DEAR ABBY: My mother became pregnant with me in 1965 when she was 20 and divorced from her husband. My father was a married man who knew about me, but made no effort to see me.
I know my mother believed he would leave his wife for her, and because I closely resemble him — according to family members — she must have felt terrible when I was growing up. I always felt she didn't love me as much as she loved my brothers.
I have grown up with a hole inside me where a dad was supposed to be. I have never felt worthy or deserving of anything in my life, and now my mother has cut me off from the family.
Should I try to see if my father wants to know me now? Maybe time has mellowed him. I feel like he is a great big unfinished spot in my life. What should I do?
— ALONE AND UNLOVED, MONROE, LA.
DEAR ALONE AND UNLOVED: Life has dealt you a difficult hand through no fault of your own. You are hurting right now, and that is why I'm urging you to talk to a counselor about what you have been through and how you feel about yourself BEFORE reaching out to your father. You deserve love and nurturing, but before you try to make contact it's important that you have more inner resources than you have now — just in case he doesn't turn out to be the man you would like him to be. Contacting him through a third party might also be wise.
DEAR ABBY: Before my husband died, we used to enjoy visiting with "Frank" and his wife, "Julie." They were happy get-togethers between couples.
After my husband's death, Frank said he wanted to stay in touch. As time went on, we'd meet for holidays and home visits, which were as pleasant as before. But as time passed, Julie became bored and the visits became awkward.
Frank and I had a lot in common. I enjoyed his company more and more. Anyone who has lost the love of his/her life knows it's a gift to take a break from the heartache once in a while. Frank and I have done nothing wrong. If he were a woman there would be no question of impropriety.
I haven't heard from Frank in a while, and I suspect it's because Julie has requested he not spend so much time with me. I don't blame her. I'd feel the same if it were my husband. But would it be OK for me to call him? Until recently we talked regularly. I know he'd be happy to hear my voice. Our visits were full of life and innocent conversation, and I miss them. Should I leave well enough alone, or enjoy the only peace I have had after such a great loss?
— ANONYMOUS IN COLORADO
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your husband. My advice is to leave well enough alone and look for "peace" with someone who is available and will be able to provide more than good conversation.
While your intentions may be innocent, your growing friendship with Frank may have begun to make his wife uncomfortable. It appears she picked up on the fact that you have grown emotionally dependent on her husband and viewed it as a threat. Alternatively, when you were all together she may have felt like a third wheel, and that's why she became bored. So please take what I have said to heart and back off.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.