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Should I contact my estranged father?

(5 Posts)
tiredbutwired Wed 24-Oct-12 06:50:44

I have been estranged from my father for 15 years, since I was 19. He was an alcoholic and re-married a much younger woman. Through friends of family friends, I know that he now lives abroad. To be honest, I haven't wanted to get in touch before now and only thought that I may regret it if he died. The issue has resurfaced lately after the birth of DD (now aged one). These friends of friends have been in contact with my mother recently and have said that they will have to tell my father that he is now a grandfather. I don't think that he would come forward and contact me. I am naturally very anxious about a reunion but feel that maybe I should be the one to reconnect for DD's sake, if he doesn't. Is it the right thing to do for her, even though I don't really feel I want a relationship with him?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Oct-12 07:02:07

Having grown up with a DM who was estranged from her own abusive DM I can tell you that the adage 'what you've never had, you never miss' is as true for grandparents as it is for anything else. I remember being mildly curious about her at one point but nothing more. When I properly understood what a horrible woman she was, I was quite grateful to have been kept out of her way. My DM, however, was never 100% comfortable with the situation and they did have a kind of reconciliation shortly before my grandmother died.

In short, don't get in touch 'for your DD' because she'll never miss a grandfather she has never met. If you want to use the fact that you've had a child to get in touch with your Dad for your own reasons, acknowledge honestly what those reasons are.

DocBrown Wed 24-Oct-12 07:09:11

Morning Tired - I am in a similar position to you. Alcoholic father, not spoken to him in over twenty years. The thought of a reunion now would send me running for the hills. I think you need to establish whether making contact again would lead for a full on reunion (if that is what you wanted) or, simply an acknowledgement to him that he is now a grandfather and you thought he should know.

My biological father is aware that he is now a "grandfather" to three more children but (thankfully) has never made any contact and that is how I like it. I do not in anyway feel as though I should reconnect for my DC's sake - they have brilliant grandfather role models in my DM's long term partner and DP's dad. I feel adding to the list would just confuse them (families are so complex these days!).

Maybe when they are older (oldest DS (8) has already started asking about the family tree) I will explain to them more but for now I don't see how they will miss out on a person who they never knew exsisted.

tiredbutwired Wed 24-Oct-12 08:35:28

Thanks. I don't really have any other family around apart from DM as I am an only child and the rest of DM's family is also abroad. Plus I am not particularly enamoured with DP's family. So it isn't like I have a huge family. I think that makes sense to maybe not think about having to actually meet him, just acknowledge.

Queenofsiburbia Wed 24-Oct-12 09:06:21

I'm in a similar position, estranged from my father due to the very disrespectful way he broke up with DM after 30+ years of marriage.

I heard that he recently broke up with his new 'family' (not his children) & is alone, which coincides with me being about to have 1st DC.

I know he will not be repentant about what he did or the way he did it, more likely feel sorry for himself, and I cannot stand that ridiculous self pity so am not interested in rebuilding a relationship.

My DH though has said he would perhaps now like to meet him & for our DC to see him occasionally.

I mmmm'd & dropped subject. I don't intend for that to happen unless DH really pushes it.

I should add that whenever there is news (eg our wedding announcement, my pregnancy etc) I always write a courteous but unemotional note to my father out of politeness so he doesn't find out from others.

Personally I think you should let sleeping dogs lie. People make decisions in their lives & organise their own priorities. Sometimes this has consequences but that's something they take into consideration when they make those choices.

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