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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Relationship with daughter seemingly superficial at best

by Abigail Van Buren | December 19, 2021 at 2:27 a.m.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I were divorced six years ago. Our 26-year-old daughter has always been close to her mother and my former in-laws. When my ex and I separated, she was 20. When we divorced a year later, she sided with her mother, which I expected. Since the divorce, I have seen my daughter only at Christmas and on Father's Day. She does not visit me or communicate with me otherwise.

I have continued to be open and generous with her, and she sends me a list of items I can choose for her birthday and Christmas. I have bought her the jewelry, electronics and other higher-end items she requested. She doesn't seem to want my involvement in her life unless it satisfies her material desires.

Should I continue to be so generous with her because she's my daughter, or does a time come when it needs to end? I would hate to lose her, but it is obvious that she has let me go. Should I do the same?

-- Dad of Divorce

in Canada

DEAR DAD: I think so. In fact, I think you should have become less generous when she started distancing from you. Not knowing the reason for your divorce, I can't guess why she "sided" with her mother and her mother's parents. If the reason was infidelity on your part, rather than a mutual agreement that the marriage wasn't working, I could understand the dynamics of what has been going on. But relationships are supposed to be reciprocal -- at least on some level. This one clearly isn't, so under these circumstances, I wouldn't blame you for closing your wallet. Send her a card with a small gift of your choosing this Christmas and see how that goes.

DEAR ABBY: I have decided not to socialize with anyone in my apartment building. We are a community, but I have lost two so-called friends because I wasn't "flexible enough" to make shopping trips on a whim. Another person complained that I knocked on the door too early or phoned too early. I didn't do these things with malice. I just didn't know.

I have always had problems interacting with others. And now, as always, it is better for me and others that I isolate. Abby, I am writing this letter to vent. Relationships are harder for some of us. What do you think?

-- Alone For Now

DEAR ALONE: Relationships are about two-way communication. If someone dropped you because you called or knocked on their door too early, all they had to do was say, "I'm never up before 10, so please don't try to interact with me before then." The people who were angry because you couldn't (I assume) drive them on their errands were looking for a ride, not friendship. Please stop blaming yourself for this. And please do not allow others to judge you or make you isolate yourself. Someone may move into that "community" who would love to have you as a friend, so please stay open-minded.

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Print Headline: Relationship with daughter seemingly superficial at best

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