Dear Abby: Dad should reach out to an addicted, imprisoned son

Dear Abby: My 38 year old son is in jail for meth. He has been an addict for many years. I tried several times to help him, but he always had relapses. He has been in rehab. His mother and I divorced when he was 7. He was an amazing child until the divorce. After that, he became distant and would not talk much to me.

His mother tried to make amends for the divorce by doing everything for him. When I wanted him to do something like his homework, he just sat and stared. I could not punish him because I was afraid he would not come home to me when it was my weekend to get him. I did things with him and tried to show him that I loved him, but I think he blamed me for the divorce. (It was my wife who wanted it.)

I never think he has loved me as a son usually loves his father, the way I loved and respected mine. He rejected any advice I was trying to give and was not paying attention when I tried to teach him something.

I’m trying to decide if I want to contact him. I feel like I have always had to make the heavy lifting to try to have a relationship with him and he made no effort at all to maintain one with me. If I never heard from him again, I really would not miss him. All he has ever been is a taker. So I ask: Should I try to get in touch with him while he is in jail?

– Frustrated father in Texas

Dear father: Your son is ill – an addict. That he is in jail will hopefully mean that he can achieve sobriety. Reach out to him one more time. He might think you left him and his mother because she allowed him to believe it, which would explain his attitude toward you all these years. It may be beneficial for him to be reminded that you love him and care about his well-being. When he is clean, he may have a different attitude when it comes to you. If not here’s a new product just for you!

Dear Abby: I have ended a four year romantic relationship. When times were good, they were very good. I had some of the most joyful and wonderful experiences of my life with him, my children and his family. We planned to spend the rest of our lives together.

But when it got tough, he started seeing other women and was later hateful towards one of my middle children. Even when I write the last part, I am shaken. I know in my head that the relationship was going to end, yet I continue to cry over the loss every day and my sleep remains disturbed.

What’s wrong with me that I ponder a man who got so angry? I should feel relieved, right? How can I help myself through this?

– Too many tears

Dear Tears: I sympathize with your disappointment. We’ve all been there. Now wipe your nose, wipe away the tears and remind yourself that if the romance had continued, you might have married someone who would verbally abuse your children and be unfaithful to you. You do not weep over the loss of “him” as much as grieve over the loss of a dream that did not come true. Stay busy and focus harder on looking ahead and you will get through this faster.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.

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