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I finally confronted my father… (1 Viewer)

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
And I am struggling with the decision to do so. I’ve hurt him, and I feel bad about that. But I also think that it was something that needed to happen. Gonna just put this here for feedback/constructive criticism.

My parents divorced when I was in grade school. Only seen them in the same room together once since then, at my brother’s wedding. And it was extremely uncomfortable.

My dad has been with my step-mom for 25-30 years. She has two boys from a previous marriage. My mother has not had any meaningful relationships since the divorce that I know of.

My issue is that my father has not shown much, if any, interest in having a relationship with my kids. They are older now, my son is in college, my daughter is in high school. We live roughly 200 miles apart in the same state. I have lived in my current house for almost 20 years. He and my step-mom have made a dedicated visit to see me and my family maybe twice. They never came to any of my kids’ birthday parties as young children. Never came to any important life events. And so on and so forth. I have made many trips to visit them.

It has bothered me for a long time. I always made excuses for my father. He was busy. He worked a lot. I never wanted to rock the boat. I am afraid of confrontation. I love my father very much and I did not want to upset him or make him feel bad.

Fast forward to recent years. My father is now retired. Nothing has changed except for the fact that I have increasingly talked myself into saying something to him.

I was talking to my father on the phone a few weeks ago, and he told me he was in my town just the weekend before. He and my step-mom came to down to celebrate the birthday of one of her sons. And they also visited some of my step-mom’s other relatives and friends. They did not tell us they were in town, and obviously we did not see them.

During this phone conversation, my dad tells me that he and my step-mom will be on a two week vacation out of state. They will be less than 100 miles from where my son is away at college. He asks for my son’s contact information (yes, he doesn’t already have it), and says that he wants to hopefully get to see him while on vacation.

It is now three weeks later, and my dad tells me that he had a great vacation. He tells me that he didn’t have time to reach out to my son, his grandson, who he hasn’t seen or talked to in over a year. Too complicated apparently.

Long story short, it set me off. I was as kind as I could be, but I told him that it made me very upset. It brought up all of the other crap that has bothered me over the years. I laid it all out. And so I have hurt him. And I feel awful about it. But I also think it was something that he needed to hear.

 
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Tom Servo

Nittany Beavers
Your dad seems rather selfish.  And, quite frankly, given his history of interactions with you and your family, it shouldn't surprise you that he does what he does.  I get loving him and that, but at the end of the day, you don't have a healthy relationship with him.

I'm in the same boat, GB, so I know something of what you're going through.

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
You only have control over you...and you did the right thing telling him how you feel. How he takes it is up to him- but you can't ask for more than giving honesty. 

At a guess, he might be a no-confrontation, don't rock the boat guy too, with a wife who may have reasons- good or bad- for not wanting to spend time with his "other" family. Or she's the planner in the family- not unusual- and she doesn't prioritize or put your family on equal footing in their collective plans and he just goes along with it.

dunno. and hopefully, even if he's feeling hurt, it opens the door to a better relationship with him for you and your family. 

GL! 

 

Judge Smails

Footballguy
That being said as a kid who was ghosted by his dad for 13 years I don’t have a soft spot for parents/grandparents who choose a second spouse over extended offspring.  Most have big time regrets at the end. It was worse the last generation, who will go down as the most selfish generation ever. 

 

Punxsutawney Phil

Footballguy
And I am struggling with the decision to do so. I’ve hurt him, and I feel bad about that. But I also think that it was something that needed to happen. Gonna just put this here for feedback/constructive criticism.

My parents divorced when I was in grade school. Only seen them in the same room together once since then, at my brother’s wedding. And it was extremely uncomfortable.

My dad has been with my step-mom for 25-30 years. She has two boys from a previous marriage. My mother has not had any meaningful relationships since the divorce that I know of.

My issue is that my father has not shown much, if any, interest in having a relationship with my kids. They are older now, my son is in college, my daughter is in high school. We live roughly 200 miles apart in the same state. I have lived in my current house for almost 20 years. He and my step-mom have made a dedicated visit to see me and my family maybe twice. They never came to any of my kids’ birthday parties as young children. Never came to any important life events. And so on and so forth. I have made many trips to visit them.

It has bothered me for a long time. I always made excuses for my father. He was busy. He worked a lot. I never wanted to rock the boat. I am afraid of confrontation. I love my father very much and I did not want to upset him or make him feel bad.

Fast forward to recent years. My father is now retired. Nothing has changed except for the fact that I have increasingly talked myself into saying something to him.

I was talking to my father on the phone a few weeks ago, and he told me he was in my town just the weekend before. He and my step-mom came to down to celebrate the birthday of one of her sons. And they also visited some of my step-mom’s other relatives and friends. They did not tell us they were in town, and obviously we did not see them.

