Dear Amy: My husband and I adopted my nephew when he was a baby. My husband was reluctant, and has never allowed me to forget how unhappy he has been about it.
Our nephew/son recently turned 18.
We have many issues with him, due to mental illness, low IQ and teenage angst. He refused to attend school for this last year and a half. I enrolled him in a GED program and he has been attending.
My husband feels that because our son is 18 he should move out, or go into a life skills facility.
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I feel that he should live with us until he gets his GED, a job and learns a few more life skills. I am working with him to accomplish these goals. I am not saying I want this child to live with me forever, but for at least another two years.
My husband is very verbally abusive to me and my son about this because he feels that I want our son to live with us the rest of our lives.
We have had family counseling and I have had individual counseling, but my husband refuses to go to individual counseling. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore.
Dear Upset: You and your husband must realize that his constant rejection of your son from the earliest days has likely contributed to your son’s problems now. Imagine what it is like to grow up in a household where a child witnesses this sort of rejection and abuse on a regular basis? It would be impossible to mature and function well. The odds are very much stacked against this young man.
Given his educational delay, it does seem necessary for your son to live at home while he gets his GED, continues to mature and develops some reasonable and reachable goals of his own.
Your local vocational school or department of social services might point you toward programs that would provide transportation and some on-the-job learning.
Of course, your home is supposed to be a “life skills facility,” but if there is an environment (outside your own home) that will offer shelter, TLC, counseling, peer support, life skills and job training, then yes – I think you should jump on it. I assume that your son would grow and possibly thrive away from the oppressive atmosphere of your home. (If I were you, I’d move there, too.)
Dear Amy: I’ve been married for 28 years and have experienced neglect, drunkenness, narcissism, neediness and insecurity from my husband. I quit drinking a year ago and have become active in AA and I go to an Al-Anon meeting.
I’ve also experienced the loss of my father this year. My mother is in a care center with dementia.
When I’m home, I don’t want to talk with him or be around him. We aren’t intimate, which burns him, but I can’t even think about it when I don’t trust him or really even like him.
I decided I’d rather go without sex the rest of my life than have to do it when I don’t want to. (I used to do it to keep the peace.)
He quit drinking two months ago and is going to church, so now he thinks I should forgive and forget. He also started counseling. I’m a long way from forgetting, but I’m working on forgiving.
How do you get trust and love back? I’d rather separate at this point.
Want to be Alone
Dear Alone: You get trust back the same way you work your sobriety – one day at a time. Keep working your program.
Given the magnitude of your earlier trauma, and your losses since becoming sober, it is not at all surprising that you feel so ... spent. Separating might give you the distance, and space, you need right now. You and your husband will have to rewrite your marital script in order to disrupt almost three decades of dysfunction.
Dear Amy: “Hugs over Smooches” wanted to know how to maintain proper boundaries during this #MeToo time.
I recently heard a reference to “The Rock Rule” (relating to the actor, Dwayne Johnson), in which a man shouldn’t make any physical gesture toward a woman that he wouldn’t be willing to make toward “The Rock.” Follow this rule and you can’t go wrong.
Dear Fan: I appreciate this – except for the recent reports from burly, strong former NFL player (and now actor) Terry Crews, who was sexually assaulted, in public, by another man. Dwayne Johnson had better watch his back.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.