To think my Dad is being a twat?

(65 Posts)
Anonymous1000 Sat 16-Apr-16 12:17:50

Ok, this might be quite long but I feel all the information is needed for you to tell me if IBU. Also, I'm a regular(ish) poster but have name changed as the details of this might be quite identifying.

A few years ago (I forget precisely how many!) in the January, my father (technically my stepfather but to cut a long story short - he raised me, he's my dad) left my mother after about fifteen years of marriage.

He said that he wasn't happy and that together they weren't happy although mum seemed to think there were no real issues. He just upped and left by the way - didn't try counselling, didn't try and fix it, just got a flat to rent and left.

In the April he told me that he was now seeing someone - a woman from work (let's call her Betsy). He had known Betsy for a while, before he left my mum, he accepts this but says nothing happened between them until the April. My mother disagrees with this, she says (based on intuition, no factual evidence I guess) that he was having an affair - I won't go into all the details but in the preceding months before he left, his behaviour was very strange and secretive - constantly texting and taking calls outside (he had never done this before) but didn't allow mum to see the phone and was evasive when she asked who he was talking to.

Lots more stuff, but not really relevant to my AIBU I guess, but suffice to say my mother was convinced he was cheating on her and all of her side of the family agreed. Initially, I was very supportive of both father and mother. I asked dad outright whether anything ever happened with him and Betsy before he left mum and he said no, not until the April after he left. For this reason, I took the view that he left mum because he was unhappy like he said (possibly triggered by the introduction of Betsy at work) but I couldn't accept that he had had "an affair" as my mum told everyone because my dad flat out denied it and my mum had no concrete evidence. At first, it was difficult as my mothers side of the family despised him for what he had done (mum was extremely distraught at him leaving) and expected me not to speak to him but I still encouraged our relationship in spite of this, I suppose I viewed our father-daughter relationship separately outside of what he did/didn't do to my mum.

Anyway, fast forward to last year and things have settled down a bit. Mum is moving on with her life and Dad married Betsy.

Since he left mum, I've made it very clear I want fuck all nothing to do with Betsy. I know it's very childish and ridiculous but I do blame her for the breakdown of the marriage and, rightly or wrongly, I have no desire to have anything to do with her whatsoever. I obviously wasn't invited to the wedding (nor would I have gone).

Dad and I have maintained a reasonable amount of contact over the years although we are definitely not as close. I think I forgot to mention that mum, dad and betsy all live in Australia so I don't have lots of contact with them.

Dad used to call me about once a month or so but this has gradually decreased. He has visited the UK a couple of times but has stayed with his parents or in a hotel (obviously he can't stay at mine as Betsy is with him) and over the course of a three week holiday he managed to see me twice and not for very long. He mentioned that he can't see me too often because he has to "Palm Betsy off to a coffee shop" - cue major row that his wife is fucking incapable of entertaining herself without my dad for a prolonged period of time. She lives with him all the time - is it too much to ask that she steps aside so I can spend time with my father?!

Anyway, that's all back story - here is my AIBU. Last September I gave birth to DS who is absolutely amazing - PFB and all that but I bloody love him to bits and obviously think he's the most incredible kid ever!

When he was born, father never sent a card to congratulate. At Christmas he never sent a card either (not for me/DH not DS). This was very odd, he has always sent cards for birthdays, Christmas etc.

By the way, this is his first grandchild.

Anyway, more importantly, not only has he not sent cards, he just generally doesn't appear to give a shit. Since I've had DS, he hasn't called once - I've had to call him or text him. He doesn't even email to ask how he is and when I send photos of DS, I just get a short response like "cute x" or "lovely photos x".

So in January this year, I brought it up over the phone. I got really emotional, cried a lot and asked what was going on. It was the most bizarre conversation but he basically agreed he hadn't made much of an effort but wouldn't really give a reason why.

