My son’s Mother and I divorced when he was 3- he turns 18 in 3 weeks.
From the time I divorced his Mom through about 4 years ago, my son and I had a good relationship, not without ups and downs but good. However, when I was in a terrible relationship that produced his sister, I started giving him more space to, in my mind, protect him.
I remarried 5 years ago, and merged my son, my daughter and my wife’s daughter. Because I allowed my son space and didn’t force sleep overs, due to his age and social life, I spent a lot of time with just the 4 of us, rather than the 5.
My son has Stargharts disease, which causes loss of vision. This has made school harder (even though he fought it and graduated a year early) and crushed the dream of driving.
The further he has pulled form me, blowing off birthdays, Father’s Day, plans, the more I attributed to his issues and being a teen.
About 8 months ago, he let me know he thought I abandoned him as a kid, believing crap he heard from his mom and cousins. I told him as much truth as a 17-year-old needed. In the months since, I have owned prioritizing my life at times over time with him, and asking to build something new, better.
Last week, after blowing off any offer of FaceTime, a drive by wave, 6 feet of space, etc, he finally told me he isn’t ready for a relationship with me, and needed me to back off and let him come to me. I agreed to some space, to honor his wish. I let him know his feelings are not wrong, and we will talk through any pain with love.
Now I am stuck between wanting to see and speak to him, as a man like he thinks he is, and giving him space to breathe and articulate whatever he wants to say to me.