DIL cannot forgive my son

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
DIL cannot forgive my son
15
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 10:37am

Hi, me again.  Well, I checked back to see when I posted about this, and it's been over a month.  Evidently my DIL still hasn't forgiven my son about this.  It was such a stupid thing to be mad about in the first place and then to tell others about it at the family reunion.  I cannot believe it, but she still brings this up and she's still mad about it.  Their counselor said that they won't get anywhere with the counseling until she can learn to forgive him.  To refresh your memory, it was a comment he made to her about her family being fake and they pretend to like each other.  She was the only one that heard it.  He has apologized over and over again.  How many times can you beat a dead horse????   My son is supposed to call me today and I'm going to suggest they go talk to their minister about how to forgive.  DIL likesthisminister so maybe this could help.  The counselor evidently has a crazy schedule that it's hard for them to get in without my son missing a bunch of work.  I'm thinking they'll have to find someone else who has a more flexible schedule.  It's too bad because this is a really good counselor, but that is why he's so busy.  I'm just sick about this, again.  I just feel like there's no hope for them if she can't grow up, learn to forgive, not make such a big deal out of little things, and move on.  She's still spending too much time at her mommy's when he is at work.  (Sorry about those words running together up above, when I tried to fix it it was eating the rest of the words, this has happened to me before anybody know why that happens?)  I'm making an appointment with my own counselor again.  I cannot bare the thought of my grandbaby living in separate households.  But, it seems, by the way she is behaving that she doesn't really care if they are married or not.  She has her baby and she has her life, and many things she does do not include my son either because he is working, or that she just makes plans without him.  What kind of a marriage is this?  I still think they should never have gotten married but too late for that!  My husband has gone so far to say that she planned this.  She just wanted a baby, and now she has one, so she has no use for our son.  Could he be right? 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 10:53am

The problem with saying something like that is that he can apologize a lot but you can't unsay things--if he really believes this she will always remember that he doesn't like her family & I think it's going to affect his relationships w/ her family.  Or every time they go to a family gathering at her house, she's going to be sitting there w/ the knowledge that he thinks her family is fake.  I don't think it's something that someone can just get over if you know that your spouse doesn't like your family.  If he didn't mean it, then why did he say it?

I know it's hard to think of your son possibly getting divorced, but the best thing that you can do is stay out of their business.  If you say anything against his DW (or your DH says that she planned this all along and he says it to your son) and they stay together, it will be bad for you cause you said negative things against his DW.  The best thing to do is just enourage them to go to counseling and offer to babysit if they need one so they can go.  You would naturally want to take your son's side in this but maybe you don't understand everything that is gonig on in their marriage either. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 11:39am

I don't think you had told us before what your DIL was upset about. I hate to say it, but what your son said was pretty bad, especially considering that she is so close to her family. Hopefully she didn't tell her family what he said or he could end up with all of them disliking him. Considering that she is kind of immature I wouldn't expect her to just "forgive and forget"...even for a mature person, happily married for many years that can be hard. 10+ years ago my dh, in a moment of frustration, said something disparging about my family. It shocked and hurt me a lot. He saw my reaction and immediately realized that he had crossed the line and apologized profusely---but words spoken can never be taken back, they are burned into my memory. I have forgiven him--because I already knew him to be a great guy who generally loved his inlaws-- but will never be able to forget it. We'd been together for some 25 yrs at the time; if we had been newlyweds it might have created an insurmountable problem.

For your ds and DIL, I think the suggestion of talking to the minister is an excellent idea. If your DIL is religious then having God's help might help her to move past this.

I understand that you want to take your son's side, and you've never really liked your DIL, but in this instance I think you need to accept that your ds screwed up royally in insulting her family and thus damaging their already shaky marriage. Of course, there's nothing that you can do about it...its their problem to be worked out on their timeline. And if DIL cannot get past it and the marriage fails, then your dgd will be raised in two homes and will survive, just like so many other children of divorce. Which could be better than being raised by parents who stay married but are always angry at each other.

As for your dh's idea that she planned this, I hope that you and he don't mention it to anybody else even in your family. The hurtful little comments have a way of slipping out and causing problems. Your ds has enough problems without his wife hearing that her FIL is saying bad things about her.

