'Jack's' behavior may stem from immaturity
Dear Annie: I have a son who is nearly 26. "Jack" has a good job and lives in his own apartment about 100 miles away, but he has no social life and has never had a girlfriend.
Jack insists on coming home every other weekend to see his mother. He brings two weeks' of dirty clothes for my wife to wash. She also cuts his hair. He won't get his own mailing address, so he picks up his mail here. Jack unhooks my computer and puts his hard-drive online to play computer games and watch cartoons. He does this for two days. For the entire time he is here, he never calls or visits anyone else.
If his mother gets in the swimming pool or hot tub, Jack wants to join her. My wife never objects to this activity, and this has caused great friction in our marriage. We have gone for counseling, and the counselor told her this is an unhealthy relationship between son and mother and she needs to say "no" to him. Instead, she quit going to counseling, and this is where we are today.
I love my son, but I love my wife more. We have been married for 32 years, but I am soon going to tell my wife that I cannot share my marriage with Jack any longer. I've tried talking to my son, and he told me that his mother owns 50 percent of the house and that's that. What should I do? Desperate in Florida
Dear Desperate: We don't think this merits a divorce. Some of Jack's behavior is not unusual and indicates immaturity or a lack of funds. But following his mother into the pool or hot tub is iffy. And when a therapist says the apron strings are pulled a little tight, Mom ought to pay attention. Explain to your wife that she is being selfish. Encouraging her son's dependence prevents him from growing up and finding healthy relationships with other women. Also ask friends to introduce Jack to some available females. He needs to get into the hot tub with someone else.
Dear Annie: My daughter and son-in-law just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. My daughter acknowledged all her wedding gifts except one: a beautiful taupe handmade afghan. The afghan package was brought to the reception, and in the transfer of gifts to vehicles, the tag or card was lost.
We tried to find out who brought it, matched gifts to our guest list and even called people, but were unable to identify the giver. My daughter felt terrible about being unable to express their thanks. Gift tags can come off, so please tell your readers to put a tag or card inside the package. Tallahassee Mom
Dear Tallahassee: Actually, the best solution is for gifts to be sent to the home before or after the wedding. Carting packages home from a reception is always an extra burden for the bridal couple or their parents, and often things are lost -- including cards that are taped to the tops of presents. So, if you are the person who has been complaining that the wedding couple never sent you a thank-you note for that lovely afghan, now you know why.
Dear Annie: Please suggest Big Brothers Big Sisters as a resource for single parents whose children miss absent mothers or fathers. This organization partners an adult with a child and monitors the progress of the relationship on a regular basis.
My son and I work as Big Brothers and find it most rewarding. At a "Bigs" meeting, I heard one Big Brother talk about a former Little Brother who is now married with children. Their relationship has continued over the years.
Please encourage your readers to contact Big Brothers Big Sisters (www.bbbsa.org) at 230 N. 13th St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. A Caring Big in Kentucky
Dear Caring: Thank you for the opportunity. We hear from many readers who worry their children are missing out on the benefits of a relationship with the parent who is no longer there. We hope they will keep this organization in mind.
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