• Resolving Problems

Resurrecting A Friendship With A Son’s Girlfriend

Published: February 15, 2022 | Last Updated: February 15, 2022 By | Reply Continue Reading
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An adult son’s girlfriend is angry at his mother, who once was her friend, after a conflict between them.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I’m 65 and my son is 40 years old. He had been working close to our home and often stayed here on weekends. During that time, he met and started seeing my friend of four years who lives in the house behind me. I was happy for them. 

More recently, my son accidentally fell 51 feet at work and had to be life-flighted to a hospital. He had his spleen removed and just had an additional operation. My husband insisted I take him for his surgery. 

I took him but my son’s girlfriend wanted to take him, asking me to watch her badly behaved child for 6 or 7 hours. I didn’t do that; I stayed with my son. 

Afterward, I tried calling and texting her unaware of her anger that I took my own son for the operation. She has ghosted me and ignored all attempts at communication. I’m at the point where I feel as though I’d prefer to ignore any and all contact with her. 

She still sees my son, I’m trying to stay out of it and say nothing negative. Any advice would be great. I have other friends and want to ensure I’m not being unreasonable.

Signed, Mitzi

ANSWER

Hi Mitzi,

I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s accident. It sounds horrific and it’s likely that he has a long recovery ahead of him. What a trauma for everyone involved.

I don’t think there is any way that you can fault yourself for going to the hospital with him. Whatever a son’s age, you are still his mother and were acting on your maternal instinct to care for him.

Given the circumstances of the accident, it’s also understandable how it might have been taxing to care for a badly behaved child. It seems like your son’s girlfriend (or girl friend) might have tried to find some other childcare arrangement if she wanted to join you at the hospital.

It’s unfortunate that your neighbor has cut off her communication with you. This has the effect of putting your son in an uncomfortable situation between a mother and friend who are at odds with each other. While it would be a bad situation under any circumstances, I imagine that this acrimony comes at a particularly difficult time when he needs all the logistical and emotional support he can get.

You are right to bite your tongue and not say anything negative about your son’s girlfriend. And yes, continue to focus on other friendships for yourself. Even had the accident not happened, your friendship may have changed given her relationship with your son. 

Yet, even if you step back from this friendship as it once was, you should make every effort to re-establish a cordial relationship with her, both because she is a neighbor and also because she is your son’s girlfriend.

Perhaps, you could write a note to her saying that you didn’t mean to slight her and are glad that your son and she have developed a friendship. You can also say that you understand how she probably felt just as concerned as you, but that you and your husband felt like you had to be at your son’s side. As a mother herself, she should understand that.

Explain that you hope you can have a friendly relationship going forward so everyone feels comfortable. It may take her some time to come around and get over her anger. Hopefully, the friendship you had before this crisis will help provide a foundation to build upon.

You might also reassure your son that you like your neighbor and are glad they have each other. Bear in mind that your son’s relationship with her may not be a “forever” one either. 

That’s really all you can do. Ghosting is far too common and always hurts. Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


Some previous posts on friendship with neighbors:

 

Remaining On Friendly Terms When Neighbors Ask To Borrow Your Stuff

 

How To End A Friendship With A Neighbor

 

Getting Over A Friendship With A Next-Door Neighbor

 

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Category: Neighbors

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