Dear Abby: Divorced dad wants to reconnect with estranged daughter

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Dear Abby: Can’t budge lonely, needy friend from the phone
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Dear Abby: My ex-wife and I were divorced seven years ago. It was my doing. I had two affairs, the second of which resulted in my current marriage. I have always regretted my actions and the pain it caused, and I vowed to never make that mistake again.

My ex is happily remarried, but here’s the problem: We have a daughter in her late 20s who seemed to adjust to our situation quickly. However, her mother has turned our daughter against me to the point where she has cut off all contact. It has been nearly three years and it eats away at me every day. Her mother has completely brainwashed her. I recently found out my daughter is pregnant, which has made it worse.

As it stands, I’ll have no contact with my grandchild, while my ex rubs it in my face. Abby, I’ve never said a bad word about my ex, even though I know she’s not a good person. She has used people, stolen, cheated and lied most of her life and apparently continues to do so. She’s told outright lies about me to our daughter and others.

I have admitted my misdeeds, but my ex can’t or won’t do the same. I want to expose her, but I know I can’t if I want any hope of reconciliation with my daughter. How can I talk to my daughter, at least to get closure?

— Sad Dad in Ohio

Dear Dad: Send your daughter a REGISTERED letter telling her how much you love her and congratulating her on her pregnancy. At the same time, without pointing fingers at your ex-wife, which might only further alienate your daughter, explain that some of the things she may have been told about you aren’t true and you would like to discuss them with her. Then cross your fingers and hope she agrees.

Dear Abby: I’m a married woman in my early 40s with two small children. I am blessed to enjoy a close relationship with my parents, both of whom are now in their mid-to-late 70s. My siblings and I all live within 15 minutes of them, and we spend a lot of time together for holidays, special occasions and general get-togethers.

Lately, I can’t stop thinking about my parents dying. It will be awful once they are gone. It has reached a point where if one of them gets a cold, I’m terrified it will turn into something more serious. I’m also scared that something else traumatic might happen, and I dread receiving that phone call.

I don’t know how to stop thinking like this. I know death is a part of life, but I don’t want every day to be clouded by thoughts of something bad happening. Is there any way to have a healthier mindset?

— Loving Daughter in Texas

Dear Daughter: There is more than one way to approach this. The first would be to turn off the news for a week and see if it lowers your level of anxiety, which may stem from the incessant drumbeat of reporting about COVID. If that doesn’t help, then it might benefit you to talk with a licensed mental health practitioner for help to ease your anxiety by getting to the root of what is causing it. If your parents are in good health, they may be with you for many years to come. It would be a shame to waste that precious time because of fears about what will one day happen to us all.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com. 

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