Life Advice

/

Health & Spirit

Son wants to cure father of serial infidelity

Carolyn Hax on

You can also distance yourself from your father based on his lousy behavior.

Again -- there are productive, healthy options here. Jumping in to try to fix your father isn't one of them.

Carolyn:

I know he wants to change because he told me so directly. He went to marriage counseling, but only in an attempt to win back my stepmother, which didn't work so he stopped immediately. When he originally revealed his infidelities he offered rationalizations that his marriage had been rocky.

Neither of us has a particular liking to therapy/counseling as a solution. What can I do to help him realize the goal of changing?

-- Eldest Son

Do not make him your project. He is his own project, full stop.

One way you can help appropriately is to call B.S. on his excuses; if he really wants to change, then he needs to own his frailties in full. That means counseling to fix himself versus salvage his status quo. That means saying he cheated because he lacked the courage and maturity to face his failing marriage, and used the estrangement as permission for self-indulgence.

How you feel about therapy is irrelevant. You are you, he is he. If you don't see the clear border there, then, um, please rethink the aversion to therapy?

Furthermore -- if a skilled pro can help your father recognize that he is making a child's decisions with a man's body, then please don't stand in the way.

========

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections

Comics

Archie Mike Du Jour Steve Breen Gary Markstein Bizarro Tina's Groove