Question: Dear Luise: My 18 year-old son has lived with his dad for the past 8 years (his choice, after the dad and his family promised him all sorts of things he never got). He is attending college in the fall in the town I live in. The plan has been for him to live with me while he attends college. I was very happy about getting to see him every day for the next few years. However, I recently received an email from his dad saying that my son was not going to live with me, not telling me where he would be living. Then I find out that he is going to be living with his step-mother’s grown, married son who also lives where I live. I feel betrayed by my son. His dad has always been a jerk, so this is expected from him, but I think that my son should have upheld the agreement we had made. Him living with me was going to be my contribution, since living on campus is very expensive. I was going to provide room and board, food and laundry service. And what made the situation worse was me finding out in the email from his dad. At least my son should have told me himself, don’t you think? I thought I had instilled better morals and values and an understanding of commitment and truth in him. But I guess in the past 8 years, his dad has torn apart everything I ever taught him. S.
Answer: Dear S.: You must feel pretty invisible as decisions are made without your input and you are either notified haphazardly…or have to find out what’s going on without any direct communication. I’m sure it must be very painful.
You may want to join my web-Forum: www.motherinlawsunite.com where various difficulties with adult children are discussed and much-needed support can often be found.
A long time ago your son made the choice to leave you and it is pretty clear that he doesn’t want to return at this time. It probably wasn’t a decision a 10 year-old could make wisely and who knows what it was based on. It’s likely that he was manipulated but he stayed.
Now, he may feel he wouldn’t know how to act, living with you again. To make matters worse, he’s probably been given misinformation about you. There’s also the possibility that he may feel that his stepbrother will be easier to live with for some reason. You are left guessing. It may be none of the above.
Whatever you taught him has been filtered through his experience of living away from you and having the input of others over almost half of his life.
I would suggest that you have as much compassion for him as possible. Telling you personally may be something he just doesn’t have the maturity to handle, as yet. You can’t alter the way things are going but they could change at any time. I think it is probably wise to take this huge disappointment as graciously as you can. The final verdict isn’t in. Blessings, Luise