I have two adult sons, both of whom live far away from me. Their dad died unexpectedly 15 years ago, and I have since remarried someone who is a good fit for me but who really has no experience being a father. We have been a couple for seven years and married for two.
From time to time, we visit with each of my sons, either at their house or ours. We have no problem with my younger son—my husband gets along great with him and his wife. It’s my older son and his family who are the issue.
My older son and his wife have two young toddlers, whom we both adore, but despite the fact that my second husband is the only maternal grandfather the grandkids will ever know, my son and daughter-in-law encourage the kids to call him by his first name, rather than “Grandpa.” I have asked them many times to have the grandkids call him Grandpa to show him respect, but it’s like I’m talking to my hand.
This sets up bad feelings between my husband and my son and his wife, as my husband feels disrespected and unloved. I feel ignored. We try to correct things directly with the grandkids, but they take their cues from their parents. The end result is a lot of tension in the house when they visit, as they don’t like or respect my husband, or make him feel wanted, and he feels that and responds negatively in a passive-aggressive way. The bad feelings have always been just below the surface between my older son and my husband, and although both men try not to make them overt, they come out in subtle forms.