Loralee in Salt Lake City writes:
A few years ago my son divorced his wife whom I was very close to. I have been supportive of my son, but have refused to be unkind to his ex-wife. Right after the divorce, my son become involved with his current wife and they married a year ago. Since his current wife has come into the picture, she has caused a great deal of strife and contention in our family. In fact, she has forced my son into not having any type of a family relationship with me for over a year, just because I went to the ex-wife’s house by the invitation of my grandchildren. My son and his wife have since declared me dead to them. Is there anything I can do to resolve this situation? Do you see things changing for my son and my relationship in the future? I am heartbroken.
While things may not be joyous with the family relations now, eventually your son will find his way back to you. It’s just going to take time.
Your current daughter-in-law may be causing much of the stress, but your son is only doing what he feels he must in order to maintain happiness in his home. When put in a position to “take sides,” he chooses to support his current wife’s insecurities. While he has thought about the consequences of free thinking in this scenario, he knows that he can gain your forgiveness much easier than that of his current wife.
It is unfortunate, but there isn’t too much that you can do, under the circumstances. Neither your son or your daughter-in-law seem to be very open to resolving the situation, because they feel that you have wronged them. More importantly, your daughter-in-law has exactly what she wants – your son, all to herself.
Time is just about the only thing that will bring your family back together. Do what you can to maintain the relationship with your grandchildren, even if it means continued contact with your ex-daughter-in-law. As for your son, the day will come when he reaches out to you, and the healing will begin. Your grandchildren may have a part in this… they really don’t seem to understand exactly why things are the way they are.
There most likely will always be a level of tension that exists between your daughter-in-law and yourself, but both of you will learn to set aside your differences. After all, each of you loves the same man. As your daughter-in-law matures a bit and becomes more comfortable in her role, she will come to understand the turmoil she has created, and “permit” a truce to be put in place.
While the upcoming months don’t seem to offer much solution or change, in 2010, you should all be interacting like family once again.