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How Do We Get Her To Accept Us As Part Of The Family?

Question:

Dear Dr. Schwartz,

My son and his fiancee have 2 children together. They had been dating only 6 months when she became pregnant with my first grandson. They wanted to do the right thing so they stayed together. They have gone through many difficult times over the last 3 yrs. One of the biggest issues being our family. His fiancee is extremely jealous of not only me but any contact he has with his sister, and we just don’t understand it. She even goes so far as to look at his cell phone account to see if we’ve had any contact with each other. When questioned about it, she claims she doesn’t mind us talking to each other, but it’s the timing. She told me I cannot talk to him in the morning or at night because that’s their time together.

I recently found out that they get in huge fights over when I call or text even if he calls when she’s not around. I feel terrible knowing they’re fighting over my contact with him. My son and I had discussed it and decided to have minimal contact with each other, but, it doesn’t matter. Once one of us talks or texts each other, she goes crazy…calling him a momma’s boy and stuff.

I really feel for him because we were a close family, and now because of the way she acts, we all try to avoid calling or texting him to make his life easier. She doesn’t like him watching movies if their are beautiful women in them, he lost all of his friends, she fights him over seeing his side of the family, etc.

We haven’t seen our grandsons in 2 months. She will pick a fight on the day they’re supposed to come over just to hurt him/us. We always treat her with respect and include her.

What can we do??

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Answer:

It’s an awful thing to be a parent and grandparent but not be able to call your son or see your grandchildren because your “to be” daughter-in-law presents obstacles for reasons unknown to anyone. In addition, it’s understandable that you do  not want to be the cause of your son fighting with his fiancee.

I can’t help but wonder what parts of the day is acceptable for you to call him? Of course, the mornings are usually not a good time because the children have to be prepared for school or nursery school and parents have to get to work. However, it’s puzzling that evenings are not good. Why does she object to evening phone calls? There are people who, when they talk to their parents on the phone, spend inordinate amounts of time. The partner of spouse often does feel resentful under those conditions because it detracts from time together. However, I have no way of knowing what she is objecting to.

It’s also puzzling that she resents his calling or texting even when she is not around?

It does appear that she is not only very controlling but extremely jealous. He’s not allowed to watch movies because he may see beautiful women? Perhaps she fears that, when he talks to you both of you are saying “bad” things behind her back. Perhaps she is not only jealous but paranoid as well?

On the other hand, it’s important for you to understand that you are getting only one point of view and that appears to be your son’s. Perhaps she really does have a different point of view because there are things going on between them that you are not aware of?

In any case, in answer to your question about what you can do about this, the only answer I can provide is that there is not very much. This is their marriage and until such time as your son states that he has had enough, if he even wants to do that, you will have to tolerate the situation. That may mean not calling or texting him.

The reason is that, in the end, they have their own, private way of relating to one another. No one can intrude into any intimate relationship even when they believe they have good reason to. The only one who can influence things, as I indicated before, is your son, but, only if he wishes to.

I assume they are getting married. Perhaps things will be better after that? I really don’t know. You have my full empathy and support. Yet, I am of the opinion that you have to grin and bear it because their is no way for you to win. You can only hope for a better future.

Best of Luck.

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