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

by Abigail Van Buren

Man Rusty on Rules of Dating After 30 Years Off the Market

DEAR ABBY: When I was married I had an affair with a married man. We had a child together, and I divorced my husband. When the affair ended, child support was never mentioned, and for the last nine years I have raised my daughter by myself.

I am recently married to a wonderful man who takes care of both of us very well. My daughter has never asked anything about her father, but I know down the road she'll want to know what happened. I don't know when I should talk to her about this, and if I should take any legal steps to claim child support. Part of me feels that I should go for it; part of me is saying I should just let it go. Your thoughts, please? -- AMBIVALENT IN PLANO, TEXAS

DEAR AMBIVALENT: The time to tell your daughter the details is when she starts asking you questions. Whether you should seek retroactive child support is something you should discuss with an attorney. While it might result in a nice chunk of change that could be put toward your daughter's college education, it could also result in the biological father's having access to the girl. And frankly, a man who not only cheats on his wife but shirks his financial responsibility to his daughter strikes me as less than a positive role model.