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Relationship with my dad - do I keep trying to have one?

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peridot posted 1/4/2014 00:07 AM

About 6 months ago, I contacted my dad about some medical questions. Since then we've met once, at McDonalds, and have talked on the phone about every two weeks but it's me calling him. He's never called me.

I really could use some advise from someone who has been through this. I can't tell if he's really interested in having a relationship with me.

These conversations only usually last a few minutes. It's like we are still struggling to hold a conversation. It's still really awkward.

At the end of our conversations he doesn't say bye or anything like that. It's, Thanks for the call. I feel like that's something you say to a stranger or something.

During one conversation, that actually lasted a while, we were talking about the past and I brought up wanting to have some sort of relationship. His only response was "yeah".

When we first started talking I had told myself, I would just see where this goes but I don't feel like it's going anywhere. I don't even know if I should keep trying.

GabyBaby posted 1/4/2014 00:49 AM

Let him take the next step.
Don't call him. Wait for him to call you.
If he fails to do so, then you have your answer and should move on.

((( peridot )))

persevere posted 1/4/2014 00:56 AM

I feel for you peridot and I understand to an extent. I've contemplated contacting my father for years but havent. We haven't seen each other since I was 13, 30 years ago. I still struggle with this. He doesn't know his grandchildren and they are amazing.


LovesLaboursLost posted 1/4/2014 01:21 AM

I understand father has never really shown interest in who I am or what's going on in my life; we're pretty much strangers. He makes noises on FB etc. about being a "proud grandfather" but he doesn't know my kids any better than he knows me. My mom left him when I was a kid. He stopped speaking to my sister years ago. He spent his life alienating everyone who ever cared about him and now he's alone.

If your dad is like mine just know: it's not you. Some people are just truly shitty parents. I really believe that to an emotionally healthy person who has kids, NOTHING could stop them from wanting to be a part of their kid's life, even into adulthood.


Crescita posted 1/4/2014 09:26 AM

(((Peridot))) No advice, but I have a very similar non-relationship with my dad. Reaching out, not reaching out, it's tough either way.

peridot posted 1/4/2014 13:33 PM

Before speaking to him this time, we haven't talked in 20 years.

I keep thinking about something my grandmother told me as a child... if he wants to be in my life, he will reach out and contact me. She always told me it should be him contacting me. I think that's true even as an adult.

I also think about what I would do if this were me and my kids. If for some reason we went years without talking and I had a chance at having them in my life, I would be the one contacting them. I would move heaven and earth to have my kids in my life. Of course, I would do everything possible not to let that happen in the first place.

Right now I'm not just going to fall of the planet because my brother is in the hospital and I am worried about him but once this emergency is over I am going to put the ball in my dad's court. I won't continue to be the only one making an effort. It works both ways.

[This message edited by peridot at 1:34 PM, January 4th (Saturday)]

peridot posted 1/5/2014 00:08 AM

Guess I won't be calling him back any time soon. I called to get an update on my brother tonight. I can't go up there because my kids aren't old enough to go in ICU and I don't have anyone to watch them.

At the end of the conversation I asked him to call me if anything changed with my brother. He told me to go on Facebook and check for updates. Okay!!!

I didn't think there was anything wrong in asking him that. Whenever there's been an emergency in my other side of the family. We don't get on Facebook, we get on the phone but, okay, whatever.

thebighurt posted 1/5/2014 06:13 AM

That really stinks, Peridot. I'm so sorry.

Amazonia posted 1/5/2014 06:23 AM

I know it's a terribly sterile idea, but have you done a cost-benefit analysis?

What is this communication costing you?
Relatively low effort physically, but a high emotional cost as you ride the roller coaster of hopes, I imagine.

What is it benefiting you?
A very small emotional feedback; potential for the future; an open line of communication for future issues that arise similar to that which brought you back into communication in the future.

ETA: Feel free to augment as necessary.

Is the cost worth the benefits to you?

[This message edited by Amazonia at 6:23 AM, January 5th (Sunday)]

cayc posted 1/5/2014 07:38 AM

Is this an estranged relationship that you are trying to re-kindle or is this how your dad is?

I'm 47 years old. My father has called me ONCE during that entire time, and then it was only because he accidentally hit the wrong button on the phone. My mother isn't much better.

Phone conversations with my father are stilted at best. When I need to communicate with him, I do it via email. My mom and I talk all the time, but only because I call her. She'll call occasionally if I haven't in a while, but she really prefers me to call her.

They also don't visit. If I want to see them, I have to go to where they are.

It's been like this my whole life. It isn't that they don't love me, they are just passive, repressed people. So I call, I visit. When my dad is an ass or being awkward I either call him on it or over look it. As a consequence I have a relationship with them. Otoh, my brother got in a big snit over how they are and hasn't seen them or talked to them in over a decade.

You can choose what you want. If you want a relationship, if you want to be able to call, then it sounds like your dad answers the phone when you do. So the burden is on you to choose. It isn't ideal. It's not Rockweller/Hallmark/Coca Cola commercial ideal no, but I'm not hearing that your dad won't talk to you, only that he won't be like you want him to be.

fireproof posted 1/5/2014 07:43 AM

This might be a different view but your Dad when he talks with you is there. He isn't dismissing you. He might not be sure how- not giving him an excuse but it will be your choice to invest the time.

What I am trying to say all relationships see what it means to you and what boundaries there are. If your goal is to have contact with your dad you can reach that goal. If you want more from him then offer more suggestions and overtime he might be more proactive but if he isn't you would have spent the time with him YOU wanted.

People pass and I know that is extreme but unlike a parent who shuts the door he isn't. He isn't being overly enthusiastic but he is there. Maybe sometime every now and then.

Regardless of his actions decide what you want. I am sorry about your brother. Take care.

[This message edited by fireproof at 7:44 AM, January 5th (Sunday)]

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