Life

Ask Fiona: I'm pregnant but I'm not sure who the father is

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine advises a woman who cheated on her fiance and now isn't sure who the father of her unborn baby is

The chances are high that your fiance is the father of the baby
Fiona Caine

I AM pregnant and my baby is due in about three months. I live with my fiance and we have a great relationship. My problem is, I am not sure that he is the father of my baby.

I met up with an old boyfriend about six months back and, after a few too many drinks over lunch, stupidly slept with him. Now I am worried that my baby is going to be born tall and blonde (my fiance is only my height and has black hair). I am also terrified of losing my fiance. I love him so much and I just know that he will be a great father.

I am never going to see my ex again, so I'm wondering if I should just keep the secret and move on. However, I am so stressed by the whole thing, I'm sure my fiance will notice something is wrong. Should I just tell him and get it over with?

EK

FIONA SAYS: Most men would react badly to receiving this type of news, probably feeling betrayed and hurt. And many would almost certainly simply walk away; so I am not sure that the truth is the best way forward here.

You have a secure relationship with a loving fiance, who also sounds like he will be a good father. You have accepted that you made a mistake and decided to never see you ex again, so why risk damaging these good things and breaking your fiance's heart in the process?

Besides, lots of babies are born looking nothing like their parents. They are just as likely to have the features of a grandparent, or even a great-grandparent. So, if your baby is born with blonde hair, so what? Presumably you had been having sex with your fiance before this pregnancy, otherwise he would surely have raised the issue already. Moreover, as you had sex with your ex only once, in all probability your fiance is the father anyway.

So perhaps you should indeed 'keep the secret and move on'. Can you do this? Or will you continue to worry or feel guilty about what you did? Holding onto a secret like this may not be easy. If you appear to be stressed about something all the time, your fiance is likely to be curious or even suspicious.

Also, you need to consider how you might cope if the secret comes out in the future. For example, should some form of genetic testing be required as a result of a medical condition. And can you also be sure that you ex will not make contact should he find out that you've had a child? I say these things not to frighten you, but to get you to think about some of the consequences of keeping the secret.

Ultimately, only you can decide whether to tell your fiance. However, if you continue to struggle with this issue, I suggest you contact Relate (relate.org.uk) and share your worries with a counsellor.

I'M TRYING TO HELP MY ELDERLY DAD SO WHY IS HE ANGRY?

My father is 77 and has had several illnesses over the past year. He's recently also broken his hip and, for the past two weeks, I have had to visit him every day to make sure he is coping.

Unfortunately, he lives a good hour's drive away and I am finding this really tiring on top of my part-time job. I don't resent helping him like this, I am happy to do it. However, I was taken aback last week when he got really angry with me for suggesting that he think about moving closer to me.

I hadn't meant to upset him; I was only thinking ahead to the time when his health gets to the point where he needs help from someone every day. Why did he get so angry?

LW

FIONA SAYS: His anger wasn't necessary, but it is perhaps understandable. Nobody likes to admit they are getting old and losing the capacity to live independently in their own home. Your father may have also assumed that you meant moving into some sort of residential care home.

Have another chat with him. Explain that you didn't meant to upset him and that you were only thinking about ways to make it easier for you to help him. He's made it clear that he's not prepared to move though, so perhaps the time has come to suggest some form of home help to lessen the load on you.

This could be a permanent arrangement or just while he's getting over the broken hip. You can expect to pay around £20 an hour for this and some councils may even contribute towards the cost; though to be eligible for this help your father may need to be means tested. You could also contact AgeUK (ageuk.org.uk), which has its own home help service.

AM I DRINKING TOO MUCH?

I work long hours, six days a week. When I get home, I rarely have the time or energy to cook proper food, so usually microwave something and have a few drinks. What bothers me is that I now drink every night and often fall asleep on the sofa shortly afterwards. Yet, when I do eventually haul myself off to bed, I find it hard to sleep. And if I don't drink, I find it even harder to relax and fall asleep. I am not an alcoholic and my health is otherwise good, so should I worry about drinking every night?

PA

FIONA SAYS: You may not be an alcoholic, but I think you may have a drink problem. And I think you know this already, else why write to me? Moreover, your disrupted sleep pattern suggests that your health may not be as robust as you think. Do please get help.

Either talk with your GP, who should be able to refer you to a local support group, or contact Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline. This organisation does not have a website, but you can call them on 0300 123 1110 and talk in complete confidence about your drink worries.

MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE DRIFTED SO MUCH – IS IT TIME TO SPLIT?

About 18 months ago my marriage seemed to change. For no apparent reason, we stopped having sex, argued a lot more, and found any excuse to have a dig at each other.

Then, about six months ago, we both lost it and had a real fight. We didn't really hurt each other but afterwards we realised that we couldn't go on like this and agreed to try and make things work again. It worked for a while but then it all fell apart again. Now we've just drifted apart. We don't argue any more but that's simply due to fact that we hardly talk to each other. We've moved into separate bedrooms and eat at separate times. In fact, we do nothing together and I think I have stopped loving him. I also think it's time we got divorced.

RC

FIONA SAYS: Is that what you really want to do? If you're so certain that things are over, why haven't you started the process already? Is it possible that a part of you doubts that this is the right thing to do? And if you do have any doubts like this, however small, perhaps you owe each other at least one more attempt to pull back from the brink. Please talk with your husband and see he how he feels. If he is willing to try again, I suggest you contact Relate (relate.org.uk) this time. You're more likely to succeed with the help and support of a calm, professional counsellor.

:: If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to help@askfiona.net for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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