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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are married getting close to 30 years. He was a 36 yr old bachelor when we met. i had two children. He was a good stepfather to them, although checked out a lot (adrift as he calls it). Even though I had health issues at the time, i had my tubes repaired and tried to get pregnant. It didn't happen. Now at 65, (I'm 56) with our children grown, he is just realizing that he should have moved heaven and earth to have children of his own. He wants us to adopt/foster/in vitro/surrogate and I am adamantly opposed to this. I've been raising children and helping a lot with grandchildren since I was 21. We have worked hard and I thought we were ready for a nice life as retired people. After 2 years of counseling, he is not much better. I know he is bitter that I won't fall in with his plan for starting a new family, but he SAYS he understands. He won't leave and get on with this fantasy life he has in his head. I have tried to prepare myself for a very different future. One problem we have is that we don't have many hobbies and he doesn't have friends. We both have the same "love languages" and both enjoy sex very much, but I have gotten so upset about our future that I either cry after sex or shut down and numb myself emotionally. It hurts too much to know that our future won't be together and maybe I'll never be happy with anyone again. I have lost so much respect for him because the therapists/counselors he has been to have tried hard to get him through these issues, but he doesn't follow their advise very often. He won't do the "hard work" of getting past his pain of not having his own children. It needs to be said that he very much loves my children and OUR grandchildren. They are awesome and something to be proud of. He just feels like he was "sleepwalking" through most of his life and didn't realize what would be important later. I'm planning on pulling the plug on this very soon. He knows I am planning this and tries hard to change my mind. I just can't live with someone who won't work at getting better. He appears to enjoy being miserable, ruminating about past mistakes, resenting others for the things he feels he doesn't have and deserves. We could have a wonderful life together. We are both healthy and financially prepared for retirement. It also has to be said that he HATES his job, but because of the paycheck, he won't leave and do something different. I have given him full support to downsize our life, move, start a business, etc. but he is too "lazy" I believe. It is easier to do nothing and complain that the divine answer hasn't fallen into his lap.
 

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It was entirely his decision to not pursue having children when younger.

Also you tried but were unsuccessful, so it sounds like you did your best. Sometimes things aren't meant to be, as I am slowly coming to terms with myself. There are many things I could have done differently, but I chose what I chose and here I am.

If he's not willing to do the work recommended by therapists, then he has no desire to help himself. You can't help him.

It's too bad that he is unable to shift his focus toward the good things he does have. Hindsight is always 20-20.
 

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We are married getting close to 30 years. He was a 36 yr old bachelor when we met. i had two children. He was a good stepfather to them, although checked out a lot (adrift as he calls it). Even though I had health issues at the time, i had my tubes repaired and tried to get pregnant. It didn't happen. Now at 65, (I'm 56) with our children grown, he is just realizing that he should have moved heaven and earth to have children of his own. He wants us to adopt/foster/in vitro/surrogate and I am adamantly opposed to this. I've been raising children and helping a lot with grandchildren since I was 21. We have worked hard and I thought we were ready for a nice life as retired people. After 2 years of counseling, he is not much better. I know he is bitter that I won't fall in with his plan for starting a new family, but he SAYS he understands. He won't leave and get on with this fantasy life he has in his head. I have tried to prepare myself for a very different future. One problem we have is that we don't have many hobbies and he doesn't have friends. We both have the same "love languages" and both enjoy sex very much, but I have gotten so upset about our future that I either cry after sex or shut down and numb myself emotionally. It hurts too much to know that our future won't be together and maybe I'll never be happy with anyone again. I have lost so much respect for him because the therapists/counselors he has been to have tried hard to get him through these issues, but he doesn't follow their advise very often. He won't do the "hard work" of getting past his pain of not having his own children. It needs to be said that he very much loves my children and OUR grandchildren. They are awesome and something to be proud of. He just feels like he was "sleepwalking" through most of his life and didn't realize what would be important later. I'm planning on pulling the plug on this very soon. He knows I am planning this and tries hard to change my mind. I just can't live with someone who won't work at getting better. He appears to enjoy being miserable, ruminating about past mistakes, resenting others for the things he feels he doesn't have and deserves. We could have a wonderful life together. We are both healthy and financially prepared for retirement. It also has to be said that he HATES his job, but because of the paycheck, he won't leave and do something different. I have given him full support to downsize our life, move, start a business, etc. but he is too "lazy" I believe. It is easier to do nothing and complain that the divine answer hasn't fallen into his lap.
There's one very relevant point he needs to be made to understand.

