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Ask Amy: Parents abhor son's November-May affair

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • September 25, 2013 - 1:17 PM

Dear Amy: My wife and I will soon have confirmed what we have suspected for some time: Our 26-year-old son and our 48-year-old female friend are having an affair.

We are not comfortable with this situation. We know that they are both adults, so there is nothing that we can really do about this, but I know he is going to disclose this soon and don’t know how to respond.

Besides the huge age difference, several factors bother us: Her oldest daughter is my son’s age, the friend and my son both recently started working together at a startup company, and both have recently ended relationships. She has split from a relationship of 18 years, and he from a six-month marriage that ended in divorce.

I am disappointed in his choices (I thought he jumped into the first marriage too quickly but supported him nonetheless) and am not sure how to handle this situation. My wife and I were good friends with this woman, but with this revelation the relationship is beyond repair.

Even though they are adults, this feels like a predator situation to us. What advice can you provide for us on how to handle the conversation?

Amy says: The best way for you to handle this anticipated disclosure is to calm down and prepare yourselves by realizing, in your bones, that you don’t have to like something for it to still happen.

At the age of 26, your son already has had a brief marriage and now has bounced into another romantic relationship that also might not last. You might struggle to imagine the appeal for either of them because of the extreme age difference, but unless he is unusually emotionally, physically or cognitively vulnerable, it is hard to see how he has been victimized.

There is no reason to sugarcoat your own reality. There is also no reason for you to bring up all the various ways and reasons you object to this; I assure you they will not care one whit. You are under no obligation to be supportive, but you really must accept this, because it is happening.

Stirred up a hurricane

Dear Amy: A couple of years ago, I was supposed to be one of my best friends’ maid of honor at her wedding in the Midwest.

I live on the East Coast and could not attend many of the pre-wedding events. This led to a little bit of tension; I even kindly suggested she make someone else her maid of honor and make me a bridesmaid, but she declined.

The weekend of the wedding happened to be the same weekend that Hurricane Irene hit, and my flight (along with thousands of others) was canceled. I was not able to get to the wedding.

My friend was furious and said I had been planning not to attend all along. She promptly cut me out of her life. I understand her anger about this, but I have been hurt that she showed so little concern for the safety of me, my family or my property, and I’m not sure how I would have planned a hurricane hitting the same weekend of her nuptials.

Recently, I have wanted to reach out to her but am unsure what to say or do. Any advice?

Amy says: If you want to try to revive your relationship, you could contact her by note, e-mail or Facebook message to express how sorry you were to miss her wedding. Say simply that you miss her and would like to be in touch. Express an open-ended query along the lines of, “I’d love to hear how married life is treating you,” and hope she responds.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com.

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