Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Man fathered a child; now dreads the DNA knock on the door

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Try to replace those words with these: "Truth," "light," "acceptance," "forgiveness."

You and this child's mother were 16. You did what 16-year-olds do, and you got through it with the tools you had at the time -- through your parents' collective control, fueled by the societal shame that dominated the culture during that era.

Yes, I believe you should disclose this. Why? Because it is the truth. But before you talk to your children, you absolutely must own this important part of your history. Strive to do so with integrity and authenticity. Trying to track down this biological child should not hurt other people. I believe it could actually liberate you (and perhaps others). After a period of adjustment, the people who know and love you the most (your wife and kids) should support your efforts.

You are correct that DNA testing and internet tracking has brought countless stories like yours into the light. You can't control how people receive this story, but please -- claim this, and understand that life is messy, and that's OK.

Dear Amy: I am a retired man. I enjoy the company of women my age and stage in life.

I do not need a cook, maid or financial support. But I have an issue when it comes to going out with women. I don't want to always be the solo planner, provider and driver.

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I believe that when financial circumstances are roughly equal, these responsibilities should be shared.

What I have found, especially with the last woman I dated, is that many women expect everything to be provided (even when I have suggested some sharing) for women who believe themselves to be strong and independent individuals. They'll belt out "I Am Woman," while I pick up the tab.

Please understand -- if I'm going out with a woman with limited finances, I have no problem being the provider.

What are the rules?

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