Following up on August 17th’s “Jerry Springer On Wheels” post, in which a mobile “who’s your daddy” RV is trolling the inner city hawking insta-paternity tests, a better case for mandatory 100% paternity testing at birth, I don’t think I could make up on my own:
Q: My [now dead from terminal illness] husband’s parents wish to keep in touch with me and my toddler-age son, as he is the only link they have to their only child. The problem is that my son is not my husband’s biological child. I had an affair, the biological father dumped me upon realizing I was pregnant, and my husband (to cut the complicated story short) decided to raise the baby as his own. But I feel incredibly guilty whenever my in-laws talk to me about how grateful they are to have a grandchild to remember their son, or make comparisons between my son and my husband when he was at a similar age. I feel like I need to come clean with them before they develop a strong attachment to him. They are already talking about changing their will to include their “grandson.” What should I do?
A: Your late husband was your baby’s father. In untangling your tale, my reading is that that you were married to your late husband, you cheated and became pregnant, your husband knew, but he stepped up and claimed paternity. He also was your boy’s father in every other sense. Yes, you will have quite a story to tell your son when he’s older, and I believe he is entitled to hear it. (When you do bring this up, you can put the best face on the fact that your husband, his father, loved him and wanted to raise him, and not cast his origin story as that his biological father was a slime. ) But I don’t think your late husband’s parents need to hear this.
Keeping up a connection to your son’s paternal family surely will only benefit him—he’s not going to get anything from his actual biological father. And I don’t see any reason to deprive your child of a potential inheritance. There has already been enough loss in your little boy’s life. There’s no call to cause an estrangement with loving grandparents; it’s not deceptive that their son was your son’s father.
Boy what a mess: Woman cheats. Tells hubby. Soon-to-be-dead hubby “mans up” and accepts child as his own. Her lies now become the couple’s lies. The child’s not-really-grandparents grandparents think he’s theirs, and are thinking of placing this not-a-grandchild grandchild in their will.
In a decade or so, the truth will out, and the house built on this mendacious foundation will collapse, wounding everyone.
This woman made a mess of things. But consider all the hamster-enabling going on with this “advice”: The adulteress isn’t a “slime”; no, that title is reserved solely for the man with whom she cheated on her husband. He’s the dirtbag, not her, the woman who wanted to get knocked up by a man other than her husband. Soon-to-be-dead beta hubby is lauded for “stepping up” to parent some thug/bad-boy’s spawn,* setting up some sort of perverse expectation that female adultery and cuckolding will not only be tolerated but rewarded. In addition, the adulteress’ perfidy is actually for a noble cause…after all, it’s for the children!…without it, he won’t get his inheritance from the not-the-baby-daddy side of the family. Come to think of it, her lie really isn’t one…if the adulteress represents her child convincingly enough, long enough, as their biological grandchild, well said not-grandparents probably “see” some phantasmic genetic commonality in his face or dimples or whatever. Just so, as they say, and poof! Lie becomes truth. And a convenient side effect of all these high hamster-wheel RPMs is that the adulteress’ shameful thug-boy dalliance is washed down the memory hole, to be dug up a decade or so later when the fact she binned her wedding vows is “old news”.
The violence done to the biological father’s place and role in the family in this column is breathtaking. The trust that the children born in the marriage are really the husband’s is the critical element that drives men to marry in this day of marriage 2.0. And cuckolding apologia such as this advice column suggest to all those who read it that wifely fidelity doesn’t matter and deceiving the husband is condoned…and that a fellow’s job is merely to man up and invest in whatever child is born in the marriage, no matter who sired it.
Other than automatic mother custody in divorce, I can think of no substance more corrosive to the fragile connection that children already have with their dads than the duping of husbands by their adulterous wives.
* What a position she placed him in. He sees the end approaching, and the woman he thought was faithful to him presents him with the child of some man whom she found more sexually desirable than he. Talk about a Catch-22–he could be cruel to the child and kick them both out of his house, or he could further undermine other beta providers everywhere–the backbone of society–by accepting another man’s child as his own.
About the author: EW is a well-trained monkey operating heavier-than-air machinery. His interests outside of being an opinionated rabble-rouser are hunting, working out, motorcycling, spending time with his family, and flying. He is a father to three, a husband to one, and is a sometime contributor here at Spearhead. More of his intolerable drivel is available at the blog The Elusive Wapiti.