More threads by borgerjohnson

write or speak to him now. he is 75. i was wondering what would be the most appropriate way of doing so or if maybe i should just forget it since it has been so long. we didn't get along well when i was a teen. when i was 18 he gave me money for a semester of college. i dropped out and didn't write to tell him til 3 mos later. he didn't write back and that was the end of what relationship we had. i'm a only child. my parents divorced when i was 16. my mother and i have always been close. my father and haven't spoken to each other since i was 16 (i wrote and asked for the money for college after my mother said that he had offered to help with my education). i've always known his address and phone but have only recently seriously considered contacting him,mostly because of our ages, before its too late.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Why not try writing him a letter, explaining how you feel? That gives him the choice of whether or not to respond but also the time to think about what he wants to do instead of having to make a snap decision, as would be the case with a phone call or in person visit.


I don't think it's ever too late to reconnect with someone.. in fact, sometimes time allows wounds to heal and makes the possibility of a relationship a reality if you just give it a chance. You don't really have anything to lose at this point, except not knowing what his answer would be if you were to contact him. I agree that it's probably better to do it in a way that he has some time to think about it, just as you have had some time to make up your mind about whether to contact him or not. In the end it's up to you whether to choose to contact him but as difficult as it is after all this time, it would be sad if the only reason you would not contact him is b/c it's been such a long time- he's still your dad even if 24yrs have passed. It might bring some 'closure' too but it really does depend on the situation.
a letter was what i was thinking or maybe just a holiday car

d. My father was an unusual person years ago. he was into health food (a vegetarian) 30 yrs ago. nowadays more people are concerned about diet, including me, but i still like my hamburgers. he wanted to impose his health choices on my mom and me and make us vegetarians too. my mom and i used to have to sneak out to have a hamburger or pizza. my personality is more like my mom's. we like to spend money. my dad is more conservative. he felt we couldn't afford cable tv (my mom was a r.n. and he had a state government job). my father wanted me to have all As in school and get a haircut(long hair was popular with boys in the 70s in my area). i turned into a rebelious teen who skipped school and refused to get a haircut. my father and i had many bad arguements which resulted in hard feelings. the relationship with my father was so bad that i lived with aunt and uncles(my mom's family) off and on from age 14 to 16 til my parents divorced. after their divorce i returned home to live with my mom. my mom sold the family home and we moved to another state. he bought another home in the same area and remains there today. through the years i've had time to think about the situation. i handled the college arrangement with my dad badly. 18 yr olds do things like that; but, i began feeling guilty about it years later. i should have notified him soon after i dropped out, maybe gave him the money back, ect. i never made any contact with his side of the family after that incident. i moved around alot. they have all passed away(aunts, uncles) except for 2 cousins i only met during early childhood. i know my father is probably still alive because my mother checks with social security every 6 months(she will get a larger retirement check if he dies first). she isn't hoping he dies, but like most people on fixed incomes, could use the money if it does happen. which reminds me of another issue. he may think that i'm just concerned about money (inheritance) and (like me) that there isn't much time left for a relationship esp since we haven't had a good one since i was 13. i've thought too, that ,at his age, it may be too upseting for him to get a card or letter from me if he has health issues. i've thought about this for years. i think a holiday card would be better or atleast easier. its hard to compose a letter in a situation like this after so many years.


There is no way to predict how such a reunion might go, but considering the age of your father, he may be interested in clearing the air at this late time of his life.

As has been suggested a letter allows him to consider your request at his leisure as opposed to being put on the spot with a telephone call.

There may be a knee jerk reaction to a telephone call where he may think back to your last unpleasant contact, and respond in a manner which might be hard to reverse.

Having been is a similar situation myself, I chose to write a letter, and I am pleased to say the end result was that a relationship was re established after 25 years.

Here is the essence of my letter:

The purpose of my letter is to explore your interest in meeting. I do not wish to cause disruption or to upset you or your family. If you feel uncomfortable with the notion of meeting at this time, feel free to say so and there will be no further attempt until you are ready.

On the other hand, if you are interested, I would be happy to meet with you. To provide some time for you to consider the idea, and if you are receptive, lets make it in {one month from now}. If you reply to the address I have provided, I will comply with your wishes. Perhaps give me a phone number to call you back.

I hope you will consider my request and I will be looking forward to your reply.

Feel free to copy any part of my letter if you wish.

May I suggest that you not set your expectations too high, in case your Dad has reasons he prefers not to meet at this time, so you won't be disappointed.

However be sure to provide him with your contact information, so when he is ready, he can contact you.

I would also suggest you make a point of explaining you wish to look toward the future in re establishing a relationship,and make no references or judgments about the past, starting with a clean slate.

Once your relationship is established and you feel comfortable with one another, you may wish to approach unfinished business, again in an objective an non judgmental way.

My relationship is going on five years now, and I can strongly recommend you make the attempt. Once he's gone, it will be too late.

Good luck...will be eager to hear what you decide.

I wrote my father a few weeks ago and received a reply about 2 weeks later. He just wrote a few lines. He made a negative comment that he "couldn't help but wonder why I was writing to him now when 25 years ago I thought he was the most despicable person on the planet". Other than that, it was a nice letter considering the circumstances. He said he had gotten on with his life and my letter told him I was doing ok in the life I had chosen for myself. He did write that I was right in thinking my writing him might be disturbing. He wrote he had done his best to forget the unpleasantness of the 70s and my letter brought back all those bad memories. He wished me good luck in the coming years but I noticed he didn't sign the letter.
In my letter to him I just said hello and sent a few pictures and wrote about current events in my life. I made no apologies or reference to the past.
I guess him returning my letter at all was a positive thing although he didn't indicate he was interested in a relationship. He wrote that "sometimes its best to leave well enough alone as we can't undo the past".
Thanks for the advice. In the future, I may send him a birthday card or something but for now I think I've done all I can do.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Possibly the best stance for now... although you might think about a short reply to the effect that you have no desire to resurrect or re-argue the past, just to move on into the future.

I'm referring to his comment that "sometimes its best to leave well enough alone as we can't undo the past". I'm wondering if he was saying "if you wrote to reopen old wounds, I'm not interested".


I don't know your father, of course - I may be way off the mark here.
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