Life Advice



A Hug and a Heartache

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: My heart is broken, and so is my wife's. This past year, we planned a family vacation because my daughter and her family and my son and his live in a different state. We were meeting in the middle to save everyone from such a long road trip. My wife and I have been married almost 35 years, and she helped raise my two children. My grandchildren all adore her. On the second day of our trip, my wife and my son's 7-year-old son were playing cards.

My wife went to give him a hug, and out of the blue, my son and his wife literally jumped up and said, "No! We don't do that!" It was shocking to say the least. My wife couldn't believe it; she immediately left the room, and she says even now, four months later, that the look on our grandson's face when that happened broke her heart.

Needless to say, the rest of the trip was very awkward. I am very close to my son, and we still talk roughly every other day, but my wife will never forgive them for that. I feel like my son and his wife owe my wife an apology because things will never be the same. My son is a police officer, and he has seen a lot, and as a result he and his wife are very overprotective of his children. They don't let them spend the night away from home because they don't trust people. I know that we can't be too careful, but the way they handled that situation was totally wrong. I told my wife that if they had decided that no one could be "affectionate" with their son, they should have told us that in private. Please give me some advice. Thank you! -- Heartbroken Dad and Grandfather

Dear Heartbroken: You are correct that they should have spoken to you in private about their wishes that you not hug their children. By reprimanding your wife in front of her grandson, they are hurting their own son by depriving him of a grandmother's hug -- which is a sad thing to deprive a grandson of. Instead of never forgiving, try to get curious about the why. You mentioned that your son is a place officer and has seen a lot. Maybe he just saw something very disturbing. Whatever the reason, it's important that you have a dialogue about it so that you and your wife can have a better understanding of it. In the future, hopefully your son and daughter-in-law never reprimand you or your wife in front of your grandchildren. But forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. So forgive.



"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 for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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