DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful 12-year-old son, "Oliver," who was conceived during a date rape at a work party. I don't remember much about that night. When I found out I was pregnant, I hoped my husband at the time was the father. When the baby came, it was obvious he wasn't, because Oliver is a different race. (I am Caucasian, and I'm thinking Oliver may be Pacific Islander.)
We divorced when Oliver was 2, and my ex had a DNA test, which, of course, proved he was not the father. Despite the findings, after I explained what happened, he offered to be Oliver's "dad" because he had bonded with him -- provided he would not have to pay child support. I agreed. I have two other older sons whom he fathered.
There have been times when Oliver and his brothers have asked about his brown skin, and I have been able to dodge the question. He's getting to an age where I don't think I can hold off much longer.
I always knew the time would come when he would have to know his dad is not his biological father, but I'm not sure what to tell him. I don't think I want him to know he is a product of rape, nor do I want to throw myself under the bus and say I cheated on his dad. That would open up questions about who his bio dad is. Please help. -- LOOKING FOR BEST WAY IN WASHINGTON
DEAR LOOKING: I fail to understand why you would equate "rape" with "cheating." What happened wasn't your fault, and you should feel neither guilt nor shame that it happened. While I understand your desire to protect Oliver, you should tell him the truth. When you do, be sure to emphasize how much you and your ex love him and how proud you are that he is your son.