Sour ap­ple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Sentinel & Enterprise - - LIFESTYLE - An­nie Lane Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com.

Dear An­nie: I am be­side my­self. I am tired and frus­trated. I mar­ried my hus­band over 17 years ago. He is 11 years older than me. When we mar­ried, he had a teenage son. Shortly af­ter we mar­ried, his son, in his se­nior year, de­cided to go live with his mother on the other side of the world. He would keep in touch with his dad by phone and visit once a year.

When my hus­band and I re­tired, we de­cided to move closer to his son, but we were still a long drive away.

We gave up ev­ery­thing to move there. My hus­band is in his 80s and is not in good health. He can no longer travel the dis­tance to see his son.

His son has a nice fam­ily with a cou­ple of chil­dren and a good job. When we first moved here, they would come to visit on oc­ca­sion. But now, there are far fewer vis­its. I have asked his son on sev­eral oc­ca­sions to just call his dad, maybe once a week.

But for some rea­son, he couldn’t do that.

We send them gifts on all of their birthdays and spe­cial oc­ca­sions. We never hear from them if they re­ceived the gifts or if they liked them — and there’s never a thank-you note.

Only af­ter I would email them, ask­ing if they re­ceived the items, did they re­spond. My hus­band has called his son sev­eral times and left mes­sages. He never calls back.

I’ve watched my hus­band as he has cried sev­eral times over this sit­u­a­tion.

It pains my heart to see how this wears on my hus­band. When he was rais­ing his son, his son was the world to him. Now, he feels his son hates him. Not a day goes by that he does not go into a tirade about his son’s ne­glect.

He says he doesn’t want any­thing to do with them. When he dies, he doesn’t even want me to no­tify him. He made me prom­ise to take his son out of our will when he dies. We have ar­gued about this on sev­eral dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions. I don’t think he re­ally means this. His son is his only liv­ing rel­a­tive.

I used to make ex­cuses for his son, but I’m tired. I can’t do it any­more. Help! — At My Wits’ End

Dear At My Wits’ End: I am so sorry that you and your hus­band, and your step­son, are all go­ing through this. Your step­son clearly has some an­i­mos­ity to­ward your hus­band that needs to be ad­dressed. In­stead of ad­dress­ing it head-on and talk­ing through the is­sues, he is avoid­ing his fa­ther to pre­vent hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship.

It’s no won­der he is do­ing that be­cause your hus­band’s re­sponse to his son’s with­drawal was the same re­ac­tion. He said to cut him out of the will and not to even tell his son when he dies. Like fa­ther, like son.

The only way to stop this cy­cle is for the two of them to have an open and hon­est con­ver­sa­tion about their feel­ings. Although it can be painful to talk about hurt­ful things, once you do, it feels much bet­ter in the long run, and you can be­gin to un­der­stand the other per­son’s point of view.

En­cour­age your hus­band to reach out to his son, one on one, and tell him how much not see­ing his son has hurt him. Hope­fully, they can work things out. To work through his re­sent­ment and hurt, your hus­band could al­ways try ther­apy. It is eas­ier to face emo­tions with a trained pro­fes­sional.

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