You can't force someone else to accept you. But they also can't force you to change. These two truths are simple, but can make for some complicated family dynamics.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for telling her son he can accept her or leave. She wrote:
I (39F) have a son (20M) with my husband (50M). I married and moved to my husband's country shortly before I had my son. My marriage was not a happy one. I couldn't leave because I would risk losing custody of my son. When he was 18 I told my husband I wanted a divorce and moved out. My husband refuses to accept it and keeps dragging the divorce on.
Since leaving him my life has been better than it has ever been. I am exploring my bis*xuality (I have been out since I was 20 but never explored it), making friends that aren't his, and just living my own life. My son has been distant since I left my husband. At first, he kept asking me to attend couples therapy with my husband, when I started dating he was mad and said I was "cheating."
I have spoken with him about this many times. Tonight he came over late unannounced at around 22:30 wanting to talk about an issue with a friend. I had a female friend staying over. My friend got ready to leave so I could be with my son but he got angry and yelled at her for "breaking up a marriage."
I stepped in and firmly told my son I have been separated from his father for 2 years and am divorcing him. He kept getting more angry saying I was "betraying him." I finally had enough and told him if he can't accept me he can leave. He left and my husband is calling my phone yelling at me that I'm a horrible mother. AITA? I have been trying to talk to him about this for 2 years to no avail.
NTA. But from what you’ve said, his issue isn’t with you being bisexual. It’s with the fact that you’re seeing someone else, regardless of who it is. He obviously feels let down and betrayed by your new relationship.
IMO, it sounds like your options are either to give him space or offer to go to therapy together to talk things through in a structured way. He’s obviously really struggling to process what’s happened.
NTA. You've done everything you can to be civil and to do things as calmly with as little negative affect on your son's life as possible. If he cannot see that, then that's his issue. I'm rather concerned at the fact he doesn't seem to see the issue that a 30 year old man married and had a kid with an 18/19 year old. If he tries to say you're being terrible again, maybe point that fact out to him?
NTA. Your son is 20 and an adult. It’s time he acted like one and stopped behaving like a toddler. You have done nothing wrong. Your son can either grow up and accept that things change without throwing blame about or he is going to be an unhappy grump.
NTA! No one is talking about it but you had him at 19 when your husband was 30. I can’t even imagine the dynamics while you were married. You were probably pregnant at 18.
Motherhood is sacred, but your adopted culture sounds misogynistic. You are right he is a petulant youth. Good luck to you.
Edit: My son doesn't want therapy with him or the two of us. In the beginning, we did family therapy which I thought would help us move forward. It was just the two of them trying to make me feel guilty for leaving and asking me to give my husband another chance.
The therapist put a stop to it and we didn't go back. I didn't start dating until a year after separating from my husband. When I started dating I let my son know that's what I was doing.
Unfortunately for OP, this sounds like a bit of a lose-lose. The ball is in her son's court to maintain a healthy relationship, and he doesn't sound mature enough to do that.