- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My son is 18 and his girlfriend’s family is allowing him to live in their home. I think this is terrible and we have told our son over and over this is a big mistake. God forbid this girl could get pregnant or worse. My husband and I can’t believe how our son has betrayed us. He refuses to listen and does not remember the way we raised him. It’s like he can’t see the forest for the trees.

I am very disappointed his girlfriend’s family is allowing this to happen. Both her mother and father are in the home and both of them were in the Air Force. What kind of parents would allow their daughter’s boyfriend to lay up in their house with them?

We want our son out of there and back home with us so he can continue with college. He is never going to do anything as long as he’s shacked up with them. They are such bad people and bad parents who have hidden behind military uniforms for 20 years. I thought people who wore uniforms were of high moral standards and ethical character.

My son refuses to leave their home and said he will not enroll in college this semester. Ms. Vicki, we are willing to continue to pay for him to attend college because we want him to be successful and someday have a career. What recourse do we have now?

- Moral Mother Majority

Dear Mother,

I regret to inform you that you have no recourse. I know you have raised your son well, but he is not listening right now. My quick advice is to avoid a power struggle with him.

Let me paint a picture: Put his age on his forehead and think about this. If your girlfriend’s parents had allowed you to live with her under their roof at that age, what would you do? Let’s be honest, we more than likely would do the same.

I agree with you regarding her parents’ decision. I would never allow my child’s boyfriend or girlfriend to sleep together or live under my roof. It just wouldn’t happen.

Here’s the deal. Your son is an adult, and so are his girlfriend’s parents. You cannot tell them what to do in their own home. Your son is not a minor, so you can’t force him back into your home.

I know this is tough for you, but again, don’t engage in a power struggle with your son over this issue. Doing so will only alienate him and he will avoid visiting with you. He still needs to have an admirable relationship with his parents and his family, so enjoy the time you spend with him and don’t discuss his living arrangements.

Regarding his college situation, you shouldn’t pay for something he does not want to do. It would only be a waste of money right now, but the situation could change.

Just continue to show love toward your son. He is enjoying freedom he wasn’t able to experience in your home. Let’s hope his newfound freedom will wear thin soon.

You and your husband should continue to support one another through this situation. Cheer up, this comes with parenting.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband had an affair with a captain in his unit. Everyone knew this affair was going on except me. It was embarrassing, and I was humiliated. The unit did nothing to this home-wrecker and the battalion commander knew what was going on, just like every one else.

She was sent to another unit and everything was supposed to just go away, but it didn’t happen like that. I’m still trying to cope with a lot of pain and embarrassment. The affair was going on for over two years and through a deployment. While I was at home raising our children, praying for him every day and for his safety, and keeping our home fires burning, he was having sex with another woman behind my back. I had even befriended this woman, and she has been to my home several times for social hours. Why is the wife always the last one to know?

My husband says he wants to work things out and save our marriage. I think our marriage is over. He told me he was in love with this woman and at one time he was considering divorcing me so they could be together. How can he expect for me to just forgive and forget?

He has been seeing a counselor and wants me to come but I refuse to. He won’t leave our home and is sleeping in the basement. I won’t even look at him or talk to him. I’m angry and devastated. The sad part about it is I’m too angry to move on. This is killing me!

- Affair of the Heart

Dear Affair,

I know you are very angry, hurt and embarrassed about this affair. Your feelings are quite normal. You must have many questions: How did it happen? Why did it happen? Who seduced who? Did they do the same things in bed together as we did? Is he still in love with her?

First, don’t blame yourself for the affair. Many men and women who have had affairs reveal in hindsight that the affair had nothing to do with their spouse. Saving your marriage, however, will take hard work from both you and your husband.

It will be difficult, but you must get support from a professional therapist or counselor who can help you deal with your anger and start communication with your husband. I’m not telling you to stay in your marriage, that’s not my call. Either way, however, you and your husband must communicate.

My professional suggestion is for you and your husband to have separate individual therapists for support and insight then see a marital therapist together. You should know this won’t be resolved overnight. I can’t say how long the anger and pain will last, but each day could bring you closer to healing. I know of many marriages that have survived infidelity, yours could too.

Check on your local base with the social work services department to see if individual and marital counseling are provided. You also can contact Military OneSource (800/342-9647), which can connect you with a provider in your community.

Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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