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Problem with our DIL

(74 Posts)
evianers Thu 09-Aug-18 15:39:26

We live in France - our family live in UK. Our son and DIL have been married 10 years with two darling little girls.
In that time, our DIL, who has a disastrous relationship with her mother [and difficulty sometimes with her father] has become more and more distant with us so that now she has not communicated with us for since last Christmas. We are hurt, but cannot rectify the situation if she will not talk to us. Our son is treading a fine line between the three of us and we do not want to put him under more pressure. We should dearly like to resolve this impasse but do not know how. If anyone has any sensible ideas, please do let us know, as we are at our wits' end. Thank you in advance.

minesaprosecco Thu 09-Aug-18 15:50:49

Has your son communicated with you? Do you still see your DGC sometimes? If so, I wouldn't worry about your DIL not communicating. I hardly ever contacted my PILS, I left that to their son. However, if the lack of communication is leading to you not being able to see your son or GC then that is more serious. Your DIL may well have issues with trusting people because of her rocky relationships with her own parents. I think all you can do is keep talking to your son and being supportive of the two of them, as far as you are able.

OldMeg Thu 09-Aug-18 16:36:59

My first reaction is ‘not another troublesome DiL thrrad’, which is of course unfair to the OP.

Why can’t you mothers talk to your sons? Surely it’s up to them, as the common denominator, to bring some moderation to these issues?

evianers Thu 09-Aug-18 17:49:48

We HAVE talked to him. He is like the meat between the sandwich, trying to keep the peace. We see the DGC Sundays on Skype, but she will never come to talk to us. We have asked him what is the problem to which he responds that she "needs her space" and that when we visit we are under her feet [5 days per year, oh please], we don't go out enough, don't undertake enough visits, don't do enough different things. We go, of course, to see and interact with the girlies. Our son is between a rock and a hard place and we do not, under any circumstances, want to make the situation worse by alienating him as well - heaven forbid.

M0nica Thu 09-Aug-18 17:53:27

The best thing to do is - nothing. Keep quiet and say nothing and leave your DS and DiL to sort it out. That will lead to the best result, whether it be for good or ill.

Eglantine21 Thu 09-Aug-18 17:58:50

I’m sorry but I don’t really see the problem. You live away so it’s not like you wasn’t to go round every week.

You Skype with your son and the GC on Sundays. Is it that she doesn’t come and talk to you as well? Honestly I don’t see why that’s a problem. My husband never came and talked to my parents when I phoned them. It was my time with them. And vice versa.

As for the yearly visit, she could have a few days away herself if you are there to help with the children, your son could take some time off work to be with you.

Could you explain more what you do want in terms of change? It mostly sounds ok to me but obviously not for you.

silverlining48 Thu 09-Aug-18 18:08:49

Given the current situation perhaps book yourself somewhere nearby when you next visit them? At least until they invite you to stay with them again? Which they hopefully will. You can then see them but also leave them time to themselves too and have time on your own to see anyone else you might want to see.
Do they visit you in France? Would they accept an invitation? My sil also had a bad relationship with her mother. My mother tried to get close to her but she did not respond. It worked to a fashion but was never close.

Jalima1108 Thu 09-Aug-18 18:28:26

I was going to suggest booking somewhere nearby as well. SIL and I rarely have a chat on the phone, he just calls out 'how are you Jal' when I'm on the phone to DD, although DH and SIL have chats about what interests them.

Perhaps the key lies not in her relationship with you, but in her poor relationship with her mother, so that she finds it difficult to form easy relationships with oldr people?

rubytut Thu 09-Aug-18 19:28:57

Please do not take offence at this but maybe it is just that she does not like you.

evianers Thu 09-Aug-18 19:34:16

Absolutely right! It is because of this bad realtionship with her own mother that she has major difficulties with the older generation, which has come to include us. And yes, they come to visit us here in France, but she will go to bed and read a book [daytime] rather than interact with my OH and me. But doing nothing, as was helpfully suggested, is probably the best option - nothing else seems to work. Thank you for the sensible replies

Newmom101 Thu 09-Aug-18 20:04:14

I agree that doing nothing is the best option. It may just be that you aren't her cup of tea. But she brings the children to visit you in France, lets you visit them and lets you have weekly Skype sessions with the kids. So it's clearly not impacting on your relationship with anyone but her, I don't really see the problem. You still see your family. You may just need to accept that you won't have a relationship with her.

