Frustrating update on how to comfort grown son in impending divorce...or is it?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I stayed up on my vacation in Illinois ALMOST ALL NIGHT talking to my son and trying to give him advice and comfort while his wife is out of town with my grandson--and he found a post on a forum saying she and her sister are looking at real estate and she is thinking of leaving him. I posted about this earlier so you may want to check it out if you're brand new to my newest dilemma. When I say he found a post, I mean she posts on a forum and he read her post and it was, as he put it, "gut-wrenching."

    After talking to him today, he is adamant that he just wants support and doesn't want me to say she is leaving him. I think she is well on her way to leaving him, may even have contacted a lawyer, but I guess I was making him feel worse by trying to find him a good lawyer, etc. He wants to save his marriage. From what he told me, it doesn't sound as if she is interested in saving it. Her sister is also going through a divorce (her hub is serving our country in Iraq, but she was written him that she wants a divorce) and the two sisters are very close. So I guess they think it will be a good thing if they both get divorced, shared a place, and share babysitting, although I'm not sure. And maybe I'm wrong and she WON'T leave my son. But I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that she will. And, with that, who knows what will happen to grandson. So here is an the update:

    I am no longer going to try to help him prepare in case she is planning on leaving him. From what he has told me, their marriage has been bad for a long time and marriage counseling only made it worse...empowered her to be "independent" and she shut him out of her life. I guess my role is just to listen and to tell him to hope for the best though. That's what makes him feel better. He is a little frightened that she won't come home tomorrow night with his son as expected. And, if she does, he isn't sure what he should say to her, if anything.

    My gut tells me to advise him to sit her down and talk, but his male friends have mostly told him to have a "wait and see" attitude. So this mom has to cool her jets and just be supportive without giving out advice. I'll tell you one thing. I won't stay up all night talking to him again. It made me so full of dread and anxiety that *I* can barely function, and I can't help him or anyone else if I'm in THAT bad shape. I was sad to learn that his wife doesn't like me. THere's a story behind that, but it's for another post. It is really very trivial and I'm flabbergasted that she is still upset about it. If they stay together, I will still have little to do with my grandson because J. doesn't like me. Ain't that swell? That alone had me crying a good deal of the day. This is just a mess. My first two kids have really been heartbreakers, and a lot is because of who they married. However, I love this son very much and will put it all aside for him and wear a brave face around him.

    But I feel like a piece of garbage. It seems like I don't do anything right regarding my oldest two boys. :(
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Big hugs...

    It's really hard that you can't guide him in this, but I don't think it's unusual even for kids who aren't difficult children. It's possible that he doesn't want to ask for advice because he is worried that he might hear "I told you so", even though that isn't something you would say. I'm sure he feels foolish. And how like a man to "wait and see".

    Please don't feel badly. If he was not having these troubles, and he and his wife were making changes in their lives that were for the positive, he probably wouldn't ask your advice for that either. He's a grown man. Boys are taught so young to not be a "Mama's boy". Let it be. He will come to you when he's ready, on his own terms.
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    MWM---several years ago my son's wife left him. He, too, called me for support. He was determined to make his marriage work and told me he would not get divorced without doing everything he knew to do. And he did. She wanted to divorce right away. He insisted on seeing a counselor. She moved back home to her parents. He found a new job and moved closer to her. He worked really hard to save his marriage in a situation where most men would have ran in the other direction (she thought she was still in love with her high school sweetheart.) He did save the marriage. I never said a bad word about daughter in law. I never told him what he should do. I just listened. It is very hard not to "defend" your child when he has been hurt badly, but I knew if he succeeded in saving the marriage then she would still be my daughter in law---if he didn't she would still be the mother of my grandson. Listen to your son. Love him. Support the choices he makes. But try to keep your advice to yourself.
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, you're in an awful spot. Darned if you do and darned if you don't.

    I know you want to be there for your son and I really do get that completely, cuz as Mom's that's exactly what we want to do. But honestly.......if he's not going to listen to sound advice and only wants to unload.........I'd be coming back with "dear, you know what you should do. Talking to me won't help you, talking with the woman you love just might."

    I've done it to my kids. And I'll probably have to do it again some time in the future. It's not that I mind comforting them or giving them someone to unload to. But that can only help so much. And if there is a serious problem going on......such as your son has........talking to me won't do them any good, they have to learn to communicate with their partner.

    Poking his head in the sand isn't going to change that his wife is considering leaving. Sitting on his hands isn't going to stop it from happening. But sitting her down and having an honest talk about what she's thinking and why and such just might be enough to get him the result he wants. But even if it doesn't, it will at least give him the reason behind it. Could be she's waiting for him to show her he still loves her enough to try to stop her. Hard to tell.

    Bad situation for you though. Awful to watch them hurting and know they're probably gonna be hurt alot more before it's over.

