DEAR ABBY: I joined the Navy after I learned I was becoming a father. I didn't want to be a husband or father, but I did both. In 2010, my wife died. My feelings about being a husband and father never changed.
Our two children are now grown and want me to move near -- or in with -- them. They say, "Won't it be great to be with your grandkids?" No, it won't!
I worked and supported my family. When I was in port, I went to baseball, softball and basketball games, had tea with my daughter and did everything I believe I should have done. I have served my time. I don't want to "be close." Honestly, I'd prefer they left me alone. I don't love them, and I didn't love their mother. I did my duty to the best of my abilities both in uniform and in family.
When we aren't together, I'm happy. I read, I study and do what I like. I've earned that, haven't I? How do I get them out of my life so that at age 52 I have my own life? I don't want to hurt anyone, but I never wanted a family in the first place. -- NEVER WANTED A FAMILY
DEAR NEVER WANTED A FAMILY: The one thing you should not do is express your feelings to your children as bluntly as you have to me. Because you don't want to hurt them, a way to phrase it might be to say that having done your job as a parent to the best of your ability, you need time to yourself now -- time to read, study, travel, reflect, etc. Be sure to make clear that it has nothing to do with them -- that you are proud of them and the way they are handling their lives -- so they won't think they are somehow to blame.