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A dating and relationship friend asks,

“My girlfriend wants to break up. My troubled 28 year old son, who basically lives on the streets in California, is a recovering heroin addict, with two felony charges and a warrant for his arrest in our state. He was recently stabbed and spent a week in hospital. His mother, my ex and I, helped him with medical and living costs for two weeks. He’s called me now for more money and I didn’t want to give it to him, as I have refused many times in the past, but in this case, I felt he needed it since he was still healing from the stabbing.

After giving him the money, I lost contact with him for a week, and I was worried. I didn’t say much to my girlfriend because she gets tired of hearing about it. Today he called, and I decided to give him an ultimatum. I did, and I did send him money but this is the last. I didn’t tell my girlfriend about the money, just that he lost his phone and she still went a bit crazy.

She is 65, attractive, and a nice person, lives alone, has not remarried in 22 years but wants to marry me. She called and told me I need to break up with her, even though she loves me because my son will always be a part of my life and he will always need rescuing and will cause me stress and her too.

Some of that I guess is true. But even like last night, I was in a great mood even not knowing where he was, we went dancing, laughed a lot, and had a great time. Yet she is really troubled by this situation. I am 64, I was married 34 years, and I am not sure if I am ready for marriage but I don’t really want to break up but she is forcing the issue. I do love her, but I think if you love someone you stick by them. I am usually very happy, I am very active at 64 and run 5K and do very well. I believe in living.

So I am puzzled. Please give me your thoughts.”

I’m sorry to hear that your son is such a burden to you, and I hope that with time, he will find his way and recover.

Your female friend sounds nice, and indeed she is trying to control matters. She wants to secure a relationship with you, and your son is giving her cold feet. She’s thinking of herself and her future with you and the repercussions your son may have on your marriage. For her to want to break up over this would normally seem like an unreasonable request, considering you are both in love and wanting a future together.

However, that being said, at sixty-five, who wants to be bothered with an unruly, drug addicted 20-something year old stepson, who is a felon with an arrest warrant, who refused to attend court proceedings to clear his name, and calls Daddy every time he needs a bailout? With his curriculum vitae, I can see why she’s concerned.

She must feel that your son will be trouble for a long time coming. You have baggage, where as she has a small carry-on. She’s ready to retire for a life of dancing and laughing, her golden years, but her fun stops when your phone rings, and your attention shifts away from her and onto him.

Children of your son’s age can be selfish, especially when they have drug dependency issues. They think only of their high, the next three hours, and what they’re going to eat. They care only for those who are sympathetic and can support them, AKA give them money?

You say you are not sure if you’re ready for marriage, perhaps you should investigate these feelings to see where they’re coming from. If you are committed to her but not ready to marry, ask her if she’ll consider living common-law to see if you are compatible.