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Well, that was... weird (not stepparent related)

Posted by on Aug. 8, 2015 at 1:12 PM
  • 6 Replies

 I'm posting this here because this group is full of awesome people with great advice, so even though it's not really stepparent related, here we go.

Let me give a brief backstory so things will make sense. My mom married my exstepfather when I was 5yo or so, they divorced when I was 14-15yo due to his abuse and Mom loosing custody because of his abuse. My grandma had custody of us from that age till the five of us reached legal adulthood. My biological father faithfully took his every other weekend visits up till I was 9-10yo and I haven't seen him since, he has me and my brother with our mom (my other three siblings are not his). He contacted my brother once or twice when he was about 14-15yo (he's a year younger than me) and me when I was 17yo, told me to get an abortion and no contact again till about 2-3yrs ago. He called up around Christmas a few years ago but that quickly faded, if I didn't make all the effort then we didn't have any contact.

Okay, I think that brings us up to the present mostly. So last year, about this time, he leaves me a voicemail that he's in stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Nothing after that. On Wednesday 8/5/15, I get a text that he's in town and wants to see his grandkids. I didn't respond to last year or this year, I have no interest as we've obviously meant nothing to him for the last 20yrs and, honestly, how much of a relationship can we have at this point when, if he truly has cancer, he's going to die soon and he doesn't have a good track record with persuing a relationship with us?

I stayed an hour late at work on Thursday so, when I got home, the boys (my husband and son) left to take care of a out of town family members dog and plants, leaving me home with my daughter. We were watching tv and eating a late dinner when as I'm leaving the kitchen to head back into the livingroom, I hear a hello. I look and there's this man standing on my drive way doorstep (side door, not the front door). He walks in, saying hi and gives me a hug. Awkward. Then asks if I know who he is. He seriously looked like he was going to cry when I told him that I didn't know who he was, that I didn't recognize him, that's when he said he's my dad.

He came in and sat on the couch, spent a total of about 2-2.5hrs "visiting," and about 80% of that time was watching tv. I did text my husband and they came home immediately, got back about 10min after my biological father arrived. He barely spoke though, only asked a couple of questions about the kids and my job, the rest was spent watching tv. My husband asked him at one point where he's been for the last 20yrs, to which he replied that my stepdad kept us from him.

When he finally left, he asked if he could come back and see the kids again before he leaves Saturday evening. I said nothing basically the whole time, I don't know what came over me but I literally answered his questions very matter-of-factly and that was it. So my husband says that he doesn't know when we'll have free time because tomorrow (Friday) we'll be putting the last minute stuff together for the party on Saturday then we have the party when I get home from work on Saturday. So he asks if he can crash the party on Saturday, to which my husband was like "um... I guess?"

He tried to get information on my brother out of me too, which I didn't do. I told him that I would give his number to my brother so my brother could contact him if he so chose. He was offended that neither of us respond to his calls or texts (as infrequent as they are) and that I wouldn't give him any information on my brother.

I did call my brother that night and let him know what happened, we talked a couple of times for a long time yesterday about it all and I did give him the number so he could reach out if he wants. We both seem to be in the same place though. Where was this guy 20yrs ago? And don't give me the crap about stepfather keeping him away from us or whatever, that's bullshit. And even if stepparents were more powerful than the courts, where was he when Mom lost custody due to stepfather's abuse? Where was he when Grandma got custody? Where has he been all these years and why just now is he trying to see us? And who the hell just shows up at someone's house without warning when they haven't had any kind of a relationship for 20yrs? I'm also confused as to why he'd want to crash a party where he's not going to know anyone there, this is a party for my husband's birthday so it's mostly his family and friends. I have a couple of mutual friends coming and possibly my cousin and brother with their wives and kids but still no one that this guy would know, and don't give me anything about us being his kids. He doesn't know us and hasn't for 20yrs.

In addition to all that, the only thing I can think of that would give any reason for attempting contact now is that he's dying of cancer. Which then begs the question, why are we worth it now that you're dying but not when you were living? What point is there in trying to develop a relationship now when you are going to be dead in the next few months to a year? He also lives across the country from us, so it's not like he could see us every so often. His track record also shows that unless we initiate and maintain all contact, there will be no contact anyway.

