Should I ask a woman if a child is mine?
June 11, 2013 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Short story: I was visiting family in a nearby city when I noticed a young boy who looked alarmingly like my daughter and me. After seeing him with his mother, I recognized her as someone I had briefly been intimate with, but when I made eye contact, her reaction made me feel uncomfortable. Knowing she has not reached out, should I respect her privacy?

Long story:

Last weekend, I was visiting my relatives for a dance and music showcase for youths at a city a few hours away. One of the performers, about 11 years old, caught my attention because he looked a lot like my daughter, whom obviously looks very much like me. I checked the program and didn't recognize the boy's last name. Afterwords, while everyone's milling about in the foyer, I see this boy standing with a woman I had a brief relationship with in college.

The extent of the relationship was brief, but we did have sex twice. She had just gotten out of an abusive relationship, and we had known each other as casual acquaintances in the year or so prior. After a party, she had invited me back to her dorm, and we had sex, but I can't remember too many details of it, as I had been a bit intoxicated. Later that weekend, she had visited me in the afternoon, and again we were intimate. I had not used protection, but she had assured me she was using birth control, and I sincerely believe she was telling the truth.

It was the end of the school year, that week was Dead Week, then finals, and she graduated (a year ahead of me). Aside from a couple AIM conversations, nothing happened after that. I really liked her a lot, she's a beautiful woman, but there was a class thing, I guess. She came from a very wealthy family, and I learned (the following year) her sorority sisters had kind of come down on her for the indiscretion. Or maybe this had nothing to do with it, and I'm just rationalizing, I dont know. It hurt, but I brushed off my pride, and tried to let it go.

After I saw him with her, I made eye contact and started to smile hoping to engage her in a conversation, maybe a "hey, it's been ages... What are you up to?" deal. But she immediately looked away, and started talking to someone, making it clear that she both recognized me, and wanted nothing to do with a conversation of any sort.

At the time, I didn't entertain the possibility. Then, as we were driving home, I started to do the math, and began to think, "holy shit, maybe!" The kid is in 5th grade, so he should be eleven,(it's the end of the school year), add 36-40 weeks, and that would be about the time we were intimate. I don't know his birthday, so I acknowledge maybe part of this is a small piece of me unable to let it go and swallow my pride that she didn't want me. But I couldn't help notice how much he looks like me. I even (and I'm going to burn in hell for this) said to my wife "Hey, doesn't that boy look like he could be [my daughter's] brother?" And my wife laughed and said "Wow. Maybe someone did buy your sperm."*

But if she never reached out to me to tell me I have a child with her, and if she doesn't even want to have a polite conversation with me, I must respect her need for privacy, I know. For all I know, he isn't my son, and it would just make an awkward situation that much worse, but I'm having trouble just letting this go. Should I try to make contact with her, and if that's a bad idea, how do I move on and put it out of my mind?

*The sperm donor thing is a joke with my wife and I. When I needed money in college, I had visited a clinic, but after the initial consultation, I never went back, but my wife still busts my chops about it. I never donated.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled to Human Relations (80 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

Let it be. It's going to bug you, but either it is not your kid, or she plainly does not want/need your assistance.
posted by edgeways at 10:33 AM on June 11, 2013

I think you already know the answer here. She obviously wants privacy, so if you did try to reintroduce yourself, it probably would not go well. Best to let sleeping dogs lie.
posted by musofire at 10:35 AM on June 11, 2013

If it were me, yes, I would absolutely contact her and ask her, and get the child tested, if need be. Whether mom wants you involved or not, and whether you get involved or not, you have just as much right to know that you have a biological son in this world as anyone else.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:36 AM on June 11, 2013 [42 favorites]

Let it go.

She's had eleven years to contact you, and has clearly chosen not to. I'm sorry, but for her sake, for the kid's sake: stay away.
posted by easily confused at 10:36 AM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

First things first. Even though she avoided contact with you in that moment it sounds like things just fizzled out with you two and there wasn't a big falling out, right? You saw her at the event, it's not beyond the bounds of decency to send her a message via Facebook or LinkedIn and say, "Hey there! I think I saw you at X event. Would have come said 'hello' but we were in a rush. How are you?" and see where things go.

I cannot imagine a more awkward conversation than the one you're really suggesting which is a confrontation regarding the child's paternity. And I think you need to think through what you're asking. Let's say you inquire on this and she says, "Nope, you're not the father." Then what? Will you believe her? Will you force some kind of DNA testing? If this kid is your son, what are you hoping to know/do in that scenario? At what point do you have a conversation about this with your wife? Before you ask her, what do you think she would think of all this?

I think it's fine to reach out and just see if that goes anywhere. But, if I were you, I'd proceed with caution and make sure that your intentions are well thought out and have the absolute best interests of the child in mind.
posted by amanda at 10:38 AM on June 11, 2013 [21 favorites]

I don't see how this is 100% her call. There's a child who should at least have the chance to make up his own mind about a relationship with his father, and a father who might want the same. Why does the mom trump both of them?
posted by signal at 10:39 AM on June 11, 2013 [61 favorites]

There may be somebody in her life who believes, correctly or otherwise, that he's the boy's father. Injecting yourself into the situation could do harm to all three of them. Whatever closure or other emotional satisfaction you might gain from knowing the answer doesn't outweigh that potential harm.
posted by bac at 10:39 AM on June 11, 2013 [19 favorites]

she never reached out to me to tell me I have a child with her

Assuming that your hunch is correct, you still don't have a child with her. She has a child. But this kid is not your son any more than, if you'd donated sperm, the kids resulting from that would be your children.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:40 AM on June 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

you have just as much right to know

Hm. I don't really agree with this. Having the right to know opens up a pandora's box of legal/financial responsibilities coupled with the moral responsibilities of doing the "right thing." It's all well and good to feel that you have a right to knowledge but once you have that knowledge, this isn't one of those things that just lies there.
posted by amanda at 10:42 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

But this kid is not your son any more than, if you'd donated sperm, the kids resulting from that would be your children.

