Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Friend’s Baby May Be My Son’s… Or My Boyfriend’s!”

Eighteen months ago this girl I’m friends with – “Abby” — had a baby boy. Someone brought it to my attention that he could be my grandson because he looks like my son who was having sexual relations with Abby around the time she got pregnant. But Abby had been with the guy I’m dating now — “Matt” — for nine years, including when she got pregnant. Abby thinks the baby is my son’s child but doesn’t want to tell Matt/ my boyfriend that he may not be the father because he takes good care of him and she takes advantage of the situation. She has asked me not to tell Matt because he’s unstable (he drinks a lot and suffers from depression). But on the other hand, he loves this baby boy and is a great father. I have told my son about this and he doesn’t want anything to do with the boy — mainly because the girl was wanting a baby and she had told her ex if he wouldn’t give her one she would get pregnant by someone else, which is where my son came in knowing nothing of her attempt. I hope you can give me some insight of what I need to do. — Possible Grandma

The baby in question has a father in his life who loves him and cares for him. You threaten that if you tell Matt, your boyfriend, that your son may actually be the baby’s father. And for what? Your son has already said he wants nothing to do with the baby. Matt’s well-being will be disrupted. Your relationship with him will likely be negatively affected, to say nothing of your friendship with Abby. What good comes for any of these people from you sharing your suspicions with Matt?

I suspect you aren’t as concerned with the well-being of others as you are about yourself. Maybe this is about wanting to claim a grandchild, maybe this is about wanting to free some of your boyfriend’s time, attention, and finances so he has more to invest in you and your relationship. Whatever your motivation is, I find it hard to believe it’s at all altruistic. This is about what you want, and I promise it’s not going to end the way you hope it will if you tell Matt you think your son might actually be his son’s real father.

Speaking of your son, he wasn’t tricked into impregnating Abby if that’s what you’re implying when you say he knew “nothing of [Abby’s] attempt” to get pregnant by someone. Most people – your son, included, I’m sure – know how babies are made. When sex results in a pregnancy, both partners are equally responsible for that pregnancy, especially if the sex was unprotected and no birth control was used.

After many years together, my partner, “Frank,” has decided he’s leaving his hometown and me to move closer to his family. He’s only lived separate from them for five years of his life (31-36). He is extremely close to his family, in a way that makes me uncomfortable. He has two parents and two older sisters, 44 and 48. Neither of his siblings has ever had a serious relationship nor moved out on their own. When his family decided to move to another state, they all moved and moved in together.

Since they moved, they have been trying to convince Frank to move to be with them. He skypes with them daily, has several group text chats with them, and then there are daily phone calls from each of them. He also goes to visit them for at least three weeks three times a year and they visit him for at least two weeks four times a year. When they come to visit him, I basically never see him.

I am very much in love with him, but I don’t know if I will ever be as important as they are. I have tried to speak to him about this, and he’s dismissed me and accused me of being jealous. For the record, I have a good relationship with my family, and I still manage to be an independent and self-sufficient individual and have been living on my own since I was 23.

Frank has decided to move to be with his family and has asked me to leave everything behind and come, which I have no desire to do. We are from a large east-coast city, and Frank’s family has moved to the suburbs of flyover country. They know no one there and they haven’t made any friendships in their new town in the five years since they moved there.

My partner is not merely abandoning me, but he’s also leaving behind a 20-year music career, all of his friends (he has many friends), and the place he was born and raised in. I am really trying to wrap my mind around someone wanting to move where the only thing he has are four family members.

I am absolutely devastated. At this point, I do not know if I should make a huge sacrifice and consider moving at some point or attempt long-distance or just walk away. I am concerned nothing will change unless his family poofed out of existence; the hold they have over him has grown over time. I have known my partner for more than half my life—first as friends, then as casual dating partners, and now as partner with me in a serious relationship. Any advice would be much appreciated. — Feeling Abandoned for His Family

 
Yeah, you need to MOA (move on already – as in move on from Frank, not move with him). This is some dysfunctional cult-like stuff you’re describing and it’s clear Frank’s family has a death-grip hold on him that won’t be released any time soon. If being away from them for five years did nothing to foster his independence from them, you can be damn sure that moving to be with them, where he has literally no other distraction, isn’t going to do it.

