Need your Help

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“A litter over a year ago my son had an affair on his wife of 20 years (his sons were 17 and 20 at the time)….

It had been very difficult and heart-wrenching to see a family fall apart.

My beautiful family no longer exists. No daughter in-law, although we still text every once in a while. This has broken my daughter-in-law and grandson’s hearts as they still hurt very much.

Aside from my son breaking up his family, I have to be very careful with what I say to him so as to not push him away. He more-or-less gave me an ultimatum a while ago and said that if I didn’t meet his girlfriend (the women whom he had the affair with) then that meant I didn’t care about his happiness… and that I would probably not see him because she is his partner and will accompany him to all family social events and that’s that!

He called me the other day to tell me that he wanted to take me out for my 65th birthday to pick a nice place where I would like to go to dinner. Then he said Kim, (the girlfriend) will be accompanying him.

I’m so torn feeling like I will be betraying my daughter-in-law and grandson’s if I go and meet this woman. I’m so torn this is my son, and don’t want to lose him but I don’t want to hurt anyone by doing this. Please help me put all this into perspective.”

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54 thoughts on “Need your Help”

  1. I hope you have a wonderful birthday celebration. Love your son despite his horrible choices. If you choose to have dinner with your son and his girlfriend it is ok. I am sure this event will not stop you from loving your grandchildren and their mother. Enjoy your day.

  2. Always be civil and courteous. However, You pick and choose the environment in which to meet your sons new girlfriend.
    * Be true to your feelings and principals
    * Keep your presence firmly embedded with your ex-DIL.
    Her & adult children already Feeling the emotions of being left for another is already so tumultuous and gut wrenching, (speaking from experience) that to now lose a good relationship and friendship with extended family is truly a feeling of abandoment for them.
    * If your son wants to break his relationships it is his entitlement, but it doesnt have to be yours.
    * Stay true to where your loyalty and love needs to be shared.
    * Sons actions and affair does not mean you need to be taking sides. Full Stop.

  3. I would agree to meet her but not on your birthday because a celebration for YOU should not cause YOU stress. Your son should show some understanding here and agree to let the meeting happen another time. I would have your existing family at your celebration and tell your son you will pick a date to get together with him and his new partner after your birthday. Resign yourself to the new dynamic but when it’s your occasion you get to pick who shows up.

  4. Some wonderful comments and thoughts here. I watched my closest friend go through a divorce. Her abusive cheating husband walked away leaving her with 3 children under 5. After the initial shock she rebuilt her life and even proceeded to reach out to the women he had a series of relationships with. ( he really was a ratbag ) She even brought the children of other other relationships into her home, saying they are blood relations to my 3. One day I asked her how she could do this and she replied that she understood the pain he caused the other women and she was one of the few people who could. It was a wonderful lesson for me in the light of this, I would say reach out and listen, listen, listen to all of the people involved, don’t judge , warn or take sides. Graciously explain that there are some things you will not do or go to. Its far too early for a meet and greet at your birthday. But given time things will resolve themselves, if you are a follower of Christ pray and allow God to handle things, he’s much better at it than we are. My friend has a full life and many lovely friends, some of whom are the very women he injured

  5. While a wife may be more concerned with the children and possibly a job and taking care of the house, the husband is feeling like he’s in outer space with no one who makes him feel like a hero……and so he falls deeply in love with a woman who shows him lots of attention and tends to his needs…..this is an old story and I’m only guessing here but I do wonder if that was what happened here. When it goes that far not much can fix it. The new woman may remain that sparkly because it’s in her personality…..and the relationship might last because of it. Tell him you don’t want any ultimatums thank you very much, and no black mail. And tell him you would rather meet his girlfriend at another time, not your 65th birthday. He’s not taking anyone else’s feelings into account. Sometimes we have to train those around us as to how we want to be treated.

    1. Agree. You’re the mother and you need to let your son understand not to give you ultimatums or dictate how to celebrate. Your birthday is meant to be a happy occasion not one for stress. By all means, meet the new woman since it appears she will be in the picture for the forceable future. You didn’t mention a spouse so perhaps you could bring along a dear friend. Make it lunch and then you and your friend go shopping or to a movie. Good luck and do t forget DIL.

    1. I so agree with that! Your son seems to want to run roughshod over anyone who disagrees, including you. That is sad. You do have to be honest however. Why not have them both to your home for lunch, that way, you are on your turf. As for your birthday you can tell him the grandchildren would like to come along to spend time with their dad and gran, but very uncomfortable with the new woman. He must put his kids first now and then.

