Dear Abby: Trying to connect with alcoholic son is wearing me out

Mom reluctant to let go of her child, now 30, who acts hostile toward her on their rare visits.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I divorced when our only son was 3. We had joint custody. Our marriage ended because of his binge drinking, secrecy, verbal abuse and one incident of domestic violence. At 14, my son chose to live with his father.

His dad and stepmother have now alienated him from me. He’s 30 now and has had problems abusing alcohol and marijuana. When I see him, there is always underlying hostility. I love and fear for him, as any mother would.

I attend Al-Anon meetings and have made myself geographically available to him over the last eight years. He visits briefly, once or twice every six months. I have offered to go to counseling with him. He has a counselor but never invites me to come. I would pay for one, but my son says he’s too busy to do more. Should I just give up? I’m afraid of letting go, but emotionally drained from the struggle. — MOM WITH A BREAKING HEART

DEAR MOM: You have done everything you can to repair the tie that was broken so long ago. You can’t fix what’s wrong with your son. Whatever problems there were in the past, you have tried to deal with them the best you could. There is a saying in AA, “Let go and let God.” For the sake of your own emotional well-being, it is time to do that.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year. We are now making arrangements to move in together. I consider myself lucky because every day my partner tells me I’m beautiful, that I am kind and many wonderful things. I know he adores me. However, he has not told me he loves me. Nor have I said it to him. Am I old-fashioned in assuming my male partner should tell me he loves me first? I’m getting impatient. — GREAT GIRLFRIEND IN IDAHO

DEAR GIRLFRIEND: I have a suggestion. Before you move in with this man, why don’t you simply ASK him why he hasn’t said the words you long to hear? From what you have written, he demonstrates it often. His answer may be enlightening and could affect whether you proceed with your plans.

DEAR ABBY: We live next door to a nice Jewish family, with three precious kids who seem to really like us old retirees. I had planned to make a Passover cake for them and had input on how to prepare kosher. However, I am having second thoughts. Should I send a card telling them I’d like to prepare something? Or should I go ahead and prepare it anyway? Or should I just send a Passover greeting instead? — WONDERING IN TEXAS

DEAR WONDERING: A card might be the wiser way to go. Before you go to the expense of buying the ingredients, talk with the wife. Tell her what you are planning and find out how “strictly kosher” the family is. While some families would welcome your generosity, others might prefer not to consume something that wasn’t prepared from kosher products AND PREPARED IN A KOSHER KITCHEN.

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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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