He's 65. Under the fastest possible scenario, you don't have a new baby in the house for at least a year, so he's 66.

Doing the math, when junior turns 18, he'll be 84!!!

He's already too old to be a fully active parent to a growing child, let alone where he'll be when junior enters pre-teen and teenage. Even if he's currently completely healthy and vibrant, what are the odds that he'll still be so when he's 76 and junior is 10? By the time junior's ready for his driver license, there's a roughly equal chance daddy will have passed on.

At least the Michael Douglases and **** Jaggers of the world who recklessly have kids after 60 are rich enough to be able to hire an army of nannys and other help.

Not only is it unfair to put this insane demand on you, it would also be unfair to the child. Even if he can't see his way through to empathize with you at this stage of life, maybe he could be made to empathize with the child, who's he would presumably put before his own if he truly wants to be a good parent.

One thing also confuses me about your post. You said he feels he should have moved heaven and earth to have children of his own. But you also say he has mentioned foster/adoption. Those kids would not be his own in the same sense that your children were not his own. So it seems this wouldn't solve his dilemma either.

At this point, y'all should be rockin' the world together, hand in hand and child free. You're in a position to enjoy your golden years just for yourselves. It would be a tragedy to waste that. Like any other stage in life, you only get one shot at it.
 

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Sounds like the shoulda, coulda, woulda. Sometimes people start thinking very differently when getting up in their years. My father would drink his inner turmoil away. I can not blame you for moving on.
 

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I can feel for your husband. I always wanted a large family, I had one son die, and another son is on a downward spiral, so my 2 youngest are likely my only kids who will find success in this world. My wife is only 36 but refuses to have anymore kids. It's made me contemplate divorcing her so I can have kids with another woman. But I do love her so I'm torn on this.

I couldn't imagine the mental anguish I would have knowing at 65 I have no children of my own, no one who really cares for me and I'll die alone. It must be traumatic and tough to deal with as he enters the last phase of life.

Now it's likely a pipe dream unless he's a millionaire or aging rock star. He's not going to find a fertile woman to bear his kids. His adoption idea is possible though.
 

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Dealing with a person who essentially reacted their entire life versus acted is intensely frustrating. I have a relative who has been so intensely laissez-faire her entire life that even small things were not done. Two marriages ended because of her intense laziness. Now, in her fifties, she has had mental breakdown after mental breakdown. Her siblings have children and grandchildren. Most of her siblings have strong long term marriages. Everyone around her has worked, and are now enjoying a lot of the fruits of their labors. She has no home, again. She is living in a facility, as her laziness blossomed into full mental illness, and she cannot be trusted to be on her own. (Her breakdowns and frustrations, sometime result in hours long screaming sessions, last apartment she had, evicted her for disturbing other tenants). She has intense reactions to external life situations, so, even a happy event, will result in a nuclear explosion. We have yet to tell her that our daughter is engaged for fear of her attempting suicide once again. So, a life of regret.

