Why Kate Gosselin's Daughters Mady & Cara Stopped Speaking to Dad Jon: 'He Doesn't Even Know Us'

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Mom of eight Kate Gosselin is returning to TV for a TLC series documenting her dating life — something her eldest children, 17-year-old twins Mady and Cara, fully support.

“Now that they’re older and talking about dating and how they’re all gonna get married someday … it became apparent: they want someone for me. They want me to have somebody in my life,” Kate, 43, told PEOPLE exclusively.

Someone who isn’t in the twins’ lives? Kate’s ex-husband Jon Gosselin, 41, who remains estranged from the girls, though he wished them a happy birthday via Instagram in October.

Happy 17th Birthday Mady and Cara!!! Love you, Dad

A post shared by Jon Gosselin (@jongosselin1) on Oct 8, 2017 at 4:43pm PDT

Since their separation in 2009, Jon has been focused on his DJing career and battled Kate for custody of the twins and sextuplets Aaden, Alexis, Collin, Hannah, Leah and Joel, who turn 14 next month. But in August 2016, Mady and Cara told PEOPLE that they weren’t speaking to their father, who had given interviews to some media outlets about his strained relationship with the girls

From left: Cara Gosselin, Kate Gosselin and Mady Gosselin
From left: Cara Gosselin, Kate Gosselin and Mady Gosselin

From left: Cara Gosselin, Kate Gosselin and Mady Gosselin

Jon Gosselin
Jon Gosselin

Jon Gosselin

“He makes it seem like we’re being kept from him, which is insane,” Mady said. “He should maybe spend some time thinking about why we don’t want to see him, and maybe realize that if he ever does want a relationship with us, talking about us on TV is not the way to make that happen.”

“He doesn’t even know us,” she added. “How can he dare to talk about us?”