DEAR ABBY: My father began dating four years after my mother passed away from a terrible bout with cancer. He and I have always been close; in fact, I have always considered him to be one of my best friends. But since he started dating he has changed.
I just traveled across the country for a family funeral and discovered that he has a new love in his life, and that he flew her out to see all of our extended family. My dying grandmother got to meet her, but I didn't even know her name! When I expressed to him that I felt he had cut me out entirely, it made him angry.
Apparently, he and this woman have been dating for almost a year. I had always imagined that when Dad met someone, his kids would be the first people he would want to call and share with. It has been a bitter pill to swallow knowing that my father would so brazenly disregard his daughter.
He told me he didn't know why he had cut me out and ignored me. But we can't seem to get over it. We have gone from calling and texting daily to not speaking in months. What was an easy parent/child relationship is now awkward and uncomfortable, and I'm at a loss about how to fix it. -- ABANDONED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR ABANDONED: Having never met your father, it's hard to guess why he would behave the way he has. That you could have communicated almost daily and have no clue about what was going on makes it obvious that it was no oversight. Not all "children" are accepting of a new woman in a father's life, even if he has been widowed for a long time. It's possible you were kept in the dark because he was afraid of how you would react.
No one can blame you for feeling the way you do. Your father mishandled this, and I am sorry for your pain. A step toward fixing this would be to try to forgive him, and to move forward by telling him you want him to be happy.