Can you put trust in a relationship built on lies?
Q. I’m 25, my fiancé said he was 30, then later confessed that he’s 42, with a child.
He insists it’s not his child until DNA tests prove otherwise, and that his relationship with the child’s mother didn’t work after 10 years.
He says she tied him down with the pregnancy, with him unaware there were other boyfriends, until one man claimed the child.
We met four months ago and plan to marry. He said he withheld all this initially because he was scared of losing me, didn’t know how to present it, and wanted to move on with his life.
I’ve never loved a man the way I love him, and he loves me too. He’s building his world around me, and we are planning together.
I asked for time to think about it and he pleaded that I not leave him.
Could there be more things he’s hiding from me?
How do I tell my mom that he has a child, already knowing her stand? How can I handle this maturely?
A. Everything he told you when your romance flared so quickly were lies. Then his confession came with a list of weak excuses.
He’s a different man from the one with whom you first fell in love. He’s 17 years older than you, has an ex who had many boyfriends, and has a connection with a child he doesn’t want to keep.
You’re trying to make all this seem OK because of love, yet you’re unsure. Ask yourself some mature questions: Can you fully trust someone who hid significant information and lied to woo you on false pretenses?
Do you feel comfortable with his dropping this child, or with raising the child together if it’s his?
Do you value your mother’s opinion as based on your wellbeing?
Also, have you both been tested for sexually transmitted infections, given his ex-partner’s history?
My advice: Take six months to think all this through without the commitment of being engaged, which stacks the deck towards him, when you don’t really know him as well as you thought.
Feedback regarding the apartment-dweller who wrote about a neighbour’s child who’s constantly screaming (February 1):
Reader #1: “I’ve been an elementary school teacher and administrator for 42 years and see all kinds of red flags in this story.
“I’m concerned as to why the child is constantly screaming, which is a sign of distress, but more importantly, the parents are screaming too.
“I currently have a family with a small baby living next door to my condo, and sometimes I hear the baby cry, but I don’t hear the parents because they are soothing the baby, not screaming at it.
“Child protective services need to be called, as the neighbour has tried polite intervention without results. I hate to say how many times in my career that I’ve witnessed the results of emotional and physical abuse, requiring calls to the Children’s Aid Society.”
Reader #2: “She should call child protection services since she said that the parents are also screaming. This isn’t effective communication between a parent and a child — sometimes it’s abuse.
“I lived with a situation like this for about a year. I was the only neighbour who shared a wall with the corner unit. Studying or trying to rest or relax became impossible. Some days I was reduced to tears. But I tolerated it, I didn’t want to get involved, I didn’t want a confrontation.
“But another neighbour did act — they called child services and police cars and social workers arrived. I never felt relief, just guilt for not making that call myself.
“An anonymous call to children’s services might be more effective than going to the building’s management.”