Suzy, he did this to himself, and now cannot believe that the game is over and he failed to play. The intense negativity will not dissipate, and you are well advised to distance yourself for your own well being. If he is too lazy to seek help, then how are you to deal with it. One last comment. The relative in question hit her pinnacle a few weeks back. In arguments with my wife, this relative stated, "I want a life, get me one!"
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All of those things have been pointed out to him by myself and his therapist. I offered adoption as an option years ago and he didn't like that idea. However, one other issue is that while going through the crisis of empty-nest, finding himself, etc. 2 years ago, he started having obsessive thoughts about an old girlfriend who treated him like **** decades ago and also fantasizing about a woman at work who is about my age, divorced and raising 2 foster toddlers. So, I think it occurred to him that he could go that route. NOW, he is okay with adoption and has told me he was wrong to rule that out. But for me, it is too late for that. I would do a LOT to save my marriage, but I'm not raising another family because he couldn't figure out a long time ago what was important to him. He has apparently gotten over his obsession with these women with the help of therapy and he and the therapist have assured me that it was on a fantasy level only and not something he actually considered (not to mention there is no reason to believe that she was interested in him at all). I've been on a roller coaster for 2 years, hoping and working towards a renewal of our marriage. I finally stopped trying to help him analyze his issues or help him. I can't be his therapist. Now, I am just waiting to see if he "pulls a rabbit out of a hat" or do I move on? I have remained loyal, strong and supportive through this whole ordeal and trust me, it has been an ordeal. Now, on a daily basis, I just want to file for divorce and be done with it all. His lack of character in working a plan to overcome this has made me lose respect for him. I am a solutions oriented person and have a limited amount of patience for whining and self pity. Truthfully, everyone who knows us, including the therapists think he is extremely lucky to have me and can't see why he doesn't overcome his disappointments and live in the moment. I'm not going to spend my golden years with a miserable person. I feel like I am at the best I've ever been and he is too busy looking at the "what-ifs" to even notice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My God, you hit the nail on the head!!! "The game is over and he failed to play". He has basically stated just as much. Okay..but how do you get past it now? That is what I ask him. His therapist says plan vacations, take grandsons on adventures, retire and learn some hobbies. He doesn't do any of those things. He has a huge very nice shop that he thought he just had to have (which was fine by me, as he worked hard in college and at his job) but he goes inside it maybe once a week and it is so disorganized that if he had a hobby, he'd have to conduct it in the house instead. My therapist tells me to just concentrate on me and doing what makes me happy. Truthfully, I have the soul of an activist, but since he made the money while I took care of the kids and home, I don't feel like I can spend time and money unless it aligns with his beliefs and he is a conservative and I am not. She tells me that without my support (we lived overseas for 10 years) he would not have been able to accumulate the retirement he has and that I need to consider it my retirement as well. It's all so confusing. Truthfully, if I could go and get a place tomorrow, I'd be gone. However, because I have no rental history and no job at this time, it would be hard for me to get anything except a hotel room and I don't really want to waste tons of money when it should be spent on a vacation to Thailand for myself and my husband, enjoying our life. I'm so angry. I know I have been too indulgent in letting this go on for 2 years, but my grand daughter is in remission for Leukemia and while she was undergoing chemo, we were supportive in every way possible and rocking the boat through that period just wasn't feasible. They actually lived with us for a while (which of course, my husband loved). Thanks for taking the time to point out the obvious to me. I needed to hear that.
 

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I know he is bitter that I won't fall in with his plan for starting a new family, but he SAYS he understands. He won't leave and get on with this fantasy life he has in his head.
In my opinion, it is selfish for him to want to start a new family at age 65. He'd be nearing 80 when the kid enters his/her teenage years. He also seems to be slowly losing his grip on reality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dealing with a person who essentially reacted their entire life versus acted is intensely frustrating. I have a relative who has been so intensely laissez-faire her entire life that even small things were not done. Two marriages ended because of her intense laziness. Now, in her fifties, she has had mental breakdown after mental breakdown. Her siblings have children and grandchildren. Most of her siblings have strong long term marriages. Everyone around her has worked, and are now enjoying a lot of the fruits of their labors. She has no home, again. She is living in a facility, as her laziness blossomed into full mental illness, and she cannot be trusted to be on her own. (Her breakdowns and frustrations, sometime result in hours long screaming sessions, last apartment she had, evicted her for disturbing other tenants). She has intense reactions to external life situations, so, even a happy event, will result in a nuclear explosion. We have yet to tell her that our daughter is engaged for fear of her attempting suicide once again. So, a life of regret.

