Spouse works hard but avoids deal­ing with fam­ily’s is­sues

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

DEAR AN­NIE: I have been mar­ried for more than 25 years to a highly re­spected, pro­fes­sional man. He has al­ways worked hard, rarely tak­ing time off. My ef­forts to get him to va­ca­tion have not been suc­cess­ful. Although he no longer en­joys his work, he con­tin­ues these habits to sup­port the fam­ily.

Our chil­dren are 19 and 22 and still live at home. The old­est grad­u­ated col­lege but is ex­tremely im­ma­ture. In the past year, he has been in jail twice for in­tox­i­ca­tion and pot pos­ses­sion. He also lost a job due to an al­co­hol­re­lated in­ci­dent. He found another po­si­tion, but he rarely shows up on time. He doesn’t help around the house, is very messy and re­fuses all re­quests to con­trib­ute. He makes a stu­dent loan pay­ment each month, but the rest of his small in­come goes to­ward fast food, to­bacco and al­co­hol.

Here’s the prob­lem: I see red flags ev­ery­where with our son but my hus­band re­fuses to deal with these mat­ters. In­stead, he keeps bail­ing him out. I feel strongly that our son needs a plan to be­come in­de­pen­dent and ac­count­able for his ac­tions. My hus­band claims he doesn’t have time to talk to him. My chil­dren have no re­spect for my au­thor­ity be­cause any con­se­quences I im­pose are al­ways un­done by my hus­band, who says he’s tired of me nag­ging him about it.

My ef­forts to get my hus­band on board have ex­hausted me and made me re­sent­ful. I feel cheated of a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship with all of them. Al­low­ing these pat­terns to con­tinue can­not be good for any­one. My hus­band re­fuses coun­sel­ing. I am out of pa­tience. Please ad­vise.

— Mid­west Mom

Dear Mom: You rec­og­nize that your hus­band is an ob­struc­tion to help­ing your chil­dren de­velop into ma­ture, re­spon­si­ble adults. He isn’t will­ing to do the hard work nec­es­sary to change this dy­namic for their sake. It’s self­ish, lazy par­ent­ing. You can­not change him, but you can change how you re­spond, not only to the chil­dren, but also to your hus­band’s be­hav­ior. Get coun­sel­ing for your­self. Ask your doc­tor for a re­fer­ral to some­one who spe­cial­izes in fam­ily is­sues, and if pos­si­ble, bring your kids with you. Rest as­sured, they don’t want to be liv­ing like this 10 years from now.

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