Go Back   Friends and Family Forum > The Family Forum > In-laws

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 01:41 PM
1dilwhosreal 1dilwhosreal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: North East
Posts: 2,068
1dilwhosreal will become famous soon enough
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Welcome to the forum, Rowan. It's nice to see a new face.

I've read thru the posts, and I agree with what has been said already.

Let me first congratulate you on being an excellent MIL because you're asking the important questions. And I really agree with elaine, the answers to those questions are as individual as we are, and you may want to have this conversation with your DIL someday.

Now I'll give you my spin on things-- you are being sucked into a marital issue. Your son and DIL are newlyweds. Tho they want to be grown and independent, they haven't figured out what that means and how to do it as a couple. Your DS probably doesn't have a clue where your DIL's boundaries are (I think all DILs can agree that our DH's are clueless about this issue), but it's his job to work it out with his wife first.

Seriously, I'd have a conversation with them and tell them that they need time and space to establish themselves as a couple. You'll be glad to help them, but you'll only do what you really think will be a help. So living with you is not an option, especially since it also disrupts the lives of minor children.

Help them find a cheap hotel or month-to-month leased apartment, have them over for dinner, etc. It might be a little more expensive, but that money will be money well spent in the long run.

ETA: everyone posted while I was composing . Well, not an original thought, but I guess it's just an affirmation.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 01:45 PM
Gaeta Gaeta is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Escondido, CA
Posts: 5
Gaeta is on a distinguished road
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Here is another thought....are you sure the Wife wants to stay with you. My hubby use to make plans with his parents thinking I was cool with it till I finally blew up and said I want to be included in plans from here on out. SHe might not even know he is saying "we can stay with you" and she might think you are just trying to be nosey.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 02:20 PM
Rowan's Avatar
Rowan Rowan is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 27
Rowan is on a distinguished road
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaeta View Post
Here is another thought....are you sure the Wife wants to stay with you. My hubby use to make plans with his parents thinking I was cool with it till I finally blew up and said I want to be included in plans from here on out. SHe might not even know he is saying "we can stay with you" and she might think you are just trying to be nosey.
Good questions!

Unfortunately, I have no idea if she knows it was my sons idea about the living arrangements. She may in fact think it was me offering just to be more privy to things. I also have no idea whether or not she wants to stay with us.

Another little tidbit of information: they lived together, on their own, for almost a year in another town away from his bio-dad. When he/they decided they wanted to move here, in order to save money for the move (as per my son), he moved them in with his bio-dad and 2 brothers. She wasn't happy with this as its a messy bachelor pad and only 800 sq ft but she is putting up with it for my son, I guess.

I'm guessing that if they do end up moving here, it won't take them long to move out on their own as it will have been a long time since they had their own space.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 02:29 PM
grubby's Avatar
grubby grubby is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: In the middle of nowhere
Posts: 1,769
grubby will become famous soon enough
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

[quote=Rowan;8745][b]"whats next, is she going to tell us how to raise our kids?"[b]

I think you have gotten some really good advise so far. I also believe that this is a problem for your son and his wife to figure out.

The statement above really kind of bothered me. I find it completely inappropriate on your son's part to tell you this. This was a conversation that he had with his wife and should not have been repeated. Also, I think he is doing you a huge injustice by offering up comments that were said in probably the heat of an argument.

He will get to the point that his wife will feel that she can no longer be open and honest with him because he will tell you everything and this will be detrimental to his marriage.

Also, if he is constantly telling you the negative things she says (without context or you actually being there for the conversation) this will have a negative impact on the view you have of your DIL. Which is very unfair for both you and your DIL. Every wife vents to her husband, sometimes it is nothing more than a vent and the DIL means no real harm. For her husband/your son to repeat this will only cause more harm to all relationships.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 02:34 PM
Grace's Avatar
Grace Grace is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 663
Grace is on a distinguished road
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Absolutely agree with you Grubby - the husband/son in this situation sounds like he has a lot of growing up to do.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 02:45 PM
Rowan's Avatar
Rowan Rowan is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 27
Rowan is on a distinguished road
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Funny you both should mention that my son has some growing up to do. My husband as said the same thing to me. I took offense, cause he's my son afterall, but he's right...and you two are right too. If it was myself in her shoes right now, well, I'd make sure I wasn't!

I'm ready to let this go.....you all have made me see that its not really myself thats the problem.

I appreciate the feedback and feel better now.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 04:07 PM
KayKay's Avatar
KayKay KayKay is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 16,172
KayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond repute
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Wow. I leave the computer for just a couple of hours and an entire thread happens without my two cents!

