The Atlantic

Dear Therapist: My Son Makes My New Husband Feel Alienated in Our Family

My husband feels disrespected and unloved, and I don’t know how to bring harmony back to our family.
Source: BIANCA BAGNARELLI

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at dear.therapist@theatlantic.com.

Dear Therapist,

I have two adult sons, both of whom live far away from me. Their dad died unexpectedly 15 years ago, and I have since remarried someone who is a good fit for me but who really has no experience being a father. We have been a couple for seven years and married for two.

From time to time, we visit with each of my sons, either at their house or ours. We have no problem with my younger son—my husband gets along great with him and his wife. It’s my older son and his family who are the issue.

My older son and his wife have two young toddlers, whom we both adore, but despite the fact that my second husband is the only maternal grandfather the grandkids will ever know, my son and daughter-in-law encourage the kids to call him

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
I’m Scared of the Person TikTok Thinks I Am
TikTok’s recommendation algorithm is known for its accuracy and even its “magic.” What does it mean if the videos it picks for you are totally disgusting?
The Atlantic5 min readAmerican Government
The Inanity of Trump’s Campaign to Overturn the Election
Recently released emails reveal a helter-skelter pressure campaign on the Justice Department.
The Atlantic3 min readPsychology
The Most Effective Way to Thank Your Significant Other
One fact of long-term relationships is that humans often take their partner for granted. Think of gratitude as a buffer against that.