During this phone conversation, my dad tells me that he and my step-mom will be on a two week vacation out of state. They will be less than 100 miles from where my son is away at college. He asks for my son’s contact information (yes, he doesn’t already have it), and says that he wants to hopefully get to see him while on vacation.

It is now three weeks later, and my dad tells me that he had a great vacation. He tells me that he didn’t have time to reach out to my son, his grandson, who he hasn’t seen or talked to in over a year. Too complicated apparently.

Long story short, it set me off. I was as kind as I could be, but I told him that it made me very upset. It brought up all of the other crap that has bothered me over the years. I laid it all out. And so I have hurt him. And I feel awful about it. But I also think it was something that he needed to hear.
Good for you.  His new wife probably is the root of the problem, and he is just a pushover, non-confrontational, go with the flow.   "The flow" being your family isnt as important as hers.   You tossed the ball back in his court. Like it's been bothering you a while, now it will bother him a while and he will either have to confront it or face the shame.

 

Punxsutawney Phil

Footballguy
You only have control over you...and you did the right thing telling him how you feel. How he takes it is up to him- but you can't ask for more than giving honesty. 

At a guess, he might be a no-confrontation, don't rock the boat guy too, with a wife who may have reasons- good or bad- for not wanting to spend time with his "other" family. Or she's the planner in the family- not unusual- and she doesn't prioritize or put your family on equal footing in their collective plans and he just goes along with it.

dunno. and hopefully, even if he's feeling hurt, it opens the door to a better relationship with him for you and your family. 

GL! 
Yep. It's her not him.  But unfortunately the do nothing types creat guys like Hitler.  The worst type of people.  Very small balls.

 

snogger

Footballguy
From personal experience you did the right thing.. It is difficult to tell the truth of how you feel. But pretending to be OK with it will just fester and become worse..

I basically went through the samething with my Dad about 2 years ago.. Telling him he never visits us, never visits his grand daughter and how Hurt she was.  He made it all about him and how we were suppose to go see him .. He basically wrote me off and didn't talk to me for over year other then FB happy birthday... 

Fast forward to now 2 years later.. We've started talking again and he has been going out of his way to visit my daughter and us. Hopefully the same happens with your situation :thumbup:  

 

El Floppo

Footballguy
Yep. It's her not him.  But unfortunately the do nothing types creat guys like Hitler.  The worst type of people.  Very small balls.
:lol: I'm not saying she's Hitler...just that shes probably living her life with her own priorities and waiting for Tom's dad to push for his own priorities...but if she's the planner, might be harder for Tom's dad as a busy guy to implement those priorities in their plans, especially if he's a non-confrontational guy like his son. he could have just been floating along all these years, feeling like he's abiding by his new family and not thinking anything was wrong with his old. Tom stepping up and letting him know there is something wrong hopefully changes that- for the dad and the step mom. if they're decent thoughtful people, I'm sure it will. 

 

mr. furley

Footballguy
you're entitled to have feelings & if it's something that bothers you, speak up.

it's not up to you how your old man takes the news. 

i wouldn't hold out hope for changes in his behavior. sometimes it's best to just let go as hard as that might be. if he doesn't care, don't waste your energy trying to make him care.

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
Your dad seems rather selfish.  And, quite frankly, given his history of interactions with you and your family, it shouldn't surprise you that he does what he does.  I get loving him and that, but at the end of the day, you don't have a healthy relationship with him.

I'm in the same boat, GB, so I know something of what you're going through.
Thank you for the kind words.

I hear you. And this is part of the problem… I have always had a really good relationship with my father. We spent lots of time together before I got married and had kids. We text/talk on the phone fairly regularly. I have always held him in the highest regard. He is kind. He is generous. He is a hard worker. I love him very much.

I just never understood why he couldn’t be that same person with my kids.

 
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Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
You only have control over you...and you did the right thing telling him how you feel. How he takes it is up to him- but you can't ask for more than giving honesty. 

At a guess, he might be a no-confrontation, don't rock the boat guy too, with a wife who may have reasons- good or bad- for not wanting to spend time with his "other" family. Or she's the planner in the family- not unusual- and she doesn't prioritize or put your family on equal footing in their collective plans and he just goes along with it.

dunno. and hopefully, even if he's feeling hurt, it opens the door to a better relationship with him for you and your family. 

GL! 
Thank you for the kind words.

Clearly you understand. You have this pegged to a tee. All that you have said is absolutely true.

I am hopeful as well. It is why I feel good about finally speaking up, regardless of the ultimate outcome. 