Sorry, that's completely wrong, IMHO. It would be one thing if he had walked out on her, but he never had the option to be this boy's parent, if in fact he is. He should not be punished for it further.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:42 AM on June 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

Mod note: Folks, please stick to answering the OPs question and don't argue with other commenters.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:44 AM on June 11, 2013

I think you have to reach out to her*. You could ask her if she wants to get coffee or lunch, and go from there.

*I think you also have to talk to your wife about this, if you haven't already.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:48 AM on June 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

I would make contact with her via email or postal mail, give her a way to reach you that is unlikely to expire (like your primary email address), and let her know that you are open to being contacted at some point should she or the kid want to, to whatever extent they wish (even if it's just something like medical history), either now or perhaps when the kid is an adult.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:48 AM on June 11, 2013

Without compromising your (and/or the boy's) privacy here, can you elaborate on how you look alike? Particularly distinct features? Ethnicity?

Is there any way you can snoop and figure out more, like when he was born?

I think you absolutely have the right to know, if he's yours. But it will be a very awkward conversation either way. I'd want to be more sure before I asked.

How does your wife feel about this?
posted by semacd at 10:49 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Something that is conspicuously absent from your long story is, whether or not you want to be a father in this child's life. You're obviously concerned about the woman's feelings and privacy, but you never mention whether it's just curiosity, or if you want to be the dad if it's in fact your kid.

As for whether or not to reach out, here's one more vote for "if it's your kid, you have a right to know." But seriously, ask yourself why you want to know.
posted by jbickers at 10:49 AM on June 11, 2013 [8 favorites]

While there are a boatload of legal ramifications and financial issues and the ills of the world, at the end of the day Mom, Dad and Child all have rights.

I'd contact her via social networking (if possible) as amanda has suggested. Leaving the door open for anyone who has an interest. If you're okay knowing that there's a ? out there, but that if the kid is curious he can come to you independently, that's cool.

If she wants to talk, she can.

In a perfect world, how would this shake out for you? Once we know what your wishes are, we can offer some suggestions.

My one concern about this is medical history. I always think it's good to have access to as much info as possible, irrespective of feelings, money, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:52 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think amanda has the right idea. I wouldn't come right out of the gate with the big question, but there's no harm in establishing contact and seeing how that goes first. It could create a buttonhole for any future conversation you decide to have about the matter.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:54 AM on June 11, 2013

I think it's your call what you do, but think long and hard about the consequences of your actions. This will potentially forever change your life, your wife's life, this woman's life, the kids and potentially her husband's life.

Also, you potentially owe 11 years worth of child support so talk to a lawyer before doing anything.
posted by whoaali at 10:55 AM on June 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

Think about the possible outcomes. Do you just want to know, with no consequences of knowing? Do you want some parental role? I think if it were me, I'd contact her, and my goal would be a parental/avuncular role IF the child has no father figure. If there's a good Dad, I might want to discuss having a role later in the child's life. I can't imagine having a biological child out there, and not knowing that child.
posted by theora55 at 10:55 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

1. Talk to your wife. She needs to know about this and have time to think about it.

2. This part is harder. In terms of you being "dad", that's out. That's not an option. However, if you have any medical conditions in your family that the boy should know about, it might be worth trying to contact her, to get her that information, for her son, when he's grown and can handle it.

She didn't want to talk to you, and she is very likely worried, if you are the father, that you will a: make her life and her child's life very difficult and b: possibly even want some sort of partial custody.

So here's a possibility.

If you contact her, it would be best if it were private, and in person. You meeting her somewhere. Be clear it's not romantic, but a serious discussion about something that concerns her/information she needs to have. If she agrees to meet, take your medical information with you, ask her if the boy could be yours, if she says yes or maybe, give her the information, including your contact info for when the boy is grown, if he wants to meet you. IF.

And then leave it to her.
posted by emjaybee at 10:55 AM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Added: per whoaali, I had not even thought about owing child support at this stage in the seems unlikely, but I don't know anything about that law. Do some research/contact a lawyer before meeting her, then.
posted by emjaybee at 10:57 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ask her. I disagree with everyone saying that this is none of your business or that you should respect her decision or any other reasons given for not contacting her. Here are my reasons:

1) You deserve peace of mind. He may not be your kid, this may just be a coincidence, and I think that the momentary rudeness of asking her the question is outweighed by the lifetime of wondering that you'll suffer if you don't ask. There may be an easy answer (e.g., the kid is older or younger than you think he is, she was sleeping with some other dude who looks a little like you at the time, the kid is adopted). But, if you find out that he is your kid:

2) You have rights. If, indeed, he is your child, you have the absolute right, both legally and morally, to know him, be involved in his life, and help to make decisions about him.

3) You have responsibilities. You have a responsibility for your own child, to make sure he's financially supported, to make sure he's safe and healthy. While legally, she can choose not to pursue child support, that doesn't absolve you of your moral responsibility to look out for your son and to give him the benefit of the material resources you have available.

3) The boy has rights. If, indeed, he is your child, he has the right to know who his parents are and to have relationships with them both. If this were an adoption situation in which all of the adults in his life had agreed about his best interests, that might be different, but it's not, and this boy has the right to know where he comes from and to know you. He also has the right to financial support from you to ensure that he can get the best possible education, etc. He has the right to medical and other genetic information. He has the right to decide, as he grows up, what relationship he wants to have with his father. And I don't think you have the right to take all of that away from him.

4) Your family has rights. While this maybe isn't legally true, morally, I think your wife has the right to know if you've got a kid running around. Mostly because...

5) This situation could blow up in your face at any time. If he's your kid, his mother has the right at any time to change her mind and demand child support, possibly including a decade of back child support. The kid could show up on your doorstep and disrupt your life one day. I think that, for everyone's sake, it makes sense to deal with this in a controlled way now rather than waiting indefinitely for the other shoe to drop.

I'd start with a brief consultation with a family law attorney to find out where you stand legally, what can be demanded of you and what rights you have. But then I would start making plans to get in touch with her and find out, once and for all, whether this boy is your son.
posted by decathecting at 11:00 AM on June 11, 2013 [33 favorites]

If it were me, yes, I would absolutely contact her and ask her, and get the child tested, if need be...

This is absolutely ridiculous. You have no right whatsoever to interfere in the life of a woman you barely knew over a decade ago and ask her and her family to undergo medical procedures to satisfy your idle curiosity.

