Life Advice



Ask Amy: Biological father and son can’t seem to talk

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Is that wrong?

– Moving On

Dear Moving On: I am assuming that you would prefer to meet in person to see for yourself any physical or other familial traits, and to satisfy what might be a lifetime of periodic curiosity about your biological father.

One reason some people prefer to communicate via email versus in person is because they are more in control of the conversation when they are corresponding. This lowers the risk that they will encounter the other person’s visceral reactions.

In the case of an elder, it is possible that he has physical ailments or lifestyle realities he does not want to disclose. He might be afraid of your anger or trying to prevent you from meeting other family members.

And it is worth noting that he did his only part in bringing you forth when he was 16 or 17 years old. Surely fathering a baby at such a young age might have been a factor in some of his regrettable subsequent choices.


You two seem locked in a skirmish for who gets to control the conversation, but hey – that’s easier than actually communicating. (I’m also wondering if there is a familial streak of stubbornness at play.)

You obviously don’t anticipate or desire any sort of loving reunion, but I do think you might regret it later if you didn’t express yourself and ask any questions now, even if it is via email.

Think of it as receiving information instead of having a relationship, which you have stated you do not want to have.

Dear Amy: When I was going through my divorce, my ex-husband told our two sons that if they talked to me (their mom), then he wanted nothing to do with them.


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