An Open Father's Day Letter to My Dad, Who Walked Out on Us
4 min read | May 2022
Millennial / Moderate / Journalist

An Open Father's Day Letter to My Dad, Who Walked Out on Us

I wouldn’t be the successful woman I am today if you stayed in my life.

This Narrative Belongs To:

To my biological dad, who walked out when I was 3 years old,

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

I’m not sure why I’m even saying that, because you’ve never once wished me a happy birthday, congratulated me on getting a first-class degree or sent me a Christmas card. But with my heart, I hope you have a happy day. Because thanks to you, I have happy days, every day and, truly, I’m doing great.

Most people use Father’s Day as an opportunity to give thanks to their fathers for everything they’ve done throughout their lives, but instead of thanking you for being Dad, I’m thanking you for not being one. Dads usually teach their kids how to ride bikes, take them to the cinema on a Saturday, drive them to and from school and surprise them with gig tickets to their favorite band. But the only thing that you have ever taught me is how to live without a father figure in my life and, honestly, that’s the best thing you could have taught me. I’m an independent, successful young woman and had you been a part of my life, I doubt I’d be where I am right now. Maybe you might have wrecked my life later down the line when I was a teenager, causing me mental health problems and trust issues. Or maybe things might have been OK on the surface, but really, I’d be comfortable and entitled, thinking things would get handed to me on a plate and not needing to work as hard—therefore meaning I wouldn’t be where I am today.

A young girl learns how to live her life without a father figure.

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My Mom and I Struggled, but I’m Stronger Because of It

Instead of you doing all the things that a dad should, my mum had to step up to the plate and take on the roles of both my mum and my dad—a superwoman if you will. Standing by my side and never leaving me as you did, my mum taught me everything about life and molded me into the woman I am today. My mum was the one I called up on my lonesome lunch breaks at high school when I had no friends and felt abandonment yet again; she was the one who took me school shoe shopping and scraped together the money for uniforms; she would travel to school with me every single day without fail—getting on buses and trudging through muddy fields. My mum did everything for me and would still do anything for me, while you continue on with your life, forgetting about your one and only daughter.

When you left me and my mum, when I was just 3 years of age, for the woman that you shacked up with and welcomed a son with, you knew we’d struggle—and you were right. But off you went to set up a bright and beautiful new life with the woman who you had an affair with while my mum was pregnant with me, your child. 

With no support from you since the age of 3, my mum and I often struggled for money, and then you made me go for a DNA test at age 13 for you to start paying child maintenance—which was a pitiful £36 per week. Imagine that, a 13-year-old schoolgirl having to go into a hospital to get a DNA test because her dad wanted to make it as hard as possible for her to get the money that she was entitled to. You didn’t want to provide for me and you made it as difficult as you possibly could. You made a vow to my mum and told her that you’d open a bank account in my name that I could have access to when I was 16, full of money so I could fund my education and live a full life, but that was a total lie.

I guess your new son was far more important though, the son you fathered a matter of months after you discarded me, your firstborn. Not only did my half-brother grow up with a father who would take him to football matches and the cinema on the weekends or on bike rides and lavish holidays, but he was and still is provided for by you. He’ll probably have his university fees covered by you; you’ll probably pay for his accommodation; and he won’t ever know the struggles I’ve had to face in my life.

A little girl and her mom blow kisses to a non-existent father.

I Am Doing Much Better Without You

But it doesn’t matter, because I survived—I made it. My mum and I might have struggled for several years, but we made things work, and now we’re living a life that we never thought would be possible. You gave me the worst start in life, but thanks to you, it’s turned out pretty golden. I am so relieved you’re not part of my life. I’m a successful writer. I have a degree, and I don’t need you, because I never have. 

If you ever decide that you want to know me because you need something or have finally realized that you have a daughter, I’ll demand you do a DNA test and then I’ll call you a taxi because I don’t know you. You told my mum after you left that one day, I’d be 16 and able to make my own decisions and, well, this is my own decision.

Anyway, have a great Father’s Day, from your firstborn child and only daughter, who is honestly better off without you.

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