Question: Dear Luise: I have a wonderful son. He’s very successful in his profession and was once a loving husband and father. However, he is acting so strangely that I feel like I don’t know him anymore at all. He has a lovely wife and two sons. He and his wife had a rough time when she was carrying their second boy. He left and was with several other women. However, they patched it up and moved on. Now, five years have passed and he has demanded an “open Marriage”. What can anyone say to him to get him to see what he’s doing to the whole family? He’s insisting that his wife see other men. How crazy is that? And now she has found someone she prefers to him and who can blame her? This makes no sense to me at all. What can I do? Jo
Answer: Dear Jo: There is nothing you can do except to see and accept that this is not your fault. No one knows what has gone on in the marriage or what is going on with them, individually. Has your son been in the Military? This could be Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome. It could be a lot of things too numerous to mention including a man who does not like having to be accountable and is refusing the adult role in his personal life.
It sounds like he has the resources to address his behavior and is choosing not to. Until such time as he is able to see that he is out of control and wrecking havoc on those near and dear, as well as himself, there is little anyone can do. It’s clear to everyone else, but he is apparently rationalizing the whole mess away.
Let him know that you hate what he’s doing and that you love him dearly. All you can do is leave the door of your heart open so that if and when he wants some support, he will know you are there for him. Also you need to face the fact that that may never happen. It will probably take a highly qualified therapist to help him through this but that isn’t a possibility until he sees the need for it himself.
Give his wife and children your support without your judgment. If you feel it is more than you can bear, talk with a professional yourself. Are your grandkids and daughter-in-law getting what they need?
Once our children are of age, enter into careers and start their own families, they are no longer our charges. It is folly for you to think that you can fix this. It’s his. Hang in there and be the best friend you can to everyone involved while still getting that it’s not about you. Blessings, Luise