  6. This hits home for me, my H had an affair, however we are still together. Affairs have occurred in some family members as well that resulted in divorce and a remarriage. The parents of the person who strayed have always remained very close to the ex daughter in law and the grandchild, but have also formed a relationship with the new woman. Because he chose another to spend his life with does not erase the woman he bore a child with and whom was a part of your family. Form a relationship with both, the relationship does not need to be equal as this is a girlfriend, not a wife, and might not last. It might be hard from the ex daughter in laws perspective, however it is the best thing to do. Shame on your son for giving his mother an ultimatum for her birthday.

  7. I think it’s wrong of him to give you an ultimatum, his actions affected the whole family. It’s up to you to decide when you’re ready to meet his current GF, and just really wrong of him to tell you how it’s going to go, especially for your birthday. Definitely keep in touch with the daughter-in-law. Sending lots of peace your way.

    1. He is selfish and thinking only of himself.. time for him to grow up and realize others have feelings that are being affected by all of this.. Your birthday.. your decision but make sure it is celebrated with Love.. it is an important moment in life and should be celebrated with those you LOVE and respect.. tell him he is one of those people but you also want all others to be comfortable.. he has done this to himself, no one else. he needs to know now is the time for him to remember his place in a family.. he is not more important than any other.. Have a peaceful birthday and keep praying that he will inderstand your (and others) feelings and comfort levels .. We LOVE our children but also they need to respect and understand our feelings and behave accordingly .. Always.. it is called respect for all others

  8. If you want to maintain your relationship with your son, meet with him and the girlfriend. But, if you want to maintain your relationship with your daughter-in-law, by all means DO SO!!! She will appreciate it!

    I was surprised and gratified when my former brothers-in-law were friendly to me at my daughter’s wedding.

    1. Who says you can’t have good relationships with son, girlfriend, daughter-in-law all at the same time. Love one another while you can and keep your feelings at bay.

        1. Sorry he will need you before you need him. People need to learn that there are consequences for actions. If you have a good relationship with your daught in law and grandkids then show them the support that they all need. Nothing worse than the innocent party is left with the feeling of what he did is okay and life goes on. Not true her heart is broken and the cheating husband deserves nothing.

    2. I totally understand. My daughter is married to my husband’s ( her step father) younger brother. After 21 years and a lot of adversity, he told her just before Christmas that he wants a divorce. There are 4 children, 3 still living at home. There was an emotional affair on his part, and my son in law has chronic kidney failure.
      This whole scenario is so heartbreaking to us. To see the pain it has caused. Not only what, but how it was done.

      1. Your son sadly, and it’s not a reflection upon you, is a very selfish man.Without regard he has thrown away his marriage, his wife and shame on him, his children to pursue a new, fresh relationship that has increased his sense of self importance. He is having the time of of his life, using his resources and being emotionally available to his girlfriend…not his wife or his children! He is manipulating you, using his relationship as your beloved child to achieve his goals…he wants you to give this adulterous relationship your stamp of approval by forcing your hand with threats. Stand by you daughter-in-law and most definitely be true to your grandchildren. They deserve your loving support. When you are ready and if the girlfriend becomes more…then you invite them to coffee or something easy that is not a milestone event or a family celebration. You call the shots. Your son will be shocked that you chose his family over his wants, especially since he obviously isn’t! It will do him good. Celebrate your birthday with your grandchildren, if you can, they need to know that their father’s behavior is not okay so that they hopefully will not repeat in they’re own adult lives and one good way to that is to stand with them and let time and your faithfulness help heal the broken hearted. Take care~

  9. He is blackmailing you. Meet on your own terms and if he persists tell him you will leave everything you own to your daughter-in-law and grandsons. Then tell him to step down. You owe your adulterer son nothing.

  10. I think it’s for you to decide when you are ready to meet your son’s new girlfriend. It was your son’s decision to make choices that hurt so many people and he doesn’t have the right to tell you that you don’t care about his happiness if you won’t meet “the other woman”. Obviously he didn’t care about anyone else’s happiness when he cheated on his family. Loving your son doesn’t mean you have to accept his hurtful behavior. Yes, if he is solid in his decision to stay with this other woman you will eventually have to meet and accept her into the family (on your terms and when you are ready), but adultery isn’t something that should be swept under the carpet quickly or easily. Keeping a good relationship with your DIL is important as she is the mother of your grandchildren and she definitely needs all the love & support you can give her during this heartbreaking time.