At first he tried to say it was because he thought I didn't want him to have anything to do with DS?! I had a long birth with emergency c-sec and didn't tell him that DS had arrived until three days after he was born. Apparently he was pissed off as DH had text my mum after the birth to say DS was here and, reading between the lines, that pissed him off that she knew before him (he found out through my brother I think).

During the phone call I kept trying to move things forward by saying well the past is the past but I do want you in DS's life so can we just move forward and you step up to the plate and be his grandad? He was silent and wouldn't answer the question despite me repeating it many times. Eventually he said he wanted to be a part of DS's life but it was difficult and he didn't know how?! All very strange and would not elaborate any further. We finally ended the conversation by him reluctantly agreeing to make more of an effort and call and ask about DS.

Since January - nothing. He hasn't contacted me at all. It was his birthday recently and I called to wish him happy birthday and asked why he hadn't at least text to see how DS was doing and he said "he had been busy". That was it.

I would like to send him a letter or email to tell him how I'm feeling in black and white. He tends to twist things over the telephone and is the type of man who can NEVER admit being in the wrong. Classic example - he says he left mum for the good of the whole family because they were unhappy and not good together. He said he hadn't made an effort with DS because he thought that's what I wanted (random!) and he'd "made his peace with that".

As far as I'm concerned I've given him ample opportunity to make an effort with my now 6.5 month old DS and he hasn't and I'm really fucking offended.

DH tells me to just go NC - father obviously isn't going to get in touch so he said I too should stop calling, sending photos when he clearly isn't interested. I agree but would like to send some kind of final email/letter. In his mind, he will have twisted this whole thing into some bizarre situation where he doesn't have anything to do with his grandson because of me. When friends and family ask about DS, I can just picture him shaking his head and saying "I don't know how he's doing, I haven't heard from my daughter in months. She doesn't even send me pictures." So would it BU to send a letter basically saying that we are here when he decides he wants a daughter and grandson but that this lack of contact is solely down to him and isn't something that I want.

I have a few theories why he doesn't want anything to do with my DS. The first and most probable (reading between the lines in our conversations) is that I don't want anything to do with Betsy so why should he bother with my family. Another possible theory is that he and Betsy are trying to have children and possibly having fertility issues Betsy is late 30s and didn't have children before she met my dad. This makes sense when I consider his "it's too difficult" comments about having a relationship with DS. I also wonder whether he himself feels he is too young to be a grandad. He was a lot younger than my mum and is only in his 40s now and since he met Betsy has started doing things he used to do as a youngster like buying a drum set and going to concerts, motor biking etc.

By the way - I'm fully aware I'm BU (and childish) about not accepting Betsy and refusing to have anything to do with her but surely he (as the parent) shouldn't refuse to accept my DS because of this.

In case you couldn't tell by the length of this - this is something that bothers me tremendously. I'm massively offended he doesn't seem to care about DS and this behaviour is something I would never have expected from him. I've always been close with my dad growing up and I would have thought he would be over the moon with having his first grandson.

It's not healthy for me to keep dwelling on this so I would really like to put the ball in his court so to speak and let him know that the door is open but it's him that keeps closing it, not me. AIBU to send a letter to this effect or is DH right and should I just not make any more effort at all?

Thanks for reading!

Costacoffeeplease Sat 16-Apr-16 12:23:25

I wouldn't bother, what's the point? You've already told him. Whatever his reasons are I don't think a final letter is going to make any difference, just let it go

Mishaps Sat 16-Apr-16 12:26:11

Start making moves to heal the rift with Betsy if you want to move things forward. .

FellOutOfBedTwice Sat 16-Apr-16 12:32:26

This is a horrible situation op. Does he have biological children with your mum? If not could it just be that he feels (totally wrongly but this is my suspicion) that in divorcing your mum he divorced you too? He sounds like a selfish arse and I'm not sure what a final letter would do if he's that much of a deluded narcissist that he thinks this is all you. But you have my sympathy. I too have some shitty relatives!

