I’ve found my birth mother but want to get closer
Q. I was adopted at birth 30 years ago. At 20, I found a letter from my birth mom saying she hopes I find her and she’ll try finding me because she wants a relationship with me.
I was looking for her for years and couldn’t find her.
Five years ago, someone started up a conversation with me and, by chance, happened to know my birth mom, so gave me her name.
I’ve tried communicating with her many times.
She comes around once every two years and only talks to me when I message her.
She has four other kids who know nothing about me. She gives my kids gifts and they wonder who she is. I can’t tell them because she’s never around long enough.
I’ve told her several times that I’m done trying.
It’s eating me up inside to see how good a mom and grandma she is to her other kids.
I’ve told her I have to let her go, but she keeps saying she wants a relationship.
Am I setting myself up for failure? Should I just realize that I’m never going to be part of her family?
A. There’s already an emotional link between you and your birth mother. But there’s also the reality of her past, when her circumstances led to her giving you up for adoption.
She must’ve been frightened and upset, and did what she thought or was convinced was best for her and for you.
She’s never forgotten that you’re her daughter.
But her present life with her other children and grandchildren was formed under different circumstances, and she hasn’t felt able to bridge the gap and bring you into that family.
She may fear they’ll judge her differently if they knew about you. She may be protecting you, too, from not being accepted by them.
But the same woman, who reached out to you years ago, does keep “coming around.” You matter to her.
That’s why she gave your children gifts.
Try to accept that she can’t take the connection further. Keep messaging her periodically; she needs to know you’re doing okay.
You do know who your mother is, and that she’s a good person.
Feedback regarding the man who wrote, “I’m a guy whose girlfriend wants me to wear ladies’ panties” (January 20):
Reader #1: “I can’t help but wonder if that’s some kind of sexual harassment or abuse.
“I’m wondering if a man were doing that to a woman, what would your advice have been?
“I’m not saying he should charge her with anything, but I’m curious about the differences between how situations are perceived and treated, depending on the genders of the players.
“I was glad to see you warned him of the potential danger he’s in there.”
Reader #2: “With no intent to trivialize this man’s situation, I get it. I used to teach human sexuality in the college system.
“You have to suspect that her demand is not the only power she’s wielding with him.
Not to get too Freudian, but she’s literally emasculating him. Maybe he should cut bait on the relationship in short order.”
Ellie: Whether it’s cross-dressing, a sexual fetish, or acting out a fantasy, what two people agree on as a (safe) part of their sexual playbook, is their business.
But this man’s letter also described threats to reveal photos of him if he didn’t comply with her increasing demands.
That is harassment and abuse, and it doesn’t matter the gender involved. He needs to end it.