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Son has left wife and two small children- devastated

(51 Posts)
Whitehair123 Wed 30-Mar-16 09:10:30

Out of the blue I got a phone call from only son aged early 30's to say they had split. Children aged 2 and 1, amazing DIL wonderful mother to children. Appears pressure on him of two children close together, small house, self employed trying to build a business caused him to in essence not be able to cope.

Text book reasons came out, grown apart, physical relationship non existent, tried to raise it but not really discussed i think. Fly in the ointment, his business involves working with clients who are mainly ladies that lunch. Appears he is in a relationship with someone 19 years older than him, plenty of money, big house, big car, time to drool and boast about a trophy goodlooking, fit lover. Her previous conquest was her gardener apparently. She is a widow.

I could say more, don't want to sound bitter. Can see for him the oasis of the new relationship in the quagmire of the daily grind. As his mum I love him and want to support him, I am appalled, devastated, disappointed etc that he can go live elsewhere, not with the woman just yet, and give me a pile of crap about co-parenting being an amazing opportunity, the children won't lose out etc. From what I can see he never, but niether did my DIL , TALK, about their issues before he opted out.

I am talking to both of them, son very difficult, deffensive appears to have no remorse. A departure from the mature, caring family man i though he was and has appeared to be, genuinely.

I know I have to cope with this, offering support to both, my DIL is a truly lovely girl, she too is devastated. I can't sleep, eat, try to get to grips with it but all I can see are those dear children's innocent faces and it tears me apart.

I am not the first to face this, but it is the first time for me, any comments gratefully received.

Gagagran Wed 30-Mar-16 09:29:10

I am so sorry for this sad situation which you find yourself in, and can absolutely understand how you are feeling. Your words obviously come from your heart.

All you can do, I think, is say very little, other than supportive words, be there for both your son and dil and especially for your grandchildren. The two of them have to sort this out one way or another and if they do get back together (as is possible), you will be glad you managed to keep a neutral position. Everyone is hurting at the moment and sometimes things are said which come back to haunt you. So I would say tread softly and try and be strong. Very difficult I know. flowers

kittylester Wed 30-Mar-16 09:42:07

Wise words from Gaga. Come and vent on GN and try to keep calm and supportive for them. flowers

tanith Wed 30-Mar-16 10:14:39

Its sad and devastating for everyone and trying to deal with your own feelings while supporting everyone else is doubly difficult. Wise words from Gaga and kittylester and I agree that hard as it is stay neutral and let them sort it out between them while being there for them all.
Lots of listening ears here flowers

Synonymous Wed 30-Mar-16 10:20:57

As gaga says, it is so important to say little as 'less is more', literally. Actions speak louder than words anyway so just love them ALL. So sorry for the situation you are all in. flowers

mollie Wed 30-Mar-16 10:26:37

I know the right thing is to stay out of their business but support them as best you can while they sort it out themselves. But having been in your dil's situation, if my son had done this terrible thing and tried to justify it the way you say, I'd have torn strips off him! He's got a lovely wife who is a good mother to his two tiny children, they all need him and he has no place sniffing elsewhere. You don't bale out when it gets a bit hard going... I'm sorry Whitehair, it's not your fault and he is your son but I can't help feeling that this is when parents are needed to step in and remind adult children of their responsibilities. Good luck anyway flowers

Synonymous Wed 30-Mar-16 10:42:23

White I was just thinking about your son and wondering if he has even thought about what he will do when there is a more appealing 'trophy' in the offing. Wonder what the gardener has done, doubt he is still employed by the 'siren'. hmm

Chrishappy Wed 30-Mar-16 11:01:35

Being a parent to grown up children can be a minefield!!! It's heartbreaking when their family falls apart for whatever reason. It's always the grandchildren my heart goes out to. As a mum of adults myself I've found there to be times when I've had to tell them the truth (as I see it) about a situation. Although they may not want to hear it I've seen it as part of being an older and wiser ( mostly) parent. My adult children have been through very similar situations and I've painted the bigger picture to them. If I hadn't said anything I think I'd feel as though I wasn't doing my 'mum job' I couldn't stand by if I thought they were being an idiot and wrecking their own future and that of their children. Good luck and look after yourself

bookdreamer Wed 30-Mar-16 11:17:33

I agree mollie. I think they should be reminded of their responsibilities. Just plan what you're going to say and say it only once.

Luckygirl Wed 30-Mar-16 12:43:37

Yes - try and stay neutral but supportive - but a big challenge I know.

I think that this time when there are small children is a very testing one for all relationships; hopefully most see their way through it somehow.