The truth is, with the amount of space his family takes in his life and his psyche, there isn’t room for you. That’s true already, and it will certainly be true as he re-establishes his place in their day-to-day lives. He has no intention of building a future with you that isn’t as enmeshed with his family as it’s always been. That’s clearly not something that appeals to you – nor should it! – and you should save yourself further agony and bow out now. Maybe doing so will allow you to stay on friendly terms with Frank and, if you have it in your heart and still have love and care for him, you can be something of a lifeline for him to his old life should he come to his senses and consider disengaging from his cult-y family.

Regardless what happens to Frank, you need to think about yourself, and maintaining a relationship with him at this point will only cause you pain, frustration, and despair. It’s time to MOA.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

30 comments… add one
  • avatar

    anonymousse September 12, 2019, 8:43 am

    LW1- What? Your bf is the acting father of this kid who might be your grandchild? My head hurts.

    LW2- You know his priority is his family. You think it’s idiotic for them to have moved somewhere where they know no one. I don’t know why you’d consider going with him.

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  • avatar

    Allornone September 12, 2019, 8:50 am

    Why did a “friend” of yours’ sleep with your son?
    Why are you dating a guy she was with for nine years?
    Who are you people? I didn’t realize this kind of thing happened outside of soap operas…..

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    • avatar

      Emily September 12, 2019, 8:54 am

      YES THIS!!!

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    • avatar

      bondgirl September 12, 2019, 8:54 am

      Yeah I was thinking something similar…

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster September 12, 2019, 9:20 am

      Just jumping on the wtf band wagon here! How did any of this go down?!

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    • avatar

      Donna September 12, 2019, 3:38 pm

      This is definitely crazytown!

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    • avatar

      Anonymous September 16, 2019, 9:33 am

      Just sounds like small town america to me, and I don’t mean that insultingly! Just to say it’s very much the kind of “everyone has a history with everyone else” stories you hear commonly within smaller populations.

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  • avatar

    Peggy September 12, 2019, 8:53 am

    Everything Wendy said! If you were crazy enough to give in and move there,you would have no life with him. Every minute would be spent with them hanging around and monopolizing his time. And yes,that is how he wants his life to be. There is nothing for you here/with him.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 12, 2019, 9:36 am

    LW1 You do nothing. You have speculation and nothing else. I feel sorry for this baby who has a dad who loves him but sounds like he is an alcoholic and who is depressed and unstable. The other potential father doesn’t want him. What a sad fate for this baby. He certainly didn’t win the lottery when it came to fathers which also means he probably didn’t win the lottery when it came to mothers because his wasn’t even slightly picky.

    If your son wouldn’t be willing to step in and parent, which is pathetic, and his excuse is pathetic, then you shouldn’t try to blow up the relationship with the loving, albeit, unstable father that this baby has.

    Why are you with an unstable man who drinks too much? Why? This reeks of desperation. Set standards in your life. Who raised your son to think that parenting is optional? Who taught him that he has no responsibility in creating a baby? Has he never heard of a condom? Doesn’t he know how to use one? Your son’s choice to not want anything to do with this baby shows his total lack of responsibility.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom September 12, 2019, 10:35 am

      LW1 What you can and should do. Be a wonderful, loving grandmother to this boy. You are probably the grandmother even if you are never called grandma. Be there for him and love him unconditionally. Volunteer to babysit him. Take him to playgrounds. Read to him. Treasure him. Technically you are more in the role of stepmother/friend of the mother but you can act like a grandmother, stepmother, friend of the mother all at the same time. You can be a positive difference in his life even if your son refuses to be a father. Open your heart to him. Embrace him as a highly valued member of your family. While filling the role of stepmother love him in your heart as his grandma. Also, don’t begrudge him the help Matt gives. He needs the care of a loving man. Encourage Matt to be there for him. Encourage Matt to do everything he can for his son.

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      • Miss MJ

        Miss MJ September 12, 2019, 7:58 pm

        “He may already know at some level. They couldn’t get pregnant and she threatened to go find someone else to father a baby and then she gets pregnant. He wasn’t totally in the dark. Is he happy to be a father because this is the only child he will have?”

        Wait, what? As far as I can tell there’s no indication of any of this in this post.

