Mother leaves family behind to return to home country

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: My mother left us a year ago and returned to our home country. She told us that she was going back (after 27 years) because she couldn't afford living expenses here. She left my father, my brother, me and her grandchildren and went home. After a month or so, we realized she had moved in with another man and was living "a new chapter in her life," as she later put it. She is trying to stay connected with my brother and me, but my brother refuses to speak to her, and I am finding it difficult, given the way she left and the impact it has had on us emotionally. Part of me wants to stay in contact with her, even if only for my children, but I also feel an allegiance to my brother, as he is my only family here, other than my father (and my husband's family, of course). I know I should be mature about this by accepting the situation, but I am on two sides, torn between maintaining contact with my mother and having a relationship with my brother.

-- Abandoned

DEAR ABANDONED: Your brother has the right to make his own choices regarding his relationship with your mother. That same right extends to you. You should do what you want in terms of connecting with her. You should accept his choice, and he yours.

If he can't handle your decision, then you should not discuss it with him.


DEAR AMY: I have to respond to "Not Enough Time," who was wondering if long-distance relationships work. My answer is definitely Yes! Three weeks after our first date, my boyfriend moved 1,200 miles away for a new job. We dated long distance, flying back and forth once a month for a year and a half. We have been married now for 21 years and have a wonderful son who just graduated from high school.

-- No Longer Long Distance

DEAR NO LONGER: Sweet!