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Old 10-16-2011, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,947 posts, read 18,732,690 times
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So, here's the deal: I have one bio kid, a 36 year old son. I divorced his dad when he was 6 and remarried. His dad lives far away and is an alcoholic. My 2nd husband and I had no children but he had 2 daughters who spent a lot of time in our home growing up. My son was a challenging kid, getting into petty mischief growing up and dropping out of college. My 2nd husband died when he was 24 and I remarried about 5 years later. My son is now married for about 8 years and has a 6 year old daughter. He is not the corporate type (tattoos, earrings, etc.) and owns a retail shop. His wife works in the shop part time. They have about 15 employees and do ok. I have lent and given my son lots of money over the past 10 years (I mean about $200K) and what has not been given, but lent, has always been repaid. I never ever bring up any of the favors of money I've spent on him, because I am an adult who has always made the decision and he is not at all one to ask for help.

I am a pretty conventional person and much of my income is from consulting in the corporate world. My son used to spend a fair amount of time with me.....lunches and occasional dinners. He even took a wine tasting class with me. But since his marriage, tho he lives under 20 miles from me, I am lucky to see him 3-4 times a year and he often doesn't return my phone calls (I call about 2x a month). When I ask him why its so hard to get together, he just says he is really, really busy.

There has been a lot of trauma in his life this year because he had a serious injury and needed 4 surgeries. I was strongly discouraged from visiting him in the hospital. The one time I insisted on being there in the waiting room with his wife -- when I phoned her cell several times and finally she told me where she was waiting at the hospital and I said I was coming, shortly after I showed up my DIL's own mother arrived to sit with us, too! I have never, never, never done anything I know of to deserve being slighted like this.

Recently he was in a hospital setting for 3 weeks for infection control; a sterile environment so no visits. He has been home now for 3 weeks and I still haven't seen him. He had told me we could get together this weekend and yesterday he didn't phone, so I texted him yesterday to see about getting together today and he said he was going to Six Flags with his wife & daughter all day today. So I asked about lunch tomorrow and he agreed. But I am angry and frustrated and am half thinking of not phoning in the morning to finalized arrangements and if he doesn't call me, just blowing it off. Opinions please?
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:15 AM
 
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I understand that you are upset about how little time you guys spend together. I do wonder why you are upset that your DILs mom was at the hospital waiting room? Maybe she was there to support her daughter?

I am also not sure what the monetary issue has to do with anything. I am sure you do not mean it to but it comes across slightly that he owes you more attention because of the money you have given him.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,947 posts, read 18,732,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
I understand that you are upset about how little time you guys spend together. I do wonder why you are upset that your DILs mom was at the hospital waiting room? Maybe she was there to support her daughter?

I am also not sure what the monetary issue has to do with anything. I am sure you do not mean it to but it comes across slightly that he owes you more attention because of the money you have given him.
Thanks for your input. I don't think in any way that he owes me attention because of funds I have made available. My point was that when he needed funds or any other resources (babysitting my grandkid gladly!) I am always available for him. My assessment of my DIL's mother arriving was that she was summoned to the hospital because I was coming. I phoned from the car while driving over (25 miles) and her mom -- who I absolutely love -- arrived in a hurry looking thrown together. I'm sure she was there to support her daughter, as was I, but I wonder why it was so important to my DIL that I not be waiting alone with her..... she has many home parties like "Pampered Chef" to which my nieces and my stepdaughter are invited (as well as my DIL's aunt and mother) and I am never invited. It is clear my DIL doesn't want a relationship with me and I have no idea why. I have asked my son on certain occasions when I have been aware and he just says things like "oh it was just a last minute thing." And I have asked my DIL and she says things like "next time I'll remember....." WTH???
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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don't know the full circumstances but it sounds from what you said that he lives one life style (and assume his wife with him) and you live another.

It may be that he or they feel uncomfortable with the difference.

Two suggestions 1. give them a break from your company. Tell your son you would love to see him and his family, just let you know when and you would be glad to join them. Let them come to you, even if it takes time. 2. Get to know and make friends with his wife, your daughter by marriage. the mother of your grandchildren. I guess 3. live your life totally separate from you son and enjoy your life. I expect with time and maturity they will come around and in the meantime you can live life.

