Life Advice



Ask Amy: Husband’s surprise offspring upends marriage

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: MY good friend just found out that her husband has a grown child he’s never known about.

This person was born many years before my friend and her husband even knew each other. He was not in a relationship with the mother of this child.

My friend is shattered. She has always been proud of her long-term marriage and their great kids, who are all doing well.

Now she believes the reality of her “perfect” family has been shattered. She can’t seem to believe the man she thought she knew could have been so sexually casual.

I have stepchildren that I enjoy, and I’d like to convince her that this is not the end of the world.

I hope she can get back to enjoying her marriage and family.


I guess I’m looking for some insight as to why this is such a big deal for her and if there is anything I can do to help her.

— Worried Friend

Dear Worried: I sincerely hope that any students returning to campus might read this letter and understand that today’s casual sex could result in a multitude of unintended consequences.

As much as any of us might understand that — in theory — previously unknown relatives might surface at any time, when it comes to family relationships, the understanding of theory and the acceptance of reality are two distinct and different experiences.


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