Estranged Son

Question: Dear Luise: Years ago, I divorced the father of my two sons.  We had been married for 20 years and separated 2 years before the divorce.  My sons were 18 and 12 at the time.  My youngest moved with me out-of-state and my eldest was away at college.  My older son and I had a wonderful, loving and close relationship when he was a child but after my divorce, he became so cold towards me.  I have tried to maintain a loving relationship with him by calling once a week; these phone calls are like “pulling teeth” to get any information about his life.  I always end up heartbroken and tearful when I get off the phone.  I have apologized to him for any hurt I might have caused but this hasn’t changed his heart.  What can I do or say to repair our relationship? How can I have a relationship with my adult son when I hardly know him now?  We live 1500 miles apart and I can’t afford to travel to see him and he won’t travel to see me.  I’m heartbroken. M.

Answer: Dear M.: My take is that we can’t change others. Nor can we make sense of the senseless. We give our children the very best we have to offer and then our job is done. We fervently hope a healthy, close relationship will follow but it is totally their choice. The situation that you describe is so prevelant that I created a Web-forum several years ago where support can be accessed. It’s just too much to carry alone for most of us. I know.

Please consider coming over to and joining our “family.” Blessings, Luise

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