Ask Amy: Mom worries about disclosing affair

Dear Amy: I have been married to the same man for 52 years.

Thirty-six years ago, I had a child, who is a product of an affair.

I had two boys already when my third son was born.

My husband was away during a military tour when the affair happened.

I wanted a divorce, but my husband fought for our relationship.

The father of my child was years younger than I.

My husband accepted this child as his own.

When this son was 2 years old, his biological father died in a car accident.

His biological father had never seen my son. We never told my son that my husband is not his biological father.

I am feeling guilty about not telling my son, but my husband is against it.

My two other sons know, but he does not know. He is 36 years old now.

Should I tell him? I am feeling so guilty that he does not know.

— Wishing

Dear Wishing: Yes, you should tell your son the truth about his biological parentage and provide him with information about his biological father.

This will likely be hard on all of you, but the rest of the family knows this essential truth about your youngest son, and he deserves to know the truth, too.

People who learn the truth of their DNA later in life sometimes report that this knowledge helped to fill in gaps or answer longstanding questions they’ve had about their identity.

Dear Amy: “Arlene” is my close childhood friend. When her daughter “Lena” was born, I was asked to be Lena’s godmother. I was thrilled.

For years, I made the effort to celebrate Lena’s special days, to visit, and to be in touch regularly, even after they relocated to the opposite coast.

Once Lena graduated from college, I tried to meet up at least once a year.

I’ve never had children of my own, so this was important to me.

Lena had a baby of her own last year with her partner. She and her little family have now relocated to be near Arlene. Before they left, I visited her and the baby and sent gifts.

Arlene and I have grown apart over the years. We don’t talk regularly but send texts on birthdays and exchange Christmas cards.

Last year, I received a holiday card from Arlene with the note, “It will be a milestone celebrating Lena’s wedding.”

I’m extremely disappointed not to have been invited! Lena is in her 30s now, and thus a mature adult.

I’m disappointed and hurt that neither of them thought to call me or send a specific note to at least offer the “immediate family only” excuse as a reason not to extend an invite to this wedding.

How should I handle this?

I do think it’s important that they know I was hurt, but want to set a noble example.

Should I send a card/gift for the wedding and wait to address the issues a few weeks after the event?

Should I do this by phone — or by letter?

Should I address them both individually, or just contact the mother?

Or do I just ignore the wedding, let it go, and assume that my role and the friendship is done?

— Godmother Dilemma

Dear Godmother: “Lena” is your goddaughter. She is the one getting married. She has dropped the ball and has neglected to include or contact you.

Your relationship with both women has grown distant enough to have relegated you to an outer orbit, with very sparse contact.

The role of godparent is sometimes tenuous, as relationships wax and wane over the years. You’ve been a really great and involved godparent for over 30 years, and you’ve kindly extended your generosity to the next generation (Lena’s child).

If you feel it is important to let these women know they’ve hurt your feelings, then you should tell them (individually) through a brief note.

Yes, it would be nice to send Lena a card congratulating her on her marriage, but you shouldn’t combine the two messages.

Dear Amy: “Stepmom in the Middle” reported that her stepson used condoms for birth control, but his girlfriend did not use birth control.

You contributed to this shaming of her for exerting her own choice.

Some women cannot use hormonal birth control. It can make them very sick.

This is her business — not anyone else’s.

— Upset

Dear Upset: There are non-hormonal methods of birth control available for women, but I agree with you that this should be her choice.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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