My parents’ divorce was finalised in the mid-80s. I – having been born in 1984 – have no recollection of either the divorce or the events that led to it. In spite of this, I have never felt the need to quiz my mother or father about their divorce or why they felt the need to end their marriage. This is partly due to my desire not to force either party to dredge through unhappy memories, of course, but more to do with the fact that I simply did not care. I had no memories of the three of us having lived together and believe that this is why I did not miss my father being nearby on a regular basis. The fact that I later acquired a loving and caring step-father, I’ve no doubt, also greatly assisted with this.
As I became older, however, I became increasingly aware of the fact that any contact I had with my biological father was both sporadic and fleeting. Over time, contact became less and less frequent until it had stopped altogether, leaving me to ponder what, if anything, I had done wrong.
I still had the support of my mother, step-father and extended family, but my father’s mysterious disappearance left me both confused and had both a significant and adverse effect on my self-esteem. I had only just entered my teens and thanks to any number of sources subconsciously informing me that all parents love their children irrespective of their character or actions, I could only conclude that something was profoundly wrong with me; that I, ultimately, was not what my father wanted. I have learned – to an extent, at least – to manage and cope with these feelings in my later life, but still have no doubt that many of insecurities, my bouts with depression and inability to forge meaningful relationships with others without herculean effort on my part can at least be partly attributed to that fact that I have not seen my biological father in over a decade.
Consider, though, that I still had a loving mother, step-father, siblings, grandparents and others to support me. A child, teenager or even adult who does not have such a robust support network readily available to them could, it is quite reasonable to suggest, suffer from far more significant repercussions if one of their parents should suddenly decide that they no longer want to see them. I, on reflection, was lucky, others might not be so fortunate.
I am not writing this in order to scold or demonise absent fathers. I am not ignorant and am fully aware of the fact that many parents are actually prevented from exercising contact with their children through circumstance rather than choice. The purpose of this article is to dissuade embittered parents from preventing a no-resident parent from seeing their children as well as persuade absent parents from re-establishing contact. It could well be the greatest gift either parent even gives their child.
I write for Quickie Divorce, a company dedicated to preventing parental alientation and the UK's leading provider of uncontested divorce services.