Gransnet forums

Relationships

Lost friendship - but continuing relationship necessary

(50 Posts)
IndyBeckiH Sun 07-Jul-19 17:39:22

When my youngest son got married, I got very close to his mother-in-law, as I saw her through the death of her husband, and helped her get dentures (genetic problem caused loss of teeth) so that she could be more confident in leading conferences, etc.
We share a grandson. She eventually got remarried. I was her matron of honor and sang at her wedding (in addition to funerals of 2 of her family members - so at one point, I was value as a friend.)
Recently, my son and her daughter came to a very acrimonious parting of the ways. She no longer speaks to me, even though I've tried to keep the lines of communication cordial. Problem is, I can't just move on. Our grandson will bring us together for various events, and he is only 6, having no idea that we're not friends anymore.
What do I do with a former friendship that when the other side has turned icy?
For the record, I don't know the whole story of the breakup, as it's not my business. However it was not I who did it.
I'm trying so hard to adjust, but it is certainly a difficult task.

notanan2 Sun 07-Jul-19 17:50:13

I dont think you will necessarily be "brought together" via your grandson. He's a long way off getting married and that may not be an all extended family affair!

But its sad when separation does this. I am still "family" with a few ex in laws so its a shame when it goes the other way. I guess there's nothing you can do when it does sad

EllanVannin Sun 07-Jul-19 17:55:16

Maybe she too feels the same as you do ? Just carry on as before even though it's strained but at least it will show that it hasn't affected your own personal friendship with the mother-in-law. The ball is in her court as to whether she picks up on your natural ability to carry on as before without anything coming between the friendship. Friends who are close enough can usually sense " embarrassing " moments and will swiftly resolve them for the sake of the friendship.

Yes, difficult, but not impossible as time goes on during visits to your grandson. Try and carry on as you were.

phoenix Sun 07-Jul-19 18:03:00

If you both get on well, as people/friends, regardless of any family connections that may have been lost or changed, then why shouldn't that relationship continue?

I appreciate that the change in circumstances for some family members could be awkward, but perhaps you can leave that aside and have a friendship on a different level?

Sending you all every good wish.

Callistemon Sun 07-Jul-19 18:04:32

Perhaps family events may include birthday parties, school plays, sports days etc, not just a far in the future possible wedding, notanan.

Presumably something happened between them that has made her bitter towards your son, Indi, but how sad that shs has decided that is the end of your friendship too.

Could you send her a letter, explain that you are not taking sides, you don't know what happened, tell her how much you valued her friendship and could you maintain a cordial relationship for the sake of your grandson?

Callistemon Sun 07-Jul-19 18:06:54

Sorry, IndyBecki (sp)

Your grandson is the one who matters and he is old enough to start noticing any frostiness. I hope she will realise that.

BlueBelle Sun 07-Jul-19 18:16:01

Shame isn’t it, my youngest and husband are parting I ve no idea what he’s told his parents but nothing good obviously, as this last Christmas I got no greetings from them after 18 years We weren’t close like you as we all live in different countries but I used to send them photos of the grandkids when I d been to visit and always Christmas cards small present etc did the same this time but nothing. Bitterness isn’t attractive
When I split with my ex husband 40 odd years ago I have stayed friendly with all his huge family they still invite me to all family dos and treat me as one of them, I like that it’s how it should be

notanan2 Sun 07-Jul-19 18:20:52

Perhaps family events may include birthday parties, school plays, sports days etc, not just a far in the future possible wedding, notanan.

Its not common for all extended family to attemd those things

Day6 Sun 07-Jul-19 18:22:52

It could be that your DIL's mother (your friend) now has no time for your son, and by association, you.

That is sad, but I imagine her daughter's version of events may not paint your son in a good light if their parting was acrimonious.

Time will tell if your friendship continues. Right now, her daughter is her concern, even though in-laws do best not to take sides.

Don't force it. It is a shame but you both have to want the friendship to continue, A bond has been broken. Just enjoy your grandchild. It could be that family events concerning him are now split now, with son and DIL arranging separate birthday events, etc. (That is better for all concerned than an icy gathering in which the ice can be cut, isn't it?)

The main thing is your son recovers and his child maintains a loving relationship with you. Don't try to mend other fences, because it isn't fair right now on your son or DIL who may want lots of distance between them. It's not your job to do any in-law mediation.

Day6 Sun 07-Jul-19 18:23:47

the atmosphere can be cut...

Callistemon Sun 07-Jul-19 18:29:57

it's not common for all extended family to attend those things

Perhaps not in your world, notanan, but most people we know do.
Do you really mean to say that the only time you would see a 6 year old grandchild's other grandparents would be at his wedding?

