My son

clementine57July 28, 2011

Last evening my husband and I heard what we've been expecting for many years--my son has decided to file for divorce. I know not to get involved, that this is between my son and DIL. I come here primarily to vent.

In his senior year of HS, my son met the girl he should have married. They were great together and had a 4 year mature relationship and mutual respect. She was from a close-knit family and we all got along famously. In the back of my head I worried that they were too young, needed to expand their experiences, and wished they had met later in life.

Four years later there was a tragedy in our family that rocked everyone's equilibrium. Fast forward, they broke up. Inevitable possibly, but the tragedy was the catalyst.

My son went to school, bought a house and dated a few girls over the next several years. We met one who was sweet but to me--unmotivated and dull. This sounds harsh but I know my son and she didn't seem like a good match. But they were just dating and girls come and go. Eventually, he broke up with her and continued dating.

He got somewhat serious with one who kind of moved herself into his house. She was nervous and high-strung. Over time we noticed an escalating amount of drama always swirling around her. Fights with her family, ex-boyfriend issues, antidepressants, therapists, always needed attention of some kind. Their break-up was a relief to everyone.

He ran into the sweet girl at a club soon after and they resumed dating. He was looking to settle down. They got engaged after a short time. Both my husband and I expressed our concerns about their compatability to him. They got married.

This has turned into too long a post. Fast forward--they are married six years and have three children under 6 years old. He tells us the issues prior to marriage he "thought would change." Things like a non-existant sex drive, inability to speak intelligently on any subject except the characters on the TV show Charmed, and her extreme tolerance to a sink full of dirty dishes, piles of laundry and papers and overflowing garbage cans. When my son lived alone, he kept an organized home. I guess he really wasn't listening to us at all when we said people don't change and things tend to get worse after marriage. He says, and we verify by observation when we visit, that they live like roommates. There is no physical contact between them. She wants to spend weekends going to clubs with her girlfriends and dancing. She makes plans for herself with and without the children and doesn't include him.

To my eye, she just has no regard for him. She will be out when he comes home from work. Doesn't call to tell him, doesn't leave a note, doesn't consider leaving him something to eat. Many times he has called our house looking for her. Yes, he can feed himself but that is not the point I'm making. She just doesn't care for or about him on a very basic level.

I take the children many weekends to give them time to be together, to unwind without the kids and give them a break. She goes out without him and he works around the house, cleaning.

She is not motivated to work despite "searching Craigslist and checking the papers every day" by her account. This was something she wanted, to get out of the house and earn some money. My son works very long hours during the week and some extra cash would be a great help. I've committed to watching the kids every weekend if need be.

If you're still listening, thank you. I don't know what to do. Don't think there is anything I can or should do. This was wrong from the beginning and three young children, my grandchildren, are about to have their worlds implode. I recognize my son's feelings of loneliness and his need for a partner who will be an active participant in a relationship.

I just feel awful. Truly awful about all of this.

Any advice?

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Yeash.... whatta mess.

My advice is to be the best grandma you can be. The kids are going to need you!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 2:28PM
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What can you do, but be a good granny, and mother.

Its a shame for your son to be in this situation, but have they had counselling ?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 1:28AM
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You know as well as any of us- this will be a terrible ordeal for a while and then over time things will get better.
After a period you will look back and say it was all definitely worth it. Son can rebuild his life and the children will adjust and possibly be happier in some regards- they will certainly lose one bad role model, assuming son gets custody.

All you can do is be there for them and get ready for a lot of back patting and "I know" and "I'm so sorry."
And I might plant a seed in his mind regarding documenting some of her more egregious behavior for the custody battle.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 3:18PM
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I am going to give you very important advice if you would like to help your son, his wife, and most impotantly, your grandchildren. Clearly, you love your son and have the heart of a mother. I appreciate that. In this circumstance, though, if you want them to survive this, and find their feet, do not give advice.
Your son does not need your empathy. That is the last thing he needs right now. You do not know all the details. You do not know, for fact, what it is to be married to either of them. Their is always "the one that got away" to lament over. He didn't choose her and is not a victim.She is not a villan. He chose his wife. He NEEDS to choose his family.
Here is how you can help. Call your pastor/priest or a reputable counseling center for a referral of a good marraige counselor. Give the number to your son. When he comes to you overwhelmed/sad/angry, tell him to call the counselor and talk with his wife. That's it. The hardest thing for you, if you REALLY want to HELP is force him to seek help by not "helping." They need to become eachother's center. It is tough to hear, I know. You seem very loving and kind-hearted. If you pray, pray for them, that their hearts will be opened to one another.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Thank you for your comments and advice.

My main concern is for the children to get through this with their sense of security intact. The best case scenario would be for the parents to develop a loving, supportive relationship and stay together.

Every single person in her extended family has been divorced. She was raised by a single mom and never knew her father. My DIL is not a bad person. Just someone who never experienced what a healthy marriage looks and feels like. She emulates her mom who is very self-directed and still wants to hang out in bars with friends. She had no male role models.

A friend gave me the contact information for Christian Counseling services that I will give to my son. My husband and I keep stressing to one another that this is not our business; we are not professionals.

We will support our son but PTAmom, you are 100% correct--there ARE two sides to every story. And yes, I pray. More now than ever.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 5:19AM
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