I have been trying to form a relationship with my dad. He lives in the city next to mine. I decided to ask him to be my friend on Facebook, but he hasn't answered back yet. What should I do?
Your father might not be on Facebook as often as you are, so it might be a while before he responds. But there can be a whole lot of other things going on that don't involve you and that you are not aware of. I don't know you or your family's history, but I can tell you some things I've seen before:
- Fathers who see their children as a financial burden. They slept around when they were young and irresponsible, never realizing they are required to support their children until they reach adulthood. A child who suddenly shows extra interest, worries the father because he sees it as a prelude to asking for more money.
- Fathers who did not get along with the mother and don't want ties or even reminders of her. The very existence of the child is a hard reminder.
- Fathers who feel guilt over not being in their child's life. They would rather run than face the child and explain their failures.
- Fathers who are just plain bums. Often involved in alcohol and drugs, they just don't know how to be a father, which is why they were never around.
- Fathers who married someone else. The new wife demands attention for her own children and sees prior children as competition. The father is stuck between his responsibilities and trying to keep his current wife happy. The wife almost always wins.
I don't know if any of these or something entirely different is going on. But one thing I do want you to understand: It isn't about you! It is about your father struggling with his failures.
The past can't be undone, and I'm glad you are reaching out to him. Always keep the door open for him, whether he chooses to walk in or not. Meanwhile, continue with life. Don't make your happiness dependent on the decisions and actions of other people.
You have two chances to have a great family: the one you are born into and the one you choose to create in life. Learn from the mistakes of others and resolve to not repeat them in your own life.