My [22F] father [?M] (who I've never met) and his family want to make contact

Glad to help! I'm usually just a lurker but I felt really alone and conflicted when I started going through all of these emotions too (and still do at times).

I think that the abuse you read about will always be in the back of your mind when you're talking to him at first, and that's okay. A high degree of caution in this situation is natural and healthy in my opinion. Abuses aside, the extended absence of a parent makes you feel abandoned and hurt and that is reason enough to be guarded.

I was very lucky that my dad did a lot of healing/introspection during the nearly two decades of no contact, so he was able to articulate and explain his perspective. That helped me begin to put it aside and enjoy having a larger family! (I am also an only child, raised mainly by a single mom).

I sincerely hope that you also have a positive experience if you do end up reaching out. It sounds at the very least like your grandparents are keen to meet you. It helps to try to understand that they have been pained by not being able to dote on their grandchild for years and just want to pour all this pent-up attention on you. It may be awkward/suffocating at first but they probably mean well. My dad never reached out either, and he says that even though he wanted to, he was afraid that I (and certainly my mom) would hate him, resent him, push him away and that it would make our lives worse, not better. He also wasn't very mentally healthy most of his life and he knew that, and again, thought I would genuinely be better off.

I just want to say as well, I reached out via Facebook when I was 18, but we messaged for 2 years before finally meeting when I was 20. We have only had regular contact for the past couple of years (22-23), by which I mean we see each other a handful of times a year. So don't be afraid to take your time.

Sorry for the huge wall of text. Please don't hesitate to message me, even way down the road if you want to talk more about it. I wish you all the best!

/r/relationships Thread