coping with feelings after dad financially abandoned 18 year old
I have an 18 year old son with a neurological disability. His dad moved away about six years ago. Since then, son has worked very hard in therapy and has been accepted to a 4 year college. I am so proud of him.
However, on son's 18th birthday, his dad flew to CA, took him out to lunch and announced that he would no longer receive a penny of support from dad. Dad had been paying child support. He has an executive position that he has held for many years and makes in excess of 200k per year. He also has no other children.
I am now looking at paying for all of son's education on my own. We have looked into financial aid and there is some available, but the costs will still be very large. I have made arrangements for an equity line on my house to pay for college.
My problem is my feelings about all of this. My son tells me he does not want to "get in the middle" and that he loves and respects both parents equally. He calls his dad nearly every day. While I am glad they have a good relationship, I am appalled that his dad seems to have gotten away with dumping all of the financial responsibility for our son's education onto me with no consequences. I have considered my options and none of them feels right. It seems like those are (1) I could also refuse to pay, which would mean our son would not go to college, which is unacceptable to me; (2) I could confront ex-husband, which would be pointless as he has no legal obligation to pay for college; (3) I can pay and deal with all of the anger and resentment. At this point, I am choosing option 3.
I also considered asking son to pay for half of his education by paying off some of the loans. I am struggling with this idea as my son's disability has created all kinds of problems for him and I would be very happy if he succeeds in college and is able to live independently. I don't want to burden him with debt if it would mean he had to move back in with me.
I am wondering if there are other parents who have dealt with this problem and how they handled it? Are there any other options? Am I enabling dad's behavior by agreeing to pay for the entire college bill?
Also, I feel like I need to purge myself of my pointless resentment. Part of me wishes that my son was at least a little bit angry at his dad. It seems like he is not because his college bill is being paid. Objectively, it is of course good for my son to have a warm relationship with his father. However, I find it irritating to hear them chatting and laughing every day while I worry about how to pay off the school loans.