Sex does sometimes have to take a backseat at this stage and most men grasp that and how tired their wives are. It sounds as though a "cradle snatcher" of a predatory middle aged lady has swung the situation into this crisis by offering him a way out that allows him not to face up to his responsibilities.

The temptation to tell him a few home truths about what is and is not acceptable must be very strong - and to talk about the effect on the children. You are between a rock and a hard place: say too much and you could find yourself out of the picture; say too little and you have to watch this unfortunate scenario play out before your eyes.

I truly do feel for you. I can only hope that the dust will settle a bit over the next few months and that he will come to his senses, as it really does sound as though they have fallen victim to this predator who has taken advantage of what is a normal situation in a relationship.

I think that you can only make clear that you cannot take sides and that you are happy to help your DIL with the children when needed.

Stansgran Wed 30-Mar-16 14:01:48

I think you should take sides OP . Your grand children's . And point out to your son that Lady Chatterly and her lover didn't come out smelling of roses.

loopylou Wed 30-Mar-16 14:23:40

That's so sad whitehair, I'm afraid that like Mollie I would tell him exactly what I thought- and when this 'fling' ends he'll be turning to you for a shoulder to cry on.
Baling out on his wife and DCs when the going gets tough is a cowards way out imo.

💐 for you op.

HildaW Wed 30-Mar-16 14:28:13

All I can say is that in our family we had two cases of this....husband dashing off when the reality of a young family got too much too quickly - in both cases they eventually bitterly regretted their actions but had unfortunately compounded the matter by both 'straying' more as a symptom of their distress than anything else.
In both cases their parents were very quick to offer shoulders to cry on and were just a bit too sympathetic so that they both took far too long to come to their senses.
Being a young Dad is hard but its not forced on them as in the old days and apart from just letting them have a good moan/rant parents need be very careful what they say. This young man needs to fully understand what he will potentially loose but its something he will have to work out himself.

Kittye Wed 30-Mar-16 14:33:13

Similar situation here, only our son was"dumped" by daughter in law. So upsetting for all concerned. Two years on and remain civil with her for sake of grandchildren. She's pregnant with second child by boyfriend and hope she finds her " fairytale ending" but somehow doubt it! We all went through hell at the time with GC needing counselling. Still feel depressed when I think about it and wish son could meet someone else and move on.

trisher Wed 30-Mar-16 15:04:25

I think you should remind him that he can split from his wife/partner but the children remain his responsibility and he needs to maintain a relationship with them. My son split up with his partner when their son was 1 year old. 12 years on both are re-married and GS has a great relationship with both his dad and mum (who have never resolved their issues) and with his step mum and dad. I am proud that my son managed to keep close contact with his son. GS also comes to stay with me. In fact he has a large extended family with several sets of GPs which leads, as he once pointed out, to lots of Christmas and birthday presents. You need to try to stay friendly with your DiL as well. Not easy I know. My GS's mum is civil but we are not close. A friend though has a really close relationship with her DIL and they even go on holiday together. Good luck. It is the way families work these days but with love and compassion you will get through it.

Lillie Wed 30-Mar-16 15:30:17

Commitment seems a difficult thing for quite a few these days.

You sound as though you are quite understandably going through all the emotions at the moment and hopefully time will help. Maybe the best way is to communicate on a practical level, and just be around to listen and to help out with the grandchildren. You're right to say it is the children who matter in all the mess, but they will come through it with your steady support.

To other members of the family, however, I would let rip about how you personally feel regarding your son's behaviour, especially if he has siblings who are just as horrified by it all. I say this because my friend never once criticised the appalling behaviour of her wanton daughter and thereby lost her own son's respect and love. You have to stick by your own morals and not appear soft towards your child.

Grannyben Wed 30-Mar-16 21:17:17

Oh Whitehair, I am so sorry for the situation you have found yourself in. We so want our children and grandchildren to be part of a happy family unit and if it all falls apart it can be devastating to see. In respect of your d-i-l, I would continue to offer unwavering support, she must feel like her whole life had come tumbling down. However, I would be careful not to make any negative comments about your son to her. So far as she is concerned i think it might be better to keep your thoughts on his actions to yourself. So far as your son is concerned, I don't think it would hurt to let him know how sad his actions have made you but, once you have had your say I would leave it be. He is your son and you still love him. In life we never know what other people are thinking and at the end of the day he could (but probably won't!) go on to spend the rest of his life with this new woman and would you really want to alienate yourself from him. Your grandchildren are so very young and in one respect that's a good think. As long as they are loved and cared for they will, in all probability, adjust to the new setup well. Just try and stay as neutral as you can, offer hugs to all that need them and take as much support as you need from gransnet xx

Whitehair123 Wed 30-Mar-16 21:24:52

Thank you all so much for your replies. They mirror all my thoughts from 'giving him a straight talking to" to doing it in a different way and asking some questions which require honest answers. Fine line, supporting but making it clear I think he has made wrong choices.