Rowan, welcome.

Everything that I'd want to say has been said. My only hope is that you don't feel attacked; some of us have been in the position that your DIL has been in, and have really suffered because of it. There are some open wounds festering out here.

I'm very impressed that you are seeking and open to advice from DIL's. And to be honest, I think highly of your DIL for texting you in an effort to have honest conversation. She wants to get along with you; you are lucky in that regard.

IMHO, the fault lays at your DS's feet. He needs to learn to be a "man", not a momma's boy. Okay - this part's harsh... please read it with an open mind... maybe you didn't teach him that? If you two were very close and could talk about anything (nothing's off limits)... ew. LOL. Seriously? You knew when he lost his virginity? He told you when he was single and went to bars to get trashed and pick up chicks? You know how much all of his monthly bills are? Do you think THAT'S normal and appropriate?

Didn't think so. My point is... there ARE boundaries already. They are natural.

Maybe you didn't go through this when you were a newlywed, but your DIL is trying to build her nest. Your DS and DIL need to figure out how to make it in this big, mean world without their mommies (you OR her mom) holding their hands. They're trying to be adults. Or, at least your DIL is. Fact is, your DS has to learn to make decisions with his DW. That's all part of having kids: letting them go. Your job as a mom now is to teach your DS how to put his DW first. (I KNOW you want to do this! I can tell from your posts!)

I'm not faulting you at all, except for the eensy-teensy idea that maybe you've forgotten what it's like to be a newlywed and forming your own new little family.

So, I think an open conversation would be appreciated by all, all the way around. "DS and DW, I'm very happy that you will be moving closer if that's what you want to do. I want to help you as you see fit, but I'm concerned that as newlyweds you need more space than living with us will provide. Those living arrangements will be stressful - to you as a newly married couple, to me and SD as an old set-in-our-ways married couple, to your younger B's and S whose routine will be thrown out of kilter, to DIL and I who want our relationship to grow at an appropriate pace. You are welcome here but SD and I would like a set time frame and we'd like to know what help you need to get on your own two feet."

Oh! Yeah... I wanted to say about the "DIL being jealous" thing. Uh, no. Don't think that for a second. I don't know if it's true or not in your case, but the second you entertain the thought "She's jealous of me" you put yourself in a position of superiority. I don't think you really mean to do that. You and DIL have very different roles in your DS's life. You do not EVER want to come across as condescending to your DIL. I know you "get" that you aren't "competition".

Real life example: Every player on a basketball team has a different position. My DD plays post. She is not *at all* jealous of the point guard; my DD likes playing post and is good at it. If the point guard were to think "She's jealous of me because I call the plays" it WOULD come across, however subtly, to my DD. If my DD were to think "She's jealous of me because I score most of the points" it WOULD come across, however subtly, to the point guard. No. They're are a TEAM and they work well together because they admire each others skills. My DD just LOVES how fast the point guard is and the point guard just LOVES how well my DD sets a pick for her. No jealousy. They are awesome together and the coach loves them both in different ways.

Gad... can you tell I have spent too much time in a gym lately?

Anyway... just wanted to point that out. My MIL used to think (sooooo erroneously) that I wanted to be like her; that I admired her cooking skills and how clean she keeps her house. Let's just say that DH married me because I'm pretty much the opposite of his M.

One more thing before I stop this monstrous post...

No relationship EVER should be uncomfortable for one of the people in it. You should answer questions that you aren't comfortable answering (neither should they). You should speak up and say "The living arrangements won't work for me" (so should they). The whole key is respect and love.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 06:12 PM
Black Box Black Box is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 138
Black Box is on a distinguished road
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
They are supposedly moving here, which is several states away. My son and I have always been extremely close, there hasn't ever been a subject that was off limits.
Whether this is the case with you and your son, the fact is most women who have an unhealthy enmeshed relationship with their sons claim that they are 'extremely close' and that 'there's never been any subject that was off limits' --until the DIL came along that is. It's a classic.

Here's something to consider. My MIL thinks she was such a wonderful, warm, supportive mother that she 1) loves her family more than most people love theirs, and 2) she has an extremely close relationship with all three of her sons. The truth: she'd be shocked at what they don't tell her. And how smothering they find her. They are all three chatty, agreeable, easy going men, and they all three learned the hard way NOT to tell mom anything of substance; and all three DILs dislike her, almost to the point where two of them can hardly stand to be in the same room as her and the third is fast getting to that point.