WhatTimeIsItCuckoo Sat 16-Apr-16 12:39:08

Yes I agree with dropping the grudge against Betsy. Obviously the situation is really bothering you as you've said yourself so in order for it to improve, and given that your parents marriage ended a few years ago now, and that, like it or not, Betsy is now your dad's wife, I think you need to make an effort to accept and get to know her and hopefully this will result in your dad feeling more comfortable about getting to know your son and being part of his life. I do get from your post that you may find accepting Betsy difficult and may not want to do it but I think there needs to be two way traffic here and some give and take on both sides. It'll take time I'm sure but I think if bitterness about the past can be dropped/put to one side (however hard that may be) then that's the best chance for the current situation to improve and for things to move forward. Good luck! flowers

MadisonMontgomery Sat 16-Apr-16 12:40:13

I have to say I think that he doesn't see you as his child now he has divorced your mum. Especially as he is quite young - do any of his friends have adult children?

Cabrinha Sat 16-Apr-16 12:43:17

Well, for a start your mum was right about him having an affair. Come on, surely you see that?

Even though he had an affair, I think it's very hard to cut his now wife out completely and expect to have a full relationship with him. You don't have to move on and accept her - but it's not the most awful crime if you do. Just don't kid yourself that he isn't lying to you about the affair!

I think you should cut your losses though. Not least because he's in Australia! What exactly does stepping up as a grandfather mean from that distance?

Some biological fathers are shit, so this isn't necessarily just a stepfather thing. But I think that you need to consider the possibility (I'm so sorry to say this sad) that whilst you see him as your dad, he possibility sees you as a stepchild. And that tie is easier to walk away from.

I'd enjoy your husband and son, and just let this one go.

TresDesolee Sat 16-Apr-16 12:49:49

If you really want to have some sort of relationship with him then you're going to need to drop the Betsy thing. Right or wrong, from his POV you're rejecting his wife, so why should he bend over to stay involved with you and your family.

If you do drop the Betsy thing (and you probably have to do this quite explicitly, by phoning him and apologising and saying you're going to let bygones be bygones) he may or may not step up and be the dad/grandad you want. There are no guarantees. If he doesn't, you'll know that you've done your best and can at least lay it to rest in your own head?

HereIAm20 Sat 16-Apr-16 12:55:36

I suspect that for quite a while it was Betsy buying and remembering the cards on behalf of your dad even if he wrote them out. I suspect that after you blatantly having nothing to do with her and her having to sit around on her own in coffee shops for ages at a time she has thought "sod this for a game of soldiers" and just doesn't bother with the cards anymore. As with any family we know its usually the mum that does the remembering, organising etc. I suspect also if you spent your precious time with your Dad just moaning about Betsy that doesn't exactly help him have a nice time whilst he is with you.

My parents live in the US so there are times when we are in far more contact and times when its fewer and farther between calls but life takes us all over some time.

I suggest a good way forward is to send Betsy a card when its her birthday next. And invite her round with your Dad. The alternative would be that you drive a bigger wedge into the relationship with your Dad and that would be done to you. Sorry to be harsh but it seems to me 3 choices - relationship accepting his wife or no relationship - or the one you currently have.

I really don't think it is rejecting your DS but as parent I would be a tad cross if I found out the other (ex) had news of the birth 3 days earlier. Perhaps he feels just as excluded from life that and the fact you exclude his wife.

Delacroix Sat 16-Apr-16 13:05:02

You may see him as a father-figure, but I suspect he sees himself as stepfather pure and simple; he's walked out on his partner and HER kid, and drawn a line under it. It's shit but not massively uncommon. I have someone in the family who saw 4 'stepfathers' come and go - and none of them considered her anything other than 'my partner's kid' and contact ceased when the front door closed. Yes, it messed them up massively. It hurt her far, far more than those men ever realised or cared.

And he's kind of right - what can he do? He's mum's ex-boyfriend who lives in Australia. He no longer sees you as family.

