My daughter is getting divorced. It’s her choice but I feel that she has no idea of what this can mean for her own future, and for her two young sons, ages 10 and 12.
Her husband is a nice, outgoing guy, friendly and respectful with me, my wife, and with our own aging parents. No one in the family can actually understand what “went wrong,” which is all my daughter will say about her reasons for ending the marriage.
Both my daughter and her husband work at decent jobs. And both have their own favourite activities: our daughter is very musical and has joined a choir she attends weekly, and her husband is a sports fan who watches a lot of soccer games and major sports events.
To me, their relationship seemed ideal - both earning enough money to sustain a modest town house, and have enough freedom for each to pursue some special interests.
Also, I can’t imagine how sad their sons will feel if the divorce interferes with seeing their father not only when he’s out with friends. But worse, the kids coming home daily to the reality of their father not living there and more.
What feels terrible is that my wife and I have no idea of what’s “the problem.” Just for example, if our son-in-law has cheated on our daughter, we’d at least understand her pain and anger. We’d encourage them both to get professional marriage counselling about it.
But we’re being told nothing. How do we handle this change in our normally-close family?
In the Dark
The person “handling” this change so far, is your daughter, and she’s keeping her reasons private. She needs your support as parents, by listening when she’s ready to talk about it.
If her husband’s still living at their home, and if the children haven’t been told, there hasn’t been a cut-off date.
It’s even possible that she hasn’t yet talked to a lawyer.
From a relationship perspective, it sounds to me as if these two have each created for themselves a very busy and personal almost single-style lifestyle on their own, along with their daily responsibilities regarding work and as parents.
And it’s too much, as any qualified professional marital and lifestyle counsellor will tell them.
Back off asking questions. They need to face their own reasons for creating what’s become isolation within their marriage and get the help they need.
FEEDBACK Regarding the “scared parent” of a teenager who drives “distractedly” (July 19):
Reader – “Ellie, please let the ‘distracted teen driver’ know about me. I was hit by a cattle truck by a distracted driver doing about 60 mph. He pushed my vehicle two telephone poles down the road.
“I'm grateful my 13-year-old son only broke his arm and got a concussion.
“Unfortunately, I was in a coma, had several strokes, and broke my entire right side. My knees went through the dashboard. When the coma ended, I couldn’t walk, talk, or use my arm. I have permanent brain damage, and won’t ever work again.
“Eleven years later, I have chronic migraines and live in constant pain. I’ve had both hips and knees replaced. I'll never ski again, ride a motorcycle, or read a book because I lost retention skills.
“This is what happens when someone is a distracted driver.”
Ellie - I’m so very sorry for your ongoing pain, and both physical and mental health losses. That driver, distracted to the dangerous point of driving a cattle truck with its massive weight that could push your car and you within it, is a warning to all drivers.
I commend your personal effort to raise an awareness alert.
Readers’ Commentary Regarding “Caught Between Two Women” (Aug. 26):
Reader – “Your advice to the husband was to make sure that his wife feels his emotional expression and confidence first and foremost.
“But please remember that people in long-term relationships and marriages aren’t immune to partner toxicity and control issues.
“If the wife’s feelings are caused by unacknowledged insecurities before meeting his sister, and the wife’s jealousies then create barriers to her kids seeing the aunt, he’ll have to gently but firmly set boundaries from being ‘blamed’ should the kids backlash.
“Also, someone must tell the wife, that keeping the kids on some sort of athletic team does wonders for their social and general maturity, and helps other pursuits of excellence like academics.”
Tip of the day:
Ongoing marital problems can benefit from a reality check that a professional therapist and a marriage counsellor can provide.