Suzy, he did this to himself, and now cannot believe that the game is over and he failed to play. The intense negativity will not dissipate, and you are well advised to distance yourself for your own well being. If he is too lazy to seek help, then how are you to deal with it. One last comment. The relative in question hit her pinnacle a few weeks back. In arguments with my wife, this relative stated, "I want a life, get me one!"
I'm sorry about your son. I was fine with adopting 15 years ago (give or take 5 years) but he wasn't interested. He has a father/child, grandfather/child relationship with my children and OUR grandchildren. He is very blessed, and he admits it, but just can't let go of that fantasy now.
 

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Im not sure how this would play out, but if it were me, I'd have a come to Jesus talk with my husband, saying that he needs to find a way to manage his depression and regret, or I'm out.

If he has to go on a pilgrimage to Tibet and live with the monks for 8 months, then I'd be all for it, but he would not be allowed to mope, wallow, and feel sorry for himself because of a future he willingly and consciously chose. Further, he is not allowed to be an arse about it and make MY life miserable.

I'd feel more sorry for those who strive tirelessly for what they want, make sacrifices galore to reach those goals, and still don't make it.. or continuously suffer unfair and unjust misfortune. He is not one of those types of people.

Eta: you can't make him get over this hump, but you can tell him what you will and won't tolerate, then follow through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Im not sure how this would play out, but if it were me, I'd have a come to Jesus talk with my husband, saying that he needs to find a way to manage his depression and regret, or I'm out.

If he has to go on a pilgrimage to Tibet and live with the monks for 8 months, then I'd be all for it, but he would not be allowed to mope, wallow, and feel sorry for himself because of a future he willingly and consciously chose. Further, he is not allowed to be an arse about it and make MY life miserable.

I'd feel more sorry for those who strive tirelessly for what they want, make sacrifices galore to reach those goals, and still don't make it.. or continuously suffer unfair and unjust misfortune. He is not one of those types of people.

Eta: you can't make him get over this hump, but you can tell him what you will and won't tolerate, then follow through.
This is funny because I actually told him recently that if he needs to quit his job and go climb a mountain and sit at the top with a guru for a few weeks until he gets clarity, I'd totally support that. I'm ready for him to do something BIG to get out of this frame of mind. 2 years is long enough to see that he probably isnt going to do anything. He has sent out a few resumes with the idea to change jobs, but he thinks he is too old. He has looked a bit into starting his own consulting business, but not seriously. I do not want to end my marriage, but my main concern at 56 yrs old is to live a life of contentment, peace and positivity. I just can't see that happening. Because he has no friends or hobbies, he wouldn't do well with me pursuing all my own interests without him and we have found nothing to share because he finds something he doesn't like about every single activity I come up with (and no activities of his own to bring to the table). I feel like I may be alone forever, and that alternately scares me and energizes me. Thank you for your insight
 

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This is funny because I actually told him recently that if he needs to quit his job and go climb a mountain and sit at the top with a guru for a few weeks until he gets clarity, I'd totally support that. I'm ready for him to do something BIG to get out of this frame of mind. 2 years is long enough to see that he probably isnt going to do anything. He has sent out a few resumes with the idea to change jobs, but he thinks he is too old. He has looked a bit into starting his own consulting business, but not seriously. I do not want to end my marriage, but my main concern at 56 yrs old is to live a life of contentment, peace and positivity. I just can't see that happening. Because he has no friends or hobbies, he wouldn't do well with me pursuing all my own interests without him and we have found nothing to share because he finds something he doesn't like about every single activity I come up with (and no activities of his own to bring to the table). I feel like I may be alone forever, and that alternately scares me and energizes me. Thank you for your insight
Your story saddens me. I'm 53 and newly divorced and I have found that life is good. I'm in a very positive place for the first time in a long time. I simply had to find the balls to finally put my happiness first. For the first time ever.

For years, I stayed in an unhappy situation due to the concerns keeping the family together for the kids AND what would happen to her if I left. It was miserable due to no intimacy and looking back I realize that I checked out years ago as a husband. She was my best friend and we still did a lot of things together, but it wasn't a marriage. I was torn about leaving but decided that I could no longer live in a sexless Hell. It wasn't until she knew that I pulled the plug before she really woke up, but by that time I was done.

