Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Fiancee's Drinking Problem Puts Wedding Plans on Hold

DEAR ABBY: My ex-wife and I have been divorced for almost seven years. We have one daughter together. During our separation, my ex-wife became pregnant and gave birth to a girl. She told me the girl was mine; however, I didn't believe her. I was positive her new boyfriend was the father.

Recently our daughter went to visit my ex-wife's family. She brought home a photograph of my ex-wife's second daughter. When I saw it, my heart started pounding. She bears a strong resemblance to me!

If she is my daughter, I want to be part of her life. At the same time, she seems to be happy with her family and I don't want to disrupt her life. Should I demand a paternity test to see if she's mine? -- FATHER OF TWO?

DEAR FATHER: Do not start out by "demanding" anything. Tell your ex-wife that you saw the child's picture and were struck by the child's resemblance to you, and you feel you may owe her an apology. Explain that you would like to be part of the little girl's life, but you do not want to disrupt the new family. Then listen to what your ex-wife has to say. It is important that after all these years, the subject be dealt with in a friendly manner.

If she refuses, there is plenty of time to pursue the matter legally if you must. However, I urge you to try diplomacy first.