 
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Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
That being said as a kid who was ghosted by his dad for 13 years I don’t have a soft spot for parents/grandparents who choose a second spouse over extended offspring.  Most have big time regrets at the end. It was worse the last generation, who will go down as the most selfish generation ever. 
Can’t say I disagree. Though my wife’s parents are amazing. I cannot begin to compare to mine. But the barometer that I use for wonderful grandparents begins with them. 

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
Good for you.  His new wife probably is the root of the problem, and he is just a pushover, non-confrontational, go with the flow.   "The flow" being your family isnt as important as hers.   You tossed the ball back in his court. Like it's been bothering you a while, now it will bother him a while and he will either have to confront it or face the shame.
I think you are right. And while I love my step-mom, I know that she is the one driving the train. And my dad is definitely the “go-with-the-flow” guy. Doesn’t make any easier to accept though. 

 

pantherclub

Footballguy
granted he is your dad but dude you should have cut the cord on him 20 years ago

We had an issue with my SIL years ago and just said enough is enough and cut her out.  There is even a thread about it on here I could look up if you are interested.  Long story short she is/was psychotic and just caused drama non stop so the wife and I said enough is enough and we havent been happier since.  As my kids got older we sat them down to explain why they never saw their aunt anymore.  

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
From personal experience you did the right thing.. It is difficult to tell the truth of how you feel. But pretending to be OK with it will just fester and become worse..

I basically went through the samething with my Dad about 2 years ago.. Telling him he never visits us, never visits his grand daughter and how Hurt she was.  He made it all about him and how we were suppose to go see him .. He basically wrote me off and didn't talk to me for over year other then FB happy birthday... 

Fast forward to now 2 years later.. We've started talking again and he has been going out of his way to visit my daughter and us. Hopefully the same happens with your situation :thumbup:  
Sorry for your situation, but sounds like it is improving. Hope mine does as well.

And you’re exactly right. My dad made it all about him during our conversation. Which was weird, because I’ve never seen him this way. He was very defensive. 

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
:lol: I'm not saying she's Hitler...just that shes probably living her life with her own priorities and waiting for Tom's dad to push for his own priorities...but if she's the planner, might be harder for Tom's dad as a busy guy to implement those priorities in their plans, especially if he's a non-confrontational guy like his son. he could have just been floating along all these years, feeling like he's abiding by his new family and not thinking anything was wrong with his old. Tom stepping up and letting him know there is something wrong hopefully changes that- for the dad and the step mom. if they're decent thoughtful people, I'm sure it will. 
Right again. I made sure to accept full responsibility for not saying something sooner. That is most definitely my fault.

My wife and kids have always begged me to say something. My response was always… “I don’t want him to change simply because I said something. I want him to change because he wants to.” It’s irrational I know. But it was the logic I used on myself. 

 

Courtjester

The Town Drunk
You are more forgiving than I would be. It is a package deal. You don't care about my kids, I don't care about you.

Now, I can't relate to walk in your shoes. My parents were married one year short of 60 years before my dad died of cancer. My parents were/are incredible people.

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 28th anniversary. Our two daughters are our world and you treat them poorly. you are treating me poorly and it is done. 

You needed to confront him and let him know your feelings---if he doesn't understand or change, it is on him.

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
you're entitled to have feelings & if it's something that bothers you, speak up.

it's not up to you how your old man takes the news. 

i wouldn't hold out hope for changes in his behavior. sometimes it's best to just let go as hard as that might be. if he doesn't care, don't waste your energy trying to make him care.
I hear you. I did this with my mother 25-30 years ago. Had to do the “tough love” approach to protect myself. We’ve since reconnected, and we have a good relationship now. Not perfect mother/son relationship, but pretty good.  She LOVES my kids to no end, and they love her just as much.

Not sure I can take this approach with my father. Not right now anyway. 

 

Alex P Keaton

Footballguy
@Tom Skerritt My dad’s former best friend got remarried, and he basically became the same as how you describe your dad.  Our families were close, and this guy basically disappeared over the span of 10 years, very gradually.   He cut off his own kids eventually (sad story, his daughter killed herself about 5 years ago; she was one of my longest friendships, going back to toddler days).  
 

My parents don’t see him or talk to him anymore, and while that is sad, it was just emotionally gutting to see him walk away from his adult children.   And it was all the stepmother.   100%.  They saw (and still see) her kids all the time.   Weekly.  He hasn’t seen his own son in over 5 years.  Or his new grandkid.

Anyway.  You did the right thing, painful as it might seem.  It sounds like you guys had a really strong relationship at some point….hopefully that matters to him and he steps up.  I wish you all the best and hope it works - but like Floppo wrote, you can’t control that.  You’ve done your part.

