The ex-in-law?

justmetooAugust 21, 2009

Popped over to read some of the threads here as I am new to stepfamilies.

My question is directed at the 2nd wives I guess. How does your husband's mother/father deal with the ex-wife? After ten years of thinking of my now ex-daughter-in as my own daughter, suddenly I have all kinds of anger, mixed feelings, ect. going on. I have to put on the civil happy face for the sake of my grandson, but it's hard.

The ex-DIL was an exchange student in high school and stayed several months in my home when problems arose in the home she was to be staying in. At the end of the senior year she went back to her country. My son stayed in touch and after three years he went to her country and visited for a month. When he returned they began the process of having the girl (20 by then) come to the states and eventually become his wife.

She again moved in with my husband and I and my younger children. They wed and lived here until they could afford their first apartment. I was like her mom, I went through child labor and delivery with her .

After ten years of marriage and no signs of any troubles, she returned to her country on a business trip with her company's owner. I took a month away from my home to go to their home in another state and help my son out with my grandson so he could continue working and my grandson could go to school (he's just now 8 was 6 when this started).

You guessed it. DIL started an affair with the boss, not for love, she wanted money. Working for a living and two weeks a year vacation, no little money for european trip ect. was not what she wanted. After sneaking around for a year and denying what was going on while her boss gave her expensive bonus presents, she finally fessed up.

I have never seen anyone be so cold hearted and cruel in my life. Locked herself in her room, made my son and grandson miserable, all they knew is she wanted out, she did not fess up the 'other man' thing.

Long story, long six months from hell, and my son was booted out (still not knowing why) and traveled between my home and his old one on weekends to see his son. A few months later the DIL moved to about 60 miles from us. Said she picked it to be close but not too close. True was the place she picked is homebase for the company boss. My son had worked for this company also but had to lose job when she booted son out. She has taken all their savings and he had nothing.

A year later now, my son is doing well, dating a great new lady who has a teenage son and is again on his own and sees my grandson regularly. They have joint custody and grandson comes every other weekend, all breaks in school and 1/2 summer vacation. Ex-DIL now lives unmarried with boss, does not work, travels to Europe to visit her mother and sightsee, spends her days shopping, getting hair done blah blah blah.

It has been so hard for my grandson. Innocent that he is announced to me one day that his mom decided to divorce his dad because she wanted to live the rich life.

Ex-DIL wants to still be one big family. Wants us all to be like always and she wants to lean me as if she were still my 'daughter'. She rats me out to my son if she has called me to chat and I've excused myself with being to busy. Then I get lectured from son that I must be nice, she has no family here, and things will be better for grandson if I just 'be nice' for a short chat.

I want to scream. I want to tell the lady just what I think. I don't want to be her 'mom', I don't want to be her 'best friend'. I know I have to be civil and that I have to deal with her when I meet to pick up grandson and times like that, but I don't know how to handle her still wanting to be a major part of my life.

My grandson would rather be with his father all the time. He loves his mom and she tries to be a good mother, but she does not have the loving bond with my grandson that he has with his father. Ex-DIL calls and sobs she is lonely, bored, her son does not love her blah blah.


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You need to get out of the line of fire here.

Neither your son nor his ex has any business dictating to you what you "should" feel or do or say or what your attitude "should" be.

The young woman isn't being realistic at all;
she wants to have her cake & eat it too-
walk out on the family...& keep being a beloved part of it!

You can't leave your family for a rich boyfriend (by the way, marriage to this guy isn't likely, things just don't work that way) & expect your husband (or your husband's *mother*!) to be happy about it.

but the main snag here, I think, is your son's attitude, because he's enabling her to keep expecting things that are just not reasonable.

He wants everyone to be one big family, (& he probably has lectured his new lady on the same subject, & I'll bet the new lady is trying her best to be "supportive" & "understanding" & all those things that we want to be & that get us treated like carp.)

If you'll tell your son that his relationship with his ex is his business & that your relationship with her, or lack thereof, is *your* business, & firmly refuse to discuss it with him or listen to him when he wants to "lecture" you, & firmly refuse to listen to his ex when she calls, then at least you'll get a little peace & quiet.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 7:18PM
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I agree with sylvia---get out of the middle!