If she wanted your involvement, she would have asked you by now.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:04 AM on June 11, 2013 [16 favorites]

But she immediately looked away, and started talking to someone, making it clear that she both recognized me, and wanted nothing to do with a conversation of any sort.

I think this central premise is not all that clear. She might have recognized you and turned away in the moment because she was shocked to see you there unexpectedly but would actually welcome a conversation. She might not have actually recognized you. She might not have even really made eye contact with you - maybe she looked at you while preoccupied with another thought and never even registered you. Maybe she saw you with a wife and kid and figured she had better not approach.

There are lots of possibilities so I think the casual "Hey, I was at the recital and saw you, hope all is well!" contact is a good starter and may give you a more accurate read of what she may or may not want in terms of communication.
posted by mikepop at 11:04 AM on June 11, 2013 [11 favorites]

I would never be able to walk away from a child of mine with a "let sleeping dogs lie" shrug. It will gnaw at you for the rest of your life and it will color the relationships you currently have. Your child!

First things first: full disclosure to your wife, and be prepared to offer endless reassurance, and your desire to come to a solution together. There is no rush! Take a few months if you need it, do the lawyer thing, due diligence the hell out of it. Over that time, your feelings will settle down and you'll get some clarity.

But make super sure that this a couples issue, not a you issue. The next steps should be carefully thought out, with the full partnership of your wife. I would not, however, say anything to your daughter (in case that's not obvious until way farther along and only if there is a chance they will meet).

Good luck. Wild!
posted by thinkpiece at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

We are talking about a preteen here. Is it the right thing to do to possibly rock that child's world in a way that would be irrevocable?

What is in that child's best interests? What if she is married and your popping up would mess that up? We don't know if that is your child. If he is we don't know what she has told people or how she has arranged her life. Yes, this sucks for you if this really is your son, but that is one of the risks of casual unprotected sex. At this point I don't see how investigating this further has any positives for the child. Maybe when he is older-say in about ten years-the question could be revisited.

But my vote would be no unless SHE initiates contact.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:11 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'd suggest: let her know the following, if true:

- I do not want to cause agitation in your life or interfere with an existing family structure;

- I am not angry with you, or at least not angry enough to harm the peace of mind of a child;

- I do feel a sense of responsibility that no amount of rationalization will eradicate. I want to do the right thing, and it's a desire that is fundamental to my personality and humanity;

- You can trust me (imply, don't state baldly);

- I have medical history information that could be useful that I will send, no strings attached;

- If he is related to me, and if you decide it's a good idea, it would give me great joy to know him;

- I have discussed this with my wife and she's not hostile.
posted by amtho at 11:21 AM on June 11, 2013 [16 favorites]

I'm not a lawyer but I would be surprised if your legal standing (if you are indeed the father) is the same as if you donated sperm. If you fathered a child, I presume you have a legal right to know about it and a legal right to some involvement. A lot of people are saying it's none of your business, but another question to ask is, if that's your child, was it proper for the mother not to inform you. She may have turned away from you because she knows you have legal rights and she hid the birth from you to avoid you exercising your rights.

Legal matters aside, whether or not contacting the mother is a good idea for the child, for the mother, and for you and your family is a different question. Your curiosity is certainly understandable, and if you want to pursue your curiosity, you could consider doing what signal suggested about reaching out in a friendly way to the mother for general catch up and then see what develops from there.
posted by Dansaman at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2013

Mod note: Answer the OPs question, quit arguing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

This must be a really strange and distracting experience for you.

Your question is "Knowing she has not reached out, should I respect her privacy?" I would say yes. You do not know if that child is yours and there is no reasonable way of saying "Hi, remember me? Your child looks like my daughter. Mind giving me a cheek swab so I can get a paternity test and possibly turn you life upside down?" If she did recognize you, as you seem to believe, and you are the father of her child, then she is now aware that you are nearby and and locally connected if she wants to restart contact. In the meantime, be very open with your wife about things as if this does turn into something it's going to affect her and your child(ren). And do for sure see a lawyer. Good luck.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:27 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

It might not be time for her to talk to you yet.
Let's say yes, she did get pregnant back then. You don't know how she handled it, if there's a hasband who thinks the kid is his, if there's a stepdad and what he knows about the past. You don't know what the kid "knows" about his family. "Let me tell you about your father" is a complicated conversation for a mother to have with a kid, and maybe she hasn't had it yet.
She knows your name, and can probably find you if she wanted; she might even have kept tabs on you so she knows how to contact you when she needs to.

She hasn't reached out; you should respect her choice, especially for the next few years, but that gives you time to think about everything, instead of catching you flat-footed.
At the same time, she saw you. She now is thinking more actively about things she's had on the back burner for years. The fact that you know she recognized you, even if she didn't decide to talk with you, is already "making contact", and whatever path there might be toward talking to her son about biological family, she's probably mentally one step farther down it than she was last month. Just because she hadn't contacted you in the last 11 years, and didn't talk that night, doesn't mean she never will - but I think it's right to let her make that choice, and not try to get in touch, especially until you've done some serious thinking about what this (having a son) means to you, and what you want it to mean.
posted by aimedwander at 11:38 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

If every kid who looked like they could be mine WAS, I'd've been pregnant like a bajillion times instead of zero.

I'd move on, and instead focus on why you are married with a daughter and having all kinds of feelings about a theoretical son you might have had woman you had sex with twice in college who you haven't spoken to since.
posted by spunweb at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

I'm the mother of an adopted son. He would have given anything to know his bio father when he was a kid. I knew the bio mom slightly, it was a private adoption, Ilost ouch with her. When he was a teenager he expressed an interest in meeting his bio parents and I told him I would do my best to track his mother down when he was 18. I did and my son met her when he was 18 but she could not put him in touch with his bio dad, to his great disappointment. She claimed she didn't remember the guy's last name, even though she'd lived with him for several months.

My feeling was that there was some man out there in the world who had fathered this wonderful son and didn't even know it. I felt he should have the option of knowing he had this child.

I think that just contacting her to "catch up" isn't enough, you need to bring up your questions about the boy, and then tell her about yourself: happily married with a daughter, etc.