I know that you worry about your ds and his happiness, but he chose this girl and the drama that swirls around her. Please accept that this is his choice, and that he is a partner in the way their marriage is going.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 12:45pm

I know my son has responsibility in this.  He has said and done things that he shouldn't have, but so has she.  The difference is is that he owns up to it, she won't.  The thing he said about her family being fake was about distant relatives not about her immediate family, but I could understand that it could be taken wrong.  But, it's really funny because she has said the same things about those people in her family.  So, it's O.K. when she says it, but when he does it, it's a sin.  What is he supposed to say?  Obviously whatever way he has apologized it hasn't worked.  Does anyone know something I can tell him to say to her that might make this better?  I don't know if they've actually covered the apologizing part in counseling, that's why I think they should go to their minister.  The counseling, as I said, has been very difficult to schedule and if she isn't willing to work on things they will get no place.  I am beginning to think that she could care less about this marriage and that my husband is right.  I wrote a "venting" letter to myself (not to show anyone)  but in that letter I call my son a sperm donor.  Everyone says the baby looks like her anyway, so why does she need him?  She obviously thinks she doesn't.  She doesn't include him in anything she does with the baby.  She doesn't even sleep with him on the nights that he doesn't work.  She sleeps in the livingroom next to the baby's room so she can hear her if she wakes up.  Good grief!  I think it's because she just doesn't want to sleep with him because she doesn't want to be married anymore.  My son has been used and I feel used too.  I've been as nice to her as I can be.  I told my husband the other day that if I even said half the things that his mother used to say to me that DIL wouldn't speak to me.  She thinks the world is out to get her or something and she needs to realize that much of what is happening is normal stuff married people with a new baby go through.  People say things and do things that they later regret.  If you love them, you forgive them, and you move on.  There are far worse things that married people have gone through and forgiven their spouses for.  I've seen wives forgive their husbands for cheating.  I've also seen wives stand by their man when they've committed a crime and been in jail.  It's just unbelievable to me that she can't forgive him.  This tells me she doesn't love him and maybe she never really did.  She was just pretending. 

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 2:28pm

Well, I hate to sound like a broken record-but I say again, that your son & dil are adults & in my mind, the best thing you can do is to let them work things out. We all say things (or do) things we regret-& that includes what your son said about his in-laws. He should not have said it-but your dil needs to realize that nobody is perfect-including her. (& her family).

Other than offering to babysit-I think you need to let them work it out-as adults. Your dislike of your dil is probably very obvious to one & all-& that is not helping anything or anyone. Her immaturity is irritating, I'm sure-but somewhere along the line, your son must have been attracted to it & to her. Hopefully they can manage to find the time to see the counsellor-& he can help them save the marriage. BUT-comments like your own husband's don't help anyone or anything, hopefully nobody else heard it but you & it won't get repeated.

Last time you were so upset & it worked out & you got the visit you felt was due you. I hope this time you get things worked out again, & that things calmed down. But in the meantime, I think you have to stay out of their lives. Obviously you didn't take the advice we gave you to tell your son not to use you as a sounding board & to problem solve on his own. Seems to me if he is old enough to marry & have a child-he is old enough to stop relying on his parents to fix everything.

Nora

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 5:42pm

"she has said the same things about those people in her family.  So, it's O.K. when she says it, but when he does it, it's a sin."

Yes, that's pretty much the way it works. You can criticize your own family of origin but other people don't get to. Kind of a loyalty thing, kind of an unconditional love thing. Obviously some people are more relaxed about it than others....and after many years of being a part of the family a spouse could probably get away with saying the same thing, provided the tone of voice and timing was just right.

"Does anyone know something I can tell him to say to her that might make this better?"

You mean besides "Son, please stop telling me this stuff. A mother should not be involved in her son's marital issues". ?? No, that's HIS job, to figure out how to fix his marriage, or whether it can even be fixed.



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 6:54pm

How he's handling things is obviously not working.  I would just like to give him some ideas as to how to handle it.  It's going to take a lot of counseling to even break the surface of their problems.  I'm just trying to help in the meantime so things don't completely fall apart.  Some people need help in how they apologize.  Face it, are any of us really good at it?   Apologizing can be hard and it is something you need to learn, but if you keep doing it wrong, it won't help anything.  That's all I was looking for here was if you guys had a better way to apologize.  I'm not that good at it either.  My husband and I don't fight that much.  I just thought maybe you guys had some insight and life experience that I could put with my own advice and help him out, but I guess I'm not supposed to help him. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 9:03pm

HE is a big boy.  It is up to HIM to figure out what to do to make her happy.  If he loves her enough, he knows what that is, whether it's 2 dozen roses, a Coach purse, or a vacation in Cancun. And he should know it without needing input from ANYONE.  LEAST OF ALL HIS MOTHER. 