Know how you are feeling since I have a married son with family. It is hard. Good luck
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:37 AM
 
15,797 posts, read 13,220,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirl View Post
Thanks for your input. I don't think in any way that he owes me attention because of funds I have made available. My point was that when he needed funds or any other resources (babysitting my grandkid gladly!) I am always available for him. My assessment of my DIL's mother arriving was that she was summoned to the hospital because I was coming. I phoned from the car while driving over (25 miles) and her mom -- who I absolutely love -- arrived in a hurry looking thrown together. I'm sure she was there to support her daughter, as was I, but I wonder why it was so important to my DIL that I not be waiting alone with her..... she has many home parties like "Pampered Chef" to which my nieces and my stepdaughter are invited (as well as my DIL's aunt and mother) and I am never invited. It is clear my DIL doesn't want a relationship with me and I have no idea why. I have asked my son on certain occasions when I have been aware and he just says things like "oh it was just a last minute thing." And I have asked my DIL and she says things like "next time I'll remember....." WTH???
Maybe she is just being passive aggressive. Some women are intimidated by a close relationship between their husband and mil, some mils are legitimately overbearing (I am not saying you are). Either way the only thing you can control in this situation is your response to it. You DIL is going to do what ever she is going to do for what ever reason she has, confrontation is likely a very, very bad choice here.

The reality is that the relationship your son has with his wife is they most important one in his life right now as well as for his children. Since you have access to your grandchildren, maybe you just accept that your DIL is going to try to exclude you for no reason. It sucks, but it is better to accept it and move on then let it eat you up. As your grandchildren get older they will put pressure on their mother to include you more. Let her deal with that on her end.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:37 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Another take on the situation: maybe your son is angry with you for something in his childhood and uses his family as an excuse not to see you.

I'm not trying to hurt you by suggesting that as a possibility. My husband doesn't see either of his parents often, although they live about 20 miles from us. They had a bitter divorce and he was caught in the middle of it as a child. His dad told him a lot of lies about his mom, and as he's gotten older, he has started to realize those were lies and his mom is not the bad person he believed she was (for example, his dad paid $300/month child support and told DH that his mom was saving all the child support to take a vacation when DH was grown and gone...meanwhile, his mom was so poor that she drove ancient cars and couldn't afford to get her furnace or oven fixed). He doesn't speak to his father at all anymore, and often uses me as an excuse to avoid his mother. I like his mother and think she's a ton of fun, but he doesn't want us having a relationship and I try to respect his wishes.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:57 PM
 
32,538 posts, read 29,398,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirl View Post
There has been a lot of trauma in his life this year because he had a serious injury and needed 4 surgeries. I was strongly discouraged from visiting him in the hospital. The one time I insisted on being there in the waiting room with his wife -- when I phoned her cell several times and finally she told me where she was waiting at the hospital and I said I was coming, shortly after I showed up my DIL's own mother arrived to sit with us, too! I have never, never, never done anything I know of to deserve being slighted like this.
Speaking just to this: Try not to take this too personally. Surgery is a very stressful situation. For both the patient and the family. Everyone handles it the best way they can. Sometimes even close relatives are not wanted by the family member (or the family member's spouse) in the waiting room. And sometimes the LAST thing a person recovering from surgery wants is visitors. Yes, even parents.

I speak from experience. I'd counsel understanding and compassion.
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,947 posts, read 18,732,690 times
Reputation: 7187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog_Mom View Post
Another take on the situation: maybe your son is angry with you for something in his childhood and uses his family as an excuse not to see you.

