Son is alcoholic and his wife cheats.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My son is 30 years old. He’s married and has two children. His wife has been mean to him most of the 14 years they have been together, but she is good to the children. He has been drinking for many years but recently started using drugs. (some) He works very hard 12 to 14 hours daily. Recently she told him she was cheating on him with her cousin. He is beside himself and sometimes calls me to confide in me and then other times he won’t return my calls. How do I help him? We live about 2 hours apart. I need to know how to help him..I’ve tried to get him to come to me just to get some space. He says he will and then doesn’t. Can you help him?

A: No matter how old our kids are, they are still our kids and we still worry. But the reality is that he is a grown up and there is a limit to what you can do beyond being a good listener and encouraging him to get the help he needs.

I have a guess that there is more to his story than perhaps you know. His wife may be mean but he’s an alcoholic and is now abusing drugs. Their marriage is a mess and their kids are undoubtedly paying for it. I hope these two are mature enough to seek out a family counselor. Regardless of what they decide to do about their marriage, they owe it to their kids to clean up their respective acts.

Please resist the urge to take your son’s side when he calls you. The side you need to be on is the kids’. You didn’t mention what kind of relationship you have with your grandchildren. If you enjoy each other, one practical thing you could do is offer to take the kids for a couple of weeks. That would get the kids out of the situation and would give the adults some uninterrupted time to figure out what they want to do.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Aug 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). Son is alcoholic and his wife cheats.. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/08/10/son-is-alcoholic-and-his-wife-cheats/