Since I moved eight years ago, my son, “Jim,” has visited me only once, and that’s because I gave his son my car. I rarely hear from him, and when I have visited, we barely talk. We have totally different ideas on life, and it has caused a rift in our relationship.
When I have visited Jim and his wife, they just sit, watch movies and eat takeout food unless I take them out and pay for the meal. Over the years, I have given my son money and housed him when he went through a terrible divorce. His children are grown now, and I don’t hear from them either.
He remarried a woman he met on the internet who has different ideas on things than my family and the way I was brought up. It hurts me very much. What’s your opinion on what to do about this situation? I’m at a loss.
— Let Down In Idaho
Dear Let Down: It’s sad, but the breakdown in your relationship with Jim started a long time ago. It should have been addressed then.
It’s not uncommon for adults to have ideas that differ from their parents’, but it shouldn’t cause a rift. If your son and his wife are hiding behind their television set rather than conversing, the situation may be as uncomfortable for them as it is for you.
If the dynamics in your relationship are going to improve, you will have to convince them to discuss where things went off track, agree to disagree on certain topics and talk about other things when you see them.
From what you have written, it appears you are doing all the work in the relationship, and that isn’t fair to you.