Ask Amy: Be angry at cheating son, but don't take sides

FresnoJune 10, 2013 

Dear Amy: My 41-year-old son cheated on my daughter-in-law (for the third time) and then left her and my 6-year-old grandson. They were together for 20 years.

I adore my daughter-in-law, and I'm heartbroken. My son told me he never really loved her but stayed with her because he didn't want to break her heart and because she was such a great wife, mother and all-around good person. I'm so ashamed and disappointed.

I'm very close with my daughter-in-law. She says she couldn't have gotten through this without me. We talk every day.

Although I still love my son very much (naturally), I don't even want to talk to him right now. He already wants us to meet the woman he left my daughter-in-law for. I can't imagine meeting her, and I saw her picture on Facebook — honestly, she looks like a prostitute.

I'm 100% on my daughter-in-law's side. She didn't deserve this and neither did my wonderful grandson. I raged at my son when I first found out; now he calls me and tells me how guilty he feels. Although I'm civil to him, I don't even want to hear his voice right now. Will I ever get over this anger at my son? 

— Furious mother

Dear Furious: I applaud your expression of friendship and concern for your daughter-in-law, but you should do this without becoming too intimately involved. Your daughter-in-law is lucky she can talk to you, but this will become a problem for you when you get to the point where you communicate with your son again — and you will get to that point.

It's appropriate to rain down the "wrath of mom" upon your son's sorry head. There is no reason to shield him from your opinion. There is also no reason to spend time with his new squeeze before you are ready (although stalking her on Facebook is hardly mature behavior). Over time, however, your anger will not help this family.

Be supportive, be understanding and do your best to be a friend to this family. Urge them to pursue mediation with a professional.

Dear Amy: I was shocked at "Daring Dad's" interest in letting his 10-year-old son "explore the city" on his own and your suggestion that this was a good idea! What are you two thinking? Do you live in the 1950s or something?

— Appalled

Dear Appalled: I offered practical suggestions for how this father can foster his son's independence — gradually and safely. The more savvy and responsible children are encouraged to be, the safer they will be when they venture out into the world.


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