Dear Margo, I have a son. He and his girlfriend are very close to my ex-husband and his wife. They actually babysit my son's 2-yr-old, because they're both on Social Security. My issue is this: my son's girlfriend has treated me like I've done something awful to my son and my name isn't allowed to be said in his father's house. I adore my grandson, but hardly ever get to see him.
It's like this: my son says he loves me as his mother, but on his Facebook page, guess who he has listed as mother? Yup, the stepmother. I'm glad that she cares for my son like this, but I am his mother. I get no credit for things that I did for him while growing up. My big mistake was thinking I should let my son spend more time with his dad, because I thought that would benefit him. My fault. So now I am paying for it. My question is this: Do I take a chance and confront either the stepmom or the dad? I've been divorced from his father for over 20 years. Can he still possibly hate me so much that he wants to ruin my relationship with my son and his family? I feel eventually they will ruin my relationship with my grandson also. So is it shut up and wait, or step up and lose? I've never talked to my son negatively about his dad. Not sure that worked both ways, obviously. Please help me to understand my own feelings, as I'm getting desperate for my right as a grandparent. - Sad
Dear Sad, There is a missing piece here, and I don't know what it is. There are many possibilities. You say you allowed your son to spend a lot of time with his dad when he was young. You say it was so he'd have a male role model to grow up with. He may have felt you were passing him off to his father so you could date, or have more time to yourself? His affection for his dad and his wife seems genuine. It is possible they all get on better than you and he do. It happens. I get the feeling you don't know for a certainty that your ex has poisoned the well. (Parents do do this, and I, like you, think it's vindictive and destructive.) As for grandparents' rights, people have gone to court over this - and won - but ...you say you see your son's family,so you are not exactly being kept from your grandchild.
The only constructive thing I can think of is to ask your son out for coffee, tell him of your feelings, and ask him to level with you. He may just feel closer to and more comfortable with his dad and his wife. He may have had difficulties with you from earlier years that stand in the way of the relationship you would like now. One thing is for certain: you can't make anyone feel the way you'd like them to feel. Assuming you can get some answers from your son, I would consider doing a short course with a therapist to help you come to terms with the way thing are. - Margo
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Dear Readers, , whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.