The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a homemaker in my 60s. My son’s wife has asked him for a divorce, but he wants to restore his relationship with her. I have no idea how to support him as his mother.
After giving birth to their daughter, my son’s wife returned to work and put their daughter in day care. This past summer, however, she went back to her parents’ home with their daughter. They are still there.
I learned later that she was unhappy about having to do all the housework and childcare. After a while, she asked my son to divorce her without discussing the matter with him. He tried to persuade his wife to come back, but she won’t listen.
My son is gentle and has never yelled at anyone. It’s obvious to me that he has also done as much of the housework and childcare as possible.
My son’s wife has an elder sister who has divorced twice. At first, I suspected my son’s wife might have had another man in mind, but I couldn’t find any evidence.
My son loves her and their daughter so much. I’m concerned because he seems to be getting more depressed day by day. I need your advice as soon as possible.
T, Chiba Prefecture
Dear Ms. T:
I’m making a prompt reply, as you need advice quickly. You must not provide any support for him. Also, you should never ever interfere in this matter. This is all I can say.
You’re probably feeling upset because I sound totally indifferent to your sincere request to get helpful advice for your son. You may now be complaining, “What do I do if he ends up suffering from a mental illness?” or “Saisho should be disqualified from answering for this column.”
I couldn’t help but reply this way because you are so intimidating. You said, “My son’s wife might have had another man in mind” and “Her elder sister has divorced twice,” as if you were trying to convince me that she is completely to blame.
Have you ever thought about why your son has grown up to be a gentle person who has never yelled? I believe it’s because you have always anticipated him and spoken on his behalf even before he says something or expresses his feelings. Your daughter-in-law has probably run out of patience with her husband, who has just accepted your behavior.
Of course, this is just my take on the situation, but I don’t think I’m totally missing the point. Any couple has the right to protect their own privacy. It’s wrong for you to meddle in their life, even if you’re his mother.
You should refrain from seeing him for a while and instead free him from your reins to let him deal with this critical matter on his own.
Hazuki Saisho, writer