DEAR ANNIE: I just read the letter from "Missing My Son" and felt compelled to write a response. I, too, was in a bad marriage for 17 years. We only had one child, a son. I was trying to stay in the marriage for the sake of our son, but after many months of therapy, and the therapist making a comment that the longer our son remained in the volatile environment, the more likely he would be to treat women the same as I was being treated, I filed for divorce. Our son was 9.
My ex continued to treat me (and our son) horribly for the next nine years, until our son was headed to college. I made every attempt to be civil with my ex, as I didn't want to deal with his vengeful acts. Though my ex rarely saw our son after our divorce, our son put his dad on a pedestal. Mind you, my ex had been cheating on me for many years and eventually moved in with the lady a year after our divorce, but my son still idolized his dad.
I started dating a wonderful man a year after my divorce and married him 10 years later. My son never cared for him, and I discovered that my ex fed my son many lies about him. My son hated me for remarrying, refused to come to our "family only" small wedding, and did not speak to me for two years. I was devastated.
I stayed in touch with my prior marriage counselor, as he was excellent. He gave me confidence that my son would eventually come around, and the therapist was right. I was elated once my son finally started speaking to me again. I've been married for 10 years and my son calls me almost daily. We're very close, and I believe he finally realized I was the one who truly loved him and taught him valuable life lessons. I'm proud of all his accomplishments, especially becoming an architect, which he dreamed of as a child, and that I provided much love and encouragement to make him see he could reach his goals. (The only sad part is that he has insane student loans, but that's another matter.)
Please tell "Missing My Son" to be patient. I'll admit, I was a wreck during the two years my son didn't speak to me, as I had no other children. I prayed extensively during that time and feel blessed that our relationship has mended. I'll pray that her son will realize life is too short to punish his mother like this. If only I could talk to him, I'd attempt to make him understand the pain he's inflicting on the one who lovingly brought him into this world. -- Sending Prayers to Missing My Son
DEAR SENDING PRAYERS: Thank you for sharing your letter. Through therapy and your commitment to having a loving family, you did it. You didn't let your son's anger get in the way of your love for him. Instead, you allowed him to be angry over the divorce and were patient with him. Your patience and love paid off, as they usually do.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.