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 9:16pm

Julsie-nobody likes to see their children suffer-but when they become adults, we all have to step back & let them make their own mistakes & their own corrections-their own way. The longer you feel you should "HELP" the longer it will be before they learn to do it their own way. It sounds as if they both have some growing up to do-she runs home to her mother (physically)-he runs home to you (on the phone). I don't see that it is different in either instance-both mothers are doing their best to keep their kids as youngsters.

My dh & I don't argue much either-but not because we were made that way-because we've learned to adapt. And you are denying your son that right by constantly interferring. You have to be strong & say "I'm sorry-this is between the 2 of you". If you cannot do it for this son-you won't be able to do it for any of them. And that will be too bad, because someday you will look at the 3 of them & wonder why none of them are happy in their adult life.

Part of being a grownup is being able to accept your behaviours as being your own responsibility. In many ways, I guess we were lucky in that we lived 4 hours from my parents when we got married-I could not run home every time Mike & I disagreed. Our babies came fast & I had to work crazy hours to help provide for our family-which meant tempers were short, nothing like a lack of sleep to make tempers flare. But we learned to fight fair & to think of the other person & their feelings.

I don't know if you remember-but we have just gone through what no parent should ever have to go through-the death of our son. We are going through grief counselling now-& the counselor commented on how, through everything-shifts (mine), sickness, teens (4)& various other things & now Adam's death-we are still polite & caring. And I'm very proud of that comment-I was frankly surprised too-never thought about it before. But we also maintain the loving distance with our 3 married children. I know they argue (I've left the room when they do)-but not up to me to be involved any more than it was up to our parents to be involved when we did.

We care Julsie-we just think you aren't listening to us. Nora

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 09-23-2013 - 9:25pm

Mom_julsie, it takes trial and error. I don't think there is any one way to apologize to everybody for everything; or even one way to apologize to a spouse for saying something hurtful. It starts with being heartfelt because it comes across whether one is truly sincere or not. After that, he has to figure out what will work with her. If the first attempt doesn't work, then he comes up with something else. Like Sabr said, it might be flowers or an expensive gift---or him on his knees begging forgiveness. 

I think the best way that you can help him is to tell him that you have confidence that he can figure this out on his own. And then step back and let him do just that. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 09-24-2013 - 8:24am

Hello Nora and thank you for your response.   Yes I do remember about your son and yes, that is something no parent should ever have to go through. That is something to be proud of, some marriages would break after going through something like that.  I don't know what would happen to me (us) if we had to deal with that.  I thank God everyday for my sons, their significant others, and my grandbaby.  Even if it seems like sometimes I don't "like" my DIL I do love her.  I just don't like her behavior.  As far as interfering in my other sons' relationships, it absolutely won't be a problem with my second son.  He tells me nothing!  Also, he has been with this girl for seven years, and I've never once seen them have a fight or barely a disagreement.  I'm pretty sure they don't fight when they're alone either just because I can tell what kind of relationship they have.  I have no worries about them getting married.  I am just as close with third son as I am to my first, some will claim he is my favorite.  I try hard not to play "favorites" but he is my baby and he has many accomplishments that I am very proud of.  He, however, does not tell me everything either.  We do talk, but not as much as my first son.  His girlfriend is quite different from my first son's so I don't see any of these kinds of things being an issue with them.  But, you see, my first son was teased, tormented and bullied in grade school and high school and so he always came to me.  I was his safe place.  I know he is an adult, and I'm not supposed to "interfere" but is it possible to be his friend as well as his mother?  He maybe doesn't want to talk to his friends and he really can't because if his friends tell their wives, well then this could get back to his wife.  I'm the only one he can confide in and I will not tell him to stop talking to me about his problems.  I am the only constant in his life right now.  I will not abandon him.  This is not the same as her relationship with her mother.  He does not call/text me in the middle of an argument.  Even if they lived a block away I would not allow him to come to our house or spend the night when they've had a fight.  I would tell him to go home and face his problems. 

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