I think you need to decide what kind of a relationship you are comfortable having with ex-DIL. Are you okay with occasional phone calls or emails from her to talk about grandson? Or would you rather hear about your grandson from your son and not take calls from ex-DIL? That is entirely up to you. How many calls are you okay with? does she check in daily? Weekly? What is your comfort zone?

Are you comfortable having ex-DIL over at holidays or birthdays?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself and determine the answers.

Decide what you want and go from there. If you decide that you're okay with phone calls from ex-DIL, then tell her in no uncertain terms that, while you'd love to hear about Little Johnny's school play or the goal he scored in the soccer game, you will not discuss your son or anything about him with her.

You set the terms and you have to enforce them.

Same goes for your son---don't let him dictate to you how you have to act (although, yes, you do need to be at least civil, but you don't HAVE to invite her over for lunch!)

I would certainly think that everything that went on with their marriage and her affair would color your relationship with her. I don't blame you for feeling hurt and even angry.

My DH wasn't married to his son's mom, although he was with her off/on for about 6 years. BUT I'm fortunate in that his dad never liked her much and really likes me----is always telling me how lucky his son is to be with me, etc. :) He's a sweet guy. He has no relationship with SS's mom.

And DH doesn't have much of a relationship with his mom and stepdad---nor do they with BM, either. THey are kind of kooky and off in their own world---I've never even MET his mother, although I have talked w/her on the phone and emailed. She is an odd duck.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 7:53PM
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My son's greatest fear in his "I must be nice" is due to the fact the ex-DIL could fly off with the grandson and not return. I understand that. She has taken the grandson a couple times to Europe with her to visit her mother. She dumps grandson off there for 2 weeks while she travels around and enjoys herself then picks him back up, visits a day or two herself and then returns to the states.

Grandson really hates this. Being stuck with someone he had never met, speaks little of his language, eats totally different foods than he is use to and won't allow him to call his father stating it cost to much. The other grandmother is kind to him and tries hard to bond with grandson, but the whole thing is upsetting to him. If the BM would remain with him during these visits at least the first few so they could get use to each other , but no, she can't be bothered. BM is a very selfish person and does not seems to have the ability to have empathy.

Our fear is that grandson may be taken over there if ex-DIL gets too angry or things fail with new BF. So here I am , afraid to 'rock the boat' too strongly.

I do think the above posters suggestions of trying to limit phone calls is the right direction, but I will have to talk to her at least once a week. Maybe texting would be best. Short messages which could be answered briefly in return without her thinking really I'm avoiding her.

I do most the running back and forth for pick-ups so the new GF does not get stuck doing it. Grandson gets out of school at 1:30 on pick-up day and ex-DIL wants him picked up right away so she can be off doing her plans for 'her break' as she calls it. She would be 'best friends' with the GF if she could and bug the GF just as she does me. The one time the GF went to pick up grandson, BM had her come to the house, had made a late lunch and the GF really was put out listening to a couple of hours of BM rattle on and on. Bottomline, BM really needs to make a friend or two and instead she tries to go on as if we really will continue to be one big happy family including even the GF--we can all just be best friends.

Sport games are usually on Sunday afternoon (Y sponsered) and I end up sitting with BM a few rows in front of son and GF, if not, then BM would be sitting with them. She invites us all out for dinner after which we decline. Then she pouts when son, GF, and either me or my husband and I take grandson out to eat without her and after drops off grandson, always running out and asking if we'd now like to come in for coffee.

GF holds her own fairly well with BM if it's over the phone, but GF does not want to become best friends and for them to do non-parenting things together (shopping, lunch, ect). When BM called GF (not son, GF) to deliver 'rules' for bedtime, meals, acceptable activities, and whatnot the GF just listened but not agreeing. When son got home and told, he called BM and explained to her that those are the rules at BM's house but not the rules at his house and that she should talk to him.

The more I think about this, I think it's time I have a long talk with ex-DIL and tell my son beforehand that I am going to. I don't think this all would be so hard to deal with if ex-DIL was born and raised in the states and we did not have to have the fear of her leaving the states with the grandson lurking in the background. None of us want to have a international custody battle and chance not being a part of the boy's life.

Thanks for letting me unload.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 8:41AM
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"Our fear is that grandson may be taken over there if ex-DIL gets too angry or things fail with new BF. So here I am , afraid to 'rock the boat' too strongly."