Let her know that, if you are indeed the bio father, you'd be happy to know him, but that you leave it up to her to decide when that should happen. Give her extensive ways of contacting you, for instance family members' addresses just in case you move. My son's bio mom gave me her SS number in case I ever had to track her down for medical reasons.
posted by mareli at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Gosh, there's a lot here, I don't know where to begin.

As for the question of why I would want to know if this is my child... Well, as a parent, you feel a sort of bind to your offspring that I cannot describe. It's something completely beyond anything I had felt for even the closest family members. When my daughter fell off the couch yesterday and broke her favorite toy (plastic golf club) I could actually feel her despair, and I nearly cried, because we are intertwined by something very physical yet indescribable. I don't know if anyone can explain it better. With a child it's almost like there's a piece of you that now is "out there," and their existence directly effects yours in so many ways.

To even have the thought that a little boy somewhere may have this part of me just overwhelms me. Does he tilt his head when he talks, too? Does he love garlic and salty foods? What do I think about his violin abilities, knowing he may be my son? Simply, is there a peice of me somewhere I never knew about. I don't know what kind of involvement I would want, since I'm struggling so much just to comprehend the possibility. If I imagine for a moment that he was my child, all I want to do is give him a hug. That's all I know about my feelings now, and it makes my throat hurt.

As far as the suggestion of telling my wife... I don't know if I want to tell her unless I were to be certain. I know that even the idea would rattle her considerably, so I don't want to say anything unless I know it's a deal to begin with.

Thank you for the input. For the time being, I'm a bit frozen in my tracks.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you would be willing to be more involved in this child's life, in terms of emotional commitment, time, and money, then you should open the door through a facebook message or track down her email address. Just say something open ended like, "Hi so and so. I saw you at the [event]. It was nice to see you. I am happily married and a father now and [fill in details about your life]. If you ever want to get in touch, please feel free."

Then the ball is in her court and she could react in such a wide variety of ways there's no telling what, but be prepared for her to want no contact, to want contact but no commitment, or for her to want child support (which she may be legally entitled to) or parenthood (which is obviously more complicated).

Also, please tell your wife everything you said here. You don't want her to find this out from somewhere/someone else.
posted by latkes at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine recently had a child with a man she didn't know very well. They lost touch, he didn't even know that she was pregnant, and she has no intention of trying to get in touch with him. I think this is unfair- I think you do have a right to at least know, and the son has the right to know who his bio father is. I think you are within your rights to ask her, but as was suggested upthread, if this child has a man that thinks he is his biological father, it could end very badly for everybody.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 11:50 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think you have any "rights", until you get to the point where you are established as the putative father. People are saying that you have a "right to know", but how does that trump the mother's and son's "right to be left alone" or "right to not have their family affected"? I don't really see why your being potentially haunted by this for the rest of your life means you get to demand answers. What effect will the process have on your wife? On your daughter? On this boy? On his mother? On her possibly existing life partner? I just don't buy that all these people's lives deserve to be invaded with drama, just because this child bears a resemblance to you. If this woman denies categorically that you are the father, are you prepared to take her word for it? Are you ready togo to court to demand a paternity test? what if the boy really isn't yours at that point? If he is, are you prepared to go to court to get recognition as his father, even if his family and yours are hostile to that idea? Are you prepared possibly pay child support?

I think if you believe must make contact, you need to talk to your wife, first and foremost. Then find out from a lawyer if you have any responsibilities, and what it takes to force a paternity test if it comes to that. Then a casual "I saw you but didn't get a chance to say hi" would be the only way to approach this woman. If she doesn't respond, leave it be. You can contact the child when he's eighteen if you want.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

I strongly feel that all other things being equal, it's good for kids to have more people connected to them and concerned about them, rather than fewer. In your situation, I would reach out in the manner amanda suggests, and after considering all the things people have brought up about your intentions, what you could offer, etc.
posted by BibiRose at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2013

I don't think I've seen anyone else ask this here--

Is she married? How long has she been married? What does the husband look like? Does he look like you? Does the child look like the person she is married to?

Sorry if these are overly obvious and you are considering this possibility because she is not married/married way after the day of the child's birth but -- it seems like there are some things to check out that I haven't seen mentioned, and which are a lot less drastic than calling someone up after a decade and asking a question like that. I would probably chat up some old mutual friends, if any exist, to see if you can find out if she was seeing anyone else back then, if that was the person she married... etc.
posted by instead of three wishes at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

This page gives some information on determining paternity in your state (judging from your profile). IANAL but my reading of it is that you could petition a court to establish paternity, and the court would order genetic tests to confirm. So it seems like you do have some rights here - perhaps an actual lawyer could confirm?

I would personally go for a cautious approach to her first (see for example decathecting's advice), rather than going to court.
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2013

IANAL but my reading of it is that you could petition a court to establish paternity, and the court would order genetic tests to confirm.

Even if this happens, you may not gain any parental rights:

"... Karen became pregnant and told her husband she was pregnant a few months later. She also told him about her affair with Rodney F. Karen told Rodney she was pregnant, and she later told the court that he really did not care. Karen delivered a girl in March 1993. After her birth, the baby resided with Karen and her husband. Rodney F. had no contact with the baby. That was the essential deciding factor in the court's denial of standing to Rodney - despite his constitutional arguments and despite the fact that DNA blood tests showed that Rodney, who registered a paternity index of 195 and a probability of 99.5 percent, was the baby's biological father.

The judge made findings of fact that Karen was cohabiting with her husband who was neither impotent nor sterile at the time the child was conceived. Then the court applied the conclusive presumption in the adoption code and held that Karen's husband was conclusively presumed to be the baby's father. "Where, as here, the conclusive presumption of paternity applies under the law, it is irrelevant that the biological father can prove his paternity or even that all parties to the proceedings may concede that plaintiff is the biological father."

