Letter to a Step-Daughter After Divorce


I’ve been considering sending a letter to my step-daughter. Partially because I miss her, but mostly because I don’t want her growing up thinking that the way her dad treats women is normal. Though I know that there isn’t much that I could say that would change her opinion or love for her father (which wouldn’t be my intent at all), I would like to think that I had some impact on her. I would like to think my leaving left behind some doubt about her father’s actions.

But, alas, my husband forbids that I ever contact her and, because I hold no legal rights, I don’t. I fear that she feels abandoned and confused. He does this as a way to control me and as damage control, I’m sure. He blames me for filing for the restraining order, which prevents him from owning a gun. It also prevents him from being able to mentor his daughter who wants to hunt this year. He chooses to ignore his actions, which led to me filing for the restraining order in the first place.

If I could write her a letter and guarantee that she would read it, it might say something like this.

Dear O,

You made me a mother when I married your father. I may not have been as patient or as compassionate as I could have been and for that, I apologize. I am so sorry if it feels as though I’ve abandoned you. If I had a choice in the matter, I would talk to you all the time. I would invite you to my house or out to the movies. As it was, I just disappeared and I can only imagine how confusing that might have been. You have a sense of loyalty to your dad and I completely understand that. I don’t want you to ever feel as though you have to choose between me and him, so I’m going to respect his wishes not to contact you.

I just want you to know that I will always love you. It breaks my heart that I can no longer be in your life. I want you to know that you matter, your thoughts and feelings matter, you are valuable. My door is always open, no matter what. I love you.


Your Step-mom

All I can hope is that one day when she’s old enough, she’ll search for me.


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