Mother has kept identity of son’s father a secret

Published 8:18 am Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

DEAR ABBY: Thirty years ago, I had an affair with “Roger,” a married man. We worked together and fell in love. At the time, Roger was married with three children. My husband and I were separated, and I had one son. The 15-year age gap between us didn’t matter to me. I admired him. Roger was soft-spoken, intelligent and a gentleman. He was of Christian faith, so when he decided to divorce his wife, his partners held an intervention and bought out his equity in the company, which forced him to move out of state.
Roger was a great person and struggled with the thought of leaving his family. I understood, and we parted ways. I kept informed about him as much as possible over the years but never contacted him, and we lived in different states. When he left, I was pregnant, but I didn’t tell him because so much was going on and I didn’t want the baby to be a tool. I had a son, reconciled with my husband and never told a soul. Eight years after that, my husband and I divorced.
Although I tried, I never found the courage to reach out to Roger. Five years ago, I visited the state where he lived. I even went to his office, but did not reach out. I recently had several dreams about him and couldn’t stop thinking of him. They seemed so real.
I looked Roger up online and found out he died a year ago. I am devastated and feel guilty for not giving my son the opportunity to know his father. Roger has other children. At this point, should I let them know or should I just leave everything alone? My biggest fear is causing pain to his wife. She is a good person and doesn’t deserve this. — HOLDING MANY SECRETS

DEAR HOLDING: What is to be gained by making an announcement at this late date? As you stated, it won’t provide your son the opportunity to know his father. And receiving shocking news at this point will only cause Roger’s widow pain. However, I would do another internet search to see if you can find out what killed Roger. If it’s something that could be passed down to your son, warn him. Otherwise, I’m voting for leaving everything alone.
DEAR ABBY: Over the past two years, a friend I have felt very close to over the years has gone downhill. “Nancy” thinks her neighbors have placed listening devices in her apartment, have entered her place illegally and taken things, and are in general malevolent. I have my own troubles and burdens in my life, and this change in her leaves me feeling frightened, powerless and overwhelmed.
I have stepped back, but a mutual friend tells me Nancy feels abandoned and betrayed by me. I’m afraid if I reach out, I’ll be sorry. But on the other hand, I never have said goodbye. Nancy has a therapist now, and I lift her up in prayer a lot. What do you suggest I do, if anything? — FAILED FRIEND IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR FRIEND: Your prayers have been answered. Nancy is now in the care of a therapist and may improve. If the only reason you would be contacting her is to say goodbye, I think it would be cruel. If you would like to check in from time to time, ask how she’s doing and offer some warmth and encouragement, then give her a call.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox