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I found out a year ago that the father I grew up wasn't my biological father. Last February this man sent my mom a message on facebook saying he was in town and wondering if they wanted to hang out like old times. My dad saw the message and eventually my mom admitted to having a 3 month affair with guy, around the time she had me, that was 19 years ago. There marriage was falling apart, and they were thinking of divorcing. When my mom found out she was pregnant, my dad wanted to try again so she never told him and she said she ended her affair. My dad ended things with my mom, and two weeks later, we got a dna test done and it turned out he wasn't my father. After this my dad aruptly ended contact with me, he told me that he didn't know how to be around me, that finding this out changes everything. It has gotten a little better, we do message each other on facebook occasionally.
  This past January, I met my biological father. and this was where all the problems began. My mother decided to start a relationship with him, and I finally met him. The intial meeting wasn't too bad, a bit awkward. After that we met a few more times, before things start to get very uncomfortable. He is telling everyone on facebook that I am his daughter, and how I am going to meet all of them, and at the beginning of the month he and my mom showed up to pick me up to go for supper. During supper my mom refered to him as my dad. After about an hour I made an excuse that my friend needed to be picked up. I know he is trying to make up for lost time, but I really don't want him to act like he is my father, when I got one and I want to improve the relationship I have with him. I met him, and tried to get to know him for her, but I really don't want to do it anymore. What should I do? This whole situation really sucks.

Answer
Hi, Dana, thanks for your question. My advice is for you to separate what other people do from what you do. IOW, allow others to 'act' however they want (even if it means acting 'like he is your father'. After all, you cannot control what others do. However, assert and stand up for yourself, in terms of doing and saying what you want to do and say (as long as it doesn't harm others, of course). That means, if you don't want to treat him as a father figure, then don't - that's your right as an adult. Realize that, no matter what you do or don't do, someone, somewhere, will criticize you for doing (or not doing) that. Allow people to criticize you, that is their right (even if it isn't polite, or if they object when you criticize them). Realize that he may be there if you hang around your mother; you may not be able to prevent that. If you don't like it, then you have a choice - either hang around the both of them, or don't be with your mom. You can certainly ask her for some 'alone time', but it will be her choice whether to accept or not.

Finally, realize that you may feel one way today, but tomorrow might be a different story. You are still young and young people change their feelings and beliefs quite a bit. So this situation is not cast in stone.

Do what is 'your truth' today, and accept that tomorrow might be different. If you want people to accept your decisions, you have to accept theirs. If you want freedom to choose your own path in life, let others choose theirs, as well.

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.

Expertise

questions framed similarly to 'what are some ways to respond when someone does/says X' are best. Questions posed in the form of 'why does my father do/say Y', or 'how would you diagnose my mother when she does/says Z' are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. I will probably reframe your question to fit the first question (what do I do). Nay question regarding any family member is fair game. Some of the most difficult are in the area of step-parenting and divorcing families.

Experience

I've been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1994. I've evaluated and/or treated thousands of patients.

Organizations
American Psychological Association Florida Psychological association National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology

Publications
www.bruceborkosky.blogger.com

Education/Credentials
Psy.D., Miami Institute of Psychology, 1993 M.CS., U. of Dayton, 1984 B.A., Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978

Awards and Honors
Award for Years of Dedicated Service, Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society, 1999

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