Dear Dr. Romance:
I'm having problems with my daughter in law . I I love her. She and my son had a relationship for more than fifteen years and were married for six. They have two preschool age children. I always thought My daughter-in-law and I got along, but now we can only speak about the children. I live in a different state and it's horrible. I love them very much her included. She is quite agreeable when I am in her state to let me see them, but not in their home. I have to make farrangements, dinner, playgrounds in/out, park.

I have a limited income and can't afford dinner and lunch all the time. Oh, my son was at fault in this divorce but in the beginning of their marriage certain things could have changed?  Now the point is she and I are to converse only about the kids? No relationship? No invitations to graduations, and occasions? Where am I?  Won't my grandchildren notice? The older one has already mentioned several things to me.
He told me: you know my daddy isn't coming back here anymore, and he waited til his mom was out of the room when we were video chatting.  He also told me that I live far, far, away!  He and his little sister love me!

Dear Reader:

I'm so sorry you are having trouble staying close to your daughter-in-law and grandchildren. That must be very painful. I'm sure from her side she probably has a new partner and wants to move on from the past. Does your son have contact with his children? As a grandparent, you don't really have any rights as far as the law is concerned, so keeping on your DIL's best side is very important. Send her cards and emails, keep the conversation going between you. She may be worried that you won't accept her new relationship, or she may have some resentment if you did not help her and the children when your son was creating problems.  Perhaps she fears you'll influence the kids to prefer their father. Your grandchildren are very young. Stay in contact the best way you can until they're a little older, then maybe they can come visit you. 

"Mirrors and Teachers" and "Coping With Critics" will teach you techniques you can use to get along better with your daughter in law.

Although this is a relationship with your grandkids and their mother, there are many techniques for maintaining a connection with kids in The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You're Far Apart

Commuter Marriage

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.