Post # 1
I don’t know if any of you have older children, and maybe some of the younger bees can offer advice on this, too. My son is closing in on 22 (in Nov) and we were extremely close until he was 18. His father and I were married 25 years and the last several years were very unhappy for me but I hid this from my children (my daughter was 12 and my son turned 18 during the separation). While the separation & divorce shouldn’t have been a surprise, my son was involved in his own interests and denied a lot that was going on in the house. He wouldn’t listen when I tried to talk to him. He ignored the abuse his father heaped on me and would walk out of the house. During the separation period waiting for the divorce to be finalized, I met an amazing man who I just married. This is all over a period of nearly 4 years.
My ex told my son lies about me – that I was involved with this man earlier than I was. How my son could have believed what he heard is a mystery to me – he never gave me a chance to tell the truth (or listen to my mother either). My son left my house and my daughter stayed. She got to know this man and loves him, his family and the fact that he’s her step-father now. My son never gave him a chance and just repeats that this man caused his family to break up, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He made me choose – like my own personal Sophie’s choice. How can anyone do that?
My son went away to college in state, though, and works a lot of hours as well. I never see him even though he’ll come to stay with his father 5 min from my house. I rarely hear from him and then it’s only a text. He gives me very sweet cards for occasions with lovely words written inside. But I haven’t seen him since Mother’s day and relaized that I know almost nothing about his life for the past 3 years, and not for lack of trying. I offer to drive up to his school to take him to dinner, meet him for lunch when I know he’s working in town, but he never schedules time for me.
I am heartbroken and cry about this almost daily. Any thoughts? Advice? Please don’t advise therapy – I spent years in it while married to my ex just to survive. I don’t want to start another round. Some things just are the way they are but it would help to know if anyone has experience in this.
Post # 3
During a divorce, it is not uncommon for children (even the adult ones) to ‘take sides’ with the less stable parent, or the one they fear losing more. So it may be that because he wasn’t home and didn’t HAVE to confront the truth, it was easier for him to lean on an easier belief–that your new husband is the problem, and not his father. Give him some more time. I bet he will come around–especially as he sees that your husband is a good man, treating you well, and eventually the truth about his father will leak out.
Post # 4
@bearlove: Thank you – you’ve made some interesting points I hadn’t considered.
Post # 5
Give him time, I am sure that he will come around. Boys in their teens and early 20’s are often distant from their mothers anyway. They are off exploring alone. Give him time and space, let him know you care about him (a text message once a week or perhaps a FB e-mail), and he will come back to you. 🙂
Post # 6
This sounds like an incredibly hard situation. If it makes you feel better I can vouch that most men I know aren’t particularly good at staying in contact with their parents. My fiancé loves his mom to death, but I have to nag to get him to call his mom every couple weeks. It’s not that he doesn’t care; it’s just that she’s not a part of his daily adult life.
Keep putting yourself out there and letting your son know that you care. I’m sure he appreciates your love even if he can’t express it himself right now.
Also, don’t get too choked up about him staying at his dad’s. There is probably more freedom there for him to come and go as he wishes whereas he probably equates your home with family and obligation. Those aren’t bad things, but they clearly aren’t on his to do list right now.
Post # 7
I agree with the other PPs that its not uncommon and its not your fault.
During my troubled years during my parents divorce my mom took to writing me a long thoughtful letter and I read it and cried. I didnt react to it immediately, but it did its job and the sentiment and logic sank it eventually.
Maybe try the same thing telling him the truth, but most importantly that you love him and want him back in your life on a more regular basis. (be sure not to disparage his father in this letter however because he has created an allegiance with him)
Post # 8
I would put your thoughts into a letter…the things you wish you were able to tell him but what he wouldn’t listen to or missed. I would recommend not making it too long, but just emphasize the main points—your desire to have him in your life and be a part of his and the fact that Fiance did not cause the break up with his father. Maybe he won’t read it, but the curiousity would eat me to the point of reading it. And whether he acknowledges it after the fact or not, I still be your sincere words will stick with him. After that, it’s just the waiting game to see when he’ll come around. Good luck…sending good thoughts your way.
Post # 9
this reminds me of an experience i had when i was around his age–maybe can shed some light?
the age he was when all of the stuff between you & his dad went down was right around the time that he was in the mindset of going off to college, becoming an adult, etc. my parents are still together, but the fall my freshman year of college, they moved across the country. i was SO ANGRY about it for years & was never sure why–it caused a lot of tension between me & my parents. but i think the reason i was so angry is that when i went away to college/was worried about growing up, there was already a lot of instability in my life because of those things. then to not ever be able to go back to my childhood home the way it was the entire time i was growing up, made me feel really lost. my reaction was to never want to visit my family in their new home. i had to make the town i went to college in feel as stable as my childhood home. even though my parents had valid reasons for moving that they attempted to explain to me over & over again, i shut down & really didnt want to hear it. didnt matter if i knew logically what was right or that the way i was acting what hurtful. i just felt like i had the rug ripped out from under me. like my safe, happy home was gone. maybe that was how your son felt too, but for a different reason (divorce instead of moving).
now i am 25 & its taken time for me to totally get over the resentment. but i am over it. i would give it time, but continue to reach out to him & take an interest in his life as it seems like you have been.
with some time & maturity, hell come around.
