I stumbled upon your site on Facebook. I appreciate your project and do have a deep respect for those men that are trying to keep a strong relationship with their daughters. Their daughters need it. Here is my submission. Regardless of if you use it or not, thank for the opportunity to write it. It reminded me of how grateful I am for my own father. I will be calling him today.
My parents divorced when I was 4. That was 50 years ago. I can still feel the pain, however, of having my father choose his new family over my siblings and me. The devastating results were that I “looked for love in ALL the wrong places.” By the time I was 16, I was having an affair with my 36-year-old English teacher. By 18, I was in relationships with 2 married men – both much older than I was. By 23, I had calmed down and was getting married myself. Who knows if that turn around was partly because my father worked tirelessly to come back into my life. My marriage didn’t last but my relationship with my father is here to stay.
Here are my words of advice for you –
A – It’s never too late. Regardless of how much anger your daughter has, she still ultimately wants to be loved by you. Every conversation, every interaction is another seed that you plant to show that you truly want to be loved by her also. Regardless of whether she loves you or not, however, you are her father and you will be that forever. You need to prove that she is important to you. Trust is earned. You are the one with something to prove.
B – Don’t ever make derogatory remarks about her mother or compare her to her mother. My Dad lost some headway when he made comments about my housekeeping being just like my mother’s. This was made while I had three kids under the age of 5 running around my feet, was in nursing school and was a single parent. As far as the comments about my mother, she was the one that was there the whole time I was growing up. I can say anything I want about her weaknesses – I lived with them. You can’t. You left.
C- Be proud of who she is. My father now is my biggest fan. I know it. I hear it. He introduces me as “his baby” (yes…even at 54) and brags about my accomplishments. If you would have asked me 35 years ago if this relationship was possible, I’d say no. My dad came back into my life when I was a mess. Again…he pursued the relationship. I thought I had moved on.
If you are reading this, you have my respect. Please do keep pursuing the relationship with your little girl. She needs you. You need her. You have no idea how much pain you can prevent in her life by letting her know that her father loves her. ~ anonymous