SSDGM Thu 09-Aug-18 20:05:03

Hi, new here and trying to get the lay out of the land so forgive me if I don’t get al the acronyms correct quite yet.

It seems to me like your DIL is an introvert that cherishes her ‘safe space’ which is her home or alone time. There is nothing wrong with that, but for people who are not accustomed to introverts they come across as rude and unfriendly. When you visit do you stay at their house? If so, you are invading her ‘safe space’ and she could easily feel overwhelmed. My suggestion is to stay at a hotel and make an effort not only to see your grandkids (outings would be best) but also tour the area and find entertainment for yourselves.

Also I agree with the previous posters, I would stop asking your son about it, you say he is stuck between ‘a rock and a hard place’ which does that make you? Continuing to ask makes you a part of the stress, leave it be.

stella1949 Fri 10-Aug-18 04:24:38

I agree with SSDGM - maybe you are invading her space when you go there for 5 days. Stay at a nearby hotel and you'll probably find that she is more amenable. Other than that ,don't do anything . Nothing is going to change - at least she isn't actively trying to stop you from seeing the grandchildren so leave it be. Not everyone wants to socialise with their husband's family . And stop bothering your son about it - he loves her and doesn't need the stress of you wanting her to change.

Greengal Fri 10-Aug-18 06:47:57

Ok, you asked DS what the problem was and he told you. You may not agree with some of DIL's feelings, but those are her feelings. If she needs more space than you expect, she's going to keep needing it whether you agree or not. If she feels you and DH are "under her feet"too much when you visit, she's going to continue to be bothered by that even if you're thinking, "oh please." So I agree with the idea of booking yourself somewhere when you visit them. I would also add, limit the number of hours you visit. Maybe find some things to enjoy on your own after you leave them like a show or dinner out. Or, at least, plan some outings with DS and your GDs and accept it if DIL doesn't come. You're not really there to see her anyway, are you?

It does seem sort of rude for her to go off and read a book when she visits. However, if she's a little introverted and needs that space, probably best to just accept it. Same with her not Skyping. Again, please remember, the important thing is that you have time with DS and your grands.

In other words, change your own behavior where you can (booking a room, saying no more about her absences), but stop asking about or hoping to change hers. That's where the "do nothing" part comes in, I think, and I'm glad you've already decided that it is a good idea.

BlueBelle Fri 10-Aug-18 06:52:59

Yes SSDGM you are perfectly correct Good post I see no problem here at all, your daughter in law is different to you She isn’t keeping the son or the girls from you just doesn’t want to be hugely involved and that’s her right Do stop trying to make your son feel uncomfortable about it and accept her and enjoy your relationship with your granddaughters which sounds much better than many have

Jobey68 Fri 10-Aug-18 09:12:16

How very sad a situation, I have two sons and get on well with both of my DIL's. I would be really upset to have such a strained relationship with either of them.
When we marry we become part of an extended family and I find it really odd that some people can't embrace this and be thankful to be surrounded by people who care and want to be involved in theirs and their children's lives.

You live in another country not down the street and a few days once a year is not too much to ask from your DIL to be pleased to see you and make you feel welcome.

I'm lucky to be able to spend time with my little granddaughter as we live nearby and my help and love for her is very much appreciated by DIL, I don't intrude or call in unannounced but they make the effort to include us and we regularly look after her and have her to stay at least once a week.

It sounds more like she is envious of your input as she doesn't get it from her own parents, just keep doing what you are and be there for them all. If she won't involve you there is nothing much you can do but don't let of effect your relationship with your grandchildren, invite them all to stay with you maybe or as others have suggested stay else where when you visit.
Good luck and I hope things work out xx

HAZBEEN Fri 10-Aug-18 09:16:08

I can see where your DIL is coming from re Skype. I hate using it except with my own daughter! I also hate having photos taken and as for video dont even go there! I also tend to prefer my own space and spending time in peace on my own so yes I am a bit weird! The only people who come to stay are my daughter and grandson and I love to see them (twice a year if I am lucky) but boy do I like having my home back when they are gone! Even my OH is a bit much at times!