So you really need to ask yourself: what is the outcome that you want? How would that affect the wants and needs of the other people involved? What happens if you don't get what you want? For instance, if you want to find out if you are the biological father so that you can have a relationship with this child, what happens if 1) you find at you are, 2) you don't get the relationship? What happens if you find out he's not yours- do you stop all attempts at making contact? How would this child feel about that? What if his parents are married, and they break up because of the stress of the situation?
posted by oneirodynia at 12:05 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is there way to discretely find out the child's actual age and birthday? Just because many fifth graders are 11, doesn't mean that this particular one is. At the moment you are assuming a lot.
posted by florencetnoa at 12:13 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

As far as the suggestion of telling my wife... I don't know if I want to tell her unless I were to be certain. I know that even the idea would rattle her considerably, so I don't want to say anything unless I know it's a deal to begin with.

Your call, but I think this one is going to bite you on the ass. What if it is your kid? What are you going to say when she asks how you found out? Keeping secrets is never awesome.

But definitely do your research first before contact. Check the date of her marriage. Check the date of birth to see if it's even possible, before you reach out.
posted by corb at 12:13 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

mikepop makes a very good point. I've had times of being sure someone was looking right at me and they weren't, and I've had times of people thinking I was looking right at them and inexplicably turned away, but I didn't see them or they didn't register as being someone I knew.
posted by ambient2 at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2013

You don't actually know if the OP used birth control or what, BlueHorse. No birth control is 100% effective.

OP: The key question here is why you want to know the things you say you want to know. Is it curiosity? You say you want to give him a hug. That's great. But do you want to be involved in his life as a father? That's the question.

If you want to be all-in and be a father to the kid it is absolutely your right and some would argue your duty to find out if he is your son, and to be a part of his life if he is your son. But if you just want to "to give him a hug" or whatever, let sleeping dogs lie. You're either all-in or you're out.

But I believe strongly that if you're all-in, you have the right to be.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't know if I want to tell her unless I were to be certain. I know that even the idea would rattle her considerably, so I don't want to say anything unless I know it's a deal to begin with.

You may be surprised. She'll certainly have feelings if she were to find out about your investigation from some source other than you.

Would you be mad at her or upset if she had put a child up for adoption before she met you??
posted by French Fry at 12:16 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Again, I haven't considered the legal situation, as I'm still dealing with the emotional aspects

I couldn't handle it, so I put in a request with my Alumni Directoy, as it seemed a good method. How it works is I send a request to the college giving my contact information, and they will contact her at whatever contact information she has on file for the medium requested (I requested email). The college then contacts her at that address and asks if she would like her contact information provided to me (they don't give her my email, EDIT: She receives my first name, last initial, and class year). If she approves, I get an email. If she does not, then I don't get a reply, I'm just told that its "processing." So, if I don't get a reply, either she said no, or they don't have up to date contact info on file, but for privacy reasons they just simply tell me it's "processing." Makes sense.

So, if she wants to hear from me, it's up to her.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2013

How do you know she is even the mother of the child you saw her with?

Honestly, it sounds like there's a whole lot you don't know about this woman, and you've been creating a fiction about her in your head--she left you because her sorority sister's pressured her to, you tried to engage her in a conversation by staring at her and she somehow managed to convey "I know who you are and I'm not interesting in talking to you" without every speaking to you, you're hurt by her rejection of you.
posted by inertia at 12:19 PM on June 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

I'm with mikepop - she may have turned away from you out of pure embarrassment. Seeing someone from a one (or two) night stand 11 years later is AWKWARD for a lot of people. What if her family or husband were there? "Who's this?" "Oh, just some guy I slept with after a party in college." Awkward.

This is bugging you and will continue to bug you. Just ask her the question in the most polite and non-confrontational way possible.
posted by cnc at 12:20 PM on June 11, 2013

Call her and ask her. I don't see how else to get from point A (wondering) to point B (knowing). I think you'd have to say 'Look, I know this is crazy, but it's been bothering me...' and if she says 'that's ridiculous' I think you have to say 'well, I'm sorry I bothered you' whether she sounds credible or doesn't sound credible.

But it doesn't seem like you're going to do some ludicrous thing like follow the kid around and try to pull his hair follicles out or get a DNA swab, so I don't see how else you could get past it other than asking. And then tell your wife, either way.

I'm in the camp who thinks you have a right to know, but I think that even with your best effort, you might not wind up knowing, and the best you can do is be sane and diplomatic and if it ever turned out, a decade from now, that someone wanted to revisit this with you, you would not be the crazy person from ten years earlier but a rational, honest person who could be trusted to have measured reactions and then if it were necessary, the conversation could be revisited.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:25 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Per your updates, where you say yourself that you are emotional and overwhelmed:

It would be helpful for you to process this with someone guiding you, like a counselor/therapist or even some spiritual guide if that fits you better. But you don't sound like someone who is in a state to make well thought through decisions right now.

As an outside observer it looks like you got a bit lost in your daydream ("Does he tilt his head when he talks, too? Does he love garlic and salty foods? What do I think about his violin abilities [...]") while disregarding the reality (your wife and child(ren)/ this woman and her life)!
posted by travelwithcats at 12:40 PM on June 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

Has anyone asked the boy how he is, growing up without a father he has never known?

You might want to do a little digging to see if she was married etc. You can look that up online. If you find evidence that this is a possiblity of you being the father, then for the kid, you will have to take the next steps. But first, do your math, your digging and getting some facts.
posted by pakora1 at 12:46 PM on June 11, 2013

I once visited my hometown and, while attending a local music show, saw a teenage kid dancing with his friends, who looked exactly like me when I was around that age. Which isn't a common thing. Even his facial expressions. My first thought was very much like yours, and the person I was with (who'd known me younger) had a similar reaction.

That experience led to a relevant thought experiment, as to what would or wouldn't be appropriate. A key point in my consideration was realizing I had no idea if the (theoretical) mother knew how to reach me or not, at any point since the (theoretical) conception. As a result, I decided the only reasonable course of action (theoretically) would be to ensure she knew how to reach me, and that I welcomed contact, without pressuring her to contact me or doing any followup.

Your situation was slightly different, because you made eye contact, but you were there with your daughter and so I'm fairly certain she wouldn't have walked up to you even if she wanted to, for a number of perfectly valid reasons. So I think it might still apply. Perhaps you can get to her with a letter or some other kind of no-facebook-friending hands-off contact, that effectively says "Hey, I saw you you at [the show], but I didn't want to interrupt. I hope things are going well for you, and if you ever want to catch up or talk, I can be reached by [method and details.] All best."