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    • avatar

      Fyodor September 12, 2019, 11:28 am

      She doesn’t just have speculation. She knows that Abby was cheating with the son at the right time and that Abby believes that Matt isn’t the father. Matt’s willingness to take this on without a paternity test is almost certainly because he didn’t think that Abby was banging anyone else at the time. It’s absolutely ridiculous to say that he should be forced into a lifetime of financial support of the kid based on a likely lie.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 12, 2019, 12:29 pm

        Is he being forced? He loves this little boy and a loving dad outweighs a deadbeat dad any day.

        Unless at least one of these men is willing to do a paternity test Matt is the father of record, unless no father was recorded. If Matt signed the birth certificate he is the legal father which means he is the father. The mother would also have to agree to having the baby take a test. She probably won’t do that unless ordered by a court. I don’t see any of these people going to court to get a court ordered paternity test.

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      • avatar

        Fyodor September 12, 2019, 3:26 pm

        He is the legal father almost certainly because he believed falsely that his partner was not having sex with someone else. If he knew the truth, he’d presumably have asked for a paternity test. He’s a “good father” because he’s been misled into believing that he’s the biological father. His participation is predicated on a lie. Maybe he will continue to help with the kid if he knows the truth.

        Many kids’ lives might be improved if you tricked someone responsible into believing that he was the biological father. But it’s still wrong to do and wrong for the LW to not tell him the truth so he can decide for himself.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 12, 2019, 5:08 pm

        If Matt is a legal parent he can do a paternity test. The LW can tell him that she has heard rumors that he isn’t the father. If he didn’t sign the birth certificate then he has no legal right to do a paternity test.

        He may already know at some level. They couldn’t get pregnant and she threatened to go find someone else to father a baby and then she gets pregnant. He wasn’t totally in the dark. Is he happy to be a father because this is the only child he will have?

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 12, 2019, 9:37 am

    LW2 If you moved with him the two of you would be living with his family permanently. There would be no getting a place of your own. No independence. He’s connected by a very long umbilical cord and it isn’t going to get cut. Don’t move with him.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkey's Mommy September 12, 2019, 10:35 am

    What kind of backwoods Jerry Springer bullshit is this? My eyes are bleeding… Did I read correctly that you are friends with a girl that both your son and boyfriend are banging? Did your son and boyfriend know they were sharing…? Did you know your son and boyfriend were with the same person… And how old is everyone involved… My head cannot process this mess. Your son sucks, Abby is easy with her love, you sound like a desperate moron, and your boyfriend is probably the only relatively okay person here since he is caring for his child but if Abby is 20 years younger than he is, I am gonna say he sucks too. I don’t even know what I just read, but that poor kid… And why are you with some dude who just had a baby with a woman your son was doing???

    I need a new username here… Monkey is 9 now, it isn’t cute anymore 😂

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 12, 2019, 10:44 am

    LW1). Excuse me for not answering, but somehow… I keep throwing up in my mouth…
    .
    LW2). Yikes. The guy and his whole family sounds fucking nuts. Dump him. Rip of the bandaid that he is. Trust me. You will be fine. Really. He is NOT that great.

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  • avatar

    Silvermoonlight September 12, 2019, 10:58 am

    I rarely comment on letters, but I so fundamentally disagree with Wendy’s advice (another rarity) that I had to comment on LW1 .

    I think it is important to know who the baby’s biological father is. Given what a messy situation this is, Matt’s propensity for addiction, etc., there is a chance that the baby could have physical/health issues later on that would require parental involvement.

    What if the mother–being the kind of character she is–passed on a disease to the baby? What if Matt is the father and the baby grows up with alcoholism? What if there are other health concerns that require blood tests, transfusions, etc.? It will be vital to know who the baby’s biological parents are.

    Moreover, the psychological/emotional damage of a child, teenager or adult finding out that the father he thought he had isn’t his real father is so much worse than a child knowing who’s who and what’s what from the get go.

    The cover up is always worse than the crime. How many stories, movies, TV shows, etc. do we see about the devastating, traumatic effects of a child learning they were actually adopted or their mother/father wasn’t who they thought they were? I say lay all the cards out on the table now.

    That said, this isn’t your secret to exploit. My suggestion would be to talk to Abby about all of this and encourage her to have a paternity test done. Frame it in the context of wanting what’s best for her son, your potential grandson.

