Dear Annie: My youngest son, "Thomas," met his present wife, "Eva," 13 years ago. Before then, we were a close family. These days, I'm lucky if I receive a phone call from him to say "happy Mother's Day," let alone a card. Prior to Eva's entering his life, we would get together for holidays and special events, but not anymore.
Eva came into his life looking for a meal ticket, and boy, did she luck out! She had no job, education or home. However, she had four children, who were being raised by various relatives at the time. My son was so smitten with this very pretty (although extremely crude and uncouth) younger woman that he "caved," as she brags. He married her.
Today he lives with her parents because he didn't want all of those incorrigible grown kids of hers living in his home — yet she found a way to bring them to live with them anyway. And who foots the bill for all of their expenses? My son, of course.
Eva has put up a barrier between us. She makes jokes about how he doesn't want contact with his family. I call him at work because he has no home phone of his own. When I used to call their home, Eva would answer and yell to my son in a very sarcastic, mocking tone, "Your Mommy's calling."
I love him a lot, and I miss him terribly. His elder brother, who used to have a good relationship with Thomas, wonders what has happened. I don't believe that Thomas is happy, because he has turned to alcohol. She brags that she can get more from him financially when he is under the influence. Do I have any recourse than to just accept this very sad situation? — A Very Sad Mother in Indiana
Dear Very Sad Mother: The only recourse you have is an open and honest conversation with Thomas. If he's not ready to get out of this relationship, any attempt you make to pull him will only send him deeper into it. Similarly, you can state your concern about his drinking, but he must recognize that he has a problem on his own before he can begin recovery.
Your best bet at helping him is to let him know you'll always be there. Listen to him talk, without criticizing Eva or her children — who, it should be noted, are now his stepchildren and your stepgrandchildren, so it might be worth adopting a more loving attitude toward them. They are not their mother.
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