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Thu Jan 30, 2014, 08:02 AM

35 Years Later My Father Reaches Out.

Last week was 35 years on Earth. Short time to some but it's been a bit of a haul for me. I celebrated it as I like to do. Low key. My wife makes me a pie because I hate cake and we usually have a quiet dinner at home. I had keylime pie this year and it was so freaking good...crumbly graham cracker crust..omg.

And midway thru the day I saw a Facebook notification from my deadbeat dad. A friend request. He divorced my mother 33 years ago and aside from a phone call and a Christmas present when I was 5, I've heard nothing from the man. Not a dime. Not a letter. Nothing. We lived in NY and he started a new family in Tx.

My default position is always this. My Mom did a great job raising me and I'm a better man for it. She's proud of me & I make sure to give all credit to her. It was hard for her raising us alone. Unfair & difficult. But as a kid I just wanted a Dad, ya know? I wanted to have that connection that I saw on tv or at a friends house. It made me angry & sad that he wanted nothing to so with me. His only son.

So I denied his friend request. Fuck him. 35 years late. I'm not interested in him. His one gift to me is that I know if I have I child, he will be loved.


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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 09:57 AM

1. Probably the best thing you could have done.

You've made what sounds like a happy life without him. Although the probability exists that you two could develop a rewarding relationship, and make up for lost time, it may also be a can of worms you wisely left unopened.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 10:47 AM

2. My curiosity would get the better of me.

 

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.
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My one and only wife left me over 30 years ago for another man,

completely changed my life, never having any sort of permanent relationship since.

If she tried to contact me, I'd at least try to find out "what's up".

Your father may not even know he was trying to friend the right person - I know when I'm in doubt about connecting with an old acquaintance on FB I just message them with a short explanation of who I am, most do not do that.

Even though you denied the request, you could still message him for a "what's up" . . . ?

Reconsider.

You have an opportunity here, even if it is just to understand why the long absence.

Be nice to know before he dies,

no?

CC

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 12:14 PM

3. The curiosity factor is very high.

My sister contacted him about 7 years ago and flew down to Tx to meet him. She told me that he said "When he's (me) ready to contact him, he'll be waiting.". Which blew my mind since he's known where I was my whole life. No child support. No ticket to come see him during summers. No contact period. Is to me is why I could not speak to him. The question of "Why?" is/will be on my mind always but I don't think and explanation would do any good. I do not believe there is a valid reason (in this circumstance) that abandoning your children is excusable. My sister and I are worlds apart in thinking and how we live our life. She keeps in contact with him thru Facebook tho we barely speak of it. Imo I don think she got what she was looking for outta him, but that's just me. He is aware of me thru Facebook but I keep all my stuff private so this friend request on my birthday was surprising so many years later.

You mention the damage your wife did to you and I completely understand in way. If my own father wants nothing to do with me growing up, who would want me? This was a prevailing attitude I had, even if I didn't realize it at first. And I believe this had a crippling effect on me as a child and teen. Meeting my wife was a blessing. She's steering me away from that isolation I felt so much as a child. This is the damage he did to me that I do not think I could forgive. I wish I had a father growing up. I don't need one now. I have a wonderful father-in-law who treats me like his own son. And my mother married a man who I respect and look up to greatly after I was already outta the house. Which is too bad cause he woulda been a pretty cool dad.

Thanks for reading and responding to my OP, CC

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Response to Inkfreak (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 09:03 AM

8. Even if you forgive it doesn't mean you have to reestablish the relationship

I have a brother that I haven't spoken one word to in almost 20 years. He still tries to contact me from time to time and I just ignore him. It's not because I still have hard feelings against him. I wish him the best. I just don't want to have anything to do with him. We don't get to pick who our blood relatives are and some just aren't worth associating with even if all the bad feelings are long gone. If it's still causing you conflict in your life and you want answers, you may want to see him, but if you don't then don't worry about it. Do what's best for you, not him. Nobody deserves anything simply because of a blood relationship. Another thing to consider is that he still may be fucked up to one degree or another and establishing contact with him may not be the best idea. People can and do change, but quite often they don't.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 12:37 PM

4. Did he send a message, or just the friend request?

I'm thinking that just sending a friend request and not bothering to also send a message explaining his reasons for contacting you after all these years is a little odd.

I'm not saying this applies to your situation, but sometimes when I get friend requests from people I haven't talked to in many years I assume they just want to nose around and satisfy their curiosity. There's been a few times when I approved the request, sent them a message, and didn't get a response. Those people get un-friended, even if they're relatives.

As for your situation, I say follow your gut feelings. The one thing that's clear from reading your post is that you owe him nothing. While this could an opportunity to establish some sort of communication or relationship it could also just open up old wounds.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do. I'm sorry your dad wasn't there for you. Every kid deserves an involved and caring father.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 05:19 PM

5. Of course it's all your call and given the circumstances you're justified in handling it however.

There are genetic reasons to be in touch with your biological father, though, if you do get around to having kids of your own. Not that that alone would infer that you should establish a contact you otherwise wouldn't.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Thu Jan 30, 2014, 10:28 PM

6. Inkfreak, as the parent of two adult daughters about your age,

I feel a lot of anger toward your father for waiting so long and NOW wanting to establish contact. What exactly is the basis or the meaning of this contact? What is the meaning of being a parent if you have had nothing to do with "your" child for his entire life?

Of course you may at some time decide that you want to be in touch with him, and it could even turn out to be very interesting and rewarding. But man it is entirely your decision and this person has no claim on you. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but a lot of people have a sort of religion around "family," and you might get some pressure from people telling you blood is thicker than water. Sounds like you're well on your way, and happy birthday!

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:58 PM

7. Inkfreak, I think you made the right decision.

I spent many, many years trying to make a relationship with a mother who was not interested in being a parent to me. It was a painful mistake and a waste of energy. Your father has told you clearly with his actions what he wants to offer you in terms of a relationship, which is nothing. So give it to him.

As you say, your father has given you a gift: if you have a child he will be loved in a way you wouldn't appreciate if your relationship with your father had been better. As you say, your wife is helping steer you away from your isolation. If you had not been rejected by your father, you may not have known to choose someone who is as sensitive and caring as your wife sounds to be. I am betting there are many other characteristics and wisdoms that you developed because of his absence that contribute positively to your life today.

This has been the pleasant shock of my middle age: how my horrible relationship with one of my parents is directly responsible for the best decisions and happiest parts of my life. I hope you find the same outcome. And I think you are right not to waste your time trying to have a relationship with someone who has chosen not to have a relationship with you.

Best of luck.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 01:01 PM

9. It's your decision. I would have made the other one. n/t

 

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Wed Mar 12, 2014, 10:52 AM

10. Sometimes wish I could get RID of my Dad.


Irritating bastard.

Except he occasionally drops things on me like:

"YOU'RE LETTING THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU."

The above gem he dropped on me at the end of last year, with my typical "shit, he's right - again" internal reaction. It was annoying as I'm 43 and am supposed to be grown up now, but I've realised that no father EVER has a grown-up son, only a son.

We decided we were allowed to shout at each other as loud as we like (so long as there aren't actual fisticuffs) some time ago.

It works.

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