DEAR ABBY: I cut my father out of my life years ago, after he declared he could not support my decision to adopt three children from a Russian orphanage with my longtime companion. The adoption announcement coincided with my “coming out” to Dad, who is now married to his third wife.
It must have been a lot for him to take in at one time. He told me plainly that he could not support my decision because he could not “understand” it. He has never met our children, and does not acknowledge them as his grandchildren.
This year on Father’s Day, I sent him a card and he replied by email that he was glad to hear from me and he hoped for a reconciliation, but was not sure how to go about it. I responded by email that I was cautiously optimistic that we could reignite a respectful relationship.
I haven’t heard back from him and I suspect it’s because he saw that I had changed my last name from his to my husband’s, a decision I made after our marriage. My father was not aware that I had gotten married. I think I have overwhelmed him again, which has rendered him speechless. Please advise me on how to proceed. — PRODIGAL SON IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SON: Call your father, tell him you love him and that you would like to schedule a visit with him — but would like to send him some reading material before you do. Then contact PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). The phone number is 202-467-8180 and you’ll find them on the Internet at www.pflag.org. They will be happy to provide you with literature for your dad to help him “understand.” Frankly, he has my sympathy because before you hit him with the “double whammy,” he didn’t have a clue about who you really are.
Whether your name change overwhelmed him or not is irrelevant. The ball is now in your court, so if you want to have a hope of a relationship with your father, YOU will have to make the next move.
DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, I proposed to the woman who changed me for the better. I love her with all my heart, but after we had been engaged for only four days everything came to a stop. Her mother was against the marriage, and my fiancee wasn’t strong enough to follow her heart. We had been in a relationship for more than nine years, most of it long distance except for the last two years.
I couldn’t understand her change of heart, and I tried with all my might to find some middle ground. “Claudette” has three children from her first marriage, and I had become a part of their lives and an important family friend.
After getting no reason for calling off the wedding, I began texting her for an answer only to be arrested for cyber-stalking. I know in my heart from letters sent back and forth that this wasn’t Claudette’s idea, but I can’t let go. I know she’s the one for me. We made a great couple, but her mother couldn’t stand the fact that we were so close. How do I let her go? — GRIEVING IN FLORIDA
DEAR GRIEVING: You may not believe this, but you’re a lucky man. It may take the help of a psychologist for you to disengage emotionally and move on. Given that you wound up in trouble with the law, this would be a wise decision.
It might also help to envision what it would have been like being married not only to Claudette, but also to her mother — because they appear to be joined at the hip, and the part that’s doing the thinking isn’t your former fiancee. This may be the reason that her first marriage failed.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.