Ask Amy: Request for paternity test raises more questions

December 14, 2011

DEAR AMY: I had a one-night stand with an old college friend two years ago, and my boyfriend discovered the truth. He was angry, but he said he wanted to put it behind us.

I recently found out that I’m pregnant. Although the baby was unplanned, I’m very excited to be a mother.

The problem is that my boyfriend wants me to get a paternity test to prove the child is his. I haven’t slept with anyone else, and I know that he’s the father. I could easily prove it, but I think that if I have to, something is wrong with the relationship.

I thought that we had rebuilt trust for each other, but apparently not. I have no idea how to proceed with this, and I’m seriously considering ending the relationship. -- Positively Pregnant

DEAR PREGNANT: I have news for you. You can’t simply end this relationship. This man is the father of your child, and so -- regardless of whether you’re together -- you two will be in a relationship (of some kind) for a very long time.

You might as well get a paternity test. In addition to the trust dynamic between you, if you don’t continue together as a couple you will need to establish paternity to establish this father’s rights and responsibilities.

This is a serious and very obvious expression of a lingering hostility between you.

Despite your boyfriend’s statements that he wanted to put your infidelity behind you, it is very much in front of you now.

You two should mediate this with a professional counselor. If he isn’t able to forgive you and move on, then you won’t be able to have a loving relationship going forward.

It is also possible that he is not as excited as you are to be a parent; this might be his way of throwing roadblocks in the way and ending the romantic relationship (or trying to end the paternal relationship) on his terms.

DEAR AMY: Every family I’ve invited for Christmas dinner has a dog or two.

I don’t have a dog or any pet. I love dogs, but I do not appreciate them in my house, especially when there’s a crowd of people.

Someone just RSVP’d for the dinner, including the dog.

How can I tenderly request no dogs without offending my guests? -- Dog Dilemma

DEAR DILEMMA: Tender is what your Yorkshire pudding or roasted ham will be.

You don’t have to be tender. Just be clear.

You should simply respond the way you would if you were hosting an “adults only” dinner party and a prospective guest didn’t get the memo.

You say, “We’d love to see you, but unfortunately we can’t host Muffin. We hope you can make an arrangement for her during that time because we’d really miss you if you couldn’t come.”

DEAR AMY: Your answer to “Her Nana” hit home. Her concern was that her 14-year-old granddaughter had stopped talking to her since moving in with her dad after a divorce. They had been very close before this.

My two sons chose to live with their dad when we separated mostly because it was the course of least resistance. They were also about 14.

Their father was influencing them by saying I didn’t care about them and other sad untruths. I did as you suggested to “Nana” and just stayed positive and comforting with no pressure.

Now it is years later, and they know that their dad manipulated them. My older boy has said, “Mom, I want to thank you for never saying anything bad about dad and always being there ready to help if we needed it.”

And I assure you, this particular granddaughter will need it. -- Wiser

DEAR WISER: This sort of sudden estrangement is extremely painful for everyone involved -- especially the young person, who is in a terrible position of having to cut out one family member in order to identify with the person with whom she lives.

Parents and family members who poison children against one parent are creating an unhealthy template for emotional conflict.

I hope other parents will be inspired to know that these estrangements can be repaired.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2011 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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