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Dublin: 6 °C Wednesday 19 December, 2018
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Dear Fifi: I suspect that my boyfriend is raising another man's child

It’s Tuesday, so it’s time to read about other people’s problems with resident DailyEdge.ie advice columnist Dear Fifi.

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At the time of writing, we are still experiencing a heat wave. But who can say what may have transpired by the time this piece is published? Or by the time you, dear reader, are sitting down to take it in? It could be sleeting for all we know.

Life comes at you fast.

And if life has recently come hurtling at speed directly at your delicate noggin, then please know that I’m here to help

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Hi Fifi,

I’m with my boyfriend for 2 years and we are really happy together. He has a 6 year old son who he spends a lot of time with and is a very good dad. Recently I heard rumours that my boyfriend isn’t the biological father. It could very well be true. A lot of cheating went on in his relationship with the child’s mum. The child looks nothing like him, and quite like the rumoured biological father. (I have no idea if that guy knows he could be a dad.)

My boyfriend’s family dote on this child and I think it could break a lot of hearts. At the same time I feel the child should know his real father? I have no dealings with the child’s mother. I’m just afraid it will it come out and cause heartache on everyone. What should I do?

Whoa Nelly. I think you may be getting ahead of yourself here. The first thing you should do is be very, very careful with this situation.

Right now you’re dealing with utterly baseless conjecture. You don’t even mention who told you this rumour. Did it come from a credible, reliable source? You don’t have much more to go on that the rumour mill, bored chatter, Chinese whispers and idle speculation about a child’s appearance. Forgive me, but I don’t think that would stand up in court.

You say that you have no relationship with the child’s mother. You also seem committed to your boyfriend and in it for the long term. That means eventually you will have to have a relationship with his little boy’s mother. A child is almost always a permanent bond between two people that means they’ll be in one another lives forever. Do you really want bringing up this rumour to be your grand entrance?

Yet, I understand you must fear that if you “knew” and it does transpire to be true down the road, he may feel betrayed by you keeping quiet. However the fact of the matter is that you “know” nothing. At the moment, there is quite simply nothing to tell.

What would be gained by telling him what you know now? The risk is jeopardising the joy this little boy brings to your boyfriend and his family. If paternity does become a more serious and credible issue down the line, it’s unlikely it will stay secret for long. You don’t have to worry that you’re burying a secret truth when you have very little to base this on yourself.

A practical thing you can do here is tell people spreading unkind and hurtful rumours about your boyfriend and his son to stop it next time they try to tell you or it comes to your attention.

Whatever you do, you’ll have to tread very carefully. If you do decide to tell your boyfriend about the unpleasant rumours you’ve heard, you could risk coming off as meddlesome at best, and bitter at worst. You’ll have to think long and hard about whether or not it is worth inviting serious and potentially pointless trouble into relationship for the sake of a flimsy rumour.

For the time being, it might be best to say nothing – and keep saying it.

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Confess a story, ask for help or just shout into the void for a bit and see if that helps. All welcome. Anonymity totally guaranteed always. 

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