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
granted he is your dad but dude you should have cut the cord on him 20 years ago

We had an issue with my SIL years ago and just said enough is enough and cut her out.  There is even a thread about it on here I could look up if you are interested.  Long story short she is/was psychotic and just caused drama non stop so the wife and I said enough is enough and we havent been happier since.  As my kids got older we sat them down to explain why they never saw their aunt anymore.  
Sorry to hear. And best of luck with this.

My dad is a very kind man. Makes it all the harder that he is unable to be this way with my kids. 

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
You are more forgiving than I would be. It is a package deal. You don't care about my kids, I don't care about you.

Now, I can't relate to walk in your shoes. My parents were married one year short of 60 years before my dad died of cancer. My parents were/are incredible people.

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 28th anniversary. Our two daughters are our world and you treat them poorly. you are treating me poorly and it is done. 

You needed to confront him and let him know your feelings---if he doesn't understand or change, it is on him.
I am so jealous of those who have loving parents who lasted til the end. Be grateful. Sounds like you are.

And I don’t want this to sound like he doesn’t care about my kids, I believe he does. I’m merely saying that he has never made them a priority. He does not care to have a relationship with them.

I think that this may be the part that I am struggling with. Does he care about them? I want to believe that he does, and I just don’t know what he feels. I am trying to pull this out of him. And he is struggling to give me an answer. It is going to take some time. 

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
@Tom Skerritt My dad’s former best friend got remarried, and he basically became the same as how you describe your dad.  Our families were close, and this guy basically disappeared over the span of 10 years, very gradually.   He cut off his own kids eventually (sad story, his daughter killed herself about 5 years ago; she was one of my longest friendships, going back to toddler days).  
 

My parents don’t see him or talk to him anymore, and while that is sad, it was just emotionally gutting to see him walk away from his adult children.   And it was all the stepmother.   100%.  They saw (and still see) her kids all the time.   Weekly.  He hasn’t seen his own son in over 5 years.  Or his new grandkid.

Anyway.  You did the right thing, painful as it might seem.  It sounds like you guys had a really strong relationship at some point….hopefully that matters to him and he steps up.  I wish you all the best and hope it works - but like Floppo wrote, you can’t control that.  You’ve done your part.
Thanks man. I really appreciate this. I have such a hard time believing this, but you might be right. Sorry about your friends. 

 

AAABatteries

Footballguy
I don’t have much to add either - I have a similar situation but don’t have any plans to say anything.  One of my goals in life is to not turn out like my Dad.  Married 5 times and not involved much in any of our lives.  He’s made his choices over the years - unlike the OP I’m not bitter about it, I’ve come to accept it and thankfully my kids have two wonderful Grandfathers in their lives (my stepfather and my wife’s).   He’s missing out - we are just fine.

 

PIK95

Footballguy
That being said as a kid who was ghosted by his dad for 13 years I don’t have a soft spot for parents/grandparents who choose a second spouse over extended offspring.  Most have big time regrets at the end. It was worse the last generation, who will go down as the most selfish generation ever. 
This.  

 

PIK95

Footballguy
granted he is your dad but dude you should have cut the cord on him 20 years ago

We had an issue with my SIL years ago and just said enough is enough and cut her out.  There is even a thread about it on here I could look up if you are interested.  Long story short she is/was psychotic and just caused drama non stop so the wife and I said enough is enough and we havent been happier since.  As my kids got older we sat them down to explain why they never saw their aunt anymore.  
I cut off my dad, and my crazy sister cut everyone off.  It's been great!

 

Mrs. Rannous

Footballguy
His new wife probably is the root of the problem, and he is just a pushover, non-confrontational, go with the flow.   "The flow" being your family isnt as important as hers. 
I have to disagree with this as a general statement.  He is responsible for his own behavior.  Putting it all on her gives him a free pass.  On the other hand:

My dad’s former best friend got remarried, and he basically became the same as how you describe your dad.  Our families were close, and this guy basically disappeared over the span of 10 years, very gradually. 
This sounds like abusive, isolatiing behavior.  Not even slightly okay.  It doesn't sound as if this applies to OP's situation though.

 

Manster

Footballguy
Took balls to do what you did, and I applaud you for it.  My situation isn't too dissimilar..... physically, my dad is frail, but he still scares the hell outta me.

Hopefully, ur old man takes it to heart and makes an effort.....if not, don't let it eat you up.  Some people are just ####ty.

 
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identikit

Footballguy
Tom Skerritt said:
Thank you for the kind words.

I hear you. And this is part of the problem… I have always had a really good relationship with my father. We spent lots of time together before I got married and had kids. We text/talk on the phone fairly regularly. I have always held him in the highest regard. He is kind. He is generous. He is a hard worker. I love him very much.

