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Cher
Cher, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 18670
Experience:  Extensive experience as Educator/Teacher, M.A., Counselor, Spouse, Parent, Psychic Advisor
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I have been married to Bob, for 10 years now. He has a son

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I have been married to Bob, for 10 years now. He has a son Mike, that is married and has 2 lovely daughters. They live in Georgia and we don't see them very often. When we were first married Mike and his family came to visit us and I hit it off right away with the girls, although his wife was very standoffish. Two years ago Mike and I had a disagreemtn over the phone...I defended his father when he began telling me how awful his father was (as a dad) and the reason he never went to college was his dads fault. I know better! Relatives from both sides of the fence tell me about the motorcycle trips, campouts, and trips to the fire station where Bob worked and his constant involvement with Mike. The thing is now Mike talk to us unless we call him, he stopped sending birthday cards, etc. Should we continue to be treated like this or should we stop communicating with him. Even when we call he acts very aloof. Thanks very much, Donna
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi Donna, and thanks for your question.

Has Bob ever talked to Mike about this accusation that he didn't go to college and he blames his father for this, and other 'bad dad' things, or was the only talk about this, with you, when you had this disagreement on the phone? What led to that particular conversation, in which Mike complained that Bob was never really a good dad?

Do you still speak with Mike's wife, even though you're not speaking with Mike too often?

Is Mike's mother still in the picture at all?

Thanks for all your additional detail.

Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Mike left home when he was 17 to follow his girlfriend (that he is married to now) back to Georgia and did not graduate from high school. Bob has encouraged him to go back to school for as long as I have known him. Yes, Bob has tried to talk with Mike and asked him many times why he thinks he was not a good dad. All Mike can say is that he was never there for him! Mikes mother divorced Bob when he was 8 years of age and ran off with another man. At 12 years of age she dumped him on Bob because she couldn't handle him. Bob found it hard to be involved with him for those 4 years (between 8 & 12 years) because she moved 400 miles away. She is divorced again, and is now openly gay and living with a significant other.

This conversation took place after he sent me a nasty letter to read that he was sending to his "gay" mother. I never placed blame, or spoke badly of his mother because it is not my place no matter how I feel. During the conversation he started bad mouthing his dad and told me his parents used to fight, but never over him and his dad was never home (24 hrs on/ 3 days off) at the fire station. Then he said it was all his dads fault that he never went to college. I then said, boo hoo Mike, I raised my own 2 boys alone, worked 2 and 3 jobs, went to college and held a full time job for over 10 years. Now, my question to him was ,"How can you place the blame on him for your own mistakes?" This was not the first time Michael confronted me or Bob about this same thing.

I have called Mike's wife more than once but she won't return my phone calls. Shannon is bipolar and very difficult to talk with. The only time Mike has called us in the past 3 years is when Shannon is not taking her meds and he can't deal with her. I'm tired of the hurt he is causing Bob.

Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again, Donna, and thanks very much for your reply with additional information.

Would you mind giving me a little time to digest all this information and then type you a detailed answer?

Also, does Bob have any phone or mail contact with his two granddaughters?

Thanks,
Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi! Did you get my reply??? Donna
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi Donna, yes, I got your reply.

I'm preparing your answer now. Can you tell me if Bob still has any contact with his granddaughters?

Thanks,
Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes, he calls them every couple of weeks. Brooke is 14 and Sierra is 11. I call them too and encourage him to call more often. They are both very receptive but never call us.
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again, Donna, and thanks for all your details.

I'm glad that when Bob calls Brooke and Sierra, they're receptive and he's able to maintain a relationship with them, despite the trouble he and Mike are having right now.

I think from what you've said, that this change in Mike's attitude towards his father, stems from several past events. Since this behavior started after he sent you a letter he intended for his mother, seeking your advice re: it's contents, he didn't receive the kind of answer he thought he might, perhaps hoping that YOU might possibly denigrate his mother and take 'his' side. You did the absolute correct thing, in not putting down his mother. He might have felt 'betrayed' by this, and I think he also felt embarrassed, after saying the angry things he did, to his mother, in that letter, and then, confiding it's contents to you. Because he was feeling particularly vulnerable at that time, and couldn't confront his mother immediately, regarding how he feels about her lifestyle, etc., which obviously upsets him, when he brought up his interpretation of Bob's failings as a father, again, and you didn't take his (Mike's) side, it simply enraged him, and added fuel to the fire.

He's forgetting that his mother made it impossible for him to be involved in his father's life, and vice-versa, due to her moving him 400 miles away. I don't know what the custody agreement was, there, but usually both parents have to agree to the move, if it's out of state, and one parent will not see the child that frequently. Maybe he harbors resentment that his father DIDN'T fight to have him stay where he was living, so he could have relationship with him during those formative years.

I think Mike feels that lots of things are falling down around him, right now, like, having a bi-polar wife (no simple task!), a mother who chose a gay lifestyle after being married to men, twice, and missing those years with his father. If Mike was with Bob during the ages of 12 and 17, I'm sure they spent quality time, but Mike's thinking is too clouded by all his other problems to realize or 'remember' the positive aspects of their relationship.

If Bob and you have been encouraging Mike to go back to school for years, I think now might be a good time to offer him some 'assistance' (financially, if you're able) to actually take action on that. First, if he didn't finish High School, he'll need to get a GED, which he can do online or even at his local Community School, where it's free of charge or a costs a nominal registration fee. Even online/distance learning courses, offer financial assistance. Once he gets his GED, he can pursue a two year degree or a four year one, at either a Community College, or a University, respectively. Again, he can accomplish this while still working at what he's doing now, by enrolling in either a local college, or for online courses.

I think, if Bob (and you) encourage him with concrete ideas to follow up on, or even do the research yourself, and send it to him in email, re: how to go about finishing his H.S. education, and then continuing on with college, plus offering something reasonable in the way of financial help, if this is a concern for Mike, he will be more receptive to your ideas, if they're not just 'talk'. I believe, if Mike feels more confident in himself, it will facilitate his relationship with his father, and with you.

It's important that you and Bob continue to maintain a good relationship with Brooke and Sienna, and a weekly phone call, plus emails and periodic exchange of photos, would be a good idea. I agree with you that Bob should call them more often, since their parents have obviously instructed them not to call, or let's say, their parents don't encourage them to call.

I hope you're able to try some of my suggestions, and things improve between Mike and his dad, and also you and Mike. Thank you for your patience; I realize it took a while for me to get this answer to you, but I wanted to include several important suggestions, which needed to be well thought out.

Please let me know if you have any additional concerns, and I'll be happy to help.

Cher
Cher, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 18670
Experience: Extensive experience as Educator/Teacher, M.A., Counselor, Spouse, Parent, Psychic Advisor
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