    1. You are never privy to the inner workings of a marriage. My husband of 22 years & I were both the victims of cheating spouses. Cheating is never right, but it happens. You can choose between your son & grandchildren. Or accept life as its dealt to you. Its been a year, but meeting his girlfriend on such an important day as your big 65 is asking a bit much. You don’t mention other children. Perhaps you explain you are not yet ready, but suggest a date other than your birthday to meet her. Suggest instead you’d enjoy a dinner with him & your grandchildren only for your birthday.

  11. Sounds like black mail to me you want me you have to take her. You don’t take her you can’t have me. My opinion I wouldn’t stand for this if he doesn’t know what you stand for by now he never will.i love my kids but I wouldn’t stand for anything like this and they know it.

  12. I was that wife of 20 years with 2 children, who was dumped for a coworker. I often wondered at the time how everyone ( friends & family) could just accept my ex husbands behavior & not want me in their lives anymore. It hurt terribly, but I slowly overcame & made myself stronger. Now 20 years after that divorce, I am often surprised whenever I accidentally see or talk to an old family member. I am surprised because they truly missed me. Sometimes, there are even tears. We are all just flawed human beings, trying to find the joy in our lives. They did not mean to hurt me by standing by their son, brother, cousin….it’s just life. A mother or sibling should always be there for support. I forgive him & still love my first set of in-laws!

  13. You are his mother he is not in charge of you. Are they divorced yet. If they are no problem meet her on neutral ground and tell your daughter in law before. If not its your decision. He is your son and by insisting you meet her on his terms sounds as though he is seeking your approval and if he is trying to force your hand. But he is your son I would explain to daughter in law what is happening. Because if she found out afterwards she would be very hurt.

  14. It’s your birthday dinner. You shouldn’t have to sit in discomfort, nor should he be using your birthday as an opportunity to force you to spend time with someone you have no desire to be with. If it were me, I would thank him for the offer, but decline. If he asked why I would say “I think I’d be very uncomfortable. But thank you very much for offering. ” Really, should you have to use your birthday to have this forced upon you? There will be another time when you’ll be forced to spend time with this woman. Certainly the door is always open for my children and whoever they happen to have in their lives. But don’t disguise it as a celebration for me.

  15. I have to look to the Word in times like these and the Word gives us the example of the prodigal son. The father took him back with open arms. Of course, he didn’t come back with ultimatums either.
    I think since he reached out I would go. For some reason he is worried that you are going to reject him over this, so show him he is wrong. You don’t have to like the circumstances to love your son.
    And meeting the one you are tempted to view as a home wrecker, isn’t betrayal.
    Let your daughter in law know you are meeting them if you want although there is no reason to.
    Above all remain supportive of your grandchildren. Your son is still their father. He still loves them and although hurt, they still love him.
    You can be a healing bridge in this situation just by loving and supporting each one. Letting them know you are there for them no matter what is going on. Never speak ill of anyone concerned, your grandchildren need affirmation that you will always love their mother and them, your son will need the same. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.
    God bless you as you walk forward in this, may you hear God’s direction and find forgiveness for all concerned.
    If it were me, my goal would be to be able to have all members of the new family comfortable and loving of each other. (The show Reba always struck me as a good attempt at how we should work through and accept family breaks)

    1. I think the Word has some sketchy things to say about adultery and a word or two about honoring your parents. Mom should meet the girl go when she’s ready. The daughter in law will always be the mother of your grandchildren. Be careful how you tread there if you want to preserve that relationship.

  16. Your son will always be your son, your grandsons will always be your grandsons, your daughter in law will remarry and start a new family, your son made a mistake, but that probably was not the only problem in the marriage. But, that doesn’t change that he is your son. Forgive him. Rebuild your relationship with him and start a new chapter, and support him when he brings someone new to meet you. He might falter again in the future- but he will still be your son. WE aren’t perfect AND its not our place to judge anyone. But it is our place to love our children, and support them thru their trials in life. Supporting them doesn’t mean we approve of their mistakes, it simply means we are parents, That love our children unconditionally- as we should. Every child, no matter the age, needs acceptance and love from his/her parents. It’s great to keep in touch with daughter-in-law, if it doesn’t hinder relationship with son and new partner. He (and grandsons) are your priority, always will be.