I just never understood why he couldn’t be that same person with my kids.


I'm in just about the same situation as you.

His next wife's family took precedence over my kids, my siblings' kids, etc.

Even my siblings and myself, but not to that extent.

I never talked to him about it.

I should have.

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
Tom Skerritt said:
And I am struggling with the decision to do so. I’ve hurt him, and I feel bad about that. But I also think that it was something that needed to happen. Gonna just put this here for feedback/constructive criticism.

My parents divorced when I was in grade school. Only seen them in the same room together once since then, at my brother’s wedding. And it was extremely uncomfortable.

My dad has been with my step-mom for 25-30 years. She has two boys from a previous marriage. My mother has not had any meaningful relationships since the divorce that I know of.

My issue is that my father has not shown much, if any, interest in having a relationship with my kids. They are older now, my son is in college, my daughter is in high school. We live roughly 200 miles apart in the same state. I have lived in my current house for almost 20 years. He and my step-mom have made a dedicated visit to see me and my family maybe twice. They never came to any of my kids’ birthday parties as young children. Never came to any important life events. And so on and so forth. I have made many trips to visit them.

It has bothered me for a long time. I always made excuses for my father. He was busy. He worked a lot. I never wanted to rock the boat. I am afraid of confrontation. I love my father very much and I did not want to upset him or make him feel bad.

Fast forward to recent years. My father is now retired. Nothing has changed except for the fact that I have increasingly talked myself into saying something to him.

I was talking to my father on the phone a few weeks ago, and he told me he was in my town just the weekend before. He and my step-mom came to down to celebrate the birthday of one of her sons. And they also visited some of my step-mom’s other relatives and friends. They did not tell us they were in town, and obviously we did not see them.

During this phone conversation, my dad tells me that he and my step-mom will be on a two week vacation out of state. They will be less than 100 miles from where my son is away at college. He asks for my son’s contact information (yes, he doesn’t already have it), and says that he wants to hopefully get to see him while on vacation.

It is now three weeks later, and my dad tells me that he had a great vacation. He tells me that he didn’t have time to reach out to my son, his grandson, who he hasn’t seen or talked to in over a year. Too complicated apparently.

Long story short, it set me off. I was as kind as I could be, but I told him that it made me very upset. It brought up all of the other crap that has bothered me over the years. I laid it all out. And so I have hurt him. And I feel awful about it. But I also think it was something that he needed to hear.
Your dad is a narcissist. He will never change.

In a very twisted way, he enjoys the fact that you are upset with him. It fuels him.

 

kutta

Footballguy
You did the right thing confronting him. But let me throw out something.

My wife and I have been married a long time (28 years) and had a rough patch 4 years ago (my fault). We separated for a bit but all is good now. The kids (3 adult kids in their 20's) really took her side (as they should have). But, I will say, if we had divorced, it would have been VERY hard to go to family events and such, knowing that I was the one responsible for situation. So I could see myself pulling back from the family to let her and them move on, as hard as it might be. I don't know the situation with the divorce of your parents, but I do know there is a LOT that goes on that kids don't know about and shouldn't know about. Is it possible your dad feels "judged" by you and your family, or that he doesn't want to disrupt what you have with your mom?

I guess I've just realized that relationships are very complicated, and sometimes what looks like one thing is actually something else. 

I do hope you and your dad get things better - I'm sure he wants that too.

 

northern exposure

Footballguy
The original post really caused a reaction in me. But, subsequent posts by the OP show me our situations are very different.

I was never close to my Dad growing up,he wasn't the warm, fuzzy type. He and my Mom fought a lot, but I guess they decided to "stay together for the kids" and stuck it out for quite a few years after my brother and I left home.

I called my parents when I got engaged to my current wife and my Mom's response was less than I expected. She explained that she had decided to get a divorce. She declined to attend our wedding because my Dad and his new woman were attending.

I live about a 5 hour drive from my Mom and Dad and we have always made a few trips there in a year to visit. When we would travel there we made a point of visiting everyone; my brother and his family, my Mom and my Dad and his new woman (eventually his wife). In addition, because my Mom doesn't drive she used to fly to visit us at Christmas.

My Dad's new wife also has children in the city I live in, so they would come here a few times a year. If we were lucky, they might stop by for a quick visit on their way back home. Most times it was a phone call saying they were in town, but didn't have time to stop by on this trip. My Dad never acknowledged my sons' birthdays or sent anything for them at Christmas.