Surely not!

janeainsworth Sun 07-Jul-19 18:31:02

If you both get on well, as people/friends, regardless of any family connections that may have been lost or changed, then why shouldn't that relationship continue?

But indy has said that her son’s MiL no longer speaks to her.

Indy it’s a really sad situation and I feel for you. But you’re being the better person here.
I think I would write to this woman and say how much you valued her friendship in the past, how saddened you are by the break up of DS and DiL’s marriage, and how you hope that you can maintain a friendship in spite of this, not only because you value the friendship but for your grandson’s sake too.

If that doesn’t get a response I’m afraid you’ll have to just maintain your dignity and move on. flowers

janeainsworth Sun 07-Jul-19 18:33:40

I agree Callistemon. When we go to the US to see DS & DiL & family, her parents always come over and we visit them too. The grandchildren love us being all together.

notanan2 Sun 07-Jul-19 19:02:14

*Perhaps not in your world, notanan, but most people we know do.
Do you really mean to say that the only time you would see a 6 year old grandchild's other grandparents would be at his wedding?*

Ive been to a gazillion kids parties and once they are school age, most people dont invite family to the school friends parties! There are usually separate "family" catch ups for birthdays which arent necessarily both sides combined.

I have also been to dozens of sports days. Have never seen a whole extended family at one ever having put a couple of kids through a couple of schools. Sometimes there is a grandparent or two if the parents cant make it, but thats it.

Sure you may see the other side's ILs ocassionally if everyone happens to get along, but the OP is worried about them being awkwardly forced together, and I cant see why they would be!

notanan2 Sun 07-Jul-19 19:06:53

Babies and toddlers often do have extended family at their parties but not once school age.

Much nicer to have a relaxed birthday tea with rellies another day than to try to host people at soft play etc whilst watching 30 "dump and run" 7 year olds! Thats why most people do it that way these days

SirChenjin Sun 07-Jul-19 19:08:37

I think as notanan says you’ll probably find that you attend fewer events as an extended family as he gets older anyway - and obviously with the split that will be the case anyway. It’s such a shame that you both can’t stay friendly (if not friends) and I think the previous suggestion of writing a letter to her is a good one.

janeainsworth Sun 07-Jul-19 22:29:22

I’ve been thinking about this a little more and my heart aches for your little GS, indy.
His world is shattered.
You and the other grandmother could provide a united front and be a focus of stability for him - perhaps you could get her to see it that way. Good luck.

crazyH Sun 07-Jul-19 22:36:45

When families break up, it's the innocent in the firing line....poor darlings 😘

Callistemon Sun 07-Jul-19 22:49:53

You and the other grandmother could provide a united front and be a focus of stability for him
well said janea

I do hope that she will respond if you reach out to her, Indy especially if you were good friends before all this happened.
What has happened is not the responsibility of either of you - or of your DGS.

stella1949 Mon 08-Jul-19 00:12:13

My son had a nasty break up - and yes it was a bit difficult when we had to meet the other grandparents. Naturally they "sided" with their daughter and there is nothing wrong with that.

These days my son and his ex hold separate birthday parties so we don't have to see the other family at all. I see the grandchildren a lot , but on my own . I go to school events too - the other family don't so we really never see them.

As time goes on, you just work things out so everyone sees the little boy at different times. In our case I don't think the children are aware that there is a breach between us - they just know that Grandma and Grandad go to different events than Nan and Poppy do.

BradfordLass72 Mon 08-Jul-19 09:25:03

As you say the break up was recent, I suspect your friend is going through a bit of a crisis and wondering if it would be disloyal to stay friends with you.
She may also feel guilty and/or not know what to say to you.

Give it time.

We often get too worked up too soon about some things and if we are just a little patient, things work themselves out once the emotion is not so raw.

glammanana Mon 08-Jul-19 09:37:56

Agreeing with BL72 the parents of your DIL do not know how they will be responded to so I would leave it a while and consider writing a short note saying you would like to stay in touch.

knspol Mon 08-Jul-19 10:46:41

I would write her a note saying how sad the break up is, stress that you don't know any details (none of your business, no apportioning of blame etc) but that you value her friendship and hope that the friendship will remain intact. Invite her to meet up for coffee and see if she accepts. If she doesn't there's nothing you can do about it. If she accepts make it a public place to avoid any recriminations re break up.

frankie74 Mon 08-Jul-19 10:51:37

When a similar parting of the ways happened in our family I decided to cut all ties with the other parents. They must have felt the same as there has never been an attempt to contact us either. They had been staying with us for the week prior to "the announcement" and I still believe they knew of the situation then

Craftycat Mon 08-Jul-19 11:05:47

Give it time& keep lines of communication open. Send birthday card etc. It took a while for all parties to settle when my son & wife split. They are now best friends & families OK again too.