ASK AMY: Long-time relationship spawns long-lost child

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Dear Amy: Thirty years ago, I started a romantic relationship with « Bonnie ». We were both married.

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The relationship lasted 16 years and produced one child (« W »).

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Bonnie was very happy that I was W’s father. I was able to visit/play with W as a toddler and had two chance encounters with W as a child.

After 16 years, Bonnie stopped seeing me, but we continued to talk on the phone almost daily. We talked for six years, but Bonnie suddenly stopped.

It was nine years ago.

Along with missing Bonnie, I really miss hearing about W. Bonnie knew I loved kids and she did a wonderful job of educating me about W’s life.

I tried to contact Bonnie, but she didn’t answer.

Thanks to social media, I see that W is doing well and seems to have a good life.

I don’t know if Bonnie has ever spoken to W about me, but I imagine it’s a very difficult subject to bring up with your adult child when you’re still married.

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W works near me, and I would like to introduce myself.

I would much rather have Bonnie introduce me, but she seems to have closed that door.

It would be very easy for me to prove that I am the father of W.

I don’t want to interfere with Bonnie’s wedding.

The main thing I want is for W to know that I care.

I don’t think W has the best relationship with Bonnie’s husband, and I hope meeting me would help.

Although it would be surprising and heartbreaking, I wouldn’t expect W to change his life for me.

Any continued relationship would be totally dependent on W.

Children should know who their biological parents are, but should I?

– Eager Dad

Dear Desirous: You describe decades of infidelity and very brief contact with the child you fathered — without acknowledgment, involvement, or financial support — and then wonder if you’re doing the right thing.

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Uh, no to that.

No to all that.

Yes, « W » has the right to know his DNA heritage, and you must disclose it. W also has the right to agree or refuse to have a personal relationship with you.

And yes, this contact could blow up « Bonnie’s » marriage and affect everyone’s life (including yours) in potentially extremely profound ways.

I suggest contacting W by private message (that way you can see if the message has been opened and read).

Include all the ways W can contact you and wait for W to decide what to do about this important and potentially life-changing turn.


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Dear Amy: I work in a hospital that has a dress code that clearly states that staff should not wear perfume or cologne.

I am allergic to certain perfumes and chemicals and have submitted a letter from my doctor to the employee health department and director of nursing – to no avail.

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Everyone in my unit is aware of my allergy and they continue to wear strong perfume and cologne.

Usually this makes me vomit several times during my shift.

I’m usually short of breath, but I have a rescue inhaler and usually recover in about an hour.

Last week I had a swollen tongue and sores in my mouth from the exposure.

My final reaction was terrifying and it took several days for the sores to disappear.

I love my work.

I’ve been there for eight years and was hoping to retire there (I’m 50).

What should I do?

– Allergic employee

Dear allergic: Your colleagues are putting your health at risk, and your body’s response – vomiting, shortness of breath and sores – could also put your medically fragile patients at risk.

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The way you describe the behavior of your colleagues amounts to bullying at work and a complete disregard for your health.

You should take your advocacy up several notches, by contacting HR, your union (if you have one), a labor lawyer and researching your rights and options through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. employment (

Dear Amy: « Extremely Conflicted Husband » described his wife’s advanced dementia and pondered whether he should succumb to temptation and respond to an aggressive friend he went to high school with.

I couldn’t believe you told him to go ahead.

– Upset

Dear Upset: I advised Conflicted to avoid his old high school fling. I said I thought he could pursue a relationship with a nice, stable person – as long as he didn’t abandon his wife.

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