It’s a common issue many parents face – your adult child gets married and suddenly you hardly ever hear from them. As a parent, this can be incredibly painful and leave you feeling rejected and wondering if you did something wrong.
However, there are usually more complex reasons behind it than you may realize. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common causes for why married sons distance themselves from their mothers, as well as tips on how to improve the relationship.
Reasons For Distance After Marriage
Focus on Nuclear Family
One of the most common reasons married sons pull back from their mothers is that they are focused on building their new nuclear family with their wife.
Forming this new family unit often takes a tremendous amount of energy and attention, leaving less time and mental bandwidth for extended family. Be patient and understand this intense focus is often temporary and will pass after the first few years of marriage.
Influence of Spouse
Sometimes, the new spouse may intentionally or unintentionally come between your relationship with your son. She may make negative comparisons to her own upbringing or have rigid ideas about family roles.
If you sense resentment from her, be kind and avoid reacting defensively. With time, she may feel less threatened as your son proves his loyalty.
Starting Own Traditions
Your married son may also be eager to start his own family traditions, separate from those he grew up with. Try not to take this personally. Making new traditions is part of forming an identity as a new family. Find gracious ways to be supportive, even if it stings a bit.
Independence and Boundaries
Marriage signifies the transition to full adulthood for your son. With this, he may be setting new boundaries and needing more independence from you. It doesn’t mean he loves you any less. Be careful not to criticize his wife or offer too much-unsolicited advice as this can cause more distance.
Tips For Improving the Relationship
Don’t wait for your son to call you. Be proactive in reaching out to him and his wife – a text, phone call, or even a letter might help bridge the gap. But be sure to respect it if he doesn’t reciprocate at first. Leaving the door open matters.
Find New Ways to Connect
Look for new ways to bond and interact that respect their new roles as adults. Offer help with home repairs, send care packages, or celebrate milestones. Attend sporting events of their kids or volunteer for carpool. These actions show your continued love and support.
Get to Know Your Daughter-in-Law
Make an effort to truly get to know your daughter-in-law, without judgment. Look for common interests and be open to building a real friendship. A positive relationship with her benefits everyone. Offer support and encouragement, not criticism.
Have an open and honest discussion about what kind of relationship your son wants with you now that he’s married. Compromise on traditions, visits, holidays, etc. so you both feel respected. Managing expectations prevents hurt feelings.
Work Through Your Own Feelings
Examine your own emotions around your son’s distance. Are old wounds or unhealthy patterns being triggered? Consider counseling to process these, so they don’t sabotage the relationship. Be open to forgiving past hurts.
It’s natural to feel sad and concerned when your married son pulls away from you. But in most cases, it does not mean he no longer loves or needs you. Focus on building a new healthy bond that allows him to be an independent adult while still staying connected.
With time, patience, and effort, you can find meaningful ways to remain an important part of his life.