Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Things are fine until son says otherwise
First Published Jun 17 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jun 17 2014 01:01 am

Dear Carolyn • Our 28-year-old son "Bill" has been married for five years to a woman we are slowly starting to resent. "Jennifer" is working on an advanced degree in Italian. She took the opportunity to study abroad for a year in Italy, and Bill suspended his own career path to go to Italy as well. They ended up living in separate cities. Shortly after returning to the states she took a job as a flight attendant, which means she spends days at a time away from home. She has recently received two scholarships for study, one in another city for three months and the other to return to Italy for a year. Bill will not leave his job for either one. We’re finding it hard to shake the feeling that she prefers to spend time away from Bill. She calls and visits her family regularly, but we see her maybe once a year. Bill is very intelligent, personable and hardworking (as is she), but we’re wondering if he’s just "settling" for someone who doesn’t seem to give him or his family much of her attention. He says they’re doing "fine" but doesn’t want to talk in any more detail about their marriage. My wife has been pushing me to pursue a deeper conversation with our son. Thoughts?

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Dear Bill’s Father • Your son is precious to you, and to watch him be treated as an apparent afterthought — by the person he chose to cherish him most — must be a steady source of anguish. I’m sorry. I’m also sympathetic to your wife in wanting to take action to fix it. But it’s neither your place nor hers to do that; in fact, you can’t even say for certain that anything needs fixing. Imagine a kite anchored to the ground. Some couples use their love and their promise to each other as that anchor, so they can remain secure but also soar on their own. Maybe your son has that kind of marriage, maybe he doesn’t, but either way, your job is to treat things as "fine" unless and until he chooses to tell you otherwise. Presumably he gave you that answer when you asked whether everything was OK between him and Jennifer. If so, that tells me you dangled before him a clear opportunity to share with you, and he didn’t bite.

Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.