Post # 10
- Wedding: November 2011 - Florida Aquarium
I’m a daughter in her mid-20s (man, when did that happen?!), and I haven’t spoken to my mother in over a year, and I haven’t seen her in 3– and she was not invited to my wedding. She too met a man (closer to my brother’s age than her’s) and married him about 4 years after my parents’ divorce. I knew him as a friend for years, and I found out they were romantically involved through a picture in her room– not the best way to share with your daughter. Anyway, I wouldn’t wish what I’ve done to my mother on any parent (cutting her out, as your son is doing). I know that it is hurtful, and I wish it weren’t necessary, but she is toxic to me. She hasn’t known me since I was 14… and a lot has changed in 11 years. My mother doesn’t know how to speak to me without packing on the good ‘ol Jewish guilt or anger, so I don’t speak to her.
My point is that I may understand where your son is coming from.
What I would suggest is to write him a letter. Do not assign blame (do not point fingers at his father for tainting his view of you). Simply tell him that you love him and miss him and want to develop a relationship with him. Ask if he could meet just you for dinner or coffee in the next month to open the doors of communcation. I think you do need to let him lead after you’ve opened the sincere line of communcation. And when you do meet, don’t rehash the past, and I can’t stress this enough, leave his dad out of it. And don’t talk about your husband in the beginning. Just focus on the two of you.
At least, that’s I wish my mother would do.
Post # 11
I’m sorry that you are going through this. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be. I agree with a PP’s sentiment of writing a letter with all you are feeling and how much you would like to spend more time with your son. I wouldn’t focus fully on the past but just let him know that you are always there and would love to spend some time with him now in the present and not push a relationship with your new husband on him just yet. He will have to come around to that. What is important right now, is your relationship and your daughter’s relationship with him.
He is at that age where he is still figuring out life, college, and his future. It’s a time of a lot of changes and dealing with his parents’ separation and divorce and your remarriage may have just been too much for him at the time. This is not your fault. Having his father (your ex) tell him things about you and your new husband though not true, is a big burden for your son to bear. Whether he realizes it or not. I hope that time will help and he will open up to you. But just keep up with the positive attitude when talking/texting whatever with him and keep letting him know you are there.
Post # 12
@Mrs. Gremmlin: Completely agree with leaving his dad, and your relationship issues with his dad in the past.
OP: If you chose to reach out to your son, focus on building a relationship with him and moving on. Don’t place blame on anyone (including your ex). He is still close to his dad, even if he was terrible to you and by bringin up all his faults you son will feel the need to defend him.
Post # 13
The biggest issue here is that both you and your ex husband put him in the middle of your separation which is unfair, and I think forced him to pick sides. I think you should have a heart to heart and tell him you want to improve your relationship. Perhaps have one last big talk about the breakup and whatever you do refrain from speaking about his father.
Post # 14
I don’t have any advice, but I can say that my husband and his mom are in the same situation as you and your son. My husband thinks getting divorce is wrong in general, he loves his dad and he thinks because his mom was the one that left their family that everything is her fault. It’s kind of sad because I have become pretty close with his mom, so she has told me some stuff. Not that I think divorce is good, but I think it is easier to understand in some situations than others. I get why she left my husband’s father.
My husband is very judgemental and harsh in punishing when he thinks he has been wronged. His parents have been divorced for about 8 years. There was a long time where he would not even talk to his mom. She moved away and remarried and he had no part of it. That was kind of her fault too though because she started making things worse by quickly moving on without having fixed things with her son. Then life happened. We got together, I built a relationship with her. We got married and his mom came in to town for it. He is better now with her than he was years ago, but it’s not great. She is very sad and regrets the way everything happened. She writes him letters and gives him cards/gifts. He is at least on speaking terms with her now. So I guess all I can say is that if you don’t give up on your son, eventually… maybe you will be on better terms? But so far it is not like they ever got back the relationship they had when he was a child.
I don’t know if this helps or not, but it is at least perspective from the other side of the situation.
Post # 15
@macbeth91512: Your reply makes a lot of sense to me. While I was away at college, my parent also moved (from Queens to Long Island – I see your from Brooklyn, where I was born) and I never got to say goodbye to my childhood home. It was weird because then they wanted me to think of their new place as home and I never really lived there. After college I left NY & moved to Colorado. I didn’t resent their move but I’d also gone ahead with starting a new life for myself.
My son definitely was the child who needed a ton of stability in his life -even going away on vacation was troubling to him. That’s one of the reasons I stayed so long, too long in the marriage. When he started to pull away in his life and getting new interests, his father started calling him a ‘shithead loser’ for doing so & I felt I had to get out ofthe marriage or I’d want to die (literally).
I never thought a change would make him resent me so much but I guess there’s not a lot of rational thinking going on here at his age. Children sometimes want and need things beyond what is possible to give. I hope he will come around someday. I’ll never give up on him but I hope he matures to the point where life is not all about him.