Enlistment causing family to splinter
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • Our son wants to join the military and his dad is vehemently against it. It is causing a lot of anguish in our household. Our son agreed to attend college for a year and postpone talking about it. That school year is up and he still wants to join. I know my husband's attitude is rooted in fear for his child, and I share that fear. However, I think my son should be able to make his own choices and live his own life. It is very stressful for his siblings and it is straining our marriage. How do we get across this bridge with our family intact?

Torn Between Husband and Son

Dear Torn • Why hasn't your son just enlisted? If your husband would be willing to consider it, I suggest marriage counseling, or a reputable marriage seminar, for you two. One thing you can do, while marital help is pending, is explain the following to your husband: Husband had his say and secured Son's cooperation with a cooling-off year. The only emotionally healthy response for Husband at this point is to thank Son for waiting, reiterate any remaining concerns and assure Son that Husband will support Son's right to make his own choices, even if Husband objects to the choices themselves.

Dear Carolyn • A years-long relationship with a man I was sure would be my husband ended badly. Badly, as in, one day he just never spoke to me again. At all. It crushed me, to the point that I sought counseling. Out of the blue, I started hearing from him via email/text many months later. No real apology, no genuine interest in my life — just references to old jokes and memories. He knows very well how much he hurt me. I think I know the answer to this question — but nothing good can come from entertaining this communication, right? I'm amazed at how long my heart wants to hold on to the notion that a miracle could happen and change that — and enjoy the witty banter in the meantime.

Post-Breakup

Dear Post-Breakup • Cut it off, please, for your own health, and say you're not interested in staying in touch — unless and until he's willing to explain what he did.

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