I don't know, I'm still all confused and stunned by the whole thing. Oh, and before I forget, my grandma has lived in the same house at the same address with the same phone number since before I was born. He could've written, he could've called, he could've done something.

by on Aug. 8, 2015 at 1:12 PM
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Replies (1-6):
oranguglad
by Silver Member on Aug. 8, 2015 at 1:57 PM

That is weird... keep in mind that there may have been issues with the adult relationships that stood in his way. And there may have been times he wanted to reach out but thought it was best not to. He may have even felt he was doing what is best for you, in some way.

I think I would set clear boundaries, but would give him some time and try to reconnect. If he really is dying, this is the only chance you will get. While you might regret someday if you DON'T, you likely won't regret if you do, even if it is awkward or the outcome in the end is negative.

I probably would not want the kids to spend much time with him, since he is dying.

That said, you are under no obligation. You don't owe him anything.

Chibi_Kitten
by Krystal on Aug. 8, 2015 at 2:44 PM

 That is one of the things I've considered since the visit on Thursday, regretting not giving a relationship a chance after he dies. But how much of a relationship can we have at this point? He lives half way across the country from me and only has contact with me if I initiate and maintain it.

One of the things that bothers me too is that he was obviously expecting a happy family reunion when he showed up on Thursday and was offended that he didn't get it.

Relationships are a two way street, in my opinion, and I already tried establishing one with him 2-3yrs ago but he never reciprocated. I don't want to waste the effort again now but I don't want to regret not wasting the effort if there's a chance it could be worth it. You know?

Quoting oranguglad:

That is weird... keep in mind that there may have been issues with the adult relationships that stood in his way. And there may have been times he wanted to reach out but thought it was best not to. He may have even felt he was doing what is best for you, in some way.

I think I would set clear boundaries, but would give him some time and try to reconnect. If he really is dying, this is the only chance you will get. While you might regret someday if you DON'T, you likely won't regret if you do, even if it is awkward or the outcome in the end is negative.

I probably would not want the kids to spend much time with him, since he is dying.

That said, you are under no obligation. You don't owe him anything.

 

oranguglad
by Silver Member on Aug. 8, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Yeah, you certainly aren't going to have a father-daughter bond pop up, but you might get some closure, you might have the opporunity to heal some old wounds. You can have something rather than nothing.

I would be totally creeped out if someone just showed up on my doorstep, especially after I had ignored phone calls, etc.

Maybe just be honest- I am still angry and the situation makes me uncomfortable and so I am willing to ____ (whatever it is that you are ready for- a few phone calls or emails or dinner or whatever)

My ds and I were estranged for about a year. It was horribly painful for me. I reached out every month or so and eventually he showed up at my mom's for Christmas. I just played it cool for the first few meetings, we didn't talk about any of the problems, just kept it light and now things are back to normal.

He probably has seen those crazy reunion shows they do where everyone cries and is so happy to be surprised by their long lost relative and had a fantasy of everything being perfect... so I can see being disappointed.

Quoting Chibi_Kitten:

 That is one of the things I've considered since the visit on Thursday, regretting not giving a relationship a chance after he dies. But how much of a relationship can we have at this point? He lives half way across the country from me and only has contact with me if I initiate and maintain it.

One of the things that bothers me too is that he was obviously expecting a happy family reunion when he showed up on Thursday and was offended that he didn't get it.

Relationships are a two way street, in my opinion, and I already tried establishing one with him 2-3yrs ago but he never reciprocated. I don't want to waste the effort again now but I don't want to regret not wasting the effort if there's a chance it could be worth it. You know?

Quoting oranguglad:

That is weird... keep in mind that there may have been issues with the adult relationships that stood in his way. And there may have been times he wanted to reach out but thought it was best not to. He may have even felt he was doing what is best for you, in some way.

I think I would set clear boundaries, but would give him some time and try to reconnect. If he really is dying, this is the only chance you will get. While you might regret someday if you DON'T, you likely won't regret if you do, even if it is awkward or the outcome in the end is negative.

I probably would not want the kids to spend much time with him, since he is dying.

That said, you are under no obligation. You don't owe him anything.

 

 

Polkadotted
by Platinum Member on Aug. 8, 2015 at 3:42 PM
1 mom liked this

He may have had his come to Jesus monent, but you did not have that moment. He's not getting that people experience things other than the way he did.

