I’m 29 and learned very recently that my father isn’t my real father. This could explain my life so far. But I can’t meet or ask my birth father questions because I’ve also just learned that he died 10 years ago.
When told my father’s name, I did a search. Seeing his photo was like looking at my own face.
The shock of this information is overwhelming. I always felt different from my relatives in Europe where I lived until my mom and I came to Canada when I was 10. But I sometimes felt that I was so different even from her.
I had a premonition that something was off course from who I really was. My mom would never fully answer my questions about the past. Also, the man who I believed was my father also didn’t feel the right fit.
I didn’t look like him at all. I know now that he married my mother when I was a baby.
After he and my mom divorced, he married another woman and they had a daughter. I still called him Dad. Then, I once heard my mom tell my grandfather, “She doesn’t need to know,” before changing the subject.
When I recently asked my mother outright about my inner suspicions, and heard the truth, my search also showed other similarities with my real father.
Though I’m not an intellectual writer and university teacher as he was, I’m a deep thinker and reader with overflowing book shelves, constantly curious about the world and what can be improved.
Had I asked my mother about my father 10 years ago, I would’ve been furious at her for hiding the truth. I was angry a lot then and over-reactive but didn’t know why. I now realize that she was single and had dated him only a few months when she got pregnant with me. I’m not angry now.
Fortunately, I’m engaged to a man I love because he’s always thought I’m interesting and special, not the odd misfit I felt like, growing up in a house of secrets.
My question: What do I do about the father I’ll never know or meet? His mother saw me once as a baby, but apparently showed no interest in her grandchild. She’s 80 now and I could contact her in Europe for more information. I’m hungry for more details of his life. But she rejected me once. Should I risk that happening again?
My father’s having an impact on me already, though I’ll never truly know him.
My Real Father
This shocking information is a lot to absorb. But you have solid support from your fiancé, and even your mother recognized that this time, you needed true disclosure.
You’ve already learned positive and interesting information about your father. But don’t obsess about him or the experience can become negative. You have a full and happy life now, so what you want is more like a scrapbook of who he was, and not a psychological profile.
Be proud of the traits such as intellectual curiosity that you inherited from him. But understand that his elderly mother may’ve found his leaving a new mother and child he helped create to be an embarrassing topic almost 30 years ago. When you call, be positive. Say you wish her well and want her to know you’ve learned about your father and you’re proud to know who he was.
Be prepared for her to not want to engage further since it was so long ago.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the “Bored and Lonely Guy” (July 13):
“A mid-40s single guy needs to look inward at himself and recognize the facts of entering mid-age. He needs to consider why he hasn’t been successful in relationships. Has it been “his way or no way?”
“If he’s seeking an age-appropriate companion, she may have her own health conditions/concerns. Would he be prepared to support her?
“Regarding his medical issues, he should talk to family. I’ve learned in my own family that some traits skip generations and some seemingly jump from one tree to another tree. Plus, some “new” traits aren’t surfacing until later in life due to previous generations not living to such ages.
“My mother and her brother have now outlived their previous generations. Both have now had something that wasn’t apparent in previous generations. This is now something that I, my siblings and cousins are watching very closely.”
Tip of the day:
Greet positive family revelations with gratitude and sensitivity.