son and DIL in deep trouble

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
son and DIL in deep trouble
11
Mon, 07-22-2013 - 8:16pm

Hi.  I've been on here before talking about my son.  I'm afraid that he's headed for a divorce, they've been married less than a year.  The money problems and other issues that they have, I'm not sure they can work through.  They had a baby a few months ago and I'm elated to be a grandmother, but I'm so sad and really angry, with my DIL.  My son is not perfect but she isn't either.  He has accepted her for who she is, but she can't accept him, evidently.  She has this paranoia that because some of their friends are getting divorces that they will too.  Well, her fear is real, but not for the right reasons.  First off, one of the couples the husband is bi-polar.  Well, like I said my son is not perfect, he has a bit of a temper (he has my husband to thank for that!)  but he is definitely not bi-polar!  She takes advice from all the wrong people and makes up more problems that aren't even there.  Their biggest issue is about money and she can't seem to understand it.  They got in a fight last night and she took the baby and ran off to her mommy.  UGGGHHH!!!   Like I said, I am so happy to be a grandmother, but not like this!  I don't know if they'll stay married and if they don't I'll never see my granddaughter because she will go live with mommy and daddy (they are moving) and will be really far away!   I wish I could say that my son will get custody because he is the only one contributing financially to this family, but I know that isn't how it works!  So, please don't judge me, I just need someone to talk to. 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 07-22-2013 - 9:55pm

Well I don't know about the history of the story of your son.  It must be upsetting to you since there is nothing you can do.  I think the main thing for you is to stay out of it--support your son but tell him you hope things will work out.  Don't say anything negative about his DW because they might stay together and he won't forget anything bad you say about her.  In most states, one parent can't move away with the child unless the court gives permission, but they might give permission if she is moving because of family ties, etc.--but it's up to your son to make sure that he has visitation rights.  No, custody is not given to the person who makes more money, it's based on what is best for the child.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 11:59am

Certainly not judging you-empathizing with you, though.

Can you suggest (gently of course)that your son go see someone about his temper? Having a new baby is a stressor for anyone-having a new baby so early in a marriage is probably even harder than it woulod be for an older couple who are accustomed to all the give & take that being married requires.

When you say he lost his temper-did he strike out? or did he just become loudly vocal? It makes a big difference, both to the relationship & to the future of the marriage. In any case-maybe you can suggest he see someone for anger management & learn to curb the impulse to be angry. If he's seen it happen at home it's natural that he feel it is normal-but it that does not make it acceptable to everyone.

Good Luck-I know this wee girl is important to you.

Nora

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 2:14pm

What a shame that their problems are getting worse. How old are your ds and dil? She sounds kind of immature, or a drama queen, or both. Hopefully her parents will start telling her to stay home with her husband and deal with her problems instead of running to them. Have they been to marriage counseling? That might be something to suggest to your ds, maybe that you would pay for it (if you can afford that). 

If your son wants custody/visitation then I don't think the courts would automatically let the mom take off with the baby. If things continue to deteriorate then your ds should see a family law attorney to find out his rights and responsibilities and how to proceed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 3:26pm

A little history:  this son has had a lot of difficulty with girlfriends, but this one seemed to treat him well.  They had their issues though, much of it because of money, but some of it because she is emotional and insecure.  They went through pre-marital counseling, (we strongly encouraged this, because we were never sure they should be together)   and things seemed to be going better.  It seemed they had resolved a lot of things before the wedding.  Shortly before the wedding, she found out she was pregnant.  Everyone was excited about this baby and we welcomed her into the world.  Well, evidently DIL has had her head buried in the sand since the wedding and since the baby was born.  She doesn't realize that it takes money to raise a child.   They are fighting big time about money and other things.  He knows they probably have to go to counseling, but it's going to take a miracle to fix this.  I turned my middle son's old bedroom into an office and I turned our office into a room for the baby.  It is loaded with toys and items for the baby for when she comes to our house, and also for her to take home.  (She's not quite old enough to play with toys much.)  It used to make me happy and give me such a good feeling when I went into that room and now it makes me sad.  I don't want a child to be in such an environment.  As happy as I am to be a grandmother, part of me wishes it didn't happen, then he could just divorce her.  I'm not convinced that they are meant to be together. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 3:30pm