You are still young and you deserve to live your life in happiness, or at least pursuing happiness. It is torture being married and lonely. I hope that you don't look back 20 years from now with the kind of regret that I felt for not acting a lot sooner.
 

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Your therapist is right.. concentrate on your happiness. Take a class on something you enjoy, go on vacation alone or with a friend. Don't feel bad about spending, you were married for many years. You have every right to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Your story saddens me. I'm 53 and newly divorced and I have found that life is good. I'm in a very positive place for the first time in a long time. I simply had to find the balls to finally put my happiness first. For the first time ever.

For years, I stayed in an unhappy situation due to the concerns keeping the family together for the kids AND what would happen to her if I left. It was miserable due to no intimacy and looking back I realize that I checked out years ago as a husband. She was my best friend and we still did a lot of things together, but it wasn't a marriage. I was torn about leaving but decided that I could no longer live in a sexless Hell. It wasn't until she knew that I pulled the plug before she really woke up, but by that time I was done.

You are still young and you deserve to live your life in happiness, or at least pursuing happiness. It is torture being married and lonely. I hope that you don't look back 20 years from now with the kind of regret that I felt for not acting a lot sooner.
I do feel like I have given him enough time to at least be on a definitive path to change. He just had his last session with the 2nd counselor. This one focused on Living in the Moment and finding ways to care for yourself and get over past hurts and traumas. My husband seemed to have trouble after months and months of counseling, figuring out what traumas he has had. It's hard to come up with a plan for change when you don't even know WHY you are the way you are. I am a compassionate person, but I am ready to show myself the balance of the compassion and not him. This is a shift for me. I do have a plan on what to do about a career and actually took a college class last semester (made 102 final grade, :O) The problem is finding a place to live because I have no rental history. We've owned homes for our entire married life. I did get a credit card in just my name and have started using it for some purchases. The bill gets paid out of our household account. He knows I did it to build up my own credit history. I think it is hard for me to leave because of the security of having another person helping carry all the load and having a partner who appreciates me sexually and I him. Even though I had that in my first marriage as well, it doesn't seem to guarantee happiness. I don't think I can have it all, at least that is not what I see around me, so ... time to pull up my big girl panties and see just what I CAN and CAN'T live without at this point.
 

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What types of therapists is he seeing?

My wife avoided therapy, and said she would just refuse to speak. I finally forced her to go to family therapy, and she refused to speak. Then on to another and another, then to doctors of psychology. She spoke with one doctor, and lied her ass off. Then on to more doctors, moved on to psychiatrists. The first shrink referred her to another psychiatrist who specialized in hypnosis. Then she finally started getting help which was actually helpful.

So that was something like the 7th therapist I tried for her before we found one that could actually help.

What are the qualifications of your husband's therapist? I don't mean to sound elitist... oh, wait, yes I do. Your husband needs a real doctor to be treating him, of either psychology or psychiatry.
 

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My God, you hit the nail on the head!!! "The game is over and he failed to play". He has basically stated just as much. Okay..but how do you get past it now? That is what I ask him. His therapist says plan vacations, take grandsons on adventures, retire and learn some hobbies. He doesn't do any of those things. He has a huge very nice shop that he thought he just had to have (which was fine by me, as he worked hard in college and at his job) but he goes inside it maybe once a week and it is so disorganized that if he had a hobby, he'd have to conduct it in the house instead. My therapist tells me to just concentrate on me and doing what makes me happy. Truthfully, I have the soul of an activist, but since he made the money while I took care of the kids and home, I don't feel like I can spend time and money unless it aligns with his beliefs and he is a conservative and I am not. She tells me that without my support (we lived overseas for 10 years) he would not have been able to accumulate the retirement he has and that I need to consider it my retirement as well. It's all so confusing. Truthfully, if I could go and get a place tomorrow, I'd be gone. However, because I have no rental history and no job at this time, it would be hard for me to get anything except a hotel room and I don't really want to waste tons of money when it should be spent on a vacation to Thailand for myself and my husband, enjoying our life. I'm so angry. I know I have been too indulgent in letting this go on for 2 years, but my grand daughter is in remission for Leukemia and while she was undergoing chemo, we were supportive in every way possible and rocking the boat through that period just wasn't feasible. They actually lived with us for a while (which of course, my husband loved). Thanks for taking the time to point out the obvious to me. I needed to hear that.
Why can the dude volunteer to be a big brother or something. Work with children. Man he is in for a hard rest of his life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
What types of therapists is he seeing?

