Anonymous asks:

My husband has just been contacted by a daughter whose mother he had a brief relationship with 30 years ago. 

They broke up when she was early pregnant as he was young and didn’t want to be a father. 

They lost contact and he didn’t hear anything from her until his daughter contacted him from New Zealand where she’s been living for the last 4 years. 

She doesn’t look anything like our children or any of his family. 

He’s 5 10 and her mother is 5 1 but she is 5 9 and has green eyes and he has brown and her mother has blue eyes. 

Both our daughters are short and have blue eyes and I have blue eyes and our son has blue eyes. 

She said she has been looking for him for 12 years as she saw his name in an old diary her mother had which disappeared when she discovered it. 

Her mother had his address all this time and only told her last year when she was visiting her in New Zealand. 

Am I wrong to think he should get a DNA test?


Mig Bennett says: You don’t say how your husband feels about the unexpected contact from his daughter, but it reads as very unsettling for you. Our ‘secure attachment bond’ of family can be threatened by change and your words suggest that this is an uncomfortable and even threatening event for you to negotiate. An immediate reaction of deep uncertainty and suspicion feels appropriate when looked at through the ‘attachment’ lens.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Have you shared your feelings, not your suspicions or accusations, with your husband. Using ‘I’ statements (I’m scared of, I’m feeling insecure about…) try to get a conversation going about how this has made each of you feel and aim to work it towards actions ‘WE’ could take with regard to how this will evolve. If, during this conversation, it comes from HIM that he does wonder if he should check the certainty of this being his daughter, confirm that you think that’s a good idea. Have you considered that it may be he fears she may NOT be that child.

I notice you use the word ‘should’ with regard to the test. What I’m really saying is, you telling him what to do may be counter-productive. It’s better that he comes to that ‘test’ decision himself.

However, I do understand that for you, there is probably huge anxiety and even panic, around something like this, that feels outside your control and which threatens your family, your equilibrium and your secure base. When we feel like this, we try to take over and take control.

Should a test be the outcome, and if this isn’t your husband’s daughter, the effect on him may not be of relief, whereas it may be that for you. He may be sad and feel loss; when you talk deeply about her sudden appearance, you may learn that he has not completely dismissed the child from his mind and old feelings have been awoken. If this isn’t his child, it may bring up a desire to find that daughter. The steady family road ahead may not be as you had thought, whatever the outcome.

The important thing is to travel it alongside him, sharing your apprehensions clearly with each other.

You may notice I haven’t answered your question about the DNA test! To me this is NOT about getting advice, it’s about getting help to really talk through the feelings, come to agreements about how to proceed (which may or not be about a test) and manage what might ensue. If these complex conversations haven’t been successful in the past in your relationship, you could suggest a few sessions with a relationship counsellor, asking to focus just on the this particular issue. I hope it works out well for all of you.

Mig Bennett is a fully qualified relationship counsellor specialising in relationship problems, sexual issues and sex addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, both in her own private practice - Mig Bennett Relationship Counselling ( and Relate. She is able to provide relationship counselling online and face-to-face.

Contact Mig on [email protected]

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