I brought this up to my Brother and he defended my Dad saying he didn't have a lot of money to buy stuff for my kids. But, he couldn't even afford a birthday card or an email or phone call at Christmas?? My sons are 14 and 16 now, but when they were younger they would ask what they had done wrong to Grandpa to make him not like them? They said they hardly ever got to see him, he never sent a card on their birthday or wished them a Merry Christmas. Tough situation to try to explain to young children.

My Dad passed away 3 years ago and I never told him how I felt about his lack of involvement in my sons' lives. Maybe I should have.

 

stbugs

Footballguy
El Floppo said:
You only have control over you...and you did the right thing telling him how you feel. How he takes it is up to him- but you can't ask for more than giving honesty. 

At a guess, he might be a no-confrontation, don't rock the boat guy too, with a wife who may have reasons- good or bad- for not wanting to spend time with his "other" family. Or she's the planner in the family- not unusual- and she doesn't prioritize or put your family on equal footing in their collective plans and he just goes along with it.

dunno. and hopefully, even if he's feeling hurt, it opens the door to a better relationship with him for you and your family. 

GL! 
I'd say if his dad seems to still give a little #### (like asking for son's info), then his new wife just doesn't want anything to do with the OP/step-son or his family. Seems pretty apparent that the step-mom is one of those my kids are way more important than my husband's kids. It's pretty damn sad. I'm lucky my parents are still married and my in-laws, who've passed, were still married. That said, I'd yell at my dad if he was like the OP's dad and I don't think there would ever be a new wife that could keep him from visiting my sons and they live much further away. I feel bad for the OP, because his dad is literally saying I don't give a crap about my grand kids at all. That's a selfish ######## IMHO and I hate to say that but damn, they are your grand kids.

 

Mrs. Rannous

Footballguy
One of my friend's husband slept with the secretary and then married her.  He basically ignored the two kids he had with her in favor of the new ones.  It was really bad for them and kind of messed them up.  What kind of person does that?

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
Your dad is a narcissist. He will never change.

In a very twisted way, he enjoys the fact that you are upset with him. It fuels him.
Don’t know that I agree with this. During our conversation, my dad said that things will be different now. Only time will tell. 

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
You did the right thing confronting him. But let me throw out something.

My wife and I have been married a long time (28 years) and had a rough patch 4 years ago (my fault). We separated for a bit but all is good now. The kids (3 adult kids in their 20's) really took her side (as they should have). But, I will say, if we had divorced, it would have been VERY hard to go to family events and such, knowing that I was the one responsible for situation. So I could see myself pulling back from the family to let her and them move on, as hard as it might be. I don't know the situation with the divorce of your parents, but I do know there is a LOT that goes on that kids don't know about and shouldn't know about. Is it possible your dad feels "judged" by you and your family, or that he doesn't want to disrupt what you have with your mom?

I guess I've just realized that relationships are very complicated, and sometimes what looks like one thing is actually something else. 

I do hope you and your dad get things better - I'm sure he wants that too.
There is a lot of truth to this. I think my wife would agree with you. She has said many times that my father is so damaged by the marriage to my mother. And it affects all of his relationships, but especially for me and my brother. And by extension my kids. So I think there is something to this. 

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
The original post really caused a reaction in me. But, subsequent posts by the OP show me our situations are very different.

I was never close to my Dad growing up,he wasn't the warm, fuzzy type. He and my Mom fought a lot, but I guess they decided to "stay together for the kids" and stuck it out for quite a few years after my brother and I left home.

I called my parents when I got engaged to my current wife and my Mom's response was less than I expected. She explained that she had decided to get a divorce. She declined to attend our wedding because my Dad and his new woman were attending.

I live about a 5 hour drive from my Mom and Dad and we have always made a few trips there in a year to visit. When we would travel there we made a point of visiting everyone; my brother and his family, my Mom and my Dad and his new woman (eventually his wife). In addition, because my Mom doesn't drive she used to fly to visit us at Christmas.

My Dad's new wife also has children in the city I live in, so they would come here a few times a year. If we were lucky, they might stop by for a quick visit on their way back home. Most times it was a phone call saying they were in town, but didn't have time to stop by on this trip. My Dad never acknowledged my sons' birthdays or sent anything for them at Christmas.

I brought this up to my Brother and he defended my Dad saying he didn't have a lot of money to buy stuff for my kids. But, he couldn't even afford a birthday card or an email or phone call at Christmas?? My sons are 14 and 16 now, but when they were younger they would ask what they had done wrong to Grandpa to make him not like them? They said they hardly ever got to see him, he never sent a card on their birthday or wished them a Merry Christmas. Tough situation to try to explain to young children.

My Dad passed away 3 years ago and I never told him how I felt about his lack of involvement in my sons' lives. Maybe I should have.
Interesting. Sounds like we have a lot in common.

