Family Matters
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Reaching Out

Has anyone attempted to reach out or reconnect with an estranged parent?
 The short version of my story is that I haven't had any contact with my father since the age of 3 (I am 26 now); there was no abuse involved.

I know where he lives and would like to write a letter, but I have no idea what to say.....  I am in a place where I need at least some closure and would be fine if a relationship did not come of it.

I appreciate any advice you can give. Thank you....

Re: Reaching Out

  • I tried to when I was in my early teens. He never showed any interest in me and I don't really consider him a father at all. The only thing he ever did was send a child support check. When I wrote him a letter asking for a recent photo of him (how sad is that?) he sent me a computer print out and no letter to go along with it. I'm almost 29 now and I doubt any good would come from me trying to contact him. FWIW he lives just a few towns over. However, if you feel like you need closure, I guess you could try. I've never felt the need, personally. He's known how to find me for almost 3 decades and he obviously doesn't want to for a reason. Good luck.
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    What does "closure" actually mean, though? I ask because really - I doubt you'll get what your looking for.
  • I guess I'm hoping to get some sort of answer, maybe learn his side of the story as to why he hasn't been there or reached out to me.  For all I know, he might also think about getting in contact with me but might be scared or maybe he's just not interested in me.. Either way, I would like to know (and my therapist made a good point when she told me that I probably couldn't feel any worse about it than I already do).  I didn't reach out to him in younger years because of my overprotective mom and because I feared rejection and felt like I was just a child support payment to him.
  • Will you be okay with it if he doesn't respond, or you get a negative response? You know best how you'll feel if you get no reply or a disappointing reply. If you're really okay with that and will find it helpful to write, even if it goes nowhere, I don't see how that could hurt. I would probably prepare myself not to get closure though, because he's had years to try and be involved and hasn't tried. I hope you get a good response if you do decide to write to him.
  • I would do a few more sessions with your therapist figuring out what you hope to get out of this situation.  Role play some possible outcomes.  Mull over how you might feel if he is a jerk or apathetic or a mooch or an addict of some sort or just flat out not "father" material.

    My best friend did this 15 years ago.  It worked out reasonably well.  There was no creating a father-daughter relationship, but they did get to know each other as "genetically related adults".  She has since moved away from the state where he lives, but they talk every month or so over the phone and she sees him when she is in the area.
  • I completely understand what you are going through! I tried to mend at least an indifferent relationship with my father for my wedding, and in the end it didn't matter because he thought being petty and childish was more important, so he didn't come. I would write the letter, then read it, and see if it conveys what you want to tell/ask him. Then if you feel it does, I would send it. Then you know you tried, even if he doesn't reply or sends a small indifferent letter/card back at last you tried, and you will feel proud to have done so, trust me. But, if it does work out, then you will finally get to know him. I hope it all works out for you!!!!
  • My father & I had an estranged relationship for about 10 years.  I have 2 younger half brothers (his kids) & they found me through social media asking for me to try speaking with him because they said he missed me.  My brothers are 10 years younger than me (I'm currently 32).  I did as they asked, we met at a bar, & my now husband tagged along.  The meeting went great - he apologized for the incident that happened all those years ago & has been in my life for the past 6 years.  My husband did have to have a talk with him (without my knowledge) about 2 years ago because he started to fade away, but ever since then we talk about once a weekend & he invites me over regularly for dinners & stuff.  Even my childhood friends have noticed he's been more active in my life over the past few years.  

    The ironic thing is now me & my mom have an estranged relationship because of it.
  • I am 36 and haven't spoken to my dad hardly at all in almost 2 years. This was my choosing though, not his. I honestly feel relieved that he isn't a part of my daily life. I will very likely never have a relationship with him and I am fine with that. No abuse or anything, I just don't like him as a person. He has been a jerk to a lot of people over the years and I got to a point where I was going to be the one to hold him accountable for his actions when others wouldn't. Just because he is my father doesn't mean I have to like him!
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