Antelope Valley Press

Estranging stepson causes strife in my marriage

- Annie Lane

Dear Annie: My husband and I are both in our second marriages, and we’ve been together nearly 27 years. I have no children. He has two grown sons. The younger one has lived with us since he was 11 years old. The older one was 17 when I moved in, and he decided to live with his mother instead of staying with us. Somehow, he resents both me and his brother, even though I have been nothing but welcoming to him.

Over the years, he has lashed out with hateful words and actions. At one point, he told his father and me that we were not welcome in his home and wouldn’t allow us to see his children. This rift lasted many years until, finally, everyone made up. Things were good for a while and then fell apart again.

I’ve decided I’ve had enough of this toxic relationsh­ip. His brother as well as his grown children have no relationsh­ip with him. And now neither do I. The problem is, this is creating tension in my marriage, putting a wedge between me and my husband and causing a lot of arguments. My husband is the only family member who keeps in touch with him. He remarried several years ago and is expecting a baby. My husband wants me to let bygones be bygones and forgive him. I have forgiven him; I just don’t want a relationsh­ip with him. I don’t know how to resolve this situation.

— Seeking Serenity

Dear Seeking: You’ve been through the wringer dealing with the older son’s drama, and wanting to take a step back from the toxicity is understand­able. It sounds like your husband is holding onto hope for a family reunion that might never happen. Having a heartto-heart about your boundaries is key here. Let him know it’s not about holding a grudge but about protecting your own mental health.

Consider bringing in a profession­al, like a counselor, to navigate this conversati­on. You’re not alone in wanting a drama-free life. Your next step is communicat­ing this with your husband.

Dear Annie: My dear friend is turning into a chronic flake, constantly canceling plans at the last minute with vague excuses. It’s becoming a bit of a pattern, and truth be told, it’s hurting my feelings. I can feel the resentment building up.

How do I address this without turning it into a full-blown fight? I genuinely want to keep her friendship, but these constant cancellati­ons are really getting on my nerves.

— Flaked On and Frustrated Dear Flaked On: Honesty is the best policy here. Share that you value your connection and want to understand what’s going on. It could be that life is throwing curveballs her way. Remember, relationsh­ips that weather storms often come out stronger. An open conversati­on might bring clarity and even end up strengthen­ing your bond.

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