Dear Barb—The Prodigal Father

Dear Barb:

My parents divorced when I was 10 years old.  My dad moved away with this new girlfriend and seemed to just forget about us.  I loved my dad and really missed him at the time, but eventually I got angry and wondered why he never came back to see me or my brother. 

I am in my thirties now and still have no contact with my dad.  He reached out a few years back, but I was so filled with anger that I didn’t want to see him.  My brother never talks about him, either.  I have tried to talk to my brother about it,  but he refuses to; he says dad is dead to him. 

To be honest, he doesn’t seem to be affected by the estrangement from our dad.  I wish I could be like that, but I get angry when I remember watching mom struggle while being a single parent.  It was hard for her, both financially and emotionally.  But she is doing much better now and has even remarried.  It is so nice to see her happy. 

My dilemma is whether it would be beneficial for me to reach out to my dad and try to establish some type of relationship with him.  I have heard that he and his new wife have another child, so I do have a much younger sibling that I would like to meet.  When I mentioned how I felt to my brother he said he is not interested and doesn’t want to hear about our dad or his child.  I don’t want to cause problems with my brother or my mom.  Although my mom said it’s totally up to me and that I have to do what feels right to me.  I don’t want to make the situation worse; I am actually looking for some peace for our family.  Looking forward to your point of view.  Thanks, Lori. 

Hi Lori:

Thanks for your letter.  I believe many adults of divorce have felt similar feelings.  I agree with your mom, you need to do what feels right for you.  You obviously have a desire to reconnect with your dad and for that reason it is important that you make some attempt to reconcile with him.  On the other hand your brother does not feel the same, therefore you have to be careful not to push him, or make him feel bad about his decision.  Who knows what the future may bring.  If things work out with you and your dad, he may be willing to give it a try.  Best of luck Lori.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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