He is not abusive, he just yells a lot, but the way she acts sometimes I don't blame him!   If they go to counseling this can be addressed, but he doesn't get mad unless there's something to be mad about.  He's always been pretty easy going, even as a child.  He never went through the "terrible twos," I swear!  I didn't find out what that was until my second child!  

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 3:37pm

Yes, she is very immature.  She is a good mother, but not such a good wife.  She doesn't know how to have a relationship.  They are 26 and 25 years old.   I found out lots of things about her during the planning of the wedding.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells most of the time, and I still do.  I know for a fact that those things won't happen when my second sons gets married, which is next spring.  This fiance' is not a "drama queen."  She is very organized, detail oriented, and has her head screwed on straight.  I have absolutely no worries about the wedding, relationship or their financial situation.  THANK GOD!!!!   I don't think I could take it again!!! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Thu, 07-25-2013 - 1:17pm

UPDATE:  Spoke with my son.  It seems the pre-marital counseling really didn't help.  This counselor made everything seem like it was my son's fault and stuck up for DIL.  THANKS A LOT!!  Now DIL thinks counseling won't work because it didn't help before.  I told him they have to try a different counselor, there are good ones out there.  So, I don't know if it's because of this counselor, or just her "burying her head in the sand," but she seems to think all of their problems are his fault.  WHAT???    So, all the "walking on eggshells" I did during the planning of the wedding, during the pregnancy and after the baby's birth, this was all in my head too??  Seriously!   I couldn't ask any questions about anything to do with the wedding without fear that she would fly off the handle!  And he's the one with the problem?  She's as much to blame for this as he is, and if they don't get a good counselor that can point this out to her, then they're done.  I told him though, that they have a responsibility to their child to try to make this work.  If it weren't for the baby, I'd say, good riddance!  I never thought they should have been together in the first place!   I know you don't want your son/daughter to ever have to go through a divorce but in this situation, it would probably be best.  I just wish they would have figured out that they were wrong for each other way before the wedding and pregnancy.  TOO LATE NOW!!!  Thank you for letting me vent, I need to do this!  Oh, btw, I'm not just being a picky MIL.  I think I mentioned in another post about how my other son and fiance' are perfect for each other and I have no concerns about them whatsoever getting married.  My third son also has a gf that we think is great, he'd have a tough time finding one better for him.  So, I'm not just being picky and wanting someone perfect for my son, this is real.  This girl has issues.  (Notice I said girl, not woman, she is not a woman, she is still a child, IMO, and she's now raising a child, I just hope the baby turns out O.K.)

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Thu, 07-25-2013 - 2:40pm

I would say it 'takes two to Tango' and there's no good use in assigning blame anyway...two people need to take responsibility for their actions and a good psychologist/counselor would see how the two of them are interacting and hopefully how to help them recognize the problems and how to deal with them.  Usually this means how to deal with their own emotions but of course each of them may be 'reacting' to what the other person says or does or whatever the situation.  If high emotions get in the way, well, a counselor hopefully would help them deal with these emotions, aside from dealing with the problems at hand between them.  Anyway I'm sorry to hear of this problem between them and within you family, as I know how sad it is to see your grandchild in the middle of this.  Do you think they are willing to work together, at least to try for their baby's sake?  Or perhaps you saw the writing on the wall a long time ago - how they aren't compatible.  It's really up to them to decide if they are willing to work at this with the help of a good counselor.  I agree, sometimes you have to look further for a counselor that you can feel good working with. 

