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Ask Anyone

blast from the past

I’ve been a happily married man for over 20 years, with a great wife and family. Only one big problem. I fathered a child with a cocktail waitress I met on a business trip two years before I was married. The mother found me on Facebook and let me know about it last week.

I have my doubts it’s even true. But if it is, I have a son I’ve never met who’s now college age. I never mentioned the affair to my wife because I hadn’t even met her yet when the one-night stand occurred. It’s not like I was cheating on her when this happened.

The mother isn’t looking for anything, she says, but just thought I should know. I’m freaking out. Do I tell my wife, or do I just pretend this complicated mess is not really unfolding?

Long Gone Daddy

The Straight Skinny says: Of course you tell your wife. You have a bigger family now, and she should know that. And then you ask if it would be all right to contact your son, because he is your child, and then you rewrite your will. And you stop referring to “this complicated mess,” because it’s not a mess, it’s your kid. Because that is the chance you took when you had sex with anyone except yourself.

The Moviegoer says: You should have wrapped it up, you idiot. You should also come clean. You hadn’t even met your wife when the affair happened…it’s not like you cheated on her. If you lie, it’ll be worse when she finds out. I can’t believe you even need to ask this question. Do you need someone to hold it when you pee too?

The Backroom Guy says: First things first, consult Mr. Schwarzenegger.

The Practical Cogitator says: Definitely tell your wife. She is your wife, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…you have agreed to share your lives with each other, man! Now it appears that you have created a life, and if you are welcomed by the mother and the college aged boy, then you should participate in that life. Invite them to a Fourth of July picnic at your home, pull your head out of the sand, and declare independence from the scrutiny of others. Grow your family and be proud.

Dining Out Says: Man up and tell your wife what’s going on. She’d rather hear it from you than the woman who’s haunting you from the past. You should also tell your attorney about your situation and ask your attorney and doctor if they think taking a paternity test is a good idea (although it may not be easy since your potential son is in college and is probably over the age of 18, which means he has the right to say no to the test). I’m sure you’re going to need a good therapist through all of this as it will probably add stress to every aspect of your life. And if you really need a dose of humor during this difficult time, rent City Island.

Mad Dad says: Wow. You’re taking a bit of a beating on this one, my friend. Allow me to step in and say a few words on your behalf, and on behalf of all the other men out there who have been blindsided with a surprise like this.

You will soon realize that there are a lot of emotions churning inside you now that are contributing to your feeling “freaked out.” Not the least of which is the white-hot rage you will feel toward this woman when you come to understand that she not only robbed you of all those years you could have spent with your son, but she denied him the opportunity to know his real father as he grew up.

She is the real piece of work here. Of course you’re going to tell your wife and family, because that’s the kind of guy you are. And you’re going to try to build a relationship with a young man who may have needed you growing up, and wondered why you weren’t around.

Don’t be confused by those who imply this was somehow your fault. Unwanted pregnancies occur every day. It takes two to tango, and contraception sometimes fails. But while hiding the existence of a child from that child’s father may seem like a quaint twist torn from a romance novel, in the real world it should be seen as a form of child abuse dreamt up by a psychotic mind.

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