    1. Elaine I think you have given sound advice , always two sides to a story , he is probably confused and hurting too , probably putting on a much braver face than he is feeling and I can understand him wanting his new partner to be accepted . Maybe this lady could meet them before her birthday dinner and decide from there , she my be a lovely person that she will get on with and can stay friends with everyone . Totally agree we should support our children, hope your advice is of help to this lady

  17. Harriet says, We all have made bad decisions in our life that have caused hurt or pain. I have had this experience in my family more than once. The only feelings you can control are your own. Your grandson stillness a Mother & Father that he loves. He needs to be your focus. The adults can deal with their own issues. This child must know that you still love his mom and dad. Never speak I’ll of either parent in front of him. Just continue to love your son, your daughter in law and your grandson and don’t pick a side. Be Switzerland. God bless you.

  18. I would not let my son browbeat or manipulate me into accepting his affair. His decision has consequences and not all of them being within his own family unit. If you don’t feel comfortable meeting her then don’t.

  19. I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. You must maintain a relationship with BOTH sides of the family. Do you really want to know what happened, does it matter? Make sure your daughter in law knows that she will always be your daughter and accept that your son has moved on…he may move on more than once. You get to meet new people, just make sure you don’t let them bad mouth each other.

    1. When my brother divorced his wife, I told him, “I’m keeping her”. At first, he didn’t like it. But she was (and many years later, still is) my best friend. And he is my brother. It took a couple of years, but we are all friends now. I never discussed her with him, or he with her. They knew my goal was to love both of them, AND they were adult enough to know they were only telling me one side of the story. Your son gave you an ultimatum. Give him one back. Tell him you are going to keep in touch with the mother of your grandchildren. As a child of divorced parents myself, the most painful thing I went through, was watching my relatives choose sides. And whichever side they chose, it was team mom or dad…..never team kids. My dad was a very abusive man…..he held his son over a fire until he melted his skin. My relatives watched him beat the crap out of me. He pushed my other brother out of a moving car. When they chose my dad’s side, I always felt as though they were minimizing my pain. You do what feels right to you, and your heart. Don’t let your son manipulate your role with the ones he left behind. And if you pray, then do that, a lot. Hugs. And I do hope you have a lovely birthday. God bless.

      1. Sorry to hear of your pain and trails with your Dad. My Dad was dysfunctional and abusive until his later years. I do agree with you she should follow her heart.

  20. that happened to me. I remain on good terms withmy mother in law, we have a lot of love. I understand she needs to mobe on with her sons choice and also have a relationship with his new partner. At the end of the day we all have to be respectful and look after our own relationships x

  21. Marriages end for many reasons. You may never know the underlying cause of the failure but your son probably needs you now, more than ever. Have that dinner with his new partner and give this relationship a chance. I am currently in a very similar situation and I have made an effort to keep in touch, and be supportive to our daughter in law and grandchildren, while still supporting my son. Good luck!

    1. I agree with you. She should have dinner with his son and his girlfriend despite the breakup of the family unit. Her son made the worst decision of his life. He is still her son. She doesn’t have to turn her back on her grandchildren or their mother.

  22. You don’t know all of the details that caused your son to step outside of his marriage. And quite honestly, those details are none of your business. He is your son and it is his life. We don’t always agree with the choices that our children make, but they are still our children and so we love them. This doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends with your DIL. You don’t need to pick sides.

  23. This is hard but he is your son and apparently, he was unhappy in his marriage. Yes he hurt many people with his decision to not honor his vows. He is still your family as are your daughter in law and grandsons. You need to be a part of his life which also means accepting who he has chosen to be with. Love him and try to forgive him.

  24. Your son did not break up the family. His marriage failed and you don’t know the details of why. That’s not your business, anyway. You can still be friends with your daughter-in-law if both she and you want that. Keep reaching out to her. You will lose your son if you don’t accept his new partner. Keep an open mind and spend time with them. None of this is about you. Your best bet is to figure out how to be supportive to everyone involved.

  25. Spend time with your son, with or without his new girlfriend. You don’t want to loose your relationship with him. By doing this, you are not betraying your daughter in law. Just do your best to love and emotionally support them all even if you do not agree with his life choices. 🌻

  26. Personally I would tell your son that he has, with his girlfriend, broken up a family and thus you do not want to have a meal with him. End of. Make it clear.
    So many men have affairs but decide to keep their families together.

    1. Life is too short. At our age we have to let go of the hurts and pain caused by others. Your world has crashed, but there is a time to move forward and forgive. Keep a relationship with your DIL, forgive your son. Whatever happens take the kindness road. It will be a better world for you.

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