I think I would be open with him and lay some ground rules. If it were me, I'd give him the option to contact or see you-- what ever you are willing to do.  I'd be honest with your feelings about him and your kids?  Is it right for him to start a relationship with them if he's going to die? talk it out. I would leave it up to him to see what he will do and I wouldn't put much effort into it on my side, but I would respect his efforts. I'd go into it with low expectations.

It might only be you letting him feel like he got right with God before he died and you not getting much more than that out of it.

Chibi_Kitten
by Krystal on Aug. 8, 2015 at 3:52 PM

 I'm not angry, actually. In fact, other than curiousity, I feel nothing. All the questions I have are more of a "just wondering" type feeling than anything else. My brother is angry, he feels like our lives could've been very different if someone had bothered to stand up to protect us or if our father had taken an interest in us when Mom lost custody.

I was very creeped out when he showed up then walked in to hug me without being invited. He didn't ask why my brother and I don't answer his calls/texts but he did seem offended over it; but hey, he's only called once last year to say he had cancer and only texted once this year to say he was in town and wanted to stop by. Plus, if I get your call/text while I'm at work or busy with something, I'm not going to respond right away and sometimes I do forget to check my phone later.

At this point, I'm not looking for a father-daughter relationship or bond. However, I don't want to throw away a chance to have something, like you said, either.

I guess my next step is defining what I want and setting boundaries. I'm not a confrontational person though and, with the obvious difference in expectations, I'm worried that persuing anything could be disastrous. You know?

Quoting oranguglad:

Yeah, you certainly aren't going to have a father-daughter bond pop up, but you might get some closure, you might have the opporunity to heal some old wounds. You can have something rather than nothing.

I would be totally creeped out if someone just showed up on my doorstep, especially after I had ignored phone calls, etc.

Maybe just be honest- I am still angry and the situation makes me uncomfortable and so I am willing to ____ (whatever it is that you are ready for- a few phone calls or emails or dinner or whatever)

My ds and I were estranged for about a year. It was horribly painful for me. I reached out every month or so and eventually he showed up at my mom's for Christmas. I just played it cool for the first few meetings, we didn't talk about any of the problems, just kept it light and now things are back to normal.

He probably has seen those crazy reunion shows they do where everyone cries and is so happy to be surprised by their long lost relative and had a fantasy of everything being perfect... so I can see being disappointed.

Quoting Chibi_Kitten:

 That is one of the things I've considered since the visit on Thursday, regretting not giving a relationship a chance after he dies. But how much of a relationship can we have at this point? He lives half way across the country from me and only has contact with me if I initiate and maintain it.

One of the things that bothers me too is that he was obviously expecting a happy family reunion when he showed up on Thursday and was offended that he didn't get it.

Relationships are a two way street, in my opinion, and I already tried establishing one with him 2-3yrs ago but he never reciprocated. I don't want to waste the effort again now but I don't want to regret not wasting the effort if there's a chance it could be worth it. You know?

Quoting oranguglad:

That is weird... keep in mind that there may have been issues with the adult relationships that stood in his way. And there may have been times he wanted to reach out but thought it was best not to. He may have even felt he was doing what is best for you, in some way.

I think I would set clear boundaries, but would give him some time and try to reconnect. If he really is dying, this is the only chance you will get. While you might regret someday if you DON'T, you likely won't regret if you do, even if it is awkward or the outcome in the end is negative.

I probably would not want the kids to spend much time with him, since he is dying.

That said, you are under no obligation. You don't owe him anything.

 

 

 

Chibi_Kitten
by Krystal on Aug. 8, 2015 at 3:57 PM

 That makes sense. Thank you.

Quoting Polkadotted:

He may have had his come to Jesus monent, but you did not have that moment. He's not getting that people experience things other than the way he did.

I think I would be open with him and lay some ground rules. If it were me, I'd give him the option to contact or see you-- what ever you are willing to do.  I'd be honest with your feelings about him and your kids?  Is it right for him to start a relationship with them if he's going to die? talk it out. I would leave it up to him to see what he will do and I wouldn't put much effort into it on my side, but I would respect his efforts. I'd go into it with low expectations.

It might only be you letting him feel like he got right with God before he died and you not getting much more than that out of it.

 

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