I recently learned from my mother that the man who I thought was my father, was not. I met my birth father a few months ago, and while I want to get to know him, things are a little awkward, because his youngest daughter wants no parts of me, and tells me not to call him Daddy. My birth father insists that we all get together for Father’s Day, and while I want to go, I feel guilty about the man who has loved me all my life. On top of that I also learned, Mom lied to my other two siblings, too. The man we all thought was Dad is father to none of us. What should I do? Should I tell them?
Signed, mad and confused
Dear mad and confused:
Muva needs the grace and space to say this to you; human beings can be, and are, messy as hell at times. Your mother made some decisions early in life and figured, I am guessing, that she would deal with when the time came.
Based on your letter, those chickens have now come home to roost. I get that you are hurt and confused, as you should be, but here is my advice for what it is worth; continue to love the man that raised you and feel no guilt about it. He CHOSE to be in your life, and created lasting memories that should not be discarded. Could you spend a part of Father’s Day with both men? Meet your birth dad in a neutral place with your “newest siblings,” listen to what is being shared, and begin to learn about this other part of who you are.
It will take time for you and your new siblings to get to know each other. Don’t force a relationship to happen, but do not walk away when you are frustrated by what may be done and said. This is a shock to everyone concerned, and Dad is trying his best — from my vantage point at least — to catch up for lost time with you. Give them a few hours, then go and find the dad that raised you into adulthood and spend the rest of the day with him.
I guarantee, there is a part of him that wonders what the new normal will be, and he does not want to lose his relationship with you. Hopefully over time you may get to a place where you can see both dads at once. That depends on all parties, though.
As for Mom, as hard as it will be for you, do NOT tell her other two children her secret. The fall out from that decision to share what you now know could have rippling and dire consequences. Your mom will not be able to keep the secret forever, but it is not yours to tell. Trust Muva on this – you do not need the added stress of being blamed for a thing. Let karma work; it never fails. Good luck my dear, and keep empathy in your heart for all parties. You, too, will make mistakes in life that will require forgiveness at some point.
I have a complication, a situation, and a question. I was dating this guy for some time and it wasn’t until I got pregnant, that I learned he had a whole other family with children! To complicate matters, he refused to acknowledge the pregnancy by telling his woman, AND has yet to see our child, who is heading towards 5 years of age. I get a couple of dollars a couple of times a year, which amounts to nothing that can take care of our child, and to make matters worse, our child has been asking to speak with him. He answers the phone when I call him, and the baby gets so excited to hear his voice- but what am I to do, when our child asks to see him? What do I say?
Signed, walking a thin line between love and hate
Dear walking a thin line between love and hate:
Merciful Father up in heaven, you do have several situations and major complications! Muva used to always say this; before we get amorous with anyone, look hard to see if you would be able to co-parent with them before sliding into the cool sheets, because the potential to get pregnant is always a possibility, and you will be stuck with them for life.
You have a doozy on your hands.
Muva is going to stay firmly out of the judgement zone here, by NOT asking, WHAT were you thinking?
This person clearly piqued your interest and you clearly saw something in him, or things would not have come to this.
What I WILL ask, however is this; why are you continuing to protect and guard his secret by not filing for child support, which is a basic right for your child? If he was at least giving you consistent support for his newest baby, there would be no need to even do that – but a couple of dollars, twice a year? I am failing to understand the logic behind this.
He will have to acknowledge the child at some point, and I pray it is sooner rather than later, because a young child with unanswered questions becomes a resentful teenager, and an angry adult.
As the mommy, you will feel the burden of that over time, so there are some decisions you will need to make in the short and long term.
I am proud that you chose to let the baby know that Dad does exist, and that you have kept the lines of communication open so he always has access to his child. These things all work short and long term, because the baby will always know it was not your decision to keep him away.
In the long term, you will have to find ways to answer the pressing questions of why Dad never shows up, so get counseling ready when that happens.
You will never have to knock on his door –your child will, when old enough, go find him on his or her own. He will face the “music” then.
Go get some child support, though. The baby should not suffer because adults can’t get themselves together. I wish you all the best.
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If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. This column, its author, the Philadelphia Sunday SUN newspaper and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.