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26 yo male concerned about parents marriage/alcohol
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Oceanb0rn posted:
Hello everyone, I am Oceanb0rn

I am a soon to be 26 yo male, I have a good relationship with my folks and recently moved back home for the time being due to financial reasons. I also have 2 younger brothers, both in their early 20s with a similar situation.


My concern however is for my parents who seem to have hit what I can only assume is a complete and utter "communication wall" in their marriage. I often just wonder if either is really happy being with the other. I'll do my best to explain a little of what I know from both of them (I do have a tendancy to rant, its hard not to trying to get my thoughts in order so bear with me):


My dad is the type of guy that's no nonsense, down to earth, set in his ways type of guy like most typical dads are. He's an avid sports fan, so much so that it's all he ever really wants to watch or talk about and is constantly on the phone with his brother/my uncle talking about that very subject (something Mom absolutely HATES). He finds talking with Mom to be more of a chore than anything as he is often chewed out for it and avoids any type of conflict with her whenever possible. Sometimes he'll say things meant as a slight against all women but really i know he's talking about Mom.


My mom is another that is set in her ways but for entirely different reasons. She's not a sports lover even in the slightest and treats my dad's supposed obsession with it with an utter disdain. She is more accepting and open minded of others then my father (much to his dislike) and has no problem telling him off for even the tiniest of offenses.


Normally this just sounds like your typical personality clashes and bickering between two long time married people, but I know better. I know what the X-factor is that fuels this into something worse..and that is alcohol.


This isn't what i'd consider a sudden "bump-in-the-road" in their relationship either, this is a development that I know has been in the making for quite some time..although in the much earlier days it was far worse than it is now. Things are much better since then however, emotional wounds mended and all that, but even now whether it be slight or massive, i sense a relapse that could end their marriage for good.

I rarely touch the stuff for the sole purpose of what i've seen it put my parents relationship through. I feel like my Mom has in fact been the one to overindulge more but my Dad has done it too. When that happens Mom is just plain hard to talk to and I feel is NOT happy when she does it, least of all to dad. She will often repeat herself over and over again so the conversation goes nowhere fast. When my Dad does it he becomes a walking regret, basically telling us about all the things he could have done in life and quite frankly a lot of it is not something you'd tell your kids of any age.


Alot of what im seeing now however isn't so much rage or frustration, but rather just a deadening of the desire to work at their problems, a "surrender" to the way things are if you will. But my mom's told me before that she will be the one to leave if it comes to that, and I think that will in fact be the case if it plays out the way i imagine it probably will as my dad is the stubborn type.


I think the glue that's still holding this together is us 3 boys. That's the one thing they can both agree on, of that I have no doubt in my mind. But my brothers are in fact seeking career opportunities and I myself have just started a new job. If we find ourselves out of the house soon, i think their reason for staying together might have just left with us.


I care about my parents happiness, and that in fact has led me to believe that I could care about it more than the current state of their marriage. I think they could work on it if they tried but I just don't see the desire on either side really. I'm unsure of how to go about this as one just sees the other as the problem so taking a side is impossible.


I would appreciate any advice that could be given, thank u all for ur time.
Reply
 
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rohvannyn responded:
My question is, do you think they should stay together? Could they possibly be unaware of how bad the problems are? Alcohol could certainly be a contributing factor, but I think the underlying personality conflicts are the main issue.

You mentioned that their behavior seems normal at first, well, it didn't to me. It seemed to me that even their more moderate bickering was a very extreme version of common "old married" issues. It sounds like their marriage is in trouble, but I don't really know if there is much you can do about it. They probably won't take advice from you, so I think the best you can do is talk to them individually. They may be inclined to blame each other, but ultimately their relationship is in their hands.

I feel for you and wish you the best.
 
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itmatsb responded:
I agree with Rohvannyn. You don't state any reason why your parents should stay together other than that you as their child would like them to. That's very typical of children. I think that the only thing that could possibly help them is to go to marriage counseling. You could certainly suggest it to them. But from what you describe, I only see personality differences that have worn terribly thin. Can you consider that your parents might be far happier if they were in fact apart? The alcohol use might go way down without the constant stress of the marriage. Sorry that I don't have a more cheerful answer for you. You take care.
 
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Oceanb0rn replied to rohvannyn's response:
I am appreciative of the advice you both have given me and I now feel the need to update my current situation.

As it turns out my Mother in fact approached me tonight about this. She felt the need to talk to me because she knew that nobody else could...and I was all too happy to listen.

I wasn't sure what I had originally posted here would be how I felt after a few days of sleeping on it, and it started to feel that way. But tonight did in fact confirm a lot of what I said here...but she has felt that this has been part of their marriage for a lot longer than even I had realized.

I was very surprised but I really could sympathize with her need to talk to somebody. I actually take after her a lot more than my brothers do, so I can more easily talk to her about important things like this. When she told me that she had been speaking to a friend she met online, I felt all too akin to her in that I have two wonderful friends online that I've known for 5 years.

We talked about things that came to pass, the way things are now and what she hopes to do from here on in. It's all speculation really but I do understand what she really wants and I gave her my support on this.

She was afraid to tell anyone about this before now, she still couldn't believe that she was telling me this stuff as we were talking about it right then and there. And she asked me a few times if I hated her for even bringing this up to which I replied "No, never. I could never hate you for thinking of these things."

It was something the both of us needed, and as much as I love my Dad, I know all too well the way he is. My Mom is willing to change and I have a strong belief in that, but I don't believe my Dad ever will be willing to accept that or for that matter change himself. He might say it, but it won't be a lasting thing.

See, my Dad is afraid of what's different, be it in people or most anything else for that matter. It's cast a shadow of insecurity over him for years and he is unable to trust in people. It's the reason why the only person he talks to on the phone is my uncle, the reason I don't tell him too much about my personal/online life...and the reason he is un-trusting of my Mom's newly acquired online life which i think is what tonight was in fact all about.

And well...Mom and I are different. Maybe I didn't want to believe it at first but, I really think it's true. I think the alcohol is just coping a mechanism for her (him too) at this point and though I don't touch the stuff I have my own ways of dealing with pain...nothing illegal or dangerous mind you but still things I need to cope.

I just want to clarify though since I feel I couldn't explain all this at once (4000 character limit and all), that I have made no illusions of keeping my folks together if this is what they really need. Believe me I have loooong since before all this prepared myself for the day they would split.

My brothers however, as grown up as they are are still quite young...and do take after my Dad a lot more. I just hope they don't take this whole thing too hard when the day finally comes.

She doesn't hate him though, and I don't think that he hates her either. But the love is in fact gone, or at best very dim. And like I said earlier, I don't really want to take sides in this. I'm sure my Dad and I will talk about this too but I know what kind of person I am...and I just don't see that conversation being as meaningful as this one was, and I think that's saying something.

And I guess much like she felt the need to talk to me tonight, I felt the need to talk about it here. So thanks once again for listening, I can tell you first hand it makes a difference.
 
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rohvannyn replied to Oceanb0rn's response:
Thank you for checking back in! I'm really happy to hear that your mom was able to talk about this with you. It will help you both.


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