 01-May-12 16:26:21

I worry about my son's relationship. He has just had a baby son and has got engaged to his girlfriend but she seems to delight in humiliating him. Nothing is ever right. A typical remark was made about her engagement ring- it's a lovely diamond set in white gold but she had to say "in an ideal world it would be platinum". I felt like saying that if she wants expensive stuff she is marrying the wrong man but managed to keep my opinions to myself. We were looking through photos of him as a baby and child and she picked fault all the time. Why is she with him if he doesn't live up to her expectations? I'm really worried that he will lose all confidence or am I being silly? He's a great man with a good sense of humour,hardworking and kind. He says he is happy so I really hope he is but I still worry.

greenmossgiel Tue 01-May-12 16:34:22

Wiz, you're only seeing them when they are 'not alone'! Perhaps she's showing off a bit and not realising just how much this is hurting you. If your son seems happy, then he'll likely be seeing a different side of her, where they have a loving relationship together. smile

Pigeon Tue 01-May-12 16:38:53

Oh Wiz, it's awful isn't it when you see someone treating them badly? But thinking about how I coped with a similar situation (my first marriage was difficult and I was subjected to similar behaviour to what your son is experiencing), all i can say is that you learn to deal with it and it's not bad all the time - even though it appears that way to others. Sometimes I think they can't help showing off in front of others just to show they have the upper hand.

I'm sure your son has his own way of coping with things, as I did, and he will eventually make his mind up whether he is happy with the relationship or not. He has you if support and as Imjingle says, you can only be there with a shouldetr to cry on if if he needs one.

Try not to worry too much and let it spoil the enjoyment of your new grandchild. Keep your chin up!

Pigeon Tue 01-May-12 19:13:14

Ha, look at me dishing out the 'good' advice when I can't even sort my own problems out! hmm

(Just really appreciative of the support I got and trying to give something back.)

greenmossgiel Tue 01-May-12 19:19:13

Pigeon - we're all doing the same thing on here! We listen to each other, then put our own experiences forward, then we try and help each other and receive help FROM each other! Thank goodness for Gransnet! flowerssmile

nanaej Tue 01-May-12 19:31:12

Hi, when I find myself worrying about my DDs I try to remember what I was doing at their age and if I would have wanted my mum to have sleepless night on my behalf! The answer is usually a decisive NO! I still worry but it helps put it into perspective for me! Good luck and hope however the relationship progresses ( remember she may become your DiL yet!) your son shows his appreciation for your support.

Pigeon Fri 04-May-12 10:32:54

.....and the saga continues. DS's girlfriend is still keeping him in limbo and he's not got to the stage of (yet) to telling her to take a running jump. It's only been a week but I just wish he would get on with it and put himself out of his misery.

Me? Well I'm a bit weary of it all and trying (unsuccesssfully at the moment) to distance myself a bit now he seems to be over the worse - although I can see he is still very upset and needs someone to talk to. There's only me really. He has lots of friends, but you know what men are like! And his dad (we are divorced) is as much use as a one-legged man in a bottom kicking contest!

I suppose people will say he's being unfair on me expecting that I support him through it but I'm afraid I'm a big softie when it comes to my family and can't see what else I can do. I tell myself that when his past relationships have ended, he's dealt with it himself so why should I begrudge him at this time, when he obviously isn't coping? I steer clear of telling him what to do - I just make lots of suggestions and leave it up to him. He's starting to get a bit grumpy with me - perhaps this is a good sign?

What I can't get to grips with still is why it affects me so much. I'm not as anxious as I was when I first posted but it's still on my mind more than I think it should be and this annoys me about myself. Plus I resent the fact that the actions of a person I hardly know are having an impact on me - even if it's only been for a short time.

Perhaps I am just being a bit of a drama queen - I do have a habit of catastrophising (is that a real word?) things. Time to give myself another talking-to, I think!! hmm

imjingl Fri 04-May-12 10:51:49

'catastrophising' is definitely a word. It's one of the 'in' words at the moment. smile

I will have to have a think about the rest of your post while I do some jobs. Will return.

Nelliemoser Fri 04-May-12 15:29:49

Hi! I am new to the forum Yes! the advice above is good its just that one can get worries so out of proportion in the wee small hours that to air it in a forum like this really helps to get into perspective. I still have sleepless nights worrying about my 30yr old children. Its amazing also how one can worry about what might just happen in the future!

At present its my 30+ son's relationship. I have sensed tensions there for a long time, he had not sounded happy on the phone many times. (he lives over 100 miles away.) I discussed my concerns with him alone one Christmas when we were together and he did admit to a lot of bickering. I emailed him afterwards suggesting (fairly tactfully I hope) that they need to sort this out as a couple asap if they really want a happy long term relaltionship and certainly before any children came along as the obvious tensions would not be a good environment.

I don't know if it helped but at least I feel I have made it clear to him that I that I have felt the tension between them and I am willing to talk about it if he wishes.

This is in the context of my own family experience.
Back in the late 70s My sister was in a difficult relationship which my parents were well aware of but never openly acknowledged. In our family nothing unpleasant was ever discussed! After my teenage neice asked me for help I arranged that someone supporting her should speak to my mum and dad and this allowed my sister to acknowledge the issues with them and move out of the relationship.

I think if we are worried about our kids relationships we should as tactfully as possible let them know we have at least detected tensions and are willing to talk about this.

whenim64 Fri 04-May-12 17:05:49

Yes, it is a bit like treading on eggshells when you detect something is not quite right, but they aren't at that stage of wanting to complain. I suspected my daughter was not that happy about where her relationship is going (they don't live together, so that's a positive thing), but she isn't ready to say anything, other than a comment a few days ago - 'I'm not relying on any man. I'll sort things myself!' I didn't want to jump on her comment, so just said 'well, I know what that's like - it makes you determined to get things done, doesn't it?' She'll say more in her own good time.

Pigeon Fri 04-May-12 19:24:40

Well thank God for that, he's had the gumption to end it earier today! Very nicely of course (he's the epitome of a 'nice guy') but with his dignity in tact. Although a little emotional as you'd expect, he looks like he has had the weight taken off his shpoulders and so I feel much easier - as long as it lasts!

But really this post isn't an update about him, it's a thank-you to all of you who have supported me. So glad I found GN - you helped me get things i perspective and realise I'm not weird or neurotic!

imjingl Fri 04-May-12 19:26:59

Oh that is good Pigeon. It didn't sound like she was the right one. Glad he's not too much on the floor.

I was coming back with some more pearls of wisdom sisterly advice, but you don't need it now. smile

Pigeon Fri 04-May-12 19:33:11

No doubt there will be further developments (I just have a feeling this saga will run on a little while longer) so don't go too far away imjingle (or is it jingle for short?, I may still need to rant/ramble etc.

Thanks again