Dear Amy: My 40-year-old son, “James” has had many bright, beautiful, and intelligent girlfriends. He has been engaged and ended various relationships throughout his adult years.
James is currently in an on/off relationship (for the past five years) with no marriage plans in sight. His father and I have been amicably divorced for decades.
My overall concern is that my son will never marry or find someone even for companionship.
I don’t want him to be a lonely, aging bachelor.
Even though I know that my life has been fulfilling and enriched with good experiences, I worry about my son’s well-being.
Not becoming a grandmother is a concern (for me, not for him), but mainly I do feel bad over James not experiencing the fullness of life with family and children.
I know that not everyone marries, but I’m sad about James. I’m grateful for my own good health and for enjoying a long, rich life.
I have foster animals, which I call my Grandpets.
Can you tell me how I might better cope with my sadness over my son?
— Sad not to be a Grandma
Dear Sad: Your son “James” might not be a lonely aging bachelor, but a man who has enjoyed a variety of romantic relationships of varying durations, which is the norm for him.
I think it is a mistake to define “the fullness of life” as one that must contain one’s own children — or any children — even though this has been your experience.
But because you define the fullness of life this way, you are quite understandably disappointed and even mourning the fact that your life is a little less full than you had hoped.
A Pew Research Center survey from 2021 finds that “a rising share of U.S. adults who are not already parents say they are unlikely to ever have children, and their reasons range from just not wanting to have kids to concerns about climate change and the environment.”
Your sadness over not having grandchildren will be shared by many other prospective grandparents.
Unless your son demonstrates that his life is unfulfilled and empty, you should not misplace your concerns.
You seem to be satisfied with the choices you’ve made in life, and your decision to keep your life full is healthy and commendable.
In addition to the animals you foster, I hope you can find ways to bring children into your life. Look into a Foster Grandparent Program in your community, and see if you are able to extend this special kind of love and connection to a young child.
Dear Amy: My girlfriend of 13 years and I are splitting up.
We have two kids together and never got married. We just never felt like we had to prove our commitment in that way.
We are great together, but the last couple of years have been rough.
She started bouncing from job to job.
She wants to be important and relies on social media for comfort.
She wants to see other people and wants me out of the house.
I have never done anything to hurt her other than support her.
She met someone else already and really likes him.
I don’t want to lose my family. It will kill me not being able to see my kids every day since they were born.
I still love her. She still loves me and wants to have sexual relations with me but wants me out of the house.
What can I do? Things used to be so amazing between us, and I don’t know what happened.
Dear Devastated: Please, seek legal advice right away. You should not have to relinquish daily access to your children. You need to draw up a separation agreement that outlines a reasonable co-parenting arrangement.
Because she wants to end the relationship, depending on who owns or holds the lease on your home, maybe she is the one who should leave.
Generally speaking, it is extremely unwise to continue to have sex with someone who is on their way to being an “ex.”
Dear Amy: Why were you so harsh in your response to “Concerned Father”?! This man only wanted to buy a home for his irresponsible son and his spendthrift wife. You should have recognized his generosity.
Dear Disappointed: This seemed less a generous gesture, and more a desire to control this couple. Putting them into a house they ultimately might not be able to afford also seemed like setting them up for failure.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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