DEAR ABBY: Until now, I had a perfect life with a wonderful husband and a great 16-year-old son.
My husband of 10 years, "Keith," has raised my son, "Mike," and loves him as his own. Mike grew up knowing that Keith was not his birth father, but has always treated him as if he were. My ex-husband remarried and now has three daughters. I never hid this from my son. But now, my ex-husband's daughters have "found" Mike on the Internet. They have been talking for a couple of weeks now, and Mike actually talked to his birth father on a couple of occasions.
Mike now treats Keith very badly, and Keith doesn't know why. I knew about the conversations with his "sisters," but I did not know about the conversations with his father. Why would a man who abandoned me and his infant son 16 years ago all of a sudden want to come into his life now and disrupt our lives? We have a great family, and I get very uncomfortable when Mike slips in things that happened 16 or 17 years ago, because he heard it from his father. Also, I do not like his father talking to him one-on-one without me. What can I do? -- WORRIED ON THE WEST COAST
DEAR WORRIED: I can think of one reason why the man who abandoned you and your baby boy is now disrupting your life. The answer is, he "only" had three girls and would now like to have a son. After all, all the work of raising this young man has been done.
Your son may be 16, but he is still a minor. I recommend you discuss this entire matter with an attorney who can tell you what your rights are as your son's custodial parent. (I am assuming you never received child support for the boy. If your ex wants "in" now, perhaps he should share some of the financial responsibility that Keith has shouldered for so many years.)
And while you're at it, I urge you to consider family counseling for you, your husband and your son. I don't know what your ex may have been telling the young man, but I guarantee it'll be better if it is put on the table by YOU, with a trained therapist who can help you to iron out the "wrinkles" before they become permanent-press. Please don't put it off.