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by Abigail Van Buren

Verbal Wedding Invitation Requires Follow Through

DEAR ABBY: My husband just told my son and me that he has another son from a relationship he had when he was 17 -- before we met. The "new" son is in his early 40s.

My husband has informed me, after 35 years of marriage, that we are now "starting over" and must include this son in our lives. If I don't, we won't have a marriage.

My life is now consumed by my husband's guilt. All he talks about is this son he never wanted before. Why do my son and I feel we are being punished for his past? -- HEARTBROKEN IN VIRGINIA

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You and your son feel your territory has been invaded. You are not yet able to lower your defenses, open your hearts, and realize this isn't a competition -- the son your husband fathered at 17 needs to know the parent he never knew, and vice versa.

After all these years, your husband is now ready to make himself emotionally available. To adjust to this new reality, you and your son may need spiritual or psychological counseling to help you deal with your anger. Don't wait.