Remember the last episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show, where they had that group hug and no one could let go and when one of them needed a tissue, they all shuffled together over to the kleenex box? That's my MIL; she wants to go through life in the center of a group hug. She thinks she's being friendly and loving to include DILs in her group hug and is outraged and dramatically 'hurt' that the DILs aren't interested.

I know your first instinct is to dismiss out of hand the idea that your relationship with your son may be too dependent, a little on the unhealthy side, too enmeshed. But try to be open minded. A normal two year old will pull away from his mommy and shout NO, and will push her away and run off. They are programmed for independence.

The same with a normal young adult. They become critical of their parents and their environment, secretive and surly. It's normal and necessary for young adults to achieve maturity to push away their parents, turn their backs on them and strike out on their own.

Could their be a connection between your son's obvious immaturity and his 'extreme closeness' with his mother? Is it possible you stifled your son's normal impulse to close out his parents by being too accomodating, too fragile, too needy? I know your first impulse would be to deny it; mine would be. But it's a parent's job to push grown children out of the nest if they lag doing it themselves. Did you do your job and give him a firm shove into adulthood? Don't confuse physical distance with emotional distance.

To me your claim of 'extreme closeness' and no boundaries is a red flag (not a condemnation, but a warning: oh no, I hope this isn't going where it looks like it could go).

Here's a second red flag:

You say you want them to move back to your state so very badly that you are willing to jump into a bad living situation to ensure it happens. Why do you want them to move back so badly? What are you imagining will be better about your life if they move near? Why do you want it SO MUCH, so badly?

It's clear you are making assumptions of what will happen if they move back and are very excited about it. Please examine these assumptions very carefully. If you are assuming more contact with your son and more interaction with him, more 'closeness', you may be clashing with HIS intentions. I STRONGLY urge you to tone down your expectations and examine your assumptions--because nothing causes MIL problems more than MIL's imposing their assumptions and expectations on a young family.

In truth, if your son and DIL move closer, you should not expect your life to be much different than it is now. It's a burden to place so much excited, needy, expectations on young people just starting out.

To me, this is another red flag.

Here's a third red flag:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
my husband thinks that since my son and I haven't lived near each other for several years, and since his wife has been the only woman in his life for the past 3 years, that after meeting me and seeing how close my son and I are, she's alittle jealous of him having a close emotional connection with another woman.
Bunk. If DIL has been with him for 3 years and only just now since meeting you has noticed 'how close' your son and you are, then I'm sorry to say, you and your son aren't as close as you think. She would have noticed in the past three years before meeting you, if you were as extremely close as you say and if you share everything and no topic is off limits. Believe me, she would have noticed before now.

Another more likely explanation is that your son hasn't been very successful as an adult. He lived with daddy, now he wants to live with mommy. He is moving without solid plans, no job, no housing. He expects mommy to help him buy a house. He doesn't seem to be handling the tasks of adulthood very well or meeting normal milestones of adulthood and maturity. I wonder if maybe the closer he gets to moving back, the more he regresses in maturity--he's moving back to climb in the womb; grown up life is hard and he wants mommy to take care of it for him, and you seem very eager to do it. This is common with late teens and early twenties--they regress when they are around their parents and lose years of maturity.

I wonder if his wife isn't more dismayed at his inability to stand on his own feet and his increasing reliance on mommy. Could her text actually be a way of her telling you that you need to push him back some; withdraw so he has no choice but to learn to make his own way and rely upon her? Just a thought. Letting go and letting your child stumble and find their own way is an OBLIGATION of parenthood.

But if you were actually as close with your son as you claim, she would have been jealous long before meeting you.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 08:13 PM
Black Box Black Box is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 138
Black Box is on a distinguished road
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

Another red flag:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
She didn't blow a gasket or anything though. She texted me, and in a nutshell, told me that there were things that I wasn't to discuss with my son, that certain things weren't my business. She related that she wanted to clear this all up because she didn't want to have any problems with me.
I am sure she didn't tell you that you were not to discuss certain things with your son; I bet she told you not to discuss things with "Son's Name".

It's a subtle difference, but it's important. She's trying to establish a reasonable boundary: This is our business, mine and my husband's -- that's your business. In these areas, they don't overlap. It's a gray area where they overlap; different for different people. So who has the final decision? She does. The relationship between husband and wife trumps the relationship between mother and son. She's making telling you about her and her husband; you are hearing it's about you and your son. You are bristling with indignation because you feel she is interfering with YOUR relationship with YOUR son.

