My(25F) dad (60M) has never been the typical father/man. My problem is that I cannot determine if he is just different, or if his behavior and actions are inappropriate, dangerous, or inexcusable. I don’t know if I should approach him about this. So many things have happened in my life that make me believe he could be mentally unstable, or possibly a pedophile. I really don’t know and am unsure about approaching him about this. This will be a rather long post so I apologize ahead of time. I have held it in for so long and if I am going to post about it here… I want to explain it fully to get honest, true, well-informed feedback.
Both my parents have been very happy in general since their divorce, which happened 14 years ago (I was 11). My dad has not remarried and has not dated anyone for about 9 years now. He does not have many adult friends, maybe 2-5 that he might see once every 6 months. He has also never been protective of me in the stereotypical way that a dad would be.
Around age 17 I started learning other things that were too difficult for me to handle. When I was younger, between the ages of 3&10, we lived down the street from a family that we were close with. They had kids around my age and my parents got along with their parents well. After my parents split, we did not see that family much. Fast forward a few years, and I am going to the same private school as one of the sons. At the time I was dating another boy from our school, but he had mentioned that the son had pulled him aside and told him to be wary of my dad. My boyfriend at that time assumed he was joking. When I heard about this I was confused, so I went to this son and asked him about it. His response completely surprised me. I remember his face going into shock and he suddenly apologized saying “I’m so sorry, I thought you knew”. He wouldn’t tell me anything more. Immediately after school ended that day I went home and asked my mom about this. She broke down in to tears and explained things to me. She told me that this boy’s parents no longer want to speak to my dad, in fact they hate him. Apparently, the younger son had said my dad touched him inappropriately when he was younger. Upon finding out, the son’s father was going to press charges. I don’t know exactly why this did not happen, I think my mother and the man’s wife persuaded him not to for the sake of my brother and I at the time.
It was hard to believe, and I had questions throughout this conversation which led to my mom telling me more about my father. She told me that they rarely had sex, maybe twice per year. On the night of their wedding they did not have sex. A few days after their wedding, one of our family friends was celebrating with my parents and my dad suggested they all give each other back rubs. My mom was receiving one from their family friend, and my dad was giving one to the family friend. She also told me that my father was asked to leave his position as a boy scout leader when he was younger, before they met, but she does not know why he was asked to leave. Growing up, apparently some of my friends’ parents would not let their kids come play at our house unless my mom was home, because they were concerned with my dad. This also happened with my brother’s friend’s. Hearing all of this gave me serious issues for years, until recently when I tried to accept my dad without trying to understand or “solve” him.
Since I can remember, my father has been involved in coaching, or other hobbies, younger boys. He coached baseball when I was born, and he coached my brother’s sports teams growing up. Once my brother’s friends were older, he began surfing with them, playing video games, and tagging along to movies, concerts, etc. I was always able to accept this behavior because my dad is an incredibly active and healthy man for his age. In the past my dad has mentioned it is hard to find people his age that are active and can keep up with him. He also does not drink alcohol, making it harder for him to have adult friends. Once my brother was moving off to college around 18, our dad still surfed and spent time with these boys until recently. In the past few years, I have noticed they no longer spend time with him. I’ve recently spoken to my brother about all of this, and he told me they keep their distance from my dad because they think he is weird.
About 7 years ago, my dad became close friends with a family with two younger boys, 12 & 14. The parents met my dad through his profession. Since then, my dad has become close with the older boy, and frequently spent time with him until he went to college. He even called him his best friend. I used to keep my distance from this family because I was angry with my dad. It was a difficult situation to see the parents, because I did not want to act polite and welcoming. I thought it would make my dad appear harmless.
Since their oldest boy went to college, him and my dad have become somewhat distant. However, my dad will still attempt to spend time with him whenever possible. If this boy is back in town for the holidays, my dad will try to get some time with him. He will even pay him to come pressure wash our house, wash cars, etc. I believe this is a way for my dad to see him. When he is at college (4-5 hours away), my dad will drive there for a weekend if this boy is not busy. Usually once every 1-2 months.
