Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married to “Sam” for two years. Before we were together, Sam was in a relationship with “Sara,” who became pregnant. She claimed the baby was his, and he believed her. He took care of this child and loved him. But Sara started seeing her ex-boyfriend when he was released from prison. That made Sam question whether the child was his.
After we married, Sam demanded a paternity test. Sara said she needed to ask her boyfriend because he was raising this child. The boyfriend refused. Sara waffled back and forth, saying both men were the father of her baby.
Recently, the child was removed from her home because of abuse accusations. Even though this boy now looks a great deal like Sam, the authorities will not turn him over to us because Sara claims her boyfriend is the father.
If this child is Sam’s, he wants to take responsibility. He asked again for a paternity test, and Sara refused. Now she claims the child is not his and the only reason she originally said so was for support money. But, Annie, the time frame doesn’t match up. As far as we can determine, her boyfriend was in prison when she became pregnant. I think she refuses a paternity test because she doesn’t want Sam to get custody. Is there anything else my husband can do other than getting a court-ordered paternity test? — Baby Mama Drama
Dear Drama: Does Sam want custody of this child? If so, he needs to pursue it before the child’s attachments become stronger. That means a court-ordered paternity test, because obviously, Sara is never going to acquiesce on her own. It will also clear up the question of whose child it is and settle the matter once and for all.
Dear Annie: My wife and I enjoy a great marriage, but from time to time, her sister invites us over for parties. Her house is filthy and absolutely disgusting.
We don’t know how to handle the situation. I have an 8-year-old son and don’t really want him spending time in that nauseating house. My wife can put up with it in order to be with her sister, but I don’t want to go there. Should we be honest about why, or do we continue to make excuses for my absence? — Indiana Dad
Dear Indiana: We’re surprised the other party guests continue to show up if the house is such a pigsty. Are we talking dirty dishes in the sink (minor) or rotting food in the living room and rats scurrying about (call the health department)? If their home is a health hazard to small children who live there, your wife should speak to her sister and explain the need to be more conscientious. Otherwise, this falls under the MYOB category. If you can’t tolerate the mess, don’t go. But let your wife be your guide when it comes to how best to handle her sister.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not Over the Hill,” whose grandson’s teenage friends run around naked all day. Her husband thinks it’s fine and says it was common when he was a boy.
Granddad and I are from the same era. When we were children, group nudity wasn’t unusual — but only when there was a reason for it. However, today most teenage boys are more modest and quick to accuse others of being gay. They also read a sexual context into any nudity that involves more than one person.
Grandpa should try a nonjudgmental approach and ask his grandson why the boys do this. It would be a good opportunity to open some dialogue and offer support if there are any issues. I do not suspect anything objectionable is happening, but there may be a hidden element that more conservative parents would find not to their liking. — Member of IECA Pittsburgh
Dear Pittsburgh: You’ve made a good point, and we hope Granddad will follow your suggestion.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 West Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.20.10