I'm not trying to hurt you by suggesting that as a possibility. My husband doesn't see either of his parents often, although they live about 20 miles from us. They had a bitter divorce and he was caught in the middle of it as a child. His dad told him a lot of lies about his mom, and as he's gotten older, he has started to realize those were lies and his mom is not the bad person he believed she was (for example, his dad paid $300/month child support and told DH that his mom was saving all the child support to take a vacation when DH was grown and gone...meanwhile, his mom was so poor that she drove ancient cars and couldn't afford to get her furnace or oven fixed). He doesn't speak to his father at all anymore, and often uses me as an excuse to avoid his mother. I like his mother and think she's a ton of fun, but he doesn't want us having a relationship and I try to respect his wishes.
This is a possibility, though I just can't imagine what he could be angry with me about. Still, a very worthwhile post and I thank you for it. I have decided to stop phoning my son and simply accept that -- whatever the reason -- there won't be a relationship with him beyond superficiality. This is a very sad fact in my life and I must constantly tell myself not to feel sorry for myself. The pain of my lost tie to my only child is magnified recently because my brother and I are dealing with our mother's debilitating dementia....and in many ways have lost her, too, along with the deaths of our sister and dad.... but this is not my son's fault. Still, his lack of interest in his mother is a deep pain I will handle, I am certain! From the day he was born I always put him first and probably spoiled him so much because I picked such a bad father for him that he -- as an adult and as a kid -- is not a person who practices delayed gratification in any way. I have a great husband, a wonderful brother and many interesting and enjoyable hobbies and interests. I will count my blessings and not dwell on things I cannot control......

Last edited by Squirl; 10-17-2011 at 08:56 AM..
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,947 posts, read 18,732,690 times
Reputation: 7187
Quote:
Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
Speaking just to this: Try not to take this too personally. Surgery is a very stressful situation. For both the patient and the family. Everyone handles it the best way they can. Sometimes even close relatives are not wanted by the family member (or the family member's spouse) in the waiting room. And sometimes the LAST thing a person recovering from surgery wants is visitors. Yes, even parents.

I speak from experience. I'd counsel understanding and compassion.
Good point. Another surgery is scheduled in 3 weeks.....
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:27 AM
 
1,173 posts, read 3,974,887 times
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I have an extremely strained relationship with my MIL; the relationship is so strained that I actually have a physical reaction to her presence. I do everything I can to avoid her and most definitely avoid any type of alone time.

I'm not saying this is the case with you but if you were to ask my MIL what she's done wrong to me should would say "nothing, I don't deserve this". Her personality is such that she feels the world owes her a favor and she can demand things and not have to show gratitude in return, she is also very opinionated and feels like the world listening to her opinion is owed to her. In her eyes she has done nothing wrong to anyone although I am not the only person who does not want to be around her.

The fact that you were given excuses and reasons to avoid the hospital and DIL's mother showed up looking like she ran there when you showed up speaks volumes, there is SOME reason that she does not want to be alone in a room with you. Her own mother is aware of this reason and finds it rational enough that she's willing to stop whatever she's doing and sit in the waiting room to spare her daughter the uncomfortable moment.

If it is important to you to spend more time in your sons life I think you need to sit down and do an honest evaluation of your relationship and actions towards your DIL and see if there is something there in your way of being that is making your DIL uncomfortable, do the same with your son since he also seems to be avoiding you.

The next step is to stop expecting the them to be the ones to reach out to you and invite you, they are obviously busy and have limited free time; if you are making them uncomfortable they are not going to be the ones to reach out to you in thier limited free time. Maybe you can start off by being the one to invite them over (do not invite yourself over), give them plenty of advance notice so they have the date open. When you are together if you notice there is something you are doing that seems to upset them in anyway just drop it and modify the behavior. Invite them over again but take it slow, there is a strained relationship here that will take a long time to rebuild and force feeding it to them is just going to have the opposite effect.

It's going to take a lot of effort which will most likely have to come from you since you are the one that has the desire to build a relationship and fit yourself into their lives. After some time when everyones comfort level begins to build a little bit you should probably in the nicest way and with out getting defensive ask his wife if there was something you did to make her uncomfortable.

Another tip is to never bring up that money you have loaned him unless its a discussion about more money. He's your son, when he was a child you had an obligation to provide for him and as an adult you had a desire to provide for him, he does not owe you favors for you fulfilling your obligations and desires.

And speaking of obligations just like he was your number one obligation when he was growing up his number one obligation is the family he has created. If his mother fits into this and plays nicely then great but he shouldn't be expected to disrupt the balance of his family life if mother can't fit into it without disrupting the family.

Even if it's not you it's them, you will still need to be the one to make concessions if you want to have a better relationship and presence in their lives since at this time they seem content with excluding you.
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