Dear Annie: This is in response to “The First Wife,” whose husband left her for his new girlfriend. She asked how the divorce will affect Dad’s relationship with their children.
My parents divorced when I was 9. I resent my father and have no respect for him. He abandoned his family for selfish pleasures. The consequences? The idea of commitment is terrifying. Last week, Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We can’t (and won’t) take the time off to say goodbye. – Tacoma
Dear Tacoma: Harsh words, but not uncommon. Read on:
From Michigan: My father cheated with a younger woman after 26 years of marriage to my mom, and if he has regrets, he never shows it. We rarely hear from him, and his wife is a bully. None of us needs that influence in our lives.
Chicago: My father left when I was 15. My siblings and I lost our sense of security and our sense of self-worth. (Imagine not being worth staying around for.) Years later, my father asked for forgiveness, saying he never realized the effect his leaving would have on us. Children can forgive (I did), but they never “get over it.”
Texas: Dad left when I was 13. My new stepmom was only nine years older than me, but it was a blessing. I was welcomed with open arms. She never tried to replace my mother and never said anything bad about her. Children can never have too many people to love them.
Louisiana: My parents split up when I was 17. The divorce was better than the fighting, but my relationship with my father will never be the same. Choosing his girlfriends over his family showed me his true character. He will never win back the love and affection I had for him when I was young.
Arkansas: My father traded us in for a newer, richer wife when I was in high school. We went through four years of depression, anxiety and financial hardship dealing with his callousness and irresponsibility, but I’ve turned the corner – I haven’t spoken to him in years. I have a loving stepfather who appreciates me and my mother for who we are.
Indiana: Dad left my mom for another woman. Mom had MS and we took care of her until she died. His second wife went around telling people Mom was faking it. Dad left that witch for her nasty sister-in-law. His fourth wife turned out to be a sweet person who worked her way into my heart. With her help, I became friends with Dad again. He told me he regretted leaving us and should have taken care of Mom. Only then, when I was 61 years old, did I finally love him again.