Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

He Should Ask If He’s the Dad

DEAR NATALIE: My ex and I have been separated for 12 years. We were never married, but we were in a long-term relationship, and she was the only woman I was ever with. Recently, I saw photos of her on Facebook with her daughter, who looked to be around 12 years old. The daughter resembles me. Should I reach out to her and see if this is my child? My friends are telling me no, but if I have a daughter, I want to be a part of her life. What do you think? -- Potential Father

DEAR POTENTIAL FATHER: This is a tricky situation, mostly because if you are the father, I would think that your ex would have reached out by now. I don't know why you broke up, but if she didn't feel comfortable asking or talking with you about this, there may be a reason on her end. However, it's understandable that you want to know whether you have a child. There is only one way to find out. If you don't have her contact information anymore, you can send her a private message on Facebook. You can either say something vague like, "I know it's been a long time, but I would like to talk to you about something. Can I call you this week?" and see what she says. Or, you could also be more direct and say, "I just saw a photo of you and your daughter on Facebook. Is there any chance that she could be my child?" She may be taken aback by this, or even insulted by you asking. You have to be prepared for silence from her, as well as a response that you may not want to hear. But, at least you'll know you tried to reach out to her rather than sitting around wondering, "What if?" 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)