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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for opinions on this.<br><br>
My dad left my mom when she was pregnant. We never heard from him/got CS or anything. She raised me completely solo.<br><br>
Around 10 years ago when I was 22 years old, he contacts me and tells me he wants to meet. I met him out of curiosity more than anything and to hear his story, I guess. I wanted to hear his excuse for abandoning his own child.<br><br>
He told me he wanted to be a part of my life but had no money to pay CS and my mother was so angry with him that it was too toxic a situation for him to be in, so he chose to not be in my life at all rather than deal with her.<br><br>
I consider myself a spiritual person. I'm always trying to look at situations with compassion and forgiveness. People do make mistakes, and I think holding onto grudges never fixes anything.<br><br>
So, for 10 years we've had some limited contact, mostly in the form of emails from time to time. He lives overseas and I did go visit him once. He came to see me very briefly once too. I never initiate emails/phone calls. It's always him and if I take too long responding, he sends me sort of victimish emails about how I must still be angry at him.<br><br>
The truth is that I'm not angry at him. I just don't care about him. Just don't care. We are not bonded by the fact that he's the man who raised me because he didn't. He's also a pretty boring and mediocre person to boot.<br><br>
These banal email exchanges have become tiresome to me. I don't really feel like sharing things that are going on in my life. While he has asked me to please open up to him about more personal things going on in my life, I just really don't feel like it. I tell him about the kids and work stuff and that's pretty much it. While he has asked me to tell him more about my life, in reality, during conversations, he's so busy talking about himself, analyzing himself, to make me believe he cares about getting to know me.<br><br>
He does write me on my birthdays, but has never ever sent a gift, card or even an email on my kids' birthdays. While it is too late for him to be my dad, he could still be my kids' grandfather to some extent, though he really has chosen not to.<br><br>
He's been bugging me for a couple years to travel to his country. His mother (my grandmother) is getting really old and wants to see me and the kids (she always sent me bday presents and stuff as a kid even if he didn't). I looked into it, and decided it was crazy to foot the expense of all that airfare and travel costs for this purpose. So, he is coming here for about a week this summer.<br><br>
Now that I am a mother, and know how challenging it is to raise kids, I do get how my even talking to him is, in some ways, a total slap in the face to the mother who worked her butt off raising me alone. Really, what right does he have now to be my "friend?"<br><br>
But, still, I feel like telling him to buzz off would be, oh, I don't know... too much? He feels bad and wants a little contact? Is it so bad to give this to the old man? But I feel so disingenuous and insincere. And I really do want to be sincere in my life. When he told me he was coming here this summer, I started to write back an email saying "Great!" but then quickly deleted it because that is not how I feel. Really, I could give a rat's toochas. What I really want to write is "Fine. I guess. If you must."<br><br>
I'm wondering how long I can keep this up. Have any of you been in this situation?
 

