Gransnet forums


Son angry that I am friendlier with other son’s parents

(57 Posts)
Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 19:23:56


I’m at a loss here and would be grateful for thoughts / experience in this area.

I have 4 sons , all in their 30s . One has been a source of worry for about 5 years now. He often cuts us off for months then re appears ( text , not usually in person) , with little or no explanation. He seems to think we should know why and maybe we should. He regularly sends angry , borderline abusive messages ,not mentioning individuals but implying somehow that everyone in our family is rude and nasty

He seems to have severe lows . He married about 5 years ago but even before we met his in laws he said he hated them and wants nothing to do with them. As far as we know he doesn’t ever see them. We like our daughter in law and have always been polite to her parents. It was difficult for a while as they are different from us but we have both worked at it and we keep in touch. My son tells us not to meet them but we will call to see them if we go through their town.
Recently another son married. We know his in laws well and we are more relaxed in their company, that is true.
Our other son has messaged us with a string of angry emails saying we are disgusting parents for being friendlier with one set of in laws, lots of abuse that we are unfit and he’s cutting us off etc.
We are worn out with this.
I would like to know - is it wrong for parents to have a closer relationship with one son’s parents in law than another’s ?

Peasblossom Tue 15-Jun-21 19:29:55

How would he know how much your saw them or spoke to them?

My children don’t have a clue how I share out my time or who I see unless I tell them .

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 19:32:43


Good question !
He actually doesn’t - this was based on one open air event where he saw us together
He claims we like our other sons wife more too, which is not true .
I think he is saying that we have favourites. Actually he ( he unhappy son has had more from us in terms of time attention and money than any of our other sons.

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 19:36:05

I know what is like to be from a family with favourites. I’ve always been careful to be as even handed as I can.
The upset son has asked for money in the past and we didn’t hesitate. He said then that we were great parents. He said he hated his new wife . We were horrified .
Now it has changed and he says he hates us. He is 35! It seems so childish
As I wrote this I believe I have a right to develop friendships with whoever I like be it in laws or not . But I’m new to all this - am I wrong?

Peasblossom Tue 15-Jun-21 19:38:43

Oh dear. He’s jealous isn’t he?

Honestly I don’t think you can do anything about the way he sees things.

Just be friends with the people you like and polite to others.
That’s all any of us can do and it’s nobody’s business but our own🙂

Blossoming Tue 15-Jun-21 19:38:45

I think it’s just another stick to beat you with. I really wouldn’t give it any thought.

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 19:41:00

Thank you for replying
Why do adult children do this?

Do any of you have closer friendships with your children’s in laws than others? It must be normal surely

Harris27 Tue 15-Jun-21 19:50:26

I’ve three sons and keep them separate on visiting and only all meet up at Christmas or weddings. One son doesn’t keep in touch much the other two do and I’m careful not to upset the son that doesn’t keep in touch but I don’t know why?

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 19:56:26

I understand that Harris. I had a lovely afternoon recently with the other son’s in-laws but I wouldn’t put a photo up as all hell would break loose . I’m on edge after the angry texts but really fed up too !
(Is there a term for your relationship to your child’s in-laws??)

Scentia Tue 15-Jun-21 19:59:20

I am very close to my DD in laws and have never even met my DS in laws!! He doesn’t care, I don’t care and even if he did I would not let anyone dictate who I spent time with. You may find that your DS will have an issue with anything you do, so just do what you want.

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 19:59:26

Actually it’s more than on edge . I’m really shaken by the tone and vocabulary used against us. We have turned the other cheek so many times . I suppose that’s what parents do . Now that I don’t want to keep taking the abuse any more I feel I am proving his point about favourites
Post menopause has changed me .

