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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Mom wonders how to reveal youngest son’s parentage

by Abigail Van Buren | May 5, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: I have a wonderful 12-year-old son, “Oliver,” who was conceived during a date rape at a work party. When I found out I was pregnant, I hoped my husband was the father. When the baby came, it was obvious he wasn’t. I am Caucasian, and I’m thinking Oliver may be Pacific Islander.

We divorced when Oliver was 2, and my ex had a DNA test, which proved he wasn’t the father. Despite the findings, after I explained what happened, he offered to be Oliver’s “dad” because he had bonded with him. I have two older sons whom he fathered.

There have been times when Oliver and his brothers have asked about his brown skin, and I’ve been able to dodge the question. He’s now to an age where I don’t think I can hold off much longer.

I always knew the time would come when he would find out his dad is not his biological father, but I’m not sure how to tell him. I don’t want him to know he is a product of rape, nor do I want to throw myself under the bus and say I cheated on his dad. — Looking For Best Way In Washington

Dear Looking: I fail to understand why you would equate “rape” with “cheating.” What happened wasn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t feel guilt or shame that it happened. I understand you want to protect Oliver, but tell him the truth. Be sure to emphasize how much you and your ex love him and how proud you are that he’s your son.

Dear Abby: I’m building my first house down the street from my parents. My mom told me she wants a key so she and Dad can have access to my house in case of a tornado. The layout and foundation of my house are very sturdy. When I told her I didn’t want anyone to have a key, she was offended. I felt awful, but it’s my first house, and if I have to give a key to someone when I don’t want to, it defeats the purpose of having my own place.

I’ve been living with my parents, and Mom has used guilt trips against me before. My sister and her husband agree I shouldn’t give in. I feel like a horrible daughter for refusing because she’s not the type to snoop, but there have been times when I’ve been in my room and she has entered without knocking. — Daughter In Dilemma

Dear Daughter: It strikes me as somewhat pushy that your mother would ask for a key to your home before it’s completed. What have your parents done during previous tornadoes? Because the house symbolizes independence, I don’t think you should hand the key over. It may make sense to have someone be able to enter if you travel or have a pet that needs to be walked while you are at work. In that event, you may change your mind and offer her one.

If she abuses your trust, you can have your locks changed.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother,Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440,Los Angeles,CA 90069 or visit


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