GabriellaG Fri 10-Aug-18 10:01:31

Well, evianers why not stay in an hotel when you visit them? 5 days hotel costs would be minimal or how about renting an airbnb of which there are many, then you could have your GC in a home-like environment and could let the girls stay over (IF allowed) ?
I fail to see why there appear to be so many families encountering these same problems.
On your next visit (not staying with them so no 'underfoot' probs with DiL) have a list of to-do things in and around the local area. Ring the local tourist office for any activities that are taking place at the time you'll be over here.
Offer to have the girls overnight wherever you're staying and bring wine and a voucher for a meal for her and your son to enjoy a night out.
Your son needs to put his foot down...pronto.

paperbackbutterfly Fri 10-Aug-18 10:02:53

We facetime our son n Sundays too. Sometimes DiL and my grand daughter say hello, sometimes they are in the background and sometimes we don't see them at all! We visit (and stay in a hotel) 2/3 times a year and, in 5 years, they have never visited us. I still reckon I have a good relationship with DiL. We email if we have any news (son rarely emails and often doesn't answer mine). They have their own lives and we have ours. I don't understand why you feel hurt? Especially as you live so far away. As long as they have a happy and healthy family surely that's the main thing?

Minerva Fri 10-Aug-18 10:03:13

I very rarely see my DIL. My son brings the grandchildren and usually stays. DIL enjoys the peace and quiet and chance to get on with things uninterrupted. For all I know she puts her feet up and has a coffee and chocolate cake! Good on her. She knows I’m here for her and we get on fine when I do see her.

Tidusmc Fri 10-Aug-18 10:10:25

Write out a nice card and say that over the time you feel that you're losing sight of each other and you certainly don't want that to happen. Remind her that she's a major part of your family and life and although distance is an issue, you really don't want that to happen. I have 2 very different relationships with both DIL's but both know I am and always will be there for them no matter what. Sometimes we have to be the ones to make the greatest effort. Good luck.

katieben Fri 10-Aug-18 10:24:45

I’m sorry to read about your upset. Given the present circumstances, I agree that booking somewhere nearby so that you all have some “space” might be a good idea. Could your DIL feel a lack of confidence? If so, her behaviour with you might be a consequence of that. Whether or not it is actually true, might she think that you disapprove of her in some way? If so, this might prompt her withdrawal from communication. It’s a shame but don’t despair as things could improve with positive and patient behaviour on your part. Stay positive in your communications with everyone concerned. Try to find things to praise in your DIL and be patient with the situation. When you do stay with the family or nearby, try to find interesting places for you all to go to so that your DIL doesn’t feel pressured in her space at home. One doesn’t expect this sort of thing to happen when one becomes a grandparent but it isn’t unheard of so don’t beat yourself up about it. I don’t know if any of this helps but I wish you good luck and happier times with the family.

monkeebeat Fri 10-Aug-18 10:26:26

I, also, struggle with acronyms on this site.
Is there anyone here who could give me some clues as to what things stand for - and I need basics, I’m afraid.( I have tried asking as sn actual post but canMt ser it anywhere)
Thanking you in anticipation

oldbatty Fri 10-Aug-18 10:30:26

I think perhaps she is unwell. Depression? Speak kindly and directly to her, not to your son about her.

ajanela Fri 10-Aug-18 10:37:03

Have you thought your DIL might have mild Autism. The difficulty communicating, wanting her own space difficulty with visitors all seem to fit. Especially when you said she goes to her room in the day to read a book. Many girls go undiagnosed as they are good at covering up.

Ask your son how she is with other friends and visitors?

Also why should she be friendly and chatty when she doesn't enjoy it. Please except her how she is, not how you want her to be. She is not doing you any harm and it is you who are making it an issue and life difficult for your son. Enjoy the time with your son and GC and let her enjoy her book and space. Stop trying to make her fit into the mould you want. Then you won't be at your wits' end.