Dear Amy: I am a middle-aged man. An old friend who lives out of state was recently home for a visit and was showing me some photographs. In one of the photos, I saw a teenager in the background and nearly fell off my chair! She looks like she belongs in my family. She looks just like me!
My friend told me she had visited my former fiancée, whom she had not seen in years. When meeting her daughter and discovering her age, my friend became convinced I am the teen's father.
I have not seen nor spoken to my former fiancée since shortly after we broke off our engagement, primarily because we both moved to other states.
We are now both married and have families. I am quite sure that I am the father of this beautiful teenager but am completely perplexed as to what I should do next. Do I share this with my family? Do I contact my former fiancée? I so want to do what is right; I just don't know what to do.
Dear Confused: The first thing you should do is share your theory with your wife (but not your children). This is a situation that has an impact on your whole family; she deserves to know. Ask for her support. You should also see a lawyer to explore the legal issues. If the teenager is your daughter, what are the legal implications for all of you? If your former fiancée categorically denies you are the child's father, what are your options?
When you feel ready, you should approach your former fiancée in an attitude of openness.
Dear Amy: I have been in a relationship for almost a year. My past relationships were not all that healthy. They were full of lies and control, which has shaped my trust and faith in relationships in ways that are not healthy.
Though my partner is caring and loving, I can't help but be negative in my thoughts. I am always expecting the worst. I think and fear that he is being unfaithful or is losing interest.
So far I have kept my thoughts hidden, but I am slowly acting on these feelings by being irrational and quiet.
Dear Worried: Here is a truism: We create our own realities. Your insecurities are rising up, and if you're not careful they, and not you, will be running your show. You are already pulling back from your relationship.
Therapy could definitely help you understand your own motivations and choices.
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