My wife avoided therapy, and said she would just refuse to speak. I finally forced her to go to family therapy, and she refused to speak. Then on to another and another, then to doctors of psychology. She spoke with one doctor, and lied her ass off. Then on to more doctors, moved on to psychiatrists. The first shrink referred her to another psychiatrist who specialized in hypnosis. Then she finally started getting help which was actually helpful.

So that was something like the 7th therapist I tried for her before we found one that could actually help.

What are the qualifications of your husband's therapist? I don't mean to sound elitist... oh, wait, yes I do. Your husband needs a real doctor to be treating him, of either psychology or psychiatry.
He saw a licensed psychotherapist at first. I had been going to her for about a year to help me reach some goals. I improved and she has been so impressed with me, I think she wants to adopt me, lol. So when he made it clear almost 2 years ago that he was in a crisis, he actually said "I need help", so he saw her and he saw a medical doctor and even went through a battery of tests with a psychiatrist to determine if he had any psychosis. He was found to have some mild narcissism but that was the only thing the testing showed. He was having extreme insomnia (2 -3 hours sleep a night) was losing weight and couldn't stop. He is very sensitive to drugs and was against them, but did try 2 different anti-depressants but it was a nightmare because he either had a horrid reaction, or imagined a horrid reaction. So we went together to the therapist and he went separately for many many months. Then we found this new therapist because we went to a "Mindfulness class". He has all the degrees and credentials and is well thought of in the community. The problem is that my husband won't do the work. After many many many months he was able to get a handle on the obsessive thoughts about the other woman and his old love from the past who broke his heart. He was able to start getting about 6 hours of sleep MOST nights. He is still working on that one and his weight stabilized. But then the kid issue popped up. The counselor said he is replacing one rumination with another. He CLAIMS he doesn't want to live his life like this, but.... There is no way he will see several more therapists. He MIGHT start therapy again with someone if he thought that was the only way to keep me from leaving. I have given up on getting any of the things I fought for in marriage counseling. I wanted simply to be complimented once in a while. Even though he has never ever been abusive or contemptuous, he neither has been able to compliment me (or the daughters). It bothered me more after I found out that he was infatuated with someone else. I have a very nice figure and look younger than my age (I'm told) and I already am 9 years younger than him. He finally told me that he couldn't give me compliments this whole time because he "can't lie to me". Now most people would assume that means he doesn't find me attractive in the least. He does appear to find me very attractive though if you go by the way he looks at me and touches me. He swears that he did not mean it the way it sounds but has never been able to give me a good explanation of what it did mean. The therapist we have in common believes that he is on the autism spectrum. He is very intelligent (an engineer) but he is also extremely forgetful and disorganized. I'm not even sure if he knows what love is or empathy either. He is not good with feelings, except anger at himself mostly. He is very defensive which I have gotten used to begrudgingly. Oh, so much I could say, but this must be getting boring. Thank you for reading my posts. It helps so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Why can the dude volunteer to be a big brother or something. Work with children. Man he is in for a hard rest of his life.
I have mentioned that among many other things that might fulfill his need to mentor. He says he doesn't think that is what he wants to do. He does have 5 grandchildren who love him. The therapist says we need to leave all 5 with him (4 years to 16 yrs) for a weekend and it would probably cure his desire to raise another family. I'm wondering if I shouldn't just leave and let him "put his money where his mouth is" and see if he can pull off this miracle. I feel like I am in the way of his dream and that isn't a very good feeling. Thanks for listening!
 
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