Stop paying child support for adult kids who won’t see you
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: What is your take on parental alienation? In March of this year I filed for divorce after 31 years of a bad marriage. I worked outside the province and was home for a week every month, and all my ex and I did was fight. I was the breadwinner, making good money so she could stay at home and raise our three kids, the youngest who is now 18. We did our share of counselling, but that didn’t help.
I’m happier now that I have moved out. I pay her spousal and child support, and all three kids still live at home. My issue is that she was in agreement with the separation at the time, but has since turned vindictive and has dragged our children into her pity party. With all of her wailing and criticism, she has managed to turn them against me for wanting a divorce. I was even uninvited to my daughter’s graduation in June. They refuse to talk to me, see a counsellor and ignore my texts. Basically, I’m a bank machine and that’s it.
I still see a counsellor on my own, but I find myself starting to crumble, especially with Christmas just around the corner. I wanted out of the marriage, not out of my kids’ lives. They no longer want me in their lives because they feel sorry for their mom. Their hate for me just seems to worsen as the brainwashing continues. How do I end this? — Dad at the End of His Rope, Manitoba
Dear Dad at the End of His Rope: Why are you still paying child support for these grown-up kids? Are they going to university? Are you planning to pay spousal support forever?
It’s pretty easy for your wife and kids to throw dirty snowballs at “the banker” now that they think the financial foundation is about to crumble. As for the kids feeling warm and fuzzy toward you this Christmas, forget it this year. Maybe tale a trip to a sunspot with a buddy and do some thinking on the beach!
You say you didn’t want out of your kids’ lives. Were you ever in them? What did you give them, in terms of love and attention over the years? For all of their lives, you’ve been absent. Naturally, the kids are behind their mother like a small army.
If you want to soften things with the kids, you have to go through her, so be practical: money seems to speak to your ex and you have lots of it. How about a very generous one-time settlement with her so she can “retire” if she wants to, with enough money that the kids can still get a good education?
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m downtown most of the time when I’m still supposed to be at work. I lost my job a month ago because of my drinking, and now, unbeknownst to my wife, we are living on our savings. If I don’t get another job by the middle of January, I will have to confess to her, but how can I tell her and the kids what happened, and worst of all, that it was my quitting early and drinking on work time that got me fired?
I tell my wife I have one drink on the way home (because she can smell my breath) and that I take the bus because I’m so careful about drinking and driving. The truth is, I leave work early. I have a job in sales where no one I see at the bar knows what time I am supposed to finish work — or so I thought. I meet my drinking buddies for an hour or so and then I drive a few long blocks from home and walk like I’m coming from the bus. I’ve become a big liar and I don’t like myself anymore. — Becoming a Major Drunk, Winnipeg
Dear Becoming: You’re farther down the road than just “becoming” an alcoholic. Your next step should be a visit to the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba for a talk with a counsellor and to undergo testing. Are you also cross-addicted, as so many anxious or pain-ridden people are, and using pills, marijuana or harder drugs as well as liquor?
Above all, you need to figure out what’s eating you. How did you get to this place where your drinking is endangering your job, your health, your marriage, your kids and everyone around you? There are big problems underneath all this.
And yes, I do know liquor can taste good and it’s enjoyable to drink with friends.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m the writer of the recent letter about the expectations of rich relatives and how they make poor people feel at Christmas. I was laid off during the time I spoke of and couldn’t afford to buy gifts for relatives and pay postal costs. We suggested that they buy gifts for themselves instead of us, and we buy gifts for ourselves. (Usually we got gifts we couldn’t use.) They agreed, and that way everybody got gifts they wished for and we bought what we could afford and use. It still works after all these years! I hope this will help. — Getting Creative In Hard Times, Winnipeg.
Dear Getting Creative: That idea might work for older people, but it’s tough for youngsters. As adults, you can do your self-giving or play the game where you buy goofy gifts and then trade them three times each, and the last person has to keep the gift. Adults really enjoy that and see the humor in funny or even downright ugly gifts. Little kids need real presents filled with love from you or Santa. Please send your questions and comments to email@example.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg,
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