  5. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE


    Hugs- I know it's hard but it will pay off in the long run.
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Generally speaking, I wouldn't offer advice, unless asked. Even if asked, I would keep it limited. I would offer an "ear." Tell him you know he has a good head on his shoulders. I would tell him you are sorry that he is hurting. The only exception re: advice is is that I would encourage marriage counseling. If this is hurting you to an excessive degree, it is NOT a good thing. It's great that you are a loving and caring mom and your son knows that he can speak with- you. However, it is important that you fill your life with- other things of interest.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, guys. Thanks. I thought he wanted advice, but I told him I was wrong and wouldn't offer any...just support. Whatever happens happens. I in no way ever have or ever would take on J. or argue with her or berate her. He knows that. I hope he can solve his problem. The mitigating factor here seems to be the sister who is over every single day, urging her to "go single" like her. I don't think this would have come up if not for the sister. Guess I'll have to see what happens and keep my BIG mouth
  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I'm glad you wrote this. The operative word here, of course, is "his".

    MWM, another thing to remember is that you are only hearing one side of the story. There's "his story" and "her story" and somewhere in there is "the truth."

    Being a mother in law or soon-to-beMIL (like me) is a tough job. I figure you have to treat this kind of situation like we treat our difficult children when they come to us for advice, or to whine.....practice those detachment responses we have in the archives, change the subject if you have to so you're not swept up in the emotion.

    "I'm sorry to hear that, son."

    "I'm sure you'll figure out what is best."

    "I can hear your pain/anger/remorse/fear."


    Be the best dang Bobblehead Mom ever born. :)

  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had a similar situation to EW back when Jamie and his first wife split up. He had found out she had been sleeping around on him...IN HIS OWN BED NO LESS, with men from his own platoon! Oh my gosh was he livid. His commanders actually took his gun from him and sent him home to us on compassionate I really dont know who they were afraid he would kill!

    When he got here I wanted to kill her myself. How dare she do this to my boy! It hadnt been three weeks before we all found out about her that she was bad-mouthing Lindsey to Cory about how Lindsey was cheating on him, and then we find out she was doing the same thing to Jamie!!! I was so irate and wanted to shout from the rooftops what I wanted to do to her and stringing her limb to limb was just a start. But I kept that all inside and just listened. He ranted and raved to his brothers mostly. Some to his friends back at base by phone. Some to his dad. He listened to god-awful music about easy woman. I just crawled into bed with him a lot and hugged him. All 6'5.5" of him.

    He kicked her out, gave her 1 week to leave while he was at our house. Told her to take her car, he would take his. She could have what she could fit in her car. She came with nothing, she would leave with nothing. She got no allotments from the military because she committed adultary. She was rotated with a slotted driver.

    I never saw or heard from her again.
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    While I'm not a mother in law and don't forsee it in the near and not so near future, I agree. There's not really anything you can do for him other than to listen. The fate of the marriage may be obvious to you and everyone else but nothing will help him until HE sees it.

    I am not husband's first wife...I'm his third actually. His first one took place when he was 21 and I think they were both just too young and it didn't last a year. The second one was the one he really tried to make work. They had dated for 3 years or so before getting married and even though it too didn't last a year, the divorce hit him hard. In his case, I don't think it was so much that he lost HER as it was that he failed at a second marriage and was feeling pretty bad about himself. Granted, I don't have every single detail and have only heard his side, but I do know that he tried. He told me some about it and I also heard some from various in-laws. She had an affinity for shopping and really put them in a hole with credit cards. husband would cut them up (his too, not just hers) but she would wait till he was at work or out of town, call the credit card company, report her card as lost and get a new one. He was working all the overtime he could get so he could pay their bills. Apparently, his family tried to tell him that it was a bad situation but he was determined to make it work and wouldn't listen to them. It wasn't until he came home unexpectedly from work one day and found one of his so called friends paying a rather intimate visit to his wife that husband said enough. I know he was angry and hurt....she WAS his wife. But like I said, after that final straw, I think for him, the biggest part aside from the betrayal was that he failed. Again.

    Maybe for your son, that's a part of why he is so determined. I'm sure he loves his wife and there is also his son to consider, but maybe that's something you can suggest to him and then leave him to think. What exactly is his reasoning for wanting to make it work? If it's love....there really isn't any arguing with that even if you wanted to. If it is more to do with failure, then he needs to see that while it is a big deal, divorce isn't the end of the world. Again though...there is a child in this equation and I'm sure you son is thinking about him also.

    I agree with the others though. You can talk till you're blue in the face, you can put information about lawyers in front of him, but HE is going to have to be the one to decide. I think your best bet is to just be there for him to listen to and while you can make suggestions, let him come to the best conclusion on his own. Know what I mean??

    Also for you, if it does come to divorce and if I were in your shoes, I would wait and see what happens with the custody arrangment. BUT, I would also, maybe even before things are final, at least consult with an attorney and see what your rights are as gradparents. I still think, based on what you said in another post, that this woman needs to understand the genetics of gfgdom/mental illness/whatever because those beliefs could not only cause issues with custody/visitation but also put your grandson at a disadvantage shoule he develop any issues as he gets older.

    Sending hugs. I know it is awful to just sit back watching and not be able to do anything.

    Oh..and as for my husband? Third time is a charm! We've been married 14 years and are still going strong. Sometimes it just takes a couple of tries to find that right one.