I can relate to the father/son relationship thing.
My son and his father have a strained relationship. At the end my son was begging me to divorce him because he didn't want to live with him. All my ex cared about was baseball to the point it is an obsession. Ex also has an addictive personality. So he lived vicariously through my son on the baseball field. Made him play an excessive amount of baseball. There was zero balance for my son. My son harbors a lot of anger and resentment towards his father almost like a knee jerk type of behavior. Example: if something was missing in the house, he would knee jerk blame his dad and I would usually defend his father because it wasn't healthy for son to feel that way. So I got the divorce to make my life better but I was also hopeful it would improve the kids relationship with their dad. Maybe if they didn't see him everyday the relationship would get better. Maybe their dad would appreciate more the time he spent with them and not take them for granted. So my point, I think it will be good for your son and for your peace of mind for him to have a relationship with his dad. It might not be the greatest but it's something. I think you will not have regret if you at least encourage your son to see his father. They have been apart for so long. It is the right thing for him to see his father. See how his father treats him and move forward from there.
Not sure I have any advice as I haven't been through this. But I have some thoughts.
On the one hand, at least talking to your son about taking the high road and always trying to maintain the relationship (the good news is he is old enough to define it himself) will leave few regrets for your son upon you EX's death.
On the other, encouraging him to treat his father kindly and just take the abuse is something we all finally gave up. It's a little hard standing on that position.
I didn't always want to maintain a relationship with a cranky relative, but they were my blood so I did. I didn't find it toxic, I could just choose to ignore their behavior and focus on the positive. It wasn't a relationship I built my life around, so maybe not such a big deal.
Your EX has proved who he is to his son, not that he didn't already know. But your son is almost a man and can choose how he handles it by talking through everything with you. At least he has you as a soft place!
Firstly your divorce didn't cause this rift, your husband did that by himself. People's true colours come out under stress and your h showed his. For me, the main role of a parent is to put your kids first whatever you are going through yourself. He didn't do that and your son has had to re-evaluate their relationship as a result. Unless you were planning to spend the rest of your life as an intermediary been them something like this would have happened sooner or later anyway.
So yes, I would talk to him and encourage him to rebuild a new kind of relationship with his dad. But in the end this is something they are going to have to work out between them over the next 30 years or whatever they get.
I am right there with you on this one. I have two children and there are issues with their dad with both of them. My STBX (although I may have to change the "S" to "E" for eventually at this point) has treated me so horribly that it's impossible to shield the children from what is going on. One of my main goals during this divorce has been to protect and encourage their relationship with their dad but he is doing so much to undermine it that it's almost comical to hear me try to defend him and soften his negative behavior.
What bothers me most is that our college aged daughter has essentially become an after-thought to him. He insisted that we could each only afford two bedroom apartments (that turns out to not be true, but let's not explore that part of the divorce right now). One of my first concerns was where my daughter would sleep when she is home for the summer, so as I moved in, I set up half of my closet for her, left space on the bookshelf for her books and am waiting until she comes home from college to hang pictures, etc in the bedroom and living room. I am desperately trying to make sure that this place feels like home for her and I worry constantly about a 19 year old woman who has virtually no privacy in her own home. When I asked my STBX what his plans were for her, he said he would just put her stuff "in a couple of boxes and store them in the closet in the living room." WTF? And where will she sleep? He's assuming that she will sleep in our son's room while our son is with me. "But they want to be together," I objected. No answer. Not even an attempt at an answer.
One of the things my therapist talked to me about recently is that I am not responsible for my STBX's feelings and I need to separate myself emotionally completely. How he is viewed by his children, family and friends is actually up to him, not me. Now, this isn't a license to say whatever I want about him to my kids - I won't do that because even with all the b.s. he is putting me through, I still believe they need him in their lives in a positive way. But I can't control his behavior and if he acts like a jackass, it's up to him to repair the damage. I will encourage my kids to work on their relationship with their dad, but how it actually goes is up to him. I do my best to keep them out of all the divorce stress and I remind them that he loves them even if he isn't doing a good job showing them. And I will encourage them to directly confront him if they are hurt by him so that hopefully he will pull his head out of his ass and start acting like a loving father.
But ultimately, he is responsible for his relationships and it's up to him to keep those healthy. You can't do much more than encourage your son to think long term about his relationship with his dad. You can talk about forgiving people for their shortcomings, but I think JMX is right that you don't want to encourage him to accept an abusive relationship. You need to remember that you are not responsible for the relationship between them - love your son, listen to him, encourage him to do the right thing, basically continue being a good mother. Then let go of what happens between them - it's out of your hands.
Fiery, IMHO, it's not your job to fix the relationship between your ex and your son.
Your ex is a tool. Refusing to sign the paperwork for his school was a major dick move. Your son is right to be furious, and to not feel much like playing nice with daddy and pretending everything is OK.
Do you want a situation where the two of them suffer through each other's company just to make you happy?
Honestly, IMHO, this just proves that not only is your ex a lousy husband, he's a lousy father too. No dad at all would be better than some of the dads on this earth.
In the long run, it's up to your son, anyway. If someday in the future, he truly wants to reconcile with his father, he is the one who will need to do the emotional work that goes into it. You can state your preference that the two of them have a good relationship, but you can't force it - any more than we can force a refuser to love us and want us.