And my dad is not the warm and fuzzy type either. I told him that I am not asking for much. A phone call, a text, a letter. Just let them know that you are thinking about them and you care about them. Jesus Christ just ask them a bunch of stupid questions about school, sports and friends. It’s not that hard.

It was odd during our conversation the other day. My dad made a passive-aggressive response with “I guess I don’t know what the rules are for being a grandparent.” I didn’t really know how to respond. So I didn’t. I also know that I’m hurting him with all that I’m saying, so I just let it go.

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
I'd say if his dad seems to still give a little #### (like asking for son's info), then his new wife just doesn't want anything to do with the OP/step-son or his family. Seems pretty apparent that the step-mom is one of those my kids are way more important than my husband's kids. It's pretty damn sad. I'm lucky my parents are still married and my in-laws, who've passed, were still married. That said, I'd yell at my dad if he was like the OP's dad and I don't think there would ever be a new wife that could keep him from visiting my sons and they live much further away. I feel bad for the OP, because his dad is literally saying I don't give a crap about my grand kids at all. That's a selfish ######## IMHO and I hate to say that but damn, they are your grand kids.
I have reached out to my step-mom. I am going to call and talk to her today. I’m sure that my dad  has discussed this with her, but I’m not sure how he has presented the information. I want to be preemptive so that this does not blow up beyond repair. Also I want her to know that my issue is with my dad and not her and her family. I’m also curious to hear her side. She might tell me some stuff about my dad that I have no clue about. 

 

identikit

Footballguy
One of my friend's husband slept with the secretary and then married her.  He basically ignored the two kids he had with her in favor of the new ones.  It was really bad for them and kind of messed them up.  What kind of person does that?


Sadly, a lot of people

🥺

 

Gawain

Footballguy
Sounds like something that should have been said years ago. It's deplorable that he hasn't been part of your kids lives. Shame on him.
Reading this thread though, there's a lot of us in the exact same situation. Having this conversation is tough, because we don't want to lose the relationship that exists pushing for more. By having this conversation, you're drawing a line in the sand that the relationship as it exists cannot continue. As several people have stated, the conversation can lead to even less interaction and fulfillment.

My wife and I have had the same conversation regarding my father. He and my mom split up when I was two, he remarried a woman that he was counseling and had two more kids with her. I saw him every other weekend. New woman left him after 20 years and he remarried in 2012 to his third wife who had three daughters. I was living six hours away at the time and he got wrapped up in her kids and their life. My wife and I (and our three kids) moved back at the end of 2019, currently about 40 minutes away. There will be birthday parties at his house, they will take her grandkids to do activities and will watch her grandkids when the parents go away. They have never offered to watch mine. We're flying my mother-in-law up to give my wife a hand while I am out of town over Labor Day weekend.

While it does get under my skin, I'm really trying to just accept the relationship for what it is. If I invite them over, they'll generally come. If we invite ourselves over to their house, they're generally OK with us coming by. At the same time, when we get together and the first thing my dad does is tell stories of the outings they had with her grandkids...man I get heated.

 
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Charlie Steiner

Footballguy
I have written and erased two different replies to this.

On one hand, my sister has spent her conversations with my mother over the last 40+ years putting my mother on trial for the crime of ruining her life, so I've seen what you're going through run amok. I'm not saying this to discourage you from what you did, just as a warning against going off the rails with it.

On another hand, my FIL, whose dalliances drove my wife's mother to her grave when my wife was 12 (oh, and by the way, he married his mistress at the time barely 3 months after the funeral), has mostly been given a pass by his own kids and grandchildren while he gives the bulk of his attention to that woman's children and grandchildren, though I drew the line when he chose seeing a dog one of his step-children had over watching my son in the state playoffs his senior year. To me, he sounds similar to your father, though I'd guess my FIL (90+) is probably at least a little older.  Either way, he's probably more from a generation where the father figures were more standoffish and also allowed to be more about themselves.  I mean, if they coached or help coach little league, they were a rock star, but otherwise they spent their time engrossed in their own pursuits.  That's a tough rut to get out of as a new dad in this age where it's expected to be fully engaged from the moment they're born; imagine how tough it is to adjust when you've been the other way for 50, 60, 70+ years.

I'm basically torn. I think honesty is important in any relationship, and getting to that point with parents is tricky, plus when you start talking about things stemming from 20, 30 or more years ago, AND trying to get someone in their 60's, 70's or older to change is a tall order as well. The issue about your kids, to me, is a function of what I was trying to say in the previous paragraph; changing one's mindset that far along in life isn't impossible but expectations probably should be tempered.