If she doesn't want to contact you, she'll ignore it. If she's wanted to but didn't know how to reach you, she'll contact you. If she doesn't want to now, but wants to once he turns 18 or he wants to when he turns 18*, she'll have that info. Then move on, and don't think of it unless you hear from her.

*this supposes that he is your chlid, of course, which may not at all be true. for example, she might be attracted to guys who look like you, which might have led to this same situation.
posted by davejay at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2013

I would suggest letting a little time pass before you make a decision, whatever the decision is. You mention that you aren't sure how much your feelings of rejection are playing a role in this. There are occasions in my life when I have seen someone I haven't seen in a while and it has brought up a swell of emotion on what could have happened IF. I prefer to make big decisions when I am certain my emotions aren't playing a role.
posted by heatherly at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd urge you to think first and foremost about your wife and daughter. Their worlds could be rocked by this, and they have (a) no fault and (b) no choice. I understand what you're saying about the visceral reaction you're having; I feel the same love for my daughter, and it's earthshaking. But look at your daughter -- the one in your life right now -- and consider her feelings before you do or say anything else. Your wife is important in this story too, and her happiness and security will directly affect your daughter's happiness and security. Protect them throughout all that you do. They didn't have a one-night stand, they didn't have unprotected sex, they didn't choose anything about this story.
posted by Capri at 1:05 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

As for the parental rights question, if she wasn't married at the time, there is absolutely no reason the presumption that a husband is the father would come into play.

I'd discuss with the wife first. But if you have a child, you may want to know.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:20 PM on June 11, 2013

I don't mean to minimize your concerns, but there's another possible explanation for all of this: you were her type back in the day. So you may not have been the only man she dated who looks like you. I bring this up because I've now heard from more than a couple of male friends about how there was some chance that some ex-date's child might really be his, and the conception math/"kid looks like me!" seem to be more of a stretch than the man realizes. It's like this paternity fantasy sort of takes off, especially for men in their 30s. Of course you should give this matter some thought and consideration, but there's also the possibility that you are totally off-base.
posted by stowaway at 1:29 PM on June 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

And, are you even sure that it's her son? You didn't talk to her or the kid? Could it have been a nephew, a cousin, her babysitting gig? I am just bringing this up because this all seems more like fantasy than anything else, the high-class sorority girl who got away ...
posted by stowaway at 1:33 PM on June 11, 2013

You're moving awfully fast here. Take a breath. This kid's been around for a dozen years already--he's not going to disappear overnight.

Assuming that you don't hear anything back from the alumni directory, let this drop. The directory has your current information, right? So she can contact you if she needs to or feels it's appropriate or whatever. Or, and this seems more likely, she can keep living her life.

I'm also a parent, and I get the whole "bind to your offspring" thing, but you're assuming a lot here--not least of which is that you showing up and asking questions about paternity isn't literally her worst nightmare. The person I got pregnant with knew I was pregnant, but he bailed, and I've spent the eleven years since then waiting that he's going to someday pop up and turn my life upside down. (My only trump card--and this woman's, as well, probably--is that if he wants that relationship, I'll be pursuing child support, including back support.) You guys had casual sex and parted ways--from the sound of it, you've got no real connection to the mother, and I think that you're assuming a lot in feeling that you have some sort of connection to this child. Even if they're of your blood, they're not yours.

Also, if you decide to go through with this, you owe it to everyone involved to speak with your wife before you speak with this other woman. What do you do if you find out that this child is yours...and your wife is furious and doesn't want you to have contact with them? What if she feels really strongly that it's your child--and you "deserve" the parental rights that go with that? You cannot assure the woman of your good intentions without discussing it with your wife, and to do so is irresponsible and disrespectful to both the woman and your wife.
posted by MeghanC at 1:55 PM on June 11, 2013 [8 favorites]

I don't know if I want to tell her unless I were to be certain.

You cannot gain this certainty without taking actions that could turn your, and by extension your wife's, life upside down. You absolutely have the moral and legal right both to know about your child, but I would beg you not to exercise those rights until your wife is fully informed and on board.
posted by KathrynT at 2:44 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I second what St. Alia said way above. And agree you are moving way too fast. You seem impulsive and prone to following your emotions and imagination. Get a grip dude, you are playing with fire here. Let sleeping dogs lie. Say no more and take this to your grave.
posted by see_change at 2:44 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hey bud, I think you should just take a few deep breaths, let this one sit for a few days, and stop picking at it. You are taking several really big jumps here to reach a conclusion that, while not impossible, is actually really very unlikely and depends on a bevy of assumptions that you've kind of glided over but any single one could be a deal breaker.

I think, all things being equal, that this kid is unlikely to be your son, and that you should consider that this woman may not have even recognised you, or been otherwise occupied and unable to talk at that moment. You are probably not a big thing in her life, even in that moment.

I get a little bit of a sense from your question, and the way this is playing on you, that there may be some other elements influencing your chain of thoughts around this situation. Is this lady kind of a "one that got away" for you, that you often find yourself thinking about in the years since, or a source of regret? Is something troubling you in your home or work life, especially around your relationship or your own child?

Worth thinking about why you would entertain the kind of scenario that happens a lot on tv and the movies but very rarely in real life so quickly and effortlessly, I think.
posted by smoke at 3:32 PM on June 11, 2013

If someone from my past contacted me (indirectly through our old school or directly through Facebook or whatever) and asked personal questions about the state of my uterus 11 years ago, just to satisfy his curiosity, because in his opinion, MY KID LOOKED JUST LIKE HIM, I would tell him to back right the fuck up because my kid's paternity is none of his damn business.

I can't even imagine the hubris it would take to ask a woman that question. If you're that interested, contact the boy when he is no longer a minor and can decide for himself what to do about your intrusive question.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:33 PM on June 11, 2013 [10 favorites]

> If I imagine for a moment that he was my child, all I want to do is give him a hug.

