Question: Dear Luise: While visiting my son during Christmas, the child in me came out when I saw an e-mail to him from his cousin which had, “Shssssh!” in the subject line and I read it. I felt just awful afterward and I confessed to him what I did. He forgave me after I apologized and promised him I would never do anything like that again. My son told his sister that his wife was angry beyond words with me for what I did. Upon learning this from my daughter, I sent my daughter-in-law a very sincere and apologetic e-mail for my actions with the promise I would do everything to regain her trust. She never responded to my e-mail and yet when I asked my son if his wife was angry with me, he tells me she is not upset with me. I believe he just doesn’t want me to know. I fear I may have damaged my relationship with my daughter-in-law on a permanent basis. I don’t know her all that well since they live in another state and I have only visited with her less than 10 times. What do you suggest? R.
Answer: Dear R.: It’s too late now but I’m not sure that confession is always good for the soul.
The “I told him, he told his sister, his sister told his wife and his wife won’t talk to me” is a long and potentially unreliable way around the issue and sure to make things worse.
I’d let it go until you see them again and then don’t bring it up unless your DIL does. You have shown poor judgment and immaturity, in my opinion…and if she’s wary of you, now, I wouldn’t blame her. “The child in me came out” is pretty flimsy, don’t you think? You are supposed to be the adult here.
Some feel that you don’t “earn back ” trust. Once it’s gone…it’s gone. You can be forgiven, but how can you ever be trustworthy? No one is perfect but you didn’t even try.
Use this experience to raise your self up a notch and let’s hope that no permanent damage was done. Don’t you know that family feuds have started from less?
If you’re interested in bringing in some other views regarding this situation, please come over to my web-forum: www.wisewomenunite.com .
I know I’ve been hard on you, but really, what were you thinking? My guess is that you weren’t. So I have to ask…what kind of role model are you? Blessings, Luise