I think the past few years have been tough for my dad because this boy, and my brothers’ friends, have been distancing themselves from him. Honestly, I think it is because these boys are old enough now to have their own lives and notice how odd it is to hang out with a much older man. Plus, my dad is starting to get older and his age is showing much more. This has affected my dad tremendously. He is very lonely. About 6 months ago, my dad began playing video games again to connect with some of these boys, and two other sons (age 11 &14) of family friends who live in another state. He no longer plays video games with them because they either stopped playing or don’t want to play with him. However, he has made other friends in his games that are very young (8-12). Every night and free moment he has, he will be online chatting with these kids. With a headset on, he is rather loud at times and it is honestly hard for me to hear. I don’t understand how he has anything in common with these kids. If he is not playing video games, he will still talk about them or mention things, like I know who they are. He has done this with his younger friends for years, so I am used to it and always appear very disinterested and he usually stops.
It has gotten to the point now where my dad is much older, and these kids are younger. Hearing him talk to them every night is driving me into a confused depression, and I don’t know how to address this situation. I spoke to my mother about talking to my dad, to just ask him why he is friends with younger boys, and to explain how it has affected me and give him a chance to explain himself. My mom does not think it is a good idea, because my dad has a bad temper. I asked her if she ever approached him about these things while they were married, and she says she did, and he became angry immediately.
However, I have a very good relationship with my dad now, and I realize that I want to address this situation, be honest with him, and give him a chance to explain. I don’t want him to die, and then I am left confused and unable to get any real answers. I want to approach him, but I feel as if I need outside opinions on this matter first.
It has always been easier to deal with these memories and concerns when I am not around my dad, and for a few years during my undergrad studies I was able to keep away and shut it all out. However, I am now a single mother and in graduate school until May of this year, and my dad has been helping me out tremendously by allowing my child and I to stay with him. While I am very grateful, it has been very difficult to live with him these past few months and deal with these things again.
I’ve struggled with my father for over 10 years. Honestly, I believe he means well. He often helps others and is a very positive person in general. There have been times where I tried desperately to believe in him, times when I just accept him and acknowledge that I will not ever understand him, and other times when I believe he is a terrible person and stay away from him as much as possible. However, I’ve gotten to the point where I feel as if none of these attitudes towards him are acceptable.
I want to come clean and talk to him, but my other family members are concerned about me doing so because of his temper and my current situation living with him. I feel stuck.
I don’t know what to believe about him. I do think he is odd and does not have the best social skills, but beyond that I am so confused. I welcome any opinions or advice. I have tried to research his behavior or find anyone in a similar situation as I am, but have not found anything of use. Thank you to those who have taken the time to read this. I have learned that if I try to ask my friends for advice about this, they distance themselves from me and my family and I quickly lose them as a friend. So, I don’t really have anyone to talk to that I get advice from.
Wow !! That's a way worse problem than mine.
Look, if your father's actually a pedophile, wouldn't it be obvious that he would try something "weird" with your brother? How old is your brother? Was he always living with his dad? I guess you already did some kind of conversation with him about your father right? What did he told you?
Hi, thanks for your response and feedback. I'm not sure if it would be obvious. He hasn't tried anything with my brother that I know of, and I recently spoke to my brother about this.
My brother has been struggling with this like I am for years, but he is very passive and will not speak up about things. He has had an especially hard time dealing with his friends and their relationships with my dad, especially in recent years because they really don't want to see my dad.
My dad is a pretty smart guy. So honestly, I think he would be very careful about doing anything. He has a great career and would lose it all if anything came out. But that's why I'm posting here. I just don't know. There are so many things that have happened or that I have learned about over the years, it's hard to make sense of it or ignore it. However, theres no hard evidence.
I appreciate your thoughts and questions. Thank you again.
I suggest you seek counseling with a good family therapist where you could share your concerns. At some point your father might be invited into the later sessions, where you can express your concerns.
Thank you for the response. I was actually considering this, and I think I will follow through on it now.
A few other times in past situations I have tried counseling and never found it to be helpful, but I think if I focus my sessions on this issue it could be. I'm realizing now that I should have brought this up during those times.
I didn't realize it could be beneficial to have someone mediate the discussion between my father and I. Just that possibility makes me feel a bit better, rather than just coming clean to him by myself. Thank you again.