    Whether–as Wendy intimated–that’s actually what you feel in your heart, is really beside the point. Whatever issues you have with all the parties involved, it’s time to put them aside and do what’s best for the baby. It’s already clear that the poor child is going to have a very tough road ahead of him, growing up in this dysfunction.

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    • avatar

      MaggieB September 12, 2019, 12:22 pm

      Yeah, while it’s not LW’s place to go spreading her potential suspicions as fact or anything, in this day and age of cheap DNA tests done just for funsies, it’s more likely than not that his paternity will come out.

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    • avatar

      Ange September 12, 2019, 6:40 pm

      Oh come on now. Even if the son is the father it’s not like that information is lost to the ages, the father and grandmother are right there and talking to and known by the mother. If you’re just looking for a cheap shot at some people you don’t approve of (which I suspect is the case) then you’ve got it but you’re aiming wrong.

      FWIW I don’t know one entire side of my family history, I’ve somehow survived 🙄

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      • avatar

        Ruby Tuesday September 13, 2019, 9:38 am

        I’m with Ange. The mother and the baby presumably have access to both men. Considering the circumstances in which the kid already lives, it’s already going to be a rough road. And while addiction can run in families, people can fall into addiction regardless. I just don’t see the value in establishing who the biological father is now when the baby has a legal father who actually cares about this kid.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph September 12, 2019, 11:23 am

    Does anyone feel like LW1 sounds too much like the forum poster who wasn’t sure if her grandchild was her dead son’s kid or her drug addicted living son’s kid? I can’t shake the feeling its the same person and she’s changing details to get the answer she wants.

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    • avatar

      csp September 12, 2019, 12:37 pm

      I thought that too

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      • avatar

        MissChevious September 12, 2019, 5:23 pm

        This is the first thought that popped into my mind. It’s all too eerily similar.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor September 12, 2019, 11:24 am

    Strongly disagree with the response to LW1. If Abby was cheating on Matt and paternity was suspect, he absolutely has a right to know. This isn’t some situation where the LW is just suspicious – she knows that Abby had sex with her son at the appropriate time and that Abby believes that Matt isn’t the father. Also, Matt is the LWs boyfriend,not some stranger whose life she’s butting into.

    Matt may be a loving father, but that’s premised on his likely false belief that he is the biological father. He is entitled to know and make an informed decision. I can’t imagine the betrayal he would feel knowing that not only did his ex cheat on him and lie to him about the paternity of the child, but his current girlfriend hid it from him so the ex could keep milking him for financial support.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark September 12, 2019, 11:36 am

      Yeah, it’s a mess. Honestly? I don’t see what the LW loses or even risks by blowing this up. All the men in her life are losers. Begone, male trash! Be gone. And… Good riddance.
      .
      Oh sure.?It sucks the kid will lose out on money and support. But NEWSFLASH:,that’s fucking on Abby.
      .
      Honestly? How the fuck do you NOT know who the father of your kid is? No seriously. This kind of shit is just so plain icky and gross. I feel the need to bathe. Increasingly, I remain amazed the world isn’t more Hetero-phobic.
      .
      🙄

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  • avatar

    ron September 12, 2019, 11:53 am

    Trolls, they’ve got to be trolls who made up crap, don’t they? If not, such a big mass or arrested development.

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  • avatar

    Miss MJ September 12, 2019, 12:32 pm

    You know that old saying about how two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead? LW, Abby and the son all know that Abby and the son had sex at the right time to conceive the baby and that he might be the father. Given the glaring lack of, ah, discretion, all of the players in this have shown so far, I think it’s a pretty good bet that one way or another, this “secret” isn’t going to remain one for long, so it’s pointless to even try. Rip the bandaid off. Abby needs to have a paternity test, and, if the results come back that the son is the father, then the BF needs to be made aware of that fact so that he can make a decision knowing all of the facts. And, if the son isn’t the father and the BF is, then, well, y’all can all go on doing as you do.

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  • CurlyQue

    CurlyQue September 12, 2019, 1:44 pm

    I’m another who thinks the paternity mess needs to be sorted out NOW not later. Yes bf is a loving father and yes the son apparently is a deadbeat who doesn’t want to take responsibility BUT that doesn’t mean the truth shouldn’t be figured out now before there’s any weird lasting memories for the child to sort through.

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