Relationships with absent parents can be a tough subject, but as someone with an absent father, I feel as though I have enough experience to write about this issue.
Parenting can be extremely hard. Most people have no idea what they're getting themselves into when they "sign up." Parents might think they're mature enough to handle the responsibility of children, and we can't fault them when they're wrong. What we can do, however, is fault them for not making more of an effort to change for their child.
Looking back at my own experience and the experience of the kids I grew up with, I've realized that, for many parents, the responsibility of being a parent is just too much. This, of course, results in them leaving. Rather than being an adult and understanding that parenthood requires sacrifice and maturity, certain parents make the decision to turn around and run.
You don't have to be a genius to understand that an absent parent makes the life of the remaining parent and child extremely difficult. Hardship will follow, whether it's in the form of financial troubles, behavioral problems, etc. The absent parent gets to miss all of this, and whether or not his or her life turns out better is beside the point. The absent parent is just as responsible for the child as the remaining one.
What bothers me more than anything about this situation is that many years down the road after the child has turned 18, the absent parent often tries to wiggle his or her way back into their lives, and what happens? The child allows it, completely dismissing all the harm this person caused.
Some people might find no issue with this, thinking that it's better this parent show interest late than never. Honestly, if you find yourself thinking the same thing, you're an idiot. Sorry, but it's true. The absent parent didn't care about the child when they were growing up. Absolutely no care was given to the child as they struggled under the hardships of a single-parent household. But now that the child is older, has a developed personality and can make their own decisions, the parent finds them interesting? What kind of bullshit is that?
If I were in that child's position, I'd feel highly insulted. It would be hard for me to care about a person who put no effort into raising me, yet expects to reap the benefits of having a good kid, Yeah, I don't think so. There's something wrong with parents who do this. They're sick in the head. But, if someone allows them to get away with acting this way, they're not going to understand their wrongdoing.