You should keep in mind that from his perspective, you would be some strange man wanting to hug him.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:45 PM on June 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

First, slow down. "Does he tilt his head when he talks, too? Does he love garlic and salty foods?" is pure fantasizing, and I think you need to let go of that as best you can. You could drive yourself crazy, and distract yourself from the wife and daughter right in front of you, going down that road.

Next - in all the various AskMe threads where people are heading into tricky situations, the standard advice is to figure out what outcome you want before you take any action. I think you need to do that here, but you also have to realize that there are a ton of different people involved, each with their own rights, responsibilities, and interests. You might identify a desired outcome and start working to achieve it, only to find that everything blows up and spirals away. Your family, her family - you'll all be affected one way or another.

You'd probably benefit from consulting some experts. Definitely a therapist or other trusted counselor to help you work through your feelings. Maybe a lawyer to advise you of your potential legal situation if you actually were the biological father.

On the should-you-contact front, I think going through a third party that allows a level of privacy was one of the better ways you could handle it. Though again, if it were me I'd have waited until my emotions settled down a bit first.

Realistically there's a good chance that this kid has nothing to do with you, but unfortunately I can't see a way for you to get any clarity on that point without opening up the whole kettle of squid. Please be careful.
posted by expialidocious at 4:00 PM on June 11, 2013

Here's another angle to consider, that I haven't seen anyone mention yet.

This is a true story. I dated someone for several years, and we still live in the same city, but I haven't seen him in a few months.

A few weeks ago we were talking on the phone and he told me he saw me in town. He said I glared at him when I saw him. On the phone, he said he wanted me to know that he wasn't trying to bother me, he just wanted to see how I was doing.

Guess what, it wasn't me! I've never been to the store where he "saw" me. The person he saw and thought was me was actually a total stranger.

The guy is someone who knows me very, very well, is very familiar with what I look like, and has still seen me in person from time to time in the past year. There's also something a bit unusual and visually obvious about how I look that not many people share.

Now, you haven't seen this woman you hooked up with in at least a decade. I'm saying it might not have been her.
posted by cairdeas at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

FWIW, when this happened to me, I just pulled her aside and just got it out there. I said something like, "Your boy was born on X, and we were last intimate on Y. Is there a chance?"

And she laughed and said no. Whew!

There's only two realistic answers here -- yes, and she either knows or has thought a lot about it, and no, it's not yours.

Just gotta cut to the chase. Privately.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:22 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just to verify that you're doing the math right -- is he about to start 5th grade, or did he just finish 5th grade? I have an 11-yr-old who finishes 4th grade this year, starts 5th grade in Sept 2013. He would have been conceived in late spring/early summer 2002. Does this fit your timeline?
posted by selfmedicating at 5:08 PM on June 11, 2013

Does he tilt his head when he talks, too? Does he love garlic and salty foods?

Probably -- garlic is delicious, and so is salt! There are entire cuisines built around the joyful union of these two staples, no doubt consumed by nations of head-tilting chefs, some of whom really enjoy playing the violin. :D

But OP, more seriously: this is why I said earlier that people are generic and that tons of kids could look like you and yours. People's faces, bodies, and tastes can be REALLY generic, and it's intimacy that makes that love of garlic and that crooked eyebrow significant. You're talking about a kid you saw at a distance during a musical and dance performance (meaning he was probably wearing make up and you probably weren't nearby) and then for a few minutes afterwards, also not from up close. I really wouldn't pursue this, because to be honest it sounds like there's nothing to pursue.

What does having a son mean to you? I think sitting with that question will help you begin moving on.

(And just as an aside: there are lots of people I'm related to who don't look like they're related to me. Genetics are funny and resemblance really doesn't mean that much.)
posted by spunweb at 6:32 PM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

As far as the suggestion of telling my wife... I don't know if I want to tell her unless I were to be certain. I know that even the idea would rattle her considerably, so I don't want to say anything unless I know it's a deal to begin with.

This answer says a lot. It says you are willing to turn someone else's life upside down on a hunch and flight of fancy, but not willing to do anything that might disturb your own. Think about why that is.

Like travelwithcats I think you need to calm down and talk this over with someone. Probably your wife. And like SuperSquirrel, if someone I slept with twice eleven years ago saw me with my daughter (who was conceived eleven years and one month ago) and then tracked me down and demanded to know if he was the father I would tell him to fuck off.

A lot of these answers are assuming that because you saw someone who looks like someone you slept with 11 years ago, in the company of a kid who looks like your kid, that somehow it means that kid is 100% yours. You don't know for sure that this even is the woman you think it is. Eleven years is a long time and people change. The kid has a name you don't recognize. That's a long way from his being flesh of your flesh, bone of your bone. My daughter looks remarkably like a friend's adult daughter. She, the adult, often takes her little sister and my daughter on outings. Without fail, people assume that my daughter is her little sister. She also looks exactly like the older daughter looked as a child. The other sister doesn't look anything like her. And yet, I did not have sex with my friend's daughter's father.

The feeler you've sent out is great, not too intrusive, and totally appropriate. If you don't hear back from her, drop it. If you do hear back from her, proceed with caution after you have discussed things with your wife. Whatever your legal rights may be, the kind and humane thing to do, should you find out this is your child, is to follow the mother's lead. Imagine if, unbeknownst to you, your wife had an affair right around when your daughter was conceived, and the guy she had sex with stormed into your lives demanding standing as a potential parent. Act the way you'd want that guy to act.
posted by looli at 6:59 PM on June 11, 2013 [9 favorites]

Response by poster: Update:

She approved the Alumni Directory request, and after spending almost an hour and a half in front of a PC, cursor blinking, screen going dim every few minutes...

I finally sent the following:

Hey, I saw you at the [event]. Wanted to come over and say hi and catch up, but didn't want to interrupt.

How are you? Hope all is well.


I'll just leave it at that, and unless she brings something up, I've decided to keep the subject matter to the basics.

I did have a conversation with the wife. She was surprisingly supportive, and encouraged me to reach out. I think she believes that my concerns are warranted, but believes that it's just a coincidence. The thing that stuck with me was her comment that "If I had found myself pregnant, unless the father was a total asshole, I cannot think of a reason why I wouldn't at least tell him about it, unless I intended to [have an abortion]." The more I thought about it, she may be right. So, unless something comes up in the emails, I'll try not to make it a thing, I guess.

