Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: My son's wife has finally decided (after three years of trying to have a baby) that she just doesn't want to be a parent. She refuses to adopt (she can't conceive) and my son is torn, because he does want a family. She now thinks their marriage is in jeopardy. Both are 32 and have been married for six years. My concern is we can't seem to get her to have a conversation about why she doesn't want to be a parent. Any advice you can share for two young adults with this dilemma?Lost Grandpa
DEAR GRANDPA: My first recommendation is for you. This is a highly painful, personal (and for many people, private) topic. Your son is confiding in you, which is great, but your reaction to him should be circumspect.
"We" -- meaning you, alongside your son (and possibly other family members) -- should not be initiating conversations with your daughter-in-law about why she "doesn't want to be a parent." You should not pressure her to make a choice (or even discuss this if she doesn't want to).
This crisis should be mediated by someone who does not have a personal stake. Signing your letter "Lost Grandpa" tells me you are viewing this through the prism of what it means to you (being a grandparent). A family therapist with expertise in this extremely challenging issue will help your son and his wife.
DEAR AMY: "Distant Dad" wondered how to handle a long-distance relationship with his young children. My husband has a 1,000-mile "commute." He left in December and will hopefully be back by summer. We've been doing this for six years. Video calls are where my son first learned to wave "hi" and "bye." It is hard for him, but welcome in today's economy. At least we are still married. I hope he can move back home soon, and we can go back to being boring.