Dear Annie: I lived in a bad marriage for more than 25 years. There was mental, emotional and some physical abuse. I stayed for the sake of my children and planned to leave when they were out of the house. Now, my children are in their early 20s. I could not take it anymore, so I left their dad. My husband sought treatment for his anger, but I still am through with the marriage.
My son is completely on my husband’s side and doesn’t understand why I don’t go back into the marriage. Granted, there were a lot of good times; if it had been 100 percent horrible, I would have never made it this long.
Prior to my leaving, I had a great relationship with my son. What can I do to improve my relationship with my son without going back to his dad? By the way, my therapist informed me that divorce is harder on adult children than younger children. I wish I had known this earlier.
— Missing My Son
Dear Missing My Son: Living in a bad marriage for 25 years with emotional and physical abuse must have been tough. I am sorry that you had to go through that. The truth is that there is no right or wrong time to get divorced. And there is never a right time to endure emotional or physical abuse in a marriage.
Explain to your son that you were stuck between a rock and a hard place — staying with an abusive man or getting divorced. At the same time, listen patiently to your son. Why does he blame you? Really listen to him. The fact that you see a therapist is very helpful. Consider having some sessions with your therapist and your son.
Life is filled with ruptures and challenges. The most important thing moving forward is to maintain a peaceful relationship with your ex-husband while continuing to reach out to your son.
Dear Annie: My wife and I are both Catholic, and we go to church for Mass every Sunday morning. But there is something that is driving me crazy — the young parents who bring their babies or small children who then cry and scream during the service.
Last Sunday, there were two children screaming on opposite sides of the church. Those cries were about all I could hear.
— Praying for Silence
Dear Praying: Cry rooms can be very helpful to the parishioners and to the parents of the noisy child and, of course, to the priests. At the same time, if many parents bring their children into the cry room, those parents and their children will have missed out on the Mass. Rather than “Praying for Silence,” you might change that to “Praying for Tolerance.”
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