Regardless of what transpires, I cannot guarantee further updates will be posted. It will all depend on how I feel about things in the coming days.

Thank you, everyone, for the honest input. It is greatly appreciated.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:08 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Imagine if, unbeknownst to you, your wife had an affair right around when your daughter was conceived, and the guy she had sex with stormed into your lives demanding standing as a potential parent. Act the way you'd want that guy to act.

Although you raise some good points, you had me until this line. If my wife slept with someone around the time my daughter was conceived, I think my primary concern would be why she slept with someone while we were married. The conduct of the other guy would be the least of my concerns.

Just like I can't foist the emotion behind my suspicions into this woman's and this child's life, I don't feel it's suitable for some of the people in this thread to reference their specific experience as if it were applicable as anything other than a point of reference. I can't proceed under the assumption that it may turn out to be just like something that may have happened to someone else.

All I can do is conduct myself in a manner that feels right after I've considered all possibilities and the people involved directly in this specific situation with what I can verify to be the circumstances.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:24 PM on June 11, 2013 [12 favorites]

You don't even know that this is a child she gave birth to. This boy could be a cousin of hers or a partner's child.

Without saying anything about any rights you might or might not have, coming into this projecting an attitude that you have a "right" to something is probably not going to get you what you want here.

If he is your son, and you just want to give him a hug, you are going to have a much happier outcome if everyone else is onboard with that.

If you want to know what your rights are, ask a lawyer for your state. If you have any rights, there may be some corresponding responsibilities.
posted by yohko at 2:38 AM on June 12, 2013

1. In your opinion, the kid looks like you --- this means nothing. Unless there's a specific physical *something* that runs in your family (i.e., because of a lot of cousin-marriages, almost every male in one family I know has the same weird deformity of their thumbs); mere resemblance is far more common than not.

2. You say you can figure out when the boy was conceived --- really? IS he the exactly-11-years-old that you're guessing? He could be just-turned-eleven, he could be almost-twelve, he could be anywhere inbetween.... adding gestation time to exactly eleven years means zero: even if he is currently 11 years old, there are 365 days in a year, and that would mean 365 *different* possible conception dates.

3. You had sex with her twice --- okay, not to disparage her or anything, but is that a guarentee that she never had sex with anyone else? As willing as she was to take you as a casual partner says to me that the lady was no prude: she might have had *lots* of other partners. (And do you have any reason to doubt her about the birth control?)

4. An emotional connection to this child --- you're fantasizing. This is a kid you've never met, never spoken to, never even thought might have existed a week ago; and all of a sudden, out of the blue, you've built this entire warm & fuzzy happy blended family. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh or cruel, but you've built up this entire fantasy on the *perceived* resemblance of a kid you've glimpsed exactly once, and that's not a valid reason to risk damage to his life as well as your daughter, your wife, this other lady and her family.

My point in all this is, please do NOT intrude; if the lady seriously believed this was your child, she's had plenty of time --- almost twelve years! --- to tell you so.
posted by easily confused at 3:38 AM on June 12, 2013

I think you've done the best, most honourable and tactful thing, and now you can let her get back to you if she wants to. If the child is yours, there may be so many reasons why she didn't contact you or talk to you that day. As for what happens if she doesn't contact you and tell you the kid is yours - that's hard and awkward! You may have to live with the uncertainty, for years or for always. Good luck.
posted by inkypinky at 6:24 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

One can't go by looks alone. I have a family member who was adopted, and they looked EXACTLY like one of their aunts. It was uncanny. Later, said family member goes off and confronts aunt. Then another aunt who looked only slightly less exact. The math worked out for a mother/child connection, as did other "details" with each of these aunts.

Fast forward years later when adoption records were opened up by a change in the law. Guess what? NEITHER sister was the biological mother. Turned out to be a completely different woman unrelated to the aunts.

Big oops there, wouldn't you agree? Estrangement from the aunts followed, and embarrassment for me any time I appear at a family gathering, which is few and far between because of said estrangement.

Be VERY CAREFUL about idle speculation. My advice is to chalk it up to extraordinary coincidence and do not dig into this further unless either one of them contacts you or reveals FACTS that would indicate there is a relationship.
posted by kuppajava at 7:17 AM on June 12, 2013

Another vote for "this seems unlikely to be your son." In order for those stars to line up, these things have to be true:

0. The woman you saw at the event was the woman you slept with
1. Her birth control failed or she was dishonest about taking it or she forgot
2. You were the only one sleeping with her at the time
3. That timeframe fits the boy's age
4. It's her son and not a friend's kid or something
5. She had some good reason not to tell you she was pregnant (this is the most unbelievable part to me), or she didn't have a good reason and she's kind of awful
6. She had some good reason never to tell you she had your kid, or she didn't have a good reason and she's kind of awful

Regarding item 0, I have a unique appearance due to a birth defect. I have literally never met anyone with the same defect, it is that rare. Yet when I was working as a cashier, I had multiple people insist that I used to work across town at a hospital I'd never set foot in. I mean, people thought I was lying to them, and they were looking at me from six feet away, not across a room.

I've also run into people I've had casual sex with, and if they approached me randomly at an event, I wouldn't want to talk to them because I'm married and it's awkward. So that may have nothing to do with the paternity of the kid.
posted by desjardins at 8:28 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, how do you know this isn't the abusive ex's kid? She had just got out of a relationship when she slept with you the first time.
posted by spunweb at 8:45 AM on June 12, 2013

I encourage you to take a longer view. If this child is biologically yours, it's likely he'll consider looking for you at some point. I'd be pretty pissed if I got someone pregnant, and didn't let me know (if I were capable of getting anyone else pregnant). Talking to your wife was absolutely the right thing to do, and kudos to her for responding well. All I can do is conduct myself in a manner that feels right after I've considered all possibilities and the people involved. Exactly.

It sounds like you don't have kids, and it sounds like you want to. That's an observation from a random person on teh webs, so just something to think about.
posted by theora55 at 6:58 AM on June 13, 2013

theora55, just to clarify, the OP does have a daughter. The resemblance to her is one thing that has caused him to question the boy's paternity.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:53 AM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

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