Regardless of all that, I hope your dad does recognize his shortcoming here and is able to adjust his habits to connect with your kids. It should never be too late.

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
Reading this thread though, there's a lot of us in the exact same situation. Having this conversation is tough, because we don't want to lose the relationship that exists pushing for more. By having this conversation, you're drawing a line in the sand that the relationship as it exists cannot continue. As several people have stated, the conversation can lead to even less interaction and fulfillment.

My wife and I have had the same conversation regarding my father. He and my mom split up when I was two, he remarried a woman that he was counseling and had two more kids with her. I saw him every other weekend. New woman left him after 20 years and he remarried in 2012 to his third wife who had three daughters. I was living six hours away at the time and he got wrapped up in her kids and their life. My wife and I (and our three kids) moved back at the end of 2019, currently about 40 minutes away. There will be birthday parties at his house, they will take her grandkids to do activities and will watch her grandkids when the parents go away. They have never offered to watch mine. We're flying my mother-in-law up to give my wife a hand while I am out of town over Labor Day weekend.

While it does get under my skin, I'm really trying to just accept the relationship for what it is. If I invite them over, they'll generally come. If we invite ourselves over to their house, they're generally OK with us coming by. At the same time, when we get together and the first thing my dad does is tell stories of the outings they had with her grandkids...man I get heated.
Wow, good stuff. Very insightful. Particularly the bolded. I feel you.

And you’re absolutely right. It will suck if things do not improve from this confrontation. I haven’t really considered the chance that it won’t. It’s a risk.

I never had to deal with my dad having kids with another woman. That must add an exponential layer of complications. My situation does not seem as bad after reading this.

I did not expect to hear as many people in similar situations. It does make me feel better those of you saying I did the right thing.  My insecurities tend to get the best of me. 

 
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stbugs

Footballguy
I have reached out to my step-mom. I am going to call and talk to her today. I’m sure that my dad  has discussed this with her, but I’m not sure how he has presented the information. I want to be preemptive so that this does not blow up beyond repair. Also I want her to know that my issue is with my dad and not her and her family. I’m also curious to hear her side. She might tell me some stuff about my dad that I have no clue about. 
That’s an interesting approach and may lead to a weird call. It’s a good step. Be prepared to potentially hear some not fun news. I'd also be hesitant to believe everything you hear because as you’ve seen above and what I’ve seen in my extended family. It’s not surprising that your step mom would lean towards her own kids and maybe your dad isn’t speaking up so good luck and hopefully she hears what would be tough to hear that your kids feel like their grandpa doesn’t really care about them.

 

Tom Skerritt

Footballguy
I have written and erased two different replies to this.

On one hand, my sister has spent her conversations with my mother over the last 40+ years putting my mother on trial for the crime of ruining her life, so I've seen what you're going through run amok. I'm not saying this to discourage you from what you did, just as a warning against going off the rails with it.

On another hand, my FIL, whose dalliances drove my wife's mother to her grave when my wife was 12 (oh, and by the way, he married his mistress at the time barely 3 months after the funeral), has mostly been given a pass by his own kids and grandchildren while he gives the bulk of his attention to that woman's children and grandchildren, though I drew the line when he chose seeing a dog one of his step-children had over watching my son in the state playoffs his senior year. To me, he sounds similar to your father, though I'd guess my FIL (90+) is probably at least a little older.  Either way, he's probably more from a generation where the father figures were more standoffish and also allowed to be more about themselves.  I mean, if they coached or help coach little league, they were a rock star, but otherwise they spent their time engrossed in their own pursuits.  That's a tough rut to get out of as a new dad in this age where it's expected to be fully engaged from the moment they're born; imagine how tough it is to adjust when you've been the other way for 50, 60, 70+ years.

I'm basically torn. I think honesty is important in any relationship, and getting to that point with parents is tricky, plus when you start talking about things stemming from 20, 30 or more years ago, AND trying to get someone in their 60's, 70's or older to change is a tall order as well. The issue about your kids, to me, is a function of what I was trying to say in the previous paragraph; changing one's mindset that far along in life isn't impossible but expectations probably should be tempered.

Regardless of all that, I hope your dad does recognize his shortcoming here and is able to adjust his habits to connect with your kids. It should never be too late.
I completely agree. However, and I’ve said this to my father… he has had plenty of time/vacations/etc to visit and socialize with many people over the years. And good for him. He should do those things. He has earned the right to do those things. But when I see him going here, there, and everywhere, and visiting friends, step-mom’s relatives, birthdays for step-siblings, and for whatever reason none of those trips include my kids? HIS grandkids? That is going to bother me. I finally reached the end of my rope. And I lashed out in defense of my kids. And I think I’m okay with that, consequences be damned. 

 

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