DEAR ABBY: My son, "Beau," married "Patsy" four years ago. She left him after two years and moved out of state. There are no legal separation papers, no child support, and my grandson lives with his daddy.
Beau has a mistress now and tells people they're "engaged." "Luci's" family refers to my son as her fiance and she's considered Mommy to my grandson. When I corrected those titles at a recent family function, it caused friction.
In my opinion, they can't be engaged until Beau is first divorced. To me, marriage is important; it matters. I am disturbed by my son's refusal to end his marriage. I feel it is unfair to Luci, who just had his second child. Beau claims Patsy left him, so she should file for the divorce.
Please understand that Luci and I have become close. She's thoughtful, intelligent, well-spoken, and a wonderful mother to both my grandchildren. I just feel Beau should finish his first marriage. This is not the type of man I meant to raise, and that this is the person he has become shames me to my soul.
Am I out of step with society? Am I the only one who finds this setup unfair to Luci and insulting to me, the mother who tried to raise him to be a better man than this? I have talked to a counselor, Abby, and it's killing me. -- DISRESPECTED MOTHER IN TEXAS
DEAR MOM: You're not out of step, and you are correct that the current arrangement is unfair to Luci. If your son should die tomorrow (heaven forbid), Patsy would be a merry widow with all his assets, and Luci would be left with fond memories and a baby to raise by herself. Period.
Not knowing Beau, I can't know his reasons for not divorcing the woman who left him and ensuring that Luci and the children are taken care of. But I am sure of this: His reasons are not solely that he thinks his wife should be the one to file.
Raising a child well does not guarantee he (or she) will turn out to be a carbon copy of his or her parent. So for your own sake, please stop personalizing this.