My son, 27, hasn’t spoken to me for two years (my wife and I are separated).
It started when he split from his fiancée and I offered a father-son trip to clear his mind.
I didn’t know he was already seeing another girl.
He spent the entire trip texting, even throughout meals. He wanted to go to a mall 90 minutes’ drive away, then I lost him.
I found him leaning in a corner texting. I said the trip wasn’t working out and cut it short.
When we got home, he said he’d come by to help me with something. He didn’t.
He drove over that Christmas Day, put my Christmas card in the mailbox, but didn’t come in.
I phoned him and we discussed things that were bothering us both but nothing was resolved.
Two years later, I’ve received an invitation to his wedding in two months.
I don’t know who the bride is.
I can’t attend if I don’t hear from him before the date. It appears he has no respect for his father.
Also, in the invitation was a note saying, “No gifts, just cash please.”
Weddings are a chance for new beginnings (isn’t that a couple’s intent?), which also applies to family members.
I lean toward making real attempts to repair family relationships… but if you can’t, at least keep a door open to the possibility.
On that trip, your son was already disconnected from you. Maybe it had to do with his parents’ separation. Maybe not.
Then, connecting with his new girlfriend was all-consuming. Yes, he accepted the trip, but likely just for a change of scene.
That’s not admirable, but also not unusual in a young person obsessed with a relationship when the one he grew up with had come apart.
You cut the trip short, he cut you off.
Now he’s embarking on life as a married man.
You can be angry at the long silence, annoyed about the pitch for cash (also not uncommon when young people marry).
Or you can show a different model of fathering by congratulating him, showing up, giving whatever cash gift that’s comfortable for you, and treating him as a man taking on new adult responsibilities.
You’d then have a chance at an improved father-son relationship.
I was widowed two years ago. Later, his best friend and I fell in love. I’m 67, he’s 69.
His last relationship (unmarried) ended ten years ago with a woman, now 83, living in another city.
Her son committed suicide. That’s when their physical intimacy ended. However, they’re in weekly phone contact and he visits her for a week two to three times annually.
I believe they still have strong mutual feelings. I resent this.
I told him early on that I can’t accept it. He finally told her about me but still wants to visit her as friends. I said I’d leave him if he visits her again.
Should I stay or should I leave?
You both have rights here. You can’t accept her, but he can’t hurt her.
He should’ve told her about you earlier, but now you could consider visiting her once a year for a few days, with him.
She’d see you as a couple, you’d see the tone of their friendship, he’d see you as generous and understanding.
You could travel together after the visit. And stop worrying if they maintain some long-distance contact.
Reader’s Commentary on the renters who practice loud sex (December 15):
“If you rent out your basement apartment, be prepared for a reasonable amount of noise while the renter’s at home performing normal activities.
“Having sex falls within this category.
“If the landlord’s uncomfortable about this, then don't seek renters.
“At the very least, do some renovations.
“I put sound-reducing into our insulation when finishing our basement and that pretty much eliminated all noise other than what travelled up the ducts.
“This landlord seems to want to have cake and eat it too - i.e. get a big chunk of their mortgage paid off without putting up with the resulting inconvenience.”
Reader #2 – “A breezy, "Sounds like you guys had fun last night!" may make it stop.
“It's non-confrontational, yet sends a message. They may not realize you can hear them, even if it's obvious to you that they should know.”
Tip of the day:
It usually takes two people for a relationship to become broken, yet just one can start the repair work that’s needed.