And you know, it's really not unusual that a person (i.e. your DIL) blames the 'other person' in a situation.  People will feel like the 'victim' and rarely want to look at their own behaviour/feelings that contribute to what is going on in a situation.  That saves them from looking inward and feeling what they might be feeling deep down inside their own psyches - point the finger at someone else as the problem! As I said, we should take responsibility for how we act, feel in a given situation. Easier said than done, of course, and people even need to have this pointed out to them!  They wouldn't even stop to think that "it takes two to Tango!".

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Thu, 07-25-2013 - 3:51pm

I totally understand the "blame game."  She doesn't want to admit she's done anything wrong, and it didn't help to have that other counselor sticking up for her and blaming my son for their problems.  I told my son I wish he would have told me that, perhaps I would have pointed out that he was not at fault.  I thought he knew that, but my son has had self-esteem issues so maybe he felt like he was the one who had to change.  I just wish I knew things were that bad before the wedding and pregnancy.  I would have strongly discouraged him from marrying her.  (I did on several occasions ask him if he was sure and he kept saying things were getting better, but I think he was fooling himself.)  When there's that many problems and two people just can't get along, it might not be able to be fixed.  I sent him an e-mail with some counselor info. that I found to help narrow down their search.  Hopefully it is a good counselor.  I also said some things in the e-mail, like do they still love each other?  Do they think this family is worth saving?   I also said, as I already told him, they owe to their child to try.  They can't just quit because she needs both parents living in the same house.  I know this might not be a reality, but they have to at least try.  If they try and it doesn't work out, at least they know they made an effort and they put the baby first. 

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Fri, 07-26-2013 - 7:27am

I'm so sorry that your son & his wife are going through all of these issues. It's hard on everyone including the baby. You must be so upset first that your child is hurting & that you may lose contact with your grandchild. You are very right to encourage them to get into counseling. Your DIL has gone through 2 very emotional/stressful times in the last yr. She shouldn't be making major decisions right now. I love my DIL & she couldn't be a better fit with my son but she was like many brides today totally stressed & self centred about the wedding.

I spend most of the day before the wedding crying because of some of the things she did & said that last week. Her Mom said she was hell to live with for the last 4 mths. Then 10 days later just after she returned from their honeymoon, she brings me a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a card thanking me for all the help with the wedding & how she was sorry they were away on honeymoon for Mother's Day. This is the girl I'm glad my son married. Not the wedding witch. Then there is the new Mom stress. My darling granddaughter is 7 wks old & I have been reminded how exhausting that first yr is. I also suspect that your DIL is stressing about her parents moving too as I believe you said it is far away. My point is that she may be immature & a difficult person but she has been under a lot of stress & if your son's method of communication is to scream, then they aren't going to get anywhere. So a third party is a wonderful idea.

How involved is your son in his child's care? Can he not apply for joint custody where you live? I know that here in Ontario that they are unlikely to allow a Mom to take a child far away from the Father if he gets joint custody. My daughter & SIL had their 1st child before they got married. He did little, they fought lots & as much as I was hurting for my baby, I kept my mouth shut about my SIL most of the time even when I wanted to tell her to forget the jerk & just come home. How are her parents handling the situation? Like you, I encouraged my daughter to go for counseling but my SIL refused. So I told her to go herself which is another alternative for your son. They eventually worked things out together after a couple of yrs of problems but they always said they loved each other. My daughter did leave after one really bad fight & came home. We were away at the time. This actually scared my SIL so much that he cut back on hanging with the guys to spend more time at home. He was 24 & my daughter was 27. He wasn't ready to give up the party life with the surprise baby as he was an immature jerk. Whiel my daughter was mature, she wasn't telling him what she expected from him until they got into a fight. She is still working on being clear about her expectations but like many of us, sometimes expect SIL to "know" what she wants. They now have a 6 yr old & a 7 wk old. Their relationship is strong even though I'm not a fan of his which he senses even though I try really hard to be nice & friendly to him.

Hugs to you, Dee.

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