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AdviceHey, Bonita!

Should My Kid Meet Her Real Family?


I am a mom to the most beautiful 8-year-old girl. Long story short, my high-school boyfriend is her biological dad, but being all free spirit and such, we made a deal that he wanted to see her from afar but never let her know him. He felt he would never be a good father to her, and he knew she deserved better. I found a man who wanted to be her dad—he is unfailingly amazing with her, and he is whom she knows as Daddy. (He’s been there since she was five weeks old.)

Dilemma: Her bio dad died almost a year ago, and his family never knew he fathered a child. I am having extreme guilt hiding this from his family. She’s amazing, and she looks so much like him. She has his smile and sense of humor. I’m eaten up with guilt. Should I tell them? It may shatter his family! Will my daughter ever understand that she will never know the man who fathered her, and will she be OK? Should this be a secret I keep until my grave? I’ve seriously lost 20 pounds from stress here.

Baby Mama 20 Pounds Lighter

Dear Mama,

Dang, boo. That’s one serious pickle that you’re in. I can understand wanting to leave well enough alone because, after all, he made a choice not to be active in his child’s life. He never wanted to be a father, and that was fine with both of you. But now he’s dead, and his wishes are no longer your concern. Now you’ve got your daughter’s future to think about, plus his family.

I think if you look around, you’ll find you know someone who’s had a similar experience. My own nephew met his first daughter when she was eight. He was shocked and angry at first, of course, and even had the kid’s paternity tested, but now he often says he’s beyond happy to have her in his life and be able to provide for her. Find someone like that and ask them about the experience. It’s usually rough at first, but that all comes out in the wash.

If you do decide to contact his family, start with a female cousin close to your age who also has kids. Sounds specific, I know, but she will undoubtedly be more sympathetic than a grieving parent.


Hey Bonita,

I think my friend might have a stalker. He hasn’t been violent or anything, but he’s always messaging her online and stopping by where she works asking about her. She’s flattered by the attention but has also given this guy no indication she’s interested in him. This guy has a history of being mildly creepy towards women, which she’s aware of, but she says she thinks he’s harmless. I’m not so sure. How do I help protect my friend (even if she doesn’t think she needs protecting)?

Concerned

My biggest concern here is that he’s showing up at her place of work and exploiting the power imbalance between customers and employees. Of course a woman who regularly faces the public at work is going to be glowing and kind, because that’s good customer service. Too often, men interpret that as an invitation to get way too comfortable and close to female employees.

He doesn’t sound dangerous, but he’s definitely going to ask her out pretty soon, and if that happens she should take it seriously and stand her ground. After all, he knows where to find her. But if she doesn’t feel threatened, I guess there’s nothing you can do, though there’s a high chance that eventually he’s gonna follow her home or out on the town. Really scary situations often start with polite refusals, and she should take her safety more seriously.

Personal safety is greater than attention from men, y’all. If she doesn’t feel threatened and is just soaking up all the attention, then let her do that. She’s making a very naïve choice, but it’s hers to make. Buy her some pepper spray.

Need advice? Email advice@flagpole.com, or use our anonymous form. Find Bonita on Twitter: @flagpolebonita.

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