I really have a good relationship with my DIL she knows she has my support but also that I love my son and want to make sure he never feels he has no where to turn.

It is early days, very raw but I am keen to at least hear my son say he knows in his heart the real impact of what he is doing. Only then will I know I have done my job as his mum, in providing that honest opinion that is so biased in others who's opinions suit him because they fit what he is doing. Freinds who may have done similar are not the honest impartial commentators he needs.

I am hoping for once he does think age allows a gathering of experience that can be useful sometimes. I can only hope he works through this before his lovely wife and children are lost to him for ever. They won't be lost to me but the heartbreak of those children loosing that close bond with their father is tragic. His own father died when he was 4, i wanted so much more for his little family.

Won't rabbit on but once again, thanks for the support, good to know others can understand, even if they have had sad expereiences themselves it is generous to offer the support.

Zelie1951 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:57:52

Have just read through the posts about this topic - less than a week ago, I had a phone call from the father of my new DIL saying that my son had arrived home from work, packed a bag and left his wife of a year and a baby daughter of just 5 months. The same kind of reasons as the son of the first post on the forum were given - as he is now with someone he met at work while his wife was pregnant. This is still so new that I turned to the forum for some help in how to react to my son - I find it inexplicable that he could have been so lacking in engagement with his wife of one year (they have been together for two years) and his still new baby - not even weaned yet - that being with someone else had even entered his head. He was always so dismissive of men who left their children yet now he says that his daughter is young enough to think whatever relationship his DIL allows him to have with his daughter, with be a normality for her. I have been building a good relationship with my DIL and usually saw my granddaughter during the daytime so that my son could have his time with his family after work. I am in the radio therapy stage of recovery from breast cancer, and haven't been able as yet to have more time with my son's family and my new - only - granddaughter but was hoping this would change once I have fully recovered. Now I wonder when I will see her again - and how I can retain some kind of relationship with my son who is now reluctant to talk to me at any length, and my poor DIL who is understandably distraught and with her family at the moment, to help care for the baby. If you have advice, I would b very grateful.

mollie Thu 31-Mar-16 14:49:58

Oh Zelie, I am sorry - so much on your plate and none of it your doing. You have to put yourself and your treatment at the top of your priorities right now, no point doing otherwise if you want to have any hope of a relationship with your baby granddaughter. In your shoes I'd do my best to let my DIL know that I don't condone my son's actions and will do what I can to support her and her daughter. I'd try and keep the channels open and see them when I could and felt able. If asked, I'd say what I really felt about the situation but otherwise I'd just be 'a good friend' to both sides. Good luck with your treatment flowers

Jalima Thu 31-Mar-16 15:29:09

especially if he has siblings who are just as horrified by it all - a true word from Lillie
Sometimes a sibling can give a 'talking-to' that a parent may not feel able to do.
Friend's DS left his lovely wife and children (a bit older, but both under 10) for 'the love of his life' hmm. His sister is very, very angry with him.
Now 'the love of his life' has left him after a few months.

The best thing you can do Whitehair is maintain the very best relationship you can with your DIL, support her and be there for your DGC.
Of course, you should maintain a relationship with your DS but I would be letting him know that you don't approve of his actions.

Life for some young people seems to be more about their own wants and needs than their responsibilities to others.

Jalima Thu 31-Mar-16 15:32:47

And for you Zelie flowers
Try to maintain a good relationship with your DIL and DGD (and her parents if possible).

TriciaF Thu 31-Mar-16 17:18:31

Zelie and Whitehair, - it's one of our worst nightmares, but happens so often.
Hoping they return to their family, and meanwhile recognise their responsibility towards the children.
I agree with those who say stay back from it and be supportive to all of them, apart from reminding him of his responsibilities.

Faye Thu 31-Mar-16 23:11:20

I would give support to my DILs and GC and would give a talking bollocking to my DS.

Let your DIL know you are angry and very sad at your DS's actions and are there to support her and your GC.

I would never say to my DIL that you won't take sides. That comment can be very hurtful, no one is asking you to 'take sides.'

flowers to both Whitehair and Zelie you both must be devastated.

Liz46 Fri 01-Apr-16 05:35:59

The neighbours opposite us had three young children under five when the father left them. This was about two years ago. His mother had been helping three days a week while the mother worked part time and this still happens.

We see the MIL arrive early in the morning, take the children to school and then collect them after school and stay until their mother gets in from work,

Fortunately the mother works in a school so school holidays are not a problem.
This MIL seems to have stayed good friends with her DIL and maintained very good contact with her grandchildren.