Dear Abby: I’m having a hard time getting over a secret that my boyfriend, “Wayne,” kept from me. We have been off and on for 14 years, but back on for the last four. The problem is, he had a child with a woman in a different country. The child is now 9. Wayne didn’t mention it until four years ago, during our last breakup. I’m bothered that he kept it from me.
I have since met the woman and the child, but my trust in my boyfriend is strained. In the back of my mind, I keep wondering what else he hasn’t told me. Abby, he was always against having children with me. He said he didn’t want any. Now I wonder if it was because he already had one.
Wayne is surprised I’m so challenged by this. He says he and the woman dated for only a few months, then broke up because he didn’t feel they were compatible. She told me their child was the product of a one-night stand. Now I don’t know who to believe. Please advise.
– Betrayed Out West
Dear Betrayed: There is a reason why you and Wayne have been “off and on” for 14 years, and I’m guessing it’s because he has a problem with commitment. Now it appears he may also have a problem leveling with you. If you have to make a choice about whom to believe, I think you should believe the mother of his child because by telling you what she did, it’s clear she wasn’t trying to make herself look any better.
Toxic mother’s parting wish
Dear Abby: My 85-year-old mother told me that upon her death, she is leaving each of her children a letter expressing to them how they have hurt her throughout the years. Never once has she acknowledged how deeply she has hurt us. It affected our childhood and adulthood. I think that if she feels we hurt her, she should say it to us while she’s living.
It has always been about Mom’s needs, not ours. I, for one, plan to put her unopened letter in her coffin to be buried with her when the time comes. Her letter is just a final hurtful arrow to stab us with, and I already have had a lifetime of that. I don’t need her to damage me further.
Am I wrong? Normally, parents leave heartwarming letters to give their children peace. She reads your column, so I hope she reconsiders.
– Already Wounded in California
Dear Already Wounded: You’re not wrong. Your mother appears to be toxic. In my opinion, sending her negativity down with her is a perfect solution.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.