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Wow, that must be a tough situation to be in.<br><br>
While I don't have any "advice" for you here are a few thoughts.<br>
As you've pointed out yourself "holding on to grudges never fixes anything" and you can only work on the present situation. You seem to be very well aware of this but not your father - at least that's the impression I get from what you're writing ("victimish e-mails"). I really liked your remark about the grandfather role he could still take on if he so chose - have you addressed this with him?<br>
On the whole, you don't "owe" him anything so I'd suggest doing what is within your comfort level and nothing more.<br><br>
About your remark "slap in the face to the mother who worked her butt off": I don't expect she has any friendly feelings left for him but responding to your father's e-mails doesn't make you a "traitor". Still, it could help your mother to know that you appreciate how hard it must've been for her. (But then, maybe that's my personal bias - I separated from my daughter's father when she was 2y. They did have contact on a regular basis but through all these years - she's going on 17 - he's made sure to provide some entertainment via court hearings and such. I've often worried that he might become the more "attractive parent" for her.) It might just be good for your mother to know that her love (and the work involved) didn't go unnoticed.<br><br>
- sending some <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/goodvibes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Goodvibes"> your way -
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for your reply Proudmomof4.<br><br>
One of my good friends was a single mom to her now 3 grown children. She is the most loving, forgiving person I've ever met. And when her abusive EX contacted her kids after they'd grown, she was completely enraged. 2 of her kids told him they weren't interested, but 1 kid allowed contact. And she told me about how it breaks her heart to hear her grandkids talking about "grandpa." Talking to her recently made me want to rethink my situation with my dad. She told me how she wants her children to be forgiving and loving to everyone, but still, there's a part of her that will always want her ex to rot, yk?<br><br>
I can't even imagine how I would feel if my DH just left us with nothing and then decided when all the hard work was done and college was paid for to come waltzing back into our lives. It really just does seem unfair.<br><br>
What do I get from seeing my father? Nothing more than a guilty feeling about going behind my mother's back to assuage some old man's guilt.<br>
He's the one who benefits.<br><br>
I feel like if he just made some kind of real gesture--like, oh, opening up a college account for my kids or something--maybe my feelings would warm.
 

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I had a similar situation happen w/ me. My dad left when I was 5 and just vanished off the face of the earth, leaving my single mom to struggle alone (no child support, of course) for all of my childhood years. Once I was a freshman in college, he popped back up, courtesy of a cousin getting back in touch with me. He would send the occaisional rambling letter or card but after that first year or so, I made no effort to contact him again. He tracked me down again last year, via another cousin and I let him have my email address but that's it. I wrote him once, sending a link of pictures of the girls but I don't even think I'll do that again. Why? Because I get nothing out of the relationship and I don't think it's right that he gets any benefit out of a relationship now. Yes, he's poor and has suffered several strokes and is an alcoholic but that's the life he chose. He chose not to be a dad when I most needed him so I have every right to not be a daughter to him now.<br><br>
I might be more forgiving if he had ever ONCE apologized or tried to make things right. All he's done is offer excuses for his behavior but that doesn't cut it. I'm sure it sucks for him now that his chickens have come home to roost but, again, his life is the way it is because of him.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ZoshaMosha</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15415367"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One of my good friends was a single mom to her now 3 grown children. She is the most loving, forgiving person I've ever met. And when her abusive EX contacted her kids after they'd grown, she was completely enraged. 2 of her kids told him they weren't interested, but 1 kid allowed contact. And she told me about how it breaks her heart to hear her grandkids talking about "grandpa." Talking to her recently made me want to rethink my situation with my dad. She told me how she wants her children to be forgiving and loving to everyone, but still, there's a part of her that will always want her ex to rot, yk?</div>
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I know someone in a similar situation and she is mad with rage over the "grandpa" thing too. And from what little I know, I can't blame her. The child that has contact with the dad seems to have a childish fantasy about Daddy being this really great guy, blah, blah, blah....<br><br>
OP - my mom divorced my bio-dad when I was 10-11 yo but he wasn't emotionally present even when they were married. He was at home only to sleep and spent all his free time in the bars. Contact after my mom booted him out was very limited and it eventually trickled to no contact.<br><br>
I absolutely understand your statement -<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ZoshaMosha</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15413893"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The truth is that I'm not angry at him. I just don't care about him. Just don't care. We are not bonded by the fact that he's the man who raised me because he didn't.</div>
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I feel the same way. There just isn't any feeling of connection and I don't need there to be. My bio-dad tried to re-establish contact right after DS was born (and I mean right after, like hours later) and I politely told him it was not the time or place to be having this conversation.<br><br>
My mom remarried and my step-dad became my "dad" in every sense. I wonder if the reason I don't need/want contact with my bio-dad is because I have a dad? There isn't a void I need to fill.<br><br>
I don't have any advice, just saying you are not alone in your feelings.
 