Don't do any dramatic final letters or emails. Just don't contact him again. Start to consider him as 'mum's ex-boyfriend from years ago' and see what you can do to come to terms with the loss.

candykane25 Sat 16-Apr-16 13:07:27

I have scer thoughts.
Firstly, it's very hurtful when anyone doesn't show interest in your child. Your child is the light of your life and by not showing an interest, it's hurts.
Secondly I think it's absolutely fine for you to writ a short, polite and diplomatic letter saying you feel hurt. You are allowed to say how you feel.
Thirdly, you need to accept his response. He is sadly drawing a line in the sand and that's his choice. It's sad but you have to let him go.
Fourthly, whilst I agree it's test tosh on his behalf, Betsy is his wife and that is his choice and you need to accept his choice. You don' t need to be best friends but accepting her role would have made things easier.
Fifthly, it was possibly an emotional affair, your father did the right thing by leaving and then setting up s new home with his new partner. Your mum definitely didn't deserve it and you bore the brunt of that too. I think that never got resiolved properly hence the lasting repercussions. Possibly the age difference was more significant to your dad.

It is what it is. I bet your DS is adorable and it's not s reflection on you that your dad has chosen this set of actions. His future is with Betsy (probably, maybe not) and it will cause problems between them, rightly or wrongly, that she isn't involved with his children and grandchildren. Your dad may not be doing the right thing but he's getting grief from all corners I imagine and he lives with Betsy so her voice is the loudest.
If you were Betsy, you'd probably be a bit upset not to be accepted by your husband's children and not to be included with the grandchildren. I'm not defending her, but realistically that's the situation your dad is living with.
Ultimately, if you want him involved, you would need to accept his choice of wife.

Cabrinha Sat 16-Apr-16 13:08:40

Tbf to him, the fact that you (or your husband) only told your mum and not him when your baby was born says something about the relationship.
It doesn't excuse him having a proper hissy fit over it - but things like that remind you that you are a stepparent, not a parent.

candykane25 Sat 16-Apr-16 13:09:00

Sorry for all the typos, tesh tosh was twattish!

ClashCityRocker Sat 16-Apr-16 13:15:55

I've been in a very similar situation, apart from my dad admitted the affair and he lives the other end of the country rather than overseas.

I also didn't want anything to do with my new stepmother - if my dad mentioned her I would change the subject, refused to meet her. I don't feel bad about that - I needed my own time to make peace with things in my head.

However, the relationship between me and my dad did suffer as a result; we were so far removed from each other's lives that there was little common ground. In a way, he didn't feel like my family any more and I suspect the same was true for him. When he came up with his wife again it was similar - time with me was limited as he would feel guilty about leaving his wife on her own (although she didn't have to come with him) on 'holiday'.

Eventually, I agreed to meet her, and whilst I'm not particularly fond of her, she isn't the nasty piece of work I thought her to be...and it has made life so much easier with regards to mine and my dads relationship, he feels like part of my family again (she doesn't, and never will be, but I can pretend for a few days).

I'm not entirely happy with the situation because it does feel like he chose her over me - he never prioritised our relationship when I think as a father he should have done during the time he was visiting. But I think he did feel very conflicted and stuck in the middle and to be fair it must be hard having to pretend your wife doesn't exist.

I do think ultimately it will be near on impossible to maintain a decent relationship whilst excluding his wife and I think that if you cannot accept Betsy (who could potentially end up as the mother of your half sibling) you will have to accept that you won't have much of a relationship with him.

It's shitty though and you have my sympathy

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Sat 16-Apr-16 13:17:48

I suspect that for quite a while it was Betsy buying and remembering the cards on behalf of your dad even if he wrote them out. I suspect that after you blatantly having nothing to do with her and her having to sit around on her own in coffee shops for ages at a time she has thought "sod this for a game of soldiers" and just doesn't bother with the cards anymore. As with any family we know its usually the mum that does the remembering, organising etc. I suspect also if you spent your precious time with your Dad just moaning about Betsy that doesn't exactly help him have a nice time whilst he is with you.

