We’ve been married for over ten years and lived away from both of our home provinces in Canada.
Recently, my husband had to return home to take care of a sick parent. He helps out at home because they need this care to remain in their home.
I’m now back with my mom. When I ask if he’ll come live in my town he asks, "Why, so I can be your slave?"
I think this refers to resentment he feels where he’s living now. I was very stressed initially, because we’ve always been together.
I wonder whether he’ll ever move out again and get his own apartment.
When I ask if we’ll be together again, he says, " I don't know."
What do you think?
Apart and Confused
Get on a bus, train, or plane and visit your husband. Check out whether he’s depressed from his circumstances, or uninterested in getting back together.
If the latter, try to determine what’s changed… emotional effect of his parents’ aging? Or, has he met someone new?
Once you know, be pro-active. Either you both go to counselling or you get to a lawyer to determine your financial and legal position.
We’ve recently discovered that our son, 28, is an alcoholic with addiction issues, suffering from severe anxiety.
After lies and deceit, he broke up with his girlfriend, and temporarily moved back in with my husband and me. He was released from an AIM (Alcohol Intervention Meeting- a weekly education/counseling group) because he broke the rules and drank.
Not initially allowing him home sent him over the edge and into hospital for three days.
We’re unsure where to go next. He’s been offered help and support but has been unable to hold a job.
I don't want him to come between my husband and myself. He did once before.
His “coming between” two parents indicates that, like many addicts, he’s manipulative and plays on your differing feelings about how to handle him.
Get informed together, see an addiction expert yourselves to fully understand what’s required for recovery, and consider attending Al-Anon for families and friends of alcoholics. All this research is to help you two form a united front.
Then, explore the options available to you, within your means – look at everything from a professional intervention specialist, to residential programs, addiction recovery support groups, local addiction therapists, and behavioral health specialists, to his attending Alcoholics’ Anonymous (AA) meetings.
He also needs to see a therapist for his anxiety, which is being exacerbated by his addictions.
This is not an easy journey for parents/families, which is why an Al-Anon support group can be helpful to you as a couple, as you hear how others have coped, or not, with similar situations.
As for his holding a job, it may be too much to ask for too soon. Once he’s in some form of treatment and attempting sobriety, a career counselor might be able to motivate him towards work he’d care to do.
Stay supportive in spirit, and financially if you can, but also stay committed as a couple to not be manipulated and divided again. He has a better chance to do well if you two stay strong.
Dear Readers – Those of you who’ve travelled this difficult path yourselves or for loved ones, can be helpful to so many more people like this couple and their son, by sending me suggestions about what worked and what didn’t.
I’ll publish these in a later column.
I invite these friends for dinner every Easter and Thanksgiving. That’s the only time we see them.
They never call, send a quick text, or email. They only sent us a recent Christmas card, after they’d received ours.
I don't like a one-sided relationship and decided I’m not going to invite them anymore. My husband thinks I should call and explain that I’m disappointed that we never hear from them, except when we invite them for dinner.
Fed Up Hostess
The conversation your husband suggests is honest, straightforward, and gives them a chance to explain, apologize, or say they just weren’t interested.
If you can accept any or all of the above, without feeling insulted or hurt, go ahead.
Meanwhile, you must already know from your twice-yearly visits, if they’re unusually busy or have health, family, or money issues that prevent reaching out.
Or, they’re simply self-absorbed. In which case, you can comfortably stop inviting them.
Tip of the day:
When a spouse has left home, get an explanation, and a lawyer.