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Sigh. This is a very enlightening thread for me. So I guess I really have to be thankful that my daughter's father kept contact with her. (Mind you, he would've prefered to skip the CS - not an option really in Germany, though.)<br><br>
Compared to some mothers here (left when she was pregnant etc.) I still had it "pretty easy", I got married at some point and had more children. It must be so much harder for them to have this person back in the periphery of their lives.
 

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I have some relatives with whom I want to have minimal contact, but who I don't want to cut off completely. So with them, I send a card on birthdays-- with a reasonably chatty update-- and a card and gift on Christmas-- with a picture of DS or of the family. Also in all those cases they have someone close to them that I do keep in touch with a bit more, so they know whom to ask if they really want to know more about my life. I don't respond to their letters or emails unless they send me some kind of a gift, in which case I write a thank-you note, but that's very rare. I'm Facebook friends with one of them but I don't say much on Facebook.<br><br>
That system works well for me. If you want to try it, in your situation, the equivalent would be to send your bio-father a card on his birthday and a present or card on Christmas (or whatever, plug in your family's holidays etc.); and continue to keep in touch mostly with your grandmother. It sounds as though she was enough of a real grandmother that your mother wouldn't mind your being in touch with her, at least not too much. As far as the visit, if your mother understands that you're doing this out of a sense of responsibility to your children, she might be more understanding about the whole thing.
 

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My "father" left when I was 8. I saw him again when I was 18 and he wanted to be allowed in our state w/o being arrested for non support. I got the whole song and dance about how much he loved me. Blah blah blah.<br><br>
I flat out told him that I had no choice in him leaving when I was a child, but that I was now an adult and didn't want him in my life. He'd made his choice. He could live with it. (there were other issues, before he left, when he had visitation, I was always terrified he was going to take off with me and I'd never see my mom again + other things)<br><br>
I've seen him a few times since. I choose no contact. I have several siblings, children of his, that I've never met. He has never provided or stuck around for any of his children for any length of time.<br><br>
I'm better of w/o him. In fact when I do see him, I start having nightmares.<br><br>
I have even less sympathy for him since I became a parent. I'd have to be dead to stop seeing my children.
 

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I deal with a LOT of families in similar situations, both in my work and personal life. What I've learned is this: the priority is how you feel, how you think it benefits/hurts your family and loved ones, and how much it does or doesn't put you out.<br><br>
I don't think it's at all necessary or even useful to pretend to care when you don't. And if it in any way puts you out or feels more than you want to give to see him for a week, don't do it, or don't do it for a full week.<br><br>
And the main thing when he throws the victim card down is to tell him this: I understand that you felt you had no other choice but to cut off all contact. But you have to also accept responsibility for the fact that a really predictable effect of that is that we don't have a regular/strong father/child bond. I'm not mad at you, I wish you the best, but you can't force or insist on that bond this late in the game, it's simply not realistic. It's a consequence of the choices you made.<br><br>
I know he'll still probably say you're punishing him, but that's really not your problem. As long as you're honest and talk to him with your best intentions, you're not responsible for how he hears it.<br><br>
I agree with whoever else said talking to him doesn'tmake you a traitor to your mom. It's not like you're nominating him for "Father of the Year" award or something. He's your bio father and a little contact once in awhile is ok with you, so be it. Hopefully your mom will understand, and maybe if you haven't already done it, thank her and praise her more and more for how well she did all alone.<br><br>
And if you dont' feel like sharing more details, don't. This goes back to the "you can't force the relationshiop just because you have decided now is the time." If he says you're not opening up to him, say you've opened up as much as you feel you can, you're a parent yourself, busy, lots of demands, and your priority is your family. If he says he's all upset by that, say you're sorry he feels that way, but as you had to learn when he ditched your family, sometimes we just have to accept that this is how things are and make th ebest out of it.<br><br>
You really don't owe him anything more than acting with a good heart. But it is possible to say "I'm done" with a good heart. It's very possible.
 
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