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Annie’s Mailbox: Offer to help dad patch things up

Dear Annie: I read your column daily and have never seen a story like ours. My ex-husband and I have two daughters. He favors the younger one and talks to her often, but has had almost zero contact with our older daughter, “Dyan,” in more than 10 years. He didn’t even contribute one cent toward her wedding. The only explanation I can think of is that when my ex was dating his current wife, she said she couldn’t handle teenage girls. But that was years ago.

Dyan is now divorced with a child of her own. The divorce was horrible, and she and her son are living in my home. My ex and his wife have gone behind Dyan’s back to meet with her ex-husband in order to visit with my grandson. We have told them they are welcome to come to our home and pick the boy up and take him elsewhere, but my ex refuses because he doesn’t want to see Dyan.

When there are family gatherings on the paternal side, my ex has his 93-year-old mother call to invite Dyan and her son because otherwise it would look bad. He doesn’t have the backbone to call her himself. That is the only time he sees his daughter, but it’s infrequent and he doesn’t actually speak to her.

Dyan is heartbroken and devastated by her father’s actions. She has tried many times to meet with him, but he won’t return her calls. Do you have any suggestions? – Mom from Michigan

Dear Mom: It’s possible Dad curtailed contact with Dyan because of his wife and, after several years, found it so difficult to reacquaint himself with his daughter that he decided it was easier to avoid her altogether. But that’s no excuse for being a lousy father and abandoning his child. Since he won’t speak to Dyan, you (or your younger daughter) should talk to him directly and find out why he is behaving so abominably, and perhaps offer to help fix things so they can have a fresh start.