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Singapore
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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FATHER UNHAPPY WITH SON DATING MEN, FORBIDS WIFE FROM HUGGING HER SON

[62F. 63M. 41M. 36F.] My husband cannot accept our children for who they are, and he wishes for me to maintain the same demeanor towards them as himself. How can I disobey him and love my children as they are?
I am highly embarrassed by my husband’s recent behavior and this brings me to be hesitant to seek advice from my friends. Unfortunately, I also know their advice will be to heed my husband’s direction without any consideration for nuance. I will try to be concise which means I will be focusing on his flaws, but he is a good man. Please be kind.

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From when our children were young it has always been important to my husband’s career to have a respectable and presentable family, but this put particular pressures on the children. Our second child, our daughter, was born deaf. At the time her doctors told us it would be detrimental to her development if we learned and used sign language with her. This did not sit right with me, and I wished to get a second opinion, but my husband did not want this. He wanted our daughter to speak. She hated wearing her hearing aids and would quickly rip them from her ears, and she also hated speech therapy. Without the hearing aids she was a much happier child. However, she still was not speaking and my husband blamed me for coddling her. She underwent surgery for a cochlear implant and she can now speak and understand us, but I have always felt uneasy about her early childhood.

On the other hand, our son was an easy child. Even as a baby he wasn’t fussy much. We did not have issues with him until he was a teenager, and even then it was nothing beyond regular teenage rebellion. He began to grow into his own person and rejected the expectations his father had for him, which culminated in my husband giving him an ultimatum to choose between attending a good university or being cut off financially if he would not. He made this demand without my knowledge. As a result, our son moved out after graduation. He is now doing well for himself and owns a successful business. However, my husband is often hesitant to speak about him with others because he is uncomfortable with the idea of our son’s orientation being brought up. When we first learned, my husband suggested to me that I no longer hug our son in greeting to demonstrate our disapproval, which was advise I ignored and he did not press me on it again. Since then he has relaxed some, but our son’s partner is not allowed over to our home for family dinner.

Due to all the aforementioned issues, we have a strained relationship with both of our children. They make an appearance at family dinner and that is about as much as I see or hear from them. I am also unsure if our son will come again for a while as he and my husband had a small argument over dinner, which nearly ended with my husband saying a word he has previously only said to me. He recently experienced a moderately serious medical episode, after which he has been more verbally aggressive than previously. While he was in hospital I began to consider my life without him, and how it saddens me that I have let myself be bullied from being close with my children. I want to make changes to be more inviting, and I looked into taking a sign language class. Our daughter has married a wonderful deaf man who only signs and their young baby is also deaf. My husband asked me why I would be enrolling for a class when our daughter can understand us and translate perfectly well. He doesn’t understand even today, and told me I will be wasting my time and his money. Additionally, he has told me not to call our son as he should come to us when he wishes to apologize for his scene at dinner, but I feel it is my husband who provoked the matter.

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