Dear Annie: A year ago, I had an argument, mostly via text, with my 37-year-old son. He was threatening to leave his bride of two weeks. I tried to get him to understand that he had made a serious commitment and shouldn’t throw it away so easily. Unfortunately, things escalated to include more personal feelings on both sides.
Despite a rocky first year, he recently celebrated his first anniversary. However, since the disagreement, he has refused to speak to me. I emailed, texted and called, apologizing and begging him to talk this out. I acknowledged his birthday and Christmas with gifts, but received no response. I then ceased attempts to contact him for several months, hoping to give him some space. Still nothing.
My daughter-in-law and I have maintained a fairly close relationship, and she frequently encourages my son to contact me, as have some of his friends and even my ex-husband. It hasn’t helped.
My heart is broken, which he knows. I realize I hurt him with some of the things I said, but my pain is deep, as well. I am open to whatever he needs to make this better, but he will not take even the smallest step to reconcile. No one understands why he is acting like this. What else can I do to fix it? I miss my son.
— Shattered Mom in Michigan
Dear Mom: Your son’s willingness to trash his marriage after two weeks and his inability to work through your argument indicate that he is emotionally immature and prone to rash decisions. We suggest you send a letter or email simply saying you are deeply remorseful for the things you said and for hurting him, and that your door will always be open in the hope that he can someday forgive you. Don’t argue that he hurt you, too. Don’t claim you spoke in the heat of the moment. Don’t beg to talk to him. You’ve done what you can. The next move is his. He may come around when everyone stops pressuring him. Meanwhile, be grateful his wife stays in touch.
Dear Annie: I am a 70-year-old widow. Two years ago, a friend told me that a classmate, “Tom,” wanted to get in touch with me. The friend gave me Tom’s phone number, and a few months later, I called. We had a lovely conversation and still talk at least once a week.
Here’s the problem: Tom said he was coming to visit, but he hasn’t. He drives a truck and is semi-retired, so he can pretty much drive when he wants. From his place to mine would take 12 hours, but he has family here, so it seems odd that he still calls but there has been no visit.
I hope you can clear up this mystery. Tom is a widower, but if he had a girlfriend, I know he wouldn’t be calling me every week.
— Penelope in Portland
Dear Penelope: Well, Tom could have a girlfriend and still call you. More likely, he wants to visit, but the 12-hour drive is too daunting. The only way to know is to ask. Next time you speak to Tom, say that you are looking forward to seeing him and ask whether he is serious about visiting. Try to pin down a date.
Dear Annie: “Finally at Peace” said she decided to focus on those grandchildren she is close to instead of mourning the ones she is not. Please let her know she has touched me and given me encouragement.
Two of my children want nothing to do with me (for different reasons). I do not get to see those grandchildren. Her letter made me realize that I should celebrate with and be grateful for the ones I have. Thank you.
— I Shared It with Friends
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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