Dear Amy: I have been with my live-in boyfriend, “Gene,” for over three years.
He has two children, and I have three.
The issue I’m wrestling with is that he recently found out that he has a 5-year-old child.
When we met, he told me he had already established that the child wasn’t his, via his mom taking a DNA test, which showed that this baby had no DNA connection to his family.
Well, surprise … the child IS his.
Now I feel betrayed and duped.
I wouldn’t have been with him had I known about this third child (by three different women).
I am in love with him, and the best way I can describe this emotion is to say that to me, it’s the equivalent to being cheated on.
He doesn’t understand why I have such strong feelings about this situation.
He said I am supposed to support him.
I’m not sure how I can do that when I feel second-rate to three women who have his children, and yet I don’t have a child with him. He has told me he has no desire for marriage.
So I am supposed to be his girlfriend for the rest of my life, while these women have a solidified place in his life and a bigger connection to him than I am going to have?
I don’t want to end things with him, but how can I help these feelings I have and find a way to accept this and move on?
— So Many Feelings
Dear So Many Feelings: I urge you to re-examine your choices — and for now to only do so from the vantage point of what would benefit you and your children.
In the short term, your reaction to this situation is to want what these other women have: A baby with “Gene.”
From my perspective, if you did have a baby with him, you’d be joining a fairly crowded club of various women who give birth to Gene’s babies.
I hope you double up on birth control, because this man is extremely fertile and also someone who has to be dragged into fatherhood.
He either outright lied to you when you first met, or is too dim to understand that DNA does not lie.
Furthermore, he responds to your shock about this third child by insisting that your role is to support him.
Well, his role is to support you, too (and, by the way, all of his children).
People are somewhat predictable. Gene has established a pattern of overall selfishness.
Well-matched partners grasp hands and ride life’s roller coaster together. If you don’t feel that you two are able to do that, then you should carefully reconsider staying with him, long term.
You say you want to stay with him. If you do stay, you should accept that you might be riding this roller coaster alone.
Dear Amy: I am a 64-year-old man getting back into dating.
I am very affectionate, but I don’t want to scare off the right person.
I might take a date’s hand while walking down the street, is that OK?
I read about “love bombing” in your column.
So how can I be my affectionate self and not be “accused” of “love-bombing”?
I would NOT be scared off by someone (like me) that was overly affectionate. It would be refreshingly welcomed!
Can I say something specific to them?
How do I share myself?
Dear KK: “Love bombing” describes a specific set of behaviors: showering a person with attention, gifts, and romantic gestures. People who do this often amaze and delight a potential partner at first — until it becomes an overwhelming bid for control.
Being your affectionate self is a good thing, but generally, you should follow your date’s cues. A woman who wants to hold hands will lean in close and touch you. Maybe don’t “take” her hand, but let her offer it.
And yes — of course you can ask, “Can I hold your hand?”
Dear Amy: I have to admit, I read your response to “Devastated Grandma” with tears in my eyes.
This grandparent showed intolerance and cruelty toward her grandson, who had chosen to wear a gown to his prom.
First you took this grandmother to task, and then you really lowered the boom by actually instructing her on how to be compassionate toward this young person.
— Big Fan
Dear Fan: Many readers have contacted me with support for my answer.
More importantly, they have expressed love and support for this grandson.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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