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:05:01

Yes Scentia I think you are right that my son will have issues with us regardless .
I was desperate when he first cut us off many years ago but the pattern has repeated so many times that there is less impact. Isn’t that an awful thing to say! This was my baby and now there is such distance and he creates such a cold atmosphere when we see him ( my daughter in law has started whispering apologies to me so I’m not imagining it)
Sorry to go on .
I’d love to hear of any of your experiences.
I wanted to know if I was unreasonable to be friendlier with one set of in-laws . I think so far you think I’m not , which has helped me

Niobe Tue 15-Jun-21 20:18:33


I understand that Harris. I had a lovely afternoon recently with the other son’s in-laws but I wouldn’t put a photo up as all hell would break loose . I’m on edge after the angry texts but really fed up too !
(Is there a term for your relationship to your child’s in-laws??)

Not in the English language as far as I know but in Punjabi the father of your son in law or your daughter in law is your ‘kurrum’ and his wife is your ‘kurrumni’. It is regarded as a very important relationship.

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:22:01

That’s interesting, thank you .
Thinking of my own parents generation , I don’t remember parents having any relationship W with their children’s in-laws at all!

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:23:33

Oh Niobe, do you mean I should treat each set of children’s in laws in the same way?
I really only feel truly at ease with one set

Niobe Tue 15-Jun-21 20:35:51

No, not at all! No one treats all aunts or uncles alike or cousins etc. We are all closer to some relatives than others, I am closer to one cousin than to her sisters for example. I was simply explaining that we have an actual word for the relationship which the English language does not. I know someone who is really close to her daughter’s in laws but just polite to her son’s in laws. Perfectly natural in my view.

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:38:53

Yes, thank you
I’m going a bit crazy , second guessing myself .
The son who mistreats us is very intelligent, (but in my opinion very troubled) , and I find myself playing devils advocate much to my husband’s annoyance

timetogo2016 Tue 15-Jun-21 20:39:17

Your son needs to grow up tbh.
It is entirely up to you who you spend time with.
I get on with both my dil`s parents,but it has never been a problem if i see one set more than the other as it`s MY choice and nobody elses.
Ignore his comments and do as you are diong.

Kamiso Tue 15-Jun-21 20:39:59

Is your troublesome son a middle child? My middle brother has a reputation for being gratuitously rude and offensive. My Mum used to say he would argue black was white just for the hell of it.

No real answer for you but perhaps you could try stepping back a bit so he doesn’t have an audience.

We’ve met two sets of in laws and get on fine with them though we don’t see very much of them. We haven’t met our son’s in laws through circumstances and lockdown. They don’t live close enough for more than special occasion meetings.

JaneJudge Tue 15-Jun-21 20:43:38

You seem to be taking on all the emotional fallout from this. Can't his Dad talk to him?

I know it sound simplistic but tell him he has to call if he wants to talk about things Sending instant texts isn't acceptable

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:45:35

It’s the eldest who is unhappy.
I am also an eldest and it has taken me a life time to reach acceptance re how I was treated by my patents - so I have sympathy for eldests!
My sons siblings say they have also been in the receiving end and they suspect a serious mental health issue. I am now so distanced emotionally from my son that I couldn’t bring it up
I once bumped into him unexpectedly and it was like he was a stranger .
I cried for hours when I got home

sodapop Tue 15-Jun-21 20:47:29

I agree with timetogo it's entirely up to you who you spend time with. I think your son is an unhappy man Nothisagain and whatever you do would be hard for him.
Don't stress about this and enjoy time with your in laws.

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:48:28

Thanks to those above for replying .
I agree that not accepting texts is the next step and there is also immaturity there too
Thank you for your thoughts , it really helps with perspective
I don’t want to discuss it with other sons as we’ve had some happy news and I’d like them to enjoy that time. So yes it is on my shoulders to a large degree .

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:50:43

Maybe immaturity is the wrong word but yes deep unhappiness that is causing a lash out at us.
I turn unhappiness in on myself - it’s one or the other isn’t it ?

Nothisagain Tue 15-Jun-21 20:52:56

My husband also thinks it’s wrong to discuss one child with the other children - that it’s damaging to relationships. He is right but he doesn’t talk much either! Sometimes I’ve expressed my fears and they have said the same to me