My father

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georgit79 | 14:22 Thu 21st Oct 2004 | Parenting
12 Answers

My parents divorced when I was 14 and I lived with my mum up until moving out about a year and a half ago. The problem is that I've never had a decent relationship that I can remember with my father, and there are several reasons for this.

He is an alcoholic so much of my ill-feeling towards him stems from this, but he has been very ill recently and I would like to build some bridges. The only problem is that I am finding it very difficult to show him any affection. I haven't hugged or kissed him for over 10 years now, and find it impossible to tell him I love him.

Can anyone help me? This sounds a bit desperate, I know, but I'm not, I assure you. I just wanted to know if anyone out there has/is experiencing anything similar, and what they have done about it.


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HI Georgit79 .. my parents divorced when I was 7 and my dad was pretty much absent for a lot of the time after that mum remarried when I was 13 and we moved out of the area so  I grew up not really having much to do with my dad other than a few meetings a year .. as I grew older and thought more about my relationship with him I became quite angry about his non involvement  and I believe that this affected me and my relationships with boyfriends..however the last few years I've realised that I could either be critical and unforgiving or I could just get on with it, accepting him for who he is and what he is and and make the most of it. I've got to say since making that decision I really do feel better about 'us' .. you've only got 1 dad, he might not be the best, he's got his problems (as we all have!) but he's human and no doubt he loves you and wants to have you in his life .. not all people are able to feel the same or demonstrate their affections or love .. you obviously care about him or you wouldn't be writing about him .. good luck and go for it ..
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Thanks nickienickie,

Non-involvement has not been a problem, as he has tried to be involved in my life. I've just been the one pushing him away! We actually get on ok at the moment, I'm just finding it really hard to show any affection.

.. Well I guess you could start by buying him something he likes to read or eat or something , spend time with him etc.. affection doesn't have to mean cuddles and kisses ... give it time .. I am sure you will be ok ... x

In my experience, affection between father and son does not have to be physical. I never had a problem with my relationship with my dad, but we have just never been close.

After I moved out of home 6 or 7 years ago, we actually started to talk to each other rather than just existing in the same house. Simple things like going out for a beer together or chatting about how work is going - that sort of thing has really helped our relationship, although we haven't hugged or kissed for as long as I can remember (ooh, sorry, just re-read the bit about being an alcoholic - maybe going for a beer is a bad idea).

Just take it slowly and get to know each other properly, don't worry about the physical side or even saying that you love each other - these things are not important if you just know that your relationship is growing stronger.

hi georgit79 i think that you should deferntly try and make the most of this time. my dad passed away when i was only 4 years old there are many things i would of liked to say to him or him told me but it wont happen so ive got to live with it. you have the chance to see him and try and make the most of it, i no this isnt the answer to your question but im just saying do it before its to late, you will regret it and it wont be a good thing at all. so just talk to him about it all. write him a letter? maybe that would be a good idea. sorry i jsut wanted to make this clear hope this help xx xx

I too find it very difficult to show any physical affection to both of my parents, it may be how I was bought up but I don't think that it is the most important thing in a parent-child relationship, especially where there has been problems in the past. I think in todays society there is a culture of being "touchy-feely" everyone hugging and doing the old "kiss-kiss" on the cheek bit - which I think really goes against how most people of my generation (30's) were brought up. I think you should try to build bridges if it feels right for you, you could perhaps offer help with other things like, shopping, fetching, small jobs etc, and just try to be a good person towards him. Try to remember it's a myth that you HAVE to love your parents!...just be a good human being.

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Hammer, just wanted to point out that I'm not a son, I'm a daughter!
Georgit, this is going to sound canny harsh, but ask yourself why you want to build bridges with him. Is it that you honestly feel you've missed the relationship, or is it the fact he has been very ill recently has made you feel guilty about not knowing him better. I was in a similar situation a few years ago with my parents, then my Mother was ill, and I realised it was mainly guilt that made me want to patch up our differences. Its never a bad thing to try whatever your reason, but it may be that you can be perfectly happy with things the way they are now. Talk to him, show an interest in his life and he will realise you still care, you dont have to shower him with hugs and kisses. Maybe that will be enough for both of you
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You are absolutely spot on cardboard. I just need to stop feeling so damn guilty all the time! I just feel that he's not going to be around for much longer so I need to make the most of the time we have left.
Oops sorry, shouldn't have assumed liked that

georgit79 my parents are still happily together (42 years!!) and my situation is not the same. My parents have both been very good parents, but now that I'm an adult I have difficulty in displaying my affection for them, though I do love them both dearly. It's the change in life, now that we are "adult-children".

I think talking to your dad and showing him you care about him will be sufficent for now. Maybe you can kiss him before you leave after visiting with him. Or you can kiss him to wish him for Christmas. That's not being too sentimental, is it?



Start small - with  y o u r   comfort level (he will find his own), instead of saying "I love you" say "I have been thinking about you".  Instead of a hug or a kiss, touch his hand or shoulder when you are speaking to him.  Regardless of your motivation, you obviously feel the need to connect with him!  I don't think you will regret trying, even if your relationship only deepens the slightest bit.

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