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Health & Spirit

Divorce Is Tough on Adult Children

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I lived in a bad marriage for more than 25 years. There was mental, emotional and some physical abuse. I stayed for the sake of my children and planned to leave when they were out of the house. Now, my children are in their early 20s. I could not take it anymore, so I left their dad. My husband sought treatment for his anger, but I still am through with the marriage.

My son is completely on my husband's side and doesn't understand why I don't go back into the marriage. Granted, there were a lot of good times; if it had been 100 percent horrible, I would have never made it this long.

Prior to my leaving, I had a great relationship with my son. What can I do to improve my relationship with my son without going back to his dad? By the way, my therapist informed me that divorce is harder on adult children than younger children. I wish I had known this earlier. -- Missing My Son

Dear Missing My Son: Living in a bad marriage for 25 years with emotional and physical abuse must have been tough. I am sorry that you had to go through that. The truth is that there is no right or wrong time to get divorced. And there is never a right time to endure emotional or physical abuse in a marriage.

Explain to your son that you were stuck between a rock and a hard place -- staying with an abusive man or getting divorced. At the same time, listen patiently to your son. Why does he blame you? Really listen to him. The fact that you see a therapist is very helpful. Consider having some sessions with your therapist and your son.

Life is filled with ruptures and challenges. The most important thing moving forward is to maintain a peaceful relationship with your ex-husband while continuing to reach out to your son.

Dear Annie: My wife and I are both Catholic, and we go to church for Mass every Sunday morning. But there is something that is driving me crazy -- the young parents who bring their babies or small children who then cry and scream during the service.

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I can only imagine how the priests feel when they are in the middle of celebrating a sermon and the whole church is engulfed with the sounds of crying babies.

Last Sunday, there were two children screaming on opposite sides of the church. Those cries were about all I could hear. I found it totally distracting and did not want to go back the next week, but I did because my wife said it was very important to her that I show up. Of course, there was more crying at that service, though it was not as bad. The mom brought her kid outside as soon as he started to whine.

What is particularly frustrating is that I remember when our church was being remodeled 15 years ago, and we donated $100. Part of the remodel was to build a "cry room," which is a soundproofed room for parents with crying children. Why do these parents avoid the cry room and insist on letting their kids make noises that distract everyone else in church? -- Praying for Silence

Dear Praying: Cry rooms can be very helpful to the parishioners and to the parents of the noisy child and, of course, to the priests. At the same time, if many parents bring their children into the cry room, those parents and their children will have missed out on the Mass. Rather than "Praying for Silence," you might change that to "Praying for Tolerance." Young parents who want to attend Mass and to introduce their children to church at an early age should be accepted and encouraged. That said, if the wailing gets out of hand, we hope that Mom or Dad will bring the baby outside or to the cry room.

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"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


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