DEAR AMY: I am a gay man. My husband and I are legally married and have been together for 20 years. We were both married to women previously and we both have children. Our kids are older now and are having children of their own. We love our grandchildren dearly and love spending time with them. One of our daughters has three children and a stepson with her husband. Suddenly, we’ve been told we can’t have the grandchildren stay at our house anymore. Our daughter says that her husband suddenly has issues with this. (We were told that we could visit them.) What are the issues? We have asked. She doesn’t say. It has caused great emotional pain, and has made us feel that they require some sort of restricted visitation. I believe my daughter loves us, but she is standing by her husband. I am at a loss. I have such anger toward her husband and I feel like if I bow down to his demands, it will only get worse. How can I sit there and enjoy my time with the kids when he is watching over me like I am some kind of pedophile? I am just at a loss. Your advice?
DEAR HURT: I recently listened to a radio documentary about a family where the parents placed controlled restrictions similar to the ones you are facing now. And in this case, the grandparents continued to visit and see the children. The (now adult) granddaughter who was describing her childhood said her grandparents were her lifeline. They were heroes, as so many grandparents are.
If you want to continue to have a relationship with your grandchildren, you should carry on and be the grandfathers to these kids that they deserve to have. You should be loving, kind and as involved as possible.
It will ultimately be up to all of the adults to work through this. You have not been given any explanation for this restriction, and so you should not assume the worst (this won’t help).
You should visit, and (away from the children) ask the father for an explanation. Keep the interests of your daughter and her children paramount. And then you will have to decide whether you can learn to tolerate this situation.
If you retreat now, things won’t change. If you push through, you give change a chance.
DEAR AMY: We recently returned from a trip to Eastern Europe. We took a direct flight to Canada, which took nine and a half hours. We paid extra to have a row with only two seats, so as not to be disturbed during the flight. A couple with two children, about 3 to 5 years old, sat two rows back. The parents thought it was funny to play with these kids so they could laugh and scream throughout the flight. Another lady had a baby two rows over, who cried quite a lot during this trip. Why don’t airlines put people with children in the back of the plane so they can enjoy their kids’ company while people who pay extra for choice seats can enjoy their flight without noise or disruption?
DEAR TIRED: The people with two children likely paid more (total) money for their tickets than you did. The other parent you’re complaining about had to fly with a fussy baby in her arms all night.
The reason all of these people surrounded you on your long flight is because all passengers have the right to choose their seats when they fly.
And because Karma can be a tough traveling companion.
DEAR AMY: “Grieving,” were parents worried about their daughter’s sudden distance from them. My ex actively isolated me from my friends and family by manipulating me. They were the greatest threat to him, because they took me away from him. The whole relationship decayed into a violent, drug-addled black spot in my personal history and now, five years after leaving him, I’m still rebuilding some of the relationships I lost because of him. The grieving parents can’t force their little girl to come back, but they can fiercely love her and have faith that because they refuse to give up on her, a part of her will survive and she won’t give up on herself either.
DEAR BEEN THERE: Thank you so much for telling your own story. I think it will help a lot of people.