Dear Amy: I’ve been with my husband for 40 years. I thought we had a great life together, but I just found out that he has a birth son who is two months younger than our youngest son!
The child’s mother put him up for adoption, which my husband claims he doesn’t know until months after the adoption.
What really hurts is that he cheated on me with the same woman when I was pregnant with our first child.
He says that she meant nothing to him (just sex) and that he has always loved me and that since it happened 30 years ago I should just get past it.
I found out about this a few months ago when his son contacted my daughter through a DNA matching site.
Since then, all I can think of is that our whole life has been a lie.
How do I get past it?
Heartbroken in PA
Dear heart broken: Your husband can’t explain this story just because he wants to.
In addition to being infidelity, he fathered a child, knew about the child, and does not appear to have done anything to help the child or the child’s mother. This is quite a “telling” about your husband’s deeper character and you have a right to question his character right now.
DNA matching has drawn us all into a new age of discovery, and these DNA revelations often force us to face unpleasant facts about ourselves and the people we love.
“Continue” is not acceptable. It won’t help you. Your man should work a lot harder to get this through with you. Then you would have the opportunity to move on together and win back your common marriage history.
A counselor could help you unpack and process this challenging truth. Your husband should respect your need to handle this in your own way.
Your children will also have questions and concerns, and their father should be brave enough to ask these questions honestly. I hope that at some point your family will find a way to be open and inclusive with this newfound biological son.
Dear Amy: I did not grow up with my birth parents. I recently discovered my birth father’s family through DNA testing. At 53, it was quite an experience.
It appears that my birth father was the extremely black sheep of the family and after years of drama, he and his son were eventually banished from the entire family.
He’s long since passed away, but most of the family doesn’t want anything to do with me because I’m his child, even though I’ve never met him. Some refuse to recognize me at all. Despite the fact that I am a family, they never tried to contact me.
I appreciate the love I received from the three cousins who bonded with me.
It hurts so much that my own aunts, uncles, and first cousins refuse to make contact just because of who I am. I don’t speak to my half-brother about some things he said to me that also hurt me deeply.
I try to forgive all of them for the pain they brought me, but it is very difficult. I thought over time they might change their minds, but no.
Am I wrong for being angry and hurt? Should I be the bigger person and forgive them? Do I feel like I’m wrong?
Hurt in New York
Dear Hurt: Your hurt feelings are fully justified. However, you need to understand that you have entered a family system that was already entrenched and that is extremely closed and negative.
Understand in your bones that this dynamic has nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault. “Family” is something of a construct, and you can construct your own populated by people who want to relate to you.
If you want to forgive these people, the first thing you should do is simply accept them as you perceive them: flawed, potentially hurt, and hurtful.
Dear Amy: You posted one person’s “advice” on online dating: “Meet in public and let them know you have an event later so you can have an” out “if necessary.”
Great. Start the relationship with a lie.
Are you sure the person hasn’t given advice on how not to do things?
Dear Disappointed: I understand your point of view, but as someone who has participated in online matching, I happily reject it.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy at PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.