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Published November 29, 2010, 12:00 AM

Annie's Mailbox: Try to find out why ex abandoned his daughter

Dear Annie: I read your column daily and have never seen a story like ours.

By: Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, INFORUM

Dear Annie: I read your column daily and have never seen a story like ours. My ex-husband and I have two daughters. He favors the younger one and talks to her often, but has had almost zero contact with our older daughter, “Dyan,” in more than 10 years. He didn’t even contribute one cent toward her wedding. The only explanation I can think of is that when my ex was dating his current wife, she said she couldn’t handle teenage girls. But that was years ago.

Dyan is now divorced with a child of her own. The divorce was horrible, and she and her son are living in my home. My ex and his wife have gone behind Dyan’s back to meet with her ex-husband in order to visit with my grandson. We have told them they are welcome to come to our home and pick the boy up and take him elsewhere, but my ex refuses because he doesn’t want to see Dyan.

When there are family gatherings on the paternal side, my ex has his 93-year-old mother call to invite Dyan and her son because otherwise it would look bad. He doesn’t have the backbone to call her himself. That is the only time he sees his daughter, but it’s infrequent, and he doesn’t actually speak to her.

Dyan is heartbroken and devastated by her father’s actions. She has tried many times to meet with him, but he won’t return her calls. Do you have any suggestions? – Mom from Michigan

Dear Mom: It’s possible Dad curtailed contact with Dyan because of his wife and, after several years, found it so difficult to reacquaint himself with his daughter that he decided it was easier to avoid her altogether. But that’s no excuse for being a lousy father and abandoning his child. Since he won’t speak to Dyan, you (or your younger daughter) should talk to him directly and find out why he is behaving so abominably, and perhaps offer to help fix things so they can have a fresh start.

Dear Annie: I went on a trip to Europe with my longtime boyfriend, “Conor,” whom I love dearly. While there, he struck up a friendship with one of the women in our group.

After a few days, she started making teasing comments, saying, “I’m coming to visit you tonight, Conor.” The next morning she would say, “You were wonderful last night,” and he would answer, “Was it good for you, too? Did the Earth move?”

After a week of hearing this banter every night and morning, I blew up and told him that they were both incredibly rude, and that if I heard such flirtatious dialogue one more time, we were through.

Conor says it was just a joke and that I overreacted. He says he loves only me, and if I had spoken up sooner, he would have stopped. He claims not to be attracted to her. Did I overreact? – Wounded

Dear Wounded: You were not wrong to find this rude, but you did overreact by waiting to say something until you were angry. You should have spoken up at the first such conversation and let Conor know it was disrespectful of your relationship.

Tell him he owes you an apology and not to let it happen again. Then forgive him.

Dear Annie: I had to write about “Crowded by the Ex,” who is upset that her husband’s ex-wife is in their lives. She needs to wake up and smell the roses.

My husband’s ex is now deceased, but I actually grew to love that woman and miss her terribly. Getting along made it so much easier on everyone – my husband, his children, the grandchildren and me. Family gatherings were so much happier with everyone together. No one had to “choose” who to spend the holidays with, and no one was left alone.

It’s time we accept the hand we have been dealt and enjoy life. – Second Wife in Indianapolis

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.