DEAR ABBY: My father has been mostly absent from my life. We reconnected when I was an adult. I have always had feelings of abandonment, and because of this, I have constantly tried to build a relationship with him and allow him to have one with his grandchildren.
Dad met my friend of 10 years, “Danielle,” two months ago when I threw him a birthday party. Since then, he and Danielle have begun a relationship on the sly. The problem is, Danielle tells Dad things I confided to her over the years, and he is coming back to me with whatever she has told him.
Dad has been separated for 14 years, and Danielle insisted that she wouldn’t date him under those circumstances, but she did. Since the start of this, my relationship with my dad is even worse, and my long friendship with Danielle has been ruined because I know I can’t trust her. Dad spends all of his time with her and her child now and hasn’t begun to build a bond with me or his own grandchildren, which has been the story of my life, and my friend knows this. Abby, am I being selfish? What do you think I should do?– MORE THAN AWKWARD IN ARKANSAS
DEAR MORE: I don’t think you are selfish. You have good reason to be hurt and disappointed. Your father is remaining true to character, but your friend has betrayed your trust. You may need the help of a licensed therapist to move beyond this, and that is what I recommend you do.
Believe me, you have my sympathy. But you can’t change your father or Danielle. You can, however, change the way you react to them, and a therapist will help you do that more quickly than you can do it on your own.