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by Abigail Van Buren

Retired Dad Mourns Broken Relationships With His Children

DEAR ABBY: I got married while stationed in Korea. Over the years, I put drugs and alcohol and friends before my family. I regret it to this day.

I have four children and two of them are from the same woman. My oldest son and I chat almost daily through Messenger. This is the first time since retirement that I have been this far away from them.

My daughter and youngest son don't communicate with me in any fashion. I have sent text messages to both of them but received no reply. I learned a couple of days ago that my daughter has been married almost three years.

I miss my family dearly and wish to talk to both of them. Is it hatred and unforgiveness that I am feeling from them? It tears me up inside. I would feel better with any type of reply. What else can I do? -- REACHING OUT IN ILLINOIS

DEAR REACHING OUT: There is nothing more you can do to get a response from your daughter and youngest son. You placed drugs, alcohol and friends before them when they were young, and this is the predictable response to emotional neglect.

Not knowing them, I can't say for certain that they "hate" you. They do, however, appear to be indifferent and unforgiving, and have moved on with their lives. You don't have much choice but to accept it and move on with your own while appreciating the relationship you have with your oldest son.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Addiction | Aging