Dear Annie: My husband constantly interrupts me. When I open a conversation with him, he immediately starts talking about his thoughts before I even have a chance to finish mine. When with a group of people, I will start to say something about an experience we may have had, and he immediately takes over the conversation.
I have talked to him about this numerous times. He says I'm immature when I complain. I've even said, "I'm talking now!" but to no avail. I want to embarrass him at times and make a big deal of his rudeness, but I am not rude. I've told him it's rude, disrespectful and leaves me feeling that what I have to say is unimportant. Any suggestions? -- Steamrolled
Dear Steamrolled: Communication is key. As you've alluded to with your "I want to embarrass him" comment, frustrations such as these can often snowball into resentment and even anger. It's important that you nip this nuisance in the bud before it grows into something bigger.
Discuss the dilemma in the presence of a couples therapist, and be sure to emphasize the way his behavior makes you feel -- using "I statements" rather than "you statements."
Your voice deserves to be heard.
Dear Annie: My oldest son has not spoken to me in 15 years. I have no idea what the problem is. I've tried calling him, but he won't answer his phone. I left voicemails, always telling him that I love him.
He told his wife to call my wife (his stepmom) and tell me to stop calling him because he wasn't going to answer. So, I tried emailing. But he blocked my emails. Then I started sending texts. He blocked those also.
My wife and I decided to drive to his workplace and buy him lunch. He's a golf course superintendent at a prestigious private course. It was a 2 1/2-hour drive to his course. They called him from the clubhouse and told him that his dad was here to take him to lunch. He told them to tell me that he wasn't on the grounds. That wasn't true because the guard told us explicitly that he was on the grounds. So, we drove another 2 1/2 hours home.
I am now at a loss for how to fix this relationship. I feel as though I have tried everything, including much prayer time. My wife and I are both Christians and love the Lord. At one time, my son was also. But I don't believe that he is following his earlier beliefs anymore. I am anxious to get this fixed. I am a Vietnam veteran with several health issues caused by Agent Orange. I really want to fix this before I am no longer able to physically. Please help. -- Desperate for my Son
Dear Desperate for My Son: I am sorry for the unbearable pain you must be feeling. As a parent, there is nothing worse than being separated from your kids.
That said, children rarely sever ties with their parents without a reason. Think back on your relationship with your son: Is there something you could have done that may have upset him? If so, a heartfelt apology might do wonders.
I would also ask yourself: How is your son's health, both physical and mental? How is his relationship with his wife? Paradoxically, a person who is suffering often pushes away those closest.
If these questions lead you nowhere, there isn't much else you can do. Relationships are a two-way street; if he does not want contact with you, you cannot force your way into his life. Keep calling and reminding him of your unconditional love. God willing, he will find his way back to you.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.