The Estranged Grandparent

[By Pip]

“Waving Goodbye” © Estrangments

As parents all you want for your children as they become adults and make their own way in the world is that they find a partner who loves them and a job that fulfils them. You cannot – or at least shouldn’t – pass judgement on their life choices; your role is to support them, offer them guidance when asked and mop up the tears if things go wrong.

Partners may come and go – you welcome them into your home and they frequently become part of the family and in the fullness of time you may even come to love them. So when the relationship comes to an end you feel a loss too.

Sometimes they may keep in touch but more often than not these young men and women who have sat at your dinner table, shared you celebrations, opened gifts from under your Christmas Tree and joined your family holidays simply disappear out of your lives.

It goes without saying that your loyalties lie with your children whoever’s decision it was to make the break.

But what happens when there are grandchildren involved? If it is your daughter who has split from her partner your relationship with your grandchildren is unlikely to be affected, in fact you could find yourself more involved in their lives as you support your single-parent daughter. But what if it is your son? After a messy breakup, are you able to maintain a relationship with your son’s ex? Will you still be as big a part of your grandchildren’s lives as you were before the split? What if the ex-partner moves away, perhaps to be closer to her own parents or because of a new relationship?

In the UK grandparents have few if any legal rights and are reliant solely on goodwill if they wish to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren.

It seems to me that grandparents have a bit of a bum deal here. In an age where it is almost impossible to survive on one wage, working parents are increasingly reliant on grandparents to help with the [unpaid] childcare (and government estimates suggest that nearly 7 million grandparents are doing just that) and yet when things go wrong they have no automatic right of access. Can this be right? I am yet to become a grandmother but when and if I do, I hope to god that I never have to experience the pain that so many estranged grandparents go through when things go wrong for their children.


Is There Life With Your Partner After Children?


(By Liza). The children have left home and there’s just the two of you wandering around in the house. Its time to face each other again and see if you still get on…

Talking to friends recently, at least three of them have been reassessing their relationships with their husbands/wives/partners.
The dynamics have changed so does the relationship still work?
Perhaps you find yourself questioning whether you still get on all those years later, is there anything left and is the chemistry still there ?

It can be difficult to tackle problems that may have been put on the back burner whilst bringing up children. So maybe when the time comes to reassess things too much damage has been done and its irreparable, but you live with it anyway, or maybe what was once a problem has become insignificant and you are able to move on as a couple. Either way it seems to be that many people in their 40’s and 50’s are asking themselves questions such as “do I still like him/her?”

One of my friends has decided that she no longer loves her husband but “can’t be bothered” to leave him, they have discussed the situation and he admits to feeling much the same so they have decided to lead separate lives under the same roof. I don’t know if this will work but at least they are being honest with each other (so far!).

Another friend says she would love to live on her own, she went as far as saying she hated her husband, but she just can’t afford to leave and so she will put up with things the way they are as she has managed it for years. But I can see that she is extremely unhappy at home and I wonder how long it can last.

There must be numerous people living under miserable conditions who just can’t find a way to leave their partners or have become lackadaisical and I do wonder if this is a healthy way to live your life? Who am I to say, we all deal with things differently…Or maybe you have managed to keep the magic of a great relationship going…well good for you!