Does your grandson have dual citizenship? I don't really know how international custody things work and I would strongly encourage your son to speak with an attorney and fidn out his rights in this matter. I would not wait for BM to possibly leave the country with their son.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:02AM
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I agree with you that it is probably time time to speak to both your son and former DIL; however, before you speak with her, see if your son can find out if there can be some sort of court ordered stipulation/restriction or whatever that can be placed on your GS's passport. I don't know if there is such a thing, but it might be something worth looking into before you say anything that would cause her to flee with your GS.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:10AM
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Actually, now that Gerina mentioned it, there IS something that can be placed on a child's passport that flags it.

BUT I am wondering if this grandson has dual citizenship and, therefore, has a passport issued from his mother's country?

There is a girl in DD's class whose mom is Hungarian, and this little girl has a Hungarian passport and a US one, too. I was talking to her mom about it not too long ago.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:55AM
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Don't most custody agreements state that you need the other parent's authorization to remove the child from their residential state (and/or from the country)? I know that the statute in the state I reside covers something to this effect... What specifically does the agreement state? If the agreement doesn't necessarily state it, then research your state's statute. I would think that it would be easier to prevent a possible kidnapping by his mother than to try to rectify the matter after the fact so once you find the information pertaining to this, then I would share it with her and let her know the ramifications that would occur if she should decide to ignore the law.

On another note, your son should definately try to get along with his ex for the sake of his son, however, I don't understand why he seems to think he should "dance to her tune." He is the child's father and therefore has just as many rights as the mother does.

I personally find that I feel more comfortable when I know all the facts so I would curl up in a large comfy chair and read your state's statute regarding divorce/child custody/visitation from front to back. Drink plenty of caffeine!! Knowledge is always empowering.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 2:13PM
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While that went better than I thought it might. Before I called the ex-DIL son had several calls with lawyer and are working towards making it so BM can not hop a plane along with grandson--she can, but it will be harder for her to take grandson.

That will be some relief and gave me some feeling of 'I can deal with her now'. So I tested the 'waters' and had the talk with her about not being one big family anymore but assuring her I (not the son) would be there for her if she really needed me but only long enough to assure she was okay and safe.

She was taken aback when I called her and told her we have to go our seperate ways except for when it directly involves the grandson. Did not understand why until I turned the page for her. Okay, if we're one big family than BF is expected to come to all games, be at all lunches/dinners, take his fair share of running for pick ups ect. Of course not, that's silly, BF is not a part of this. Me: my grandson lives part of the time with BF, if you expect 'us' to jump and to pat your head, 'we' expect BF to be the same with 'us'. (of course we don't and won't but it drove the clear message home for her).

After going round and round with this type of examples, she finally saw that she really can't 'have her cake and eat it too'. I talked to her about being bored and needing to make friends, doing volunteer work, joining the PTA, being a room mother and the like and learning to stand on her own without me and son.

She can call me once a month and 'share' what is going on in her life. She can text me if she really needs me or has something she needs to tell me about grandson at anytime. Other than that she is on her own. She agreed, admitted to being afraid but realizes it must happen. There were tears but I think she will try.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 2:56PM
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Bless your heart;
sending you all my best thoughts for harmony & insight.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 3:28PM
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I guess I was realistic and realized that I couldn't have the same relationship I once had with my MIL. So, as hard as it was, I stopped talking to her.

It really was a must because her son will always be her son and it's not for me to try to interrupt their relationship.

I never felt like I needed to justify my leaving to her. I let her go on and believe what she wanted. And if she wanted to see DS, she could see him when X had him.....after all X was living there at the time.

Over time we have been able to chit-chat and she can call me when she wants to see or talk to DS and it's not X's weekend. But that's not very often.

I understand having civil and cordial relationships with XILs, but the reality is that divorce hurts everyone....especially the families. So no matter if we are on the giving end or the receiving end of the divorce papers, we have to let the healing begin at some point.

Good for you, Justmetoo! I'm glad you had the clarity to see that what was going on wasn't functional. And the flip side to that is that maybe by you putting your foot down, BM can start to heal as well, instead of constantly re-opening an old wound.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 5:57PM
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good for you to tell her how it is. this woman is really somehting else...crazy. she left her family to be with someone else and yet she demands she is still part of this family, plus now she is bored. who cares if she is bored.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 11:58AM
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