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My sons are not speaking to one another – Chicago Tribune

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My sons are not speaking to one another – Chicago Tribune

Dear Amy: My two sons are not speaking to one another, after a fight that occurred during Christmas two years ago.

The result is that my granddaughters don’t like their uncle and aunt. The three girls are 11, 9, and 6.

While sleeping overnight at my house last weekend, I told my granddaughters that I love both of my sons equally. They started to cry.

The next day I met with their parents in a coffee shop and apologized.

I explained that I didn’t mean to offend anyone and asked for forgiveness.

I thought that they had forgiven me until recently when my son said that the oldest daughter (in fifth grade) is scarred. He claims that I screamed at her and that she now needs therapy.

He asked me to go to therapy, as well.

I asked my sons to forgive one another and to move forward so that our family can be back to normal. They declined.

Is there anything we can do to solve this?

– Unforgiven Grandmother

Dear Unforgiven: The old phrase, “This will end in tears” perfectly describes the lasting impact of this long-ago fight.

I’m going to assume that you are likely leaving out many details in your narrative, including important context. This forces me to speculate.

You told your three young granddaughters that you love both of your sons equally.

This is an innocuous and laudable statement. But I wonder if this statement came at the tail end of a larger discussion, and if so, why you were discussing this issue with these girls in the first place.

Children are extremely curious about relationships, and they will sometimes ask leading questions, but will then feel overwhelmed – or cornered – by the response. (This might explain why all three started to cry.)

Perhaps your granddaughters asked you to talk about their dad and their uncle’s relationship, expressing curiosity about the fight that led to the estrangement.

The eldest daughter might have disturbing memories of this Christmastime fight, and the conversation brought up some unresolved trauma.

An alternative explanation is that their dad is trying to box you into a corner by attempting to control the narrative.

And while you are minimizing this girl’s reaction by inference (as well as the suggestion that she now needs therapy), a skilled therapist could help the entire family to confront the larger challenge.

I hope you will find a way to cooperate, without letting your son completely control you. You should express your willingness to see a therapist, especially if he will join you.

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been married for 10 years. We have two children and between the kids and our jobs, we are super-busy, but we are making things work.

Recently we had a very rare date night together. We both had a little bit too much to drink, I guess, and we were having the kind of intimate conversation we haven’t had in a long time.

I can’t even remember how this came up, but my wife admitted to me that right after we became engaged, she had a brief fling (that’s how she described it) with her ex. She described it as a “last fling before I got married” sort of thing.

I was completely shocked. Floored, actually.

I don’t want to throw our relationship away over something I know happened a very long time ago, but I’m really having trouble getting past this.

My wife acts like she has unburdened herself and thinks this should be the end of it.

Now I don’t know how to respond. I’m seeking some perspective.

– Shocked Husband

Dear Shocked: Your wife’s “fling” is old news for her. She’s had over 10 years to live with her choice.

For you, this is brand new. She does not have the right to insist that you get over it quickly.

Do not throw your relationship away over this. Do talk about it. You should express everything that you are thinking and feeling, and she should listen and learn from you.

If you find you are holding onto resentment and hard thoughts, a marriage counselor could help to guide you through this.

Dear Amy: “Betrayed Wife” said that her husband’s friend “Steve” forcibly kissed her and that despite this her husband maintained the friendship.

I don’t think your response was strong enough. I wonder if the husband is suffering from cognitive decline.

– Concerned

Dear Concerned: I raised the possibility that “Steve” might be abusing the husband’s vulnerability; cognitive decline could explain the husband’s response.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)



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