"But what if my son WANTS to tell me these thing?" He can want what he wants, but if he disregards his wife's feelings on something so important to her, all three of you will be very unhappy. He'll hurt his marriage, she'll get angrier and angrier. And you will bear the brunt of the blame. You now know his wife's feelings on this matter. They aren't unreasonable feelings. Respect them.

It's a common pitfall for everyone to underestimate how much change occurs with a marriage. You aren't just adding a family member. ALL relationships change. When you write: "But I'm his MOTHER!" you are implying that you have rights. But the truth is your 'rights' expired when he turned 18. She is his wife: she's the one who has rights.

Granted your son made a huge misstep in discussing fiances with you. He also made a big mistake telling you what she said and telling her what you said. Another poster covered that. I wonder if your DIL even knows he wants to buy a house with you. Or if she really wants to move. Or if she wants to stay in your house. Or how happy she is that he's carrying tales back and forth between you and her.

Granted he's probably doing this without a shred of malice and out of naitivity and making assumptions about what everyone wants. If he wants a happy marriage he'd better get a clue fast. But that's not your problem. However, if you don't want it to become your problem, you need to back off. Just as it's easier to think you have a DIL problem, not a son problem; it's easier for her to think she has a MIL problem, not a DH problem.

Take heart. She played straight with you. She wants to clear up misunderstandings and false assumptions. She doesn't want problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
I guess the scope of my relationship with my son now has to exclude being able to answering his questions too?
I hope this is just one of those things that doesn't sound the same in print as it does in person, but this reminds me of a common problem-MIL game: exaggerating to play victim.

"You don't want me to come over without calling first, I guess I'll never see my grandchildren again."

"You don't like fish, I guess we all have to turn vegetarian for you."

"You don't want to hear me trashing my other DIL behind her back, that means I have to walk on eggshells around you."

"You don't want me inquiring about your finances, I guess that means I can never answer any of my son's questions again."

Please don't play victim-martyr who responds to reasonable requests with unreasonable despair. I bet if you try real hard you can think of some questions that it would would not cause trouble to answer. Maybe, "Do you want to come over a week from Sunday for the afternoon?" "Do you want to hold the baby?" "How have you been?" "Did you have a good time on your vacation?" Come on, are you really going to say: "I'm not allowed to answer of SHE'LL be angry." (some problem-MILs would answer like that). I think you could think of hundreds of topics to discuss that wouldn't cause heartache. Please don't deliberately misunderstand a request because you don't like it. It gets old fast and it's tiresome and your DIL will despise you for it and your son will become impatient with you. And you'll see less and less and less of them.

Last edited by Black Box; January 23rd, 2008 at 08:24 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old January 23rd, 2008, 08:51 PM
Black Box Black Box is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 138
Black Box is on a distinguished road
Re: A Couple ?'s for the DILs Out There

I know a lot of my responses sound harsh and are unwelcomed. I put an hour of my evening into trying to help; I too have 4 boys and a girl. I hope you will consider some of my ideas. If they don't apply, disregard, no harm, no foul. We don't have all the facts here; and in fact, you yourself don't have all the facts.

I just wanted to point out that closeness and enmeshment can mimic one another and make an unhealthy relationship appear to be a strong healthy one. And even if you and your son are close in a healthy manner, there's a time for closeness and a time for withdrawal and privacy. You have the most to lose by not judging which time is which.

Examine your assumptions and expectations. That you are so excited and eager to have your son come back that you would endanger your marriage and jeopardize the quality of your other children's lives is a sign of big problems to come. Your assumptions and expectations are probably not going to be met. They are probably not shared by your son and DIL.

Remember your relationship with your son will change profoundly. You WILL be excluded. You have no rights. She comes first; she has rights; she will not be excluded. You have your own husband. She's not interfering in your relationship with your son, she's building a relationship with her husband and life partner; this IS the natural order of things. The Bible, the Torah, and even writings from ancient China warn that children turn away from their parents and towards their spouses. This is what is supposed to happen; it's not your DIL's fault.

There's no way to juggle things so your relationship with your son won't change. There isn't a set of rules that you can follow that will ensure you will have the same access to your son as before. You can't prevent the change from happening. You have to let go and accept the relationship they offer (provided it isn't abusive or exploitive). A healthy person's primary relationships are with their peer group. That means you should find most of your fulfillment from your husband and your friends and your hobbies. Does that mean you turn your back on your children or stop loving them. No, of course not, but they are the frosting on your cake.

Don't play manipulative games. You will lose. Even if the manipulative games break up the marriage, you still lose. And you will make everyone unhappy.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2007, The BlueSparks Network