I am a twenty-six year-old woman, and the only time that I saw my biological father was when I was six or seven years old. My mother and my maternal grandparents raised me. I suffered a lot over not having a father in my life…. He went to another country after the last and only time I ever saw him, and has never returned.

About a month ago he made contact with me on the Internet. He says that he feels badly for having abandoned me, that he was only fifteen years old when I was born and was immature, which made me furious with my mother, because she was twenty-six when I was born. I don’t understand how she could have been so irresponsible as to have physical relations with a teenager who was only fifteen….

He says that he wants to make it up to me. At first I was hurt with him, but later I gave in…. I gave him my phone number, but he hasn’t called. He always has an excuse. I am afraid to get my hopes up and then be emotionally scarred…. I’d like to cut off the communication with him so I won’t have false hopes, but at the same time I want to feel like he is there for me…. Instead I feel like I have a volcano in my heart and in my mind.

Dear Friend,

Every child is better off with two loving parents in their life, and we are sorry that you never had that. But you are an adult now, and you get to choose what the rest of your life will be like. You are not a victim of your past, and you don’t need to fear that circumstances of your past have determined your future.

What makes your case unusual is the age of your father. Can you remember what you were like at fifteen? Did you make wise decisions? Some fifteen-year-olds are mature and can make good decisions, but most of them are definitely not ready to become parents.

We believe that you need to fully forgive your father. He was too young to be responsible for you when you were born, and then when he got older, he thought it was too late. Because of his age at the time, you need to release him from whatever expectations you have had for a father. Choose to just let it go.

As for the future, it is unrealistic to believe that this man will ever act like your father, treat you like a father, or take the place of a father in your life. What you should hope for is friendship with him. Just because you are related by blood, you and your father are not obligated to care for each other or to communicate with each other.

Long-distance friends can have great, meaningful conversations and then not speak to each other for a year or more. Your relationship might grow into something more than that, but probably not. If you don’t expect more, then you won’t be disappointed.

We wish you well,