I am twenty-four years old, and this year I met my father for the first time. He abandoned my mother and me by moving to another country before I was even born. I can’t deny that I grew up with resentment toward him, but I had forgiven him. 

When I met him, I hugged him and I can’t describe with words how happy I was. It seemed like he felt the same way. I got my hopes up, but it turns out that I only saw him once more, and it seems that he has forgotten me again. His attitude hurts me so much, since I haven’t blamed him for anything! Should I continue to pursue a relationship with him?

Dear Friend,

Your pain is intensified because of the hopes and dreams that you had in your heart upon finally meeting your biological father. You gave him the gift of forgiveness, and it is as if he threw it back at you, as if it had no value. Your realistic adult hopes were dashed, as well as your little girl longing for a father. We are very sorry for all the pain you are experiencing.

The mistake you are making is thinking that he is rejecting you. He isn’t. This doesn’t have anything to do with you. When he met you, he was genuinely happy to know what a wonderful woman you have turned out to be, and there was certainly no rejection of you. I am sure that he thinks of the time with you as a wonderful experience that he is happy to have had.

However, to a man like him, the biological link between the two of you means nothing. He left originally because it meant nothing, and his attitude has not changed. He is a product of a culture in which it is acceptable to sleep with someone to whom you are not married, possibly leave babies behind as a result, and have no feelings for the women or the children. That is normal to him. The biological link has no value. He likely has no comprehension of your perspective or hurt.

Our Heavenly Father designed marriage to be a link that would avoid the pain you are feeling. Marriage is not an old-fashioned idea to restrict sexual freedom, but the timeless creation of God designed to provide an environment of love and affection from mother and father for their children. When your parents chose to engage in a sexual relationship without being married, by so doing they chose to deny you that environment. We are very sorry for your loss.

Change the way you think about the man. He was a biological contributor, but never was and never will be your father. Put it in the past, and determine to live a life that will never let this kind of pain happen to your future children.

We wish you well,