Dear Abby: I fathered a child in the ’80s, and my wife doesn’t know

Man just learned that his teenage affair with a cousin resulted in a daughter and isn’t sure how to break the news.

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DEAR ABBY: When I was 16, my cousin “Mary” came from Georgia to New York to stay with us for the summer. After a short time we began experimenting with French kissing, which led to more things happening between us. Mary went home at the end of summer.

We are both 50 now, and I recently learned she became pregnant back then with a daughter and never married. The DNA indicates she is mine. My question is, how do I explain to my wife that I need to be there for my daughter? I never had any other kids, as my wife can’t have children. Please help me. — PAST HISTORY IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR PAST HISTORY: Is your wife aware of the short affair you had with your cousin? If not, start the conversation by telling her about your youthful “adventure.” Once she has digested the information, explain that you intend to get to know your daughter. Do NOT tell her the reason is that she couldn’t give you children, which would be cruel and unnecessary.

Understand, however, that your “child” is now a grown woman in her mid-30s. She may have no interest in getting to know you because you have been absent all her life. I wonder why you weren’t informed about this much sooner and possibly asked to contribute financially to the raising of your child.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 32 years. My husband has been cheating on me for the past three of them. He’s an international airline captain who has taken advantage of his “freedom.” I recently learned that he paid $91,000 on an apartment. (He has an inheritance from his father that he has drawn from.)

My therapist suggests that he’s a narcissistic personality with volatile ups and downs. My husband refuses to talk to me. He actually walks away from me when I bring up his girlfriend. He talks to her and texts her regularly. The monthly phone bills usually total over $400. I need help in trying to get him to talk to me before it ends. — TURNING POINT IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR TURNING POINT: Your international airline captain appears to have parachuted out of your marriage. Clearly he isn’t interested in trying to save what’s left of it. Because he is unwilling to talk to you about it, it’s important YOU talk to someone who will. Consult a lawyer about what your options are as a wife of more than three decades. You have my sympathy, and I’m glad you sought help from a therapist.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been working from home for a year since COVID began. I have been seriously considering quitting my job or retiring. I’d rather not meet my co-workers only to say goodbye. Would it be wrong to leave without saying goodbye? — LEAVING IT ALL BEHIND

DEAR LEAVING IT: If you prefer not to deal with the sadness of saying goodbye to your co-workers, leave them a message. Explain that you will be leaving your job, but want them to know how much you enjoyed your time working with them. It would be a thoughtful way to exit.

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.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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