Of course, my EX is not abusive towards my son, neither was he towards me, well apart from the intangible "psychological abuse" that occurs in an unhealthy relationship between a narcissist and a codependent...
In my opinion, I would like to teach my son tolerance and the ability to forgive. At least I want him to try, to make an effort...
Maybe it's part of my heritage; where I come from, family and relationships with your parents and siblings are held as sacrosanct. The fact that my EX didn't have a relationship with his father, at hindsight can be considered an ill omen that I ignored...
I definitely didn't mean physical abuse or even the kind of emotional abuse that can happen. But more the kind of abuse that develops when one person always forgives and understands and the other only demands and pushes.
And oh yes, this is a beautiful opportunity to teach tolerance and forgiveness - absolutely! But it's also an opportunity to teach someone how to understand their own boundaries and needs, how to respectfully hold to those boundaries and not allow someone to trample on their thoughts and feelings.
I had a complicated relationship with my own father. He was an amazing dad when I was young, but mental health issues caused an enormous rift between us in my early adulthood. I worked hard to understand his behavior and was eventually able to forgive him. I chose to let go of our later years and focus on all the good things from my childhood. I found a way to both love him and keep a healthy distance between us, to accept the love he was able to give and understand that he was doing the best he could. It was worth the work. You won't regret helping your son negotiate this relationship with his dad - I will never forget the kindness in my mother's words and voice as she helped me work toward a new relationship with my dad (they divorced when I was 23). I feel confident you will build those same kinds of memories with your son.
And thank you for this timely reminder for me! My frustration level with my STBX is so high right now and it's so, so good to remember what's most important to me.
Last Edit: Apr 23, 2016 10:54:53 GMT -5 by Deleted
As i read through this thread, the one thing missing was "boundaries," which JMX addressed. Perhaps a gentle suggestion to your son that it's okay to let his dad know what he needs and wants from their relationship, and more importantly, what's not acceptable.
My dad was fairly absent after my parent's divorce. And though my mom didn't do much to encourage me to seek him out,she didn't bash him either. As I got older, we spent more time together and could define the relationship on our terms.
"The capacity that people have to love... Where does it go?" -- Truly, Madly, Deeply
For me, the main role of a parent is to put your kids first whatever you are going through yourself. He didn't do that and your son has had to re-evaluate their relationship as a result.
This! I have always tried to put the interests of our son first! Perhaps leaving for college was a blessing in disguise, and the best thing that could happen to him. He's been living in another country since August last year, and having the time of his life. And I'm so glad that he's taking his studies so seriously and he's having fantastic results at school.
I want his father to be proud of his son, and to know what's going on with him, and how well he's doing at school. The summer break, it's long enough to see whether they can leave the past behind...
I think Unmatched called it.
Hello? YOU are not responsible for the messes your ex makes of the relationship with his kids. You are NOT.
If you think your kids should go hang out with their father, the best thing, and speaking professionally here, the only thing, you can reasonably do is to ask them if they want to go visit and facilitate that if they want to. You can ask them if they want to still have a relationship with their father, and if they don't, then it's not for you to push them.
It is not for you to make decisions about their relationships. You can voice an opinion (honey, don't go to bed with, or commit to that guy/girl - I think (s)he's a jackass) but it is not for you to decide what's 'best' for them in the way that they want to live their lives, or whom they want to have a relationship with.
Personally speaking: I was at uni 5 1/2 years. 4 1/2 years of that time I was living near the uni, because um, let's not go there. afterwards, I did my 1 1/2 years of civil service, establishing an open house for political refugees. After than I spent several years teaching German to refugees. ... how many times in those years did my parents visit me? (hey, we're talking 30-40 km here) Nil. Yes, believe it or not, not once. How many phone calls did I get? 1 from my father, asking for my banking details. A handful from my mother - When are you coming to visit us.
People shape their relationships, and the relationships with their children. Is it a surprise that I basically stopped going to try and bother having a relationship with them, eventually?
If your ex is being an arsehole making his son's life hard, then he has no reason to complain if this has fallout. If your ex is not pursuing a relationship with his offspring, then he has no case to bitch about the relationship withering.
And in NO way, in NO case, is this anything that YOU should feel guilt about, or feel responsible to fix it. Arsehole is making his bed, he will have to sleep in it.
lanie: Hello, new here.
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worksforme2: Happy Birthday obobfla where ever you are.....
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mirrororchid: Hi Lanie, ILIASM ate my welcome from a few days back. Glad you found us.
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worksforme2: My apologies to you baz and your fellow Australians for sleepy Joe forgetting PM Morrisons name...he forgets names on a pretty regular basis. Ask Scott not to take it personal...
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baza: Scott is eminently forgettable so don't worry. Jimmy Carter did the same thing in the 70's with our PM of the time, Fraser.
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worksforme2: One more thing baz...for the immediate future be careful around anyone with a French accent....the frogs are a little miffed at the moment
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worksforme2: Hey lessingham.....how is your relationship with that nephew these days?
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lanie: Hey...quick update. Unusually busty week or so. New job offer and interview. Things are still weird. We get along alright but I am just not understanding the no love part. My feelings/emotions are all over the place.
Sept 24, 2021 16:08:14 GMT -5