Sons distant from each other

Dear Annie: I’m in my second — and final — marriage, and I have a 15-year-old son and a 5-year-old son. I have struggled for years with the disconnected relationship between my older son and his little brother.

I met my wife when the older one was 4. Everything was great, and my wife and the boy bonded at the time. At age 5, my wife and son walked our dog one day without me, and both were greeted by a neighbor who said that her “son” looked cute. To this, he replied, “She’s nothing, she’s a zero.” As you can imagine, my wife was distraught when she came home. Despite both adults understanding that my son made the statement based on his biological mom feeding him that type of comment, that pivotal moment endured.

Currently, my older son has a serious chip on his shoulder (expectedly at that age), though I do occasionally get a glimmer of his beautiful younger self. He does respect his stepmom. His everyday greeting anytime he sees us is a low, mumbled “hi.” His younger brother yearns for his big brother’s acknowledgment and attention, but it has slowly diminished over the years due to his older brother’s inattentiveness.

My question is, what do I do to help bridge the gap between brothers for the long term? At this point, I just hope my older one will eventually have the wisdom to understand that his younger brother may be his undiscovered, longest-term, best friend, or at a least loving one. — Seeking Guidance

Dear Seeking: Communication is the key. Start with your teenage son, explaining to him how you need his help in boosting the confidence of his little brother. If you and your wife approach both boys with a kind heart, which you clearly have, they will want to help you out.

Dear Annie: I would like to respond to “Left out and Lonely,” the 37-year-old female who struggles making female friends. I’m 38 and in the same boat! I’m married with kids, but we don’t do sports, and I don’t seem to fit in anywhere, with any women, even ones with kids. My hobbies aren’t social, and I don’t fit in a box or follow the crowd. My kids have plenty of friends, but it’s always so awkward around the parents because I don’t feel like I have anything in common with anyone. I don’t have any close family either. — I Feel Ya

Dear I Feel Ya: Thank you for your letter. I hope it brings comfort to others with similar feelings.

Dear Annie: I am a 62-year-old single, child-free woman from a large family, and I fully understand “Brokenhearted’s” position.

As I’ve gotten older, my peers are mostly empty nesters, but many are overinvolved with adult kids and grandkids.

I’ve been the “odd duck” for most of my life, enjoy my own company and make the best of the situation. My own “good company” is far better than “bad company” or someone who does not value my friendship.

Take heart, “Brokenhearted.” You are your own woman and have not caved to societal conventions or expectations. There’s much to be said for staying true to ourselves. — Alone, Not Lonely

Dear Alone, Not Lonely: Thank you for you letter.

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


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