DEAR ABBY: I am a successful man with a great marriage, four terrific children -- all grown with professional careers -- and beautiful grandchildren. I am very close to all of them.
Before I married my wife -- while still in college 30 years ago -- I had a short affair with a young woman at school. I recently ran into her, and she informed me that I have another child -- a grown daughter I'll call "Eden." It was the first I'd heard of it. She never contacted me. I saw Eden, and she is the spitting image of my mother. I spoke to her, but I was still in shock and didn't know what to say. Her mother introduced me as "an old boyfriend."
I have been in contact with the mother since then. Although she doesn't want me to divulge "our secret," she did ask if I would give Eden a large amount of money. Our daughter is beautiful, has a doctorate and is doing well in her field.
I'm very sad. I love my family and all of my children. Of course, I told them about this. They are eager to meet their half-sister and would love her as well. What would be best for all concerned here? -- SAD DAD
DEAR SAD DAD: A secret is no longer a secret when more than two people know it -- and right now the number is up to seven. If Eden is doing well, why does she need your money? Could it be her mother is after it? Who has Eden been led to believe was her father all of these years? She should be told the truth, if only so she will have an accurate family medical history.
As I see it, Eden is mature, educated, and can handle the truth. However, before writing any checks -- large or small -- I urge you to discuss this entire scenario with your lawyer.