Can't you at at least he civil to his wife?! You don't have to like her, but he does so with you being so hostile about her probably upsets him greatly.

As for 'being a grandfather', not all dad's are hands on with their GC,mine and DPS included. They see the girls every few months and do enjoy it, butdon't ask about them in between visits etc.

If its not just because of Betsy and he just isn't interested in your son, no amount of letters are going to make him care.

SanityClause Sat 16-Apr-16 13:18:45

You admit you are being childish in refusing to accept Betsy, but you expect him to be the bigger person, as far as your DS is concerned?

I think this is a double standard.

If you want a relationship with him, I think you need to meet him half way.

coffeeisnectar Sat 16-Apr-16 13:20:09

Your attitude towards Betsy is most probably at the heart of this. You haven't even given her a chance. You refuse to see her and have nothing nice to say about her.
You are an adult but honestly, you're still behaving like a child. This is the sort of behaviour I get my from my 12 year old DSD. Tedious but she's a child. I hope she will grow up and grow out of it. If she doesn't then yes, I would stop bothering with the reminders about birthdays and would refuse to buy her cards, presents etc. I imagine that the relationship with her dad would become tense due to her inability to accept that he's with me.

I can't imagine how the woman must feel and you have put your dad in the awful position of being stuck in the middle. Either build bridges or forget the relationship.

GnomeDePlume Sat 16-Apr-16 13:25:45

YABU

You have pushed your father away by refusing to accept his wife. You delayed telling him about the birth of your son. You rowed with your father and seemingly insulted his wife.

In that situation I can see why he has given up.

ImperialBlether Sat 16-Apr-16 13:33:18

I agree with you that you have behaved very, very childishly with regard to Betsy.

If you are still angry at your stepfather leaving your mum, why are you blaming Betsy and not him? People are allowed to leave other people, you know. Much younger people than you have to cope with meeting their dad's new partner. You are behaving as though she's some wanton hussy who dragged a happy man away from a happy marriage, yet you don't actually know that's true, do you? He has said there was no affair until he left. It seems likely there was an emotional affair but people who are unhappy with their relationship often do turn to someone else for support. How do you know this wasn't the case?

I think you come across as quite nasty, really. You belittle Betsy at every opportunity - this line was quite unbelievable: "his wife is fucking incapable of entertaining herself without my dad for a prolonged period of time." You are a grown woman, ffs. Show him some respect and her some manners and invite her too, next time.

Mellowautumn Sat 16-Apr-16 13:35:15

You can't have it both ways - you treat him as a step dad by telling them about the birth and not accepting his new wife. But you expect him to behave like a grandad

leliondemer Sat 16-Apr-16 13:35:24

I also think that you need to accept Betsy. Imagine what it's like for her, visiting her DH's family in another country but not being welcome to see his daughter and grandchild. Your dad probably feels torn between the two of you.

That's possibly what he means when he says he doesn't think he can be a hands on grandparent. Without the acceptance of his wife, that could be tricky.

Life is too short to bear grudges of this kind. Good luck flowers

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 16-Apr-16 13:37:48

Anonymous1000

"I kept trying to move things forward by saying well the past is the past."

But this is only when it suits you.

Only telling your DM about the birth of your DS, its the past.
He may have had an affair, your still not having anything to do with his partner, not the past.

diddl Sat 16-Apr-16 13:38:28

I'm with Gnome.

He's chosen his wife.

Isn't that what he is supposed to do when forced to choose?

EveryoneElsie Sat 16-Apr-16 13:42:24

He fell in love with Betsy, he fell out of love with your Mum.
He went NC with you from the sounds of it. Its time to let go and move on. Its shit but he seems to have done that will no effort. flowers

Theoretician Sat 16-Apr-16 13:43:13

I don't think I would feel anything for a six-month-old baby, on the the opposite side of the world, that I've never met. (Or maybe only seen for a hour or two, once a year.)

I don't really see what he can do.

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