‘New’ father insists baby girl be kept a secret

Published 8:40 am Thursday, August 12, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: My fiancé “Nathan,” and I met in college 12 years ago. At the time, he was helping to raise a child he thought was his. He was crazy about his son, “Joey.” Everywhere we went, he would show him off, post pictures of them together on social media and talk about Joey nonstop.
When Joey turned 9, Joey’s mother finally told Nathan that Joey was not his son. When a DNA test proved it was true, the stuff hit the fan. Not only had the mom known from the beginning that Joey wasn’t Nathan’s, it turned out so did his family and all his friends. It took a while for Nathan to overcome the shock. Once he did, he decided he wanted to start a family. He proposed to me, and we welcomed our baby girl. (I never cheated on him, but to avoid any doubts he might have, once she arrived, we did a DNA test.) Nathan has her spoiled rotten.
The problem is, he acts very peculiar where she is concerned. Before she was born, he wanted few people to know we were expecting. He said it was because he didn’t want to get everybody’s hopes up in case anything went wrong, which was understandable. Now our baby is 3 months old, and he’s still keeping her a secret.
He doesn’t want to take family pictures and doesn’t post her on social media like he did with Joey. He has asked his family and friends and even me not to tell anyone about the baby, and he gets mad if we do. When I asked why he’s acting this way, he said it’s because our child is “nobody’s business.” I love Nathan, and I understand that he was hurt once, but I’m starting to wonder. Is my fiance ashamed of our child? — CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT

DEAR CAN’T: I don’t think Nathan is ashamed of his daughter. He may be being overly careful about news of his baby girl because he was so badly burned. He went overboard posting pictures and talking nonstop about his “son”; this time he has gone overboard in the opposite direction. Could this have anything to do with a fear that Nathan’s ex will find out he has another child? You won’t know unless you ask him. Between you and me, unless you’re willing to go along with this secrecy business — which I don’t think is healthy — your fiancé should be urged to consult a licensed psychotherapist who can help him regain his balance.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 13 years. He is a kind of optimist. After a night of arguing and distancing, the next day he acts as though nothing has happened. He texts me from work, “Hey Babe! Good morning. I love you.” Our arguments are not screaming matches but little spats that bother me a lot. Am I just a nagging wife? — FIGHTING MAD IN NEW YORK

DEAR FIGHTING MAD: Not necessarily. Your husband may get past these fights faster and more completely than you do. However, if his way of dealing with unresolved issues is to pretend they don’t exist, I can understand your frustration. If this happens often, a text the next morning isn’t going to improve the situation. Your communication problem won’t improve until you both agree to talk about this with a marriage and family therapist. If he is not willing to do that, you might find a few sessions for yourself helpful.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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