I broke up with my boyfriend of 20 years (we're both seniors, never married or lived together). He's been there for all of my kids' graduations, marriages, and my grandchildren's births. He's been a great father and grandfather figure to them. Reason I broke up with him: he's an alcoholic.
I've put up with the lies, drinking and driving, and him getting angry at me when I confront him. My kids are not happy with my decision – all they see is the happy loving side. I have explained these reasons to them, and that I do not want him setting this bad example for my grandchildren. I'm standing my ground with this, but it's difficult. Any advice?
My advice is to protect yourself and get the help you need. There are support groups for people who've been through these experiences (Al-Anon, etc.). It might help to share this kind of experience with people who've been through it.
If you have that kind of community and place to process, it might be easier to ask your kids to stop talking about this ex. You’re not getting support from them, so you might as well set a boundary and say, "Hey, the relationship is over, please stop bringing him up. It makes me unhappy and uncomfortable."
I understand that your kids are grieving too – this person was like a parent/grandparent to them – but you don't have to manage their feelings. If they need help, they can seek it elsewhere. You can tell them you've found a group for this kind of conversation. You can also suggest family therapy if they need to talk more.
One thing you might want to discuss is how/if they plan to keep in touch with this man. They've known him for 20 years – in some cases, their whole lives. If they intend to be in touch, even through social media, what are your boundaries? What do you want to know, see, or stay away from?
Maybe if you move on to practicalities and logistics, they'll understand the decision is real.
Readers? How can this letter writer set boundaries? Or make the kids understand?