DEAR ABBY: While searching for two of my husband's childhood friends, with his knowledge, I believe I may have found a child he doesn't know is his. I'm not positive that the child is his, but the time frame and location indicate that he could be, and there's a strong resemblance to my husband's brother. (I have seen photos on the Internet.)
I am curious whether my hunch is correct, but I'm afraid of asking the questions, not knowing how they would be received. My husband is a kind and caring person, a great husband and father. The child could have been conceived during a casual, one-night stand before we started dating.
I now wish I had never found this information because by not asking, I feel like I'm in denial, and by not saying anything to him, I feel like a terrible person. If the child is his, the mother has kept this from him for more than 10 years.
I'd really appreciate some input. What's the right thing to do? -- WONDERING IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR WONDERING: I see nothing to be gained by withholding this from your spouse. Tell your husband about your research, and what you think you may have turned up. Then ask if he is acquainted with the child's mother. The resemblance could be coincidental, or the child could have been fathered by another family member.
DEAR ABBY: One of my fond memories of my father when I was growing up was that he would always order my mom's meal when we were out for dinner. Of course, she decided what she wanted to eat, but when the waiter came, my dad would always say, "My wife would like the...." Now that I'm older and married, my husband does the same for me.
One couple we dine out with regularly gives me a difficult time about this "tradition." They make comments like, "Oh, Susan's not allowed to speak in a restaurant." The wife has also told me she thinks it's disrespectful to me when my husband orders my food. I have explained that it was a cherished memory of mine and not something forced on me. It's like when a man opens a door for a woman. I can definitely open the door myself, but I appreciate the sweet gesture.
I try to respect opinions that differ from my own, and I don't expect everyone to do as I do. Do you think I'm living in the Stone Age? -- SUSAN IN VIRGINIA
DEAR SUSAN: No, I do not; you appear to be living quite happily in the present. While the tradition you and your husband are observing is "antiquated," you are hurting no one.
Please allow me to make an observation: When couples dine out together socially, they are supposed to relax, entertain each other and have a good time. Giving you "heartburn" regarding who orders your dinner is rude, particularly since this couple has done it more than once and has been given an explanation. From my perspective, you might enjoy your evenings out more if you shared them with this particular couple less often.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)