Because of how life has moved for both of us, and timing of my early educational pursuits in the midst of my parents’ divorce, I have a much distanced relationship with my father. Long story short, we keep in touch, but there is no REAL relationship there. I love him very much, but it’s always extremely uncomfortable trying to talk with him. We are literally just alike, so I understand him more than he knows, but sometimes it feels like there’s a gaping wound in our relationship that no one is willing to approach, so it will always be a superficial interaction. How do you go about rebuilding a broken father-daughter relationship where the emotional distance feels further than the actual mileage?
Dear Distant Daughter,
It’s obvious to me that this emotional distance is pulling on you and I’m hoping I can help. I hear a lot of different things in your question that makes it possible to resolve your concerns with your father-daughter relationship. It is never easy to have distance in our relationships regardless of the type. Then, when we add a divorce to the scenario, what seems already stressful becomes too heavy to deal with. As time goes by the close relationship just seems too hard to rebuild. I get a real sense that the relationship is rooted in love and your issues are more about communication styles. If you can bear with me, I can give you some tips on communicating with your father and taking the risk to be the first to say “I miss you.”
Rebuilding a broken father-daughter relationship
Like it or not, you have to be willing to take the first step and face your father. If you are ready to heal this relationship, you must deal with the discomfort in this confrontation. This is the main step in the healing process, an opportunity to forgive and move forward.
This conversation is an opportunity to take responsibility for your part in letting the distance grow and giving your father a chance to do the same. I am almost certain that you both have some level of regret about the current stage of your relationship.
Once you get pass this initial conversation the work is easier and more about reestablishing a new, healthier relationship. To do that you need to reconnect consistently and honestly. To put it plainly, you need to call more frequently. You need to introduce your father to the woman you are now. Let your father share in your dreams, fear, hopes and overall current life. Sounds weird, but bonds are built and maintained by sharing the good and bad of our lives with those we love.
Lastly, after all the conversations; it’s time to enjoy some quality time together. Conversations work as a foundation ,but having a good time is what we remember. Take the time to enjoy your new relationship.
Remember your father-daughter relationship is worth the work. Be Well.