Pregnant friend tries to prove who's the daddy

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Amy Dickinson answers a reader whose family thinks her tone of voice is nasty and off-putting.

Dear Amy: I've shared much of my life's journey with my friend, "Karen."

I introduced her to her husband, "Jerry," and Jerry in turn introduced me to my husband. We are all very close friends, and our kids are the same age.

Several months ago Karen had an affair. Jerry knows about the affair (so does most of the town she lives in) and insists that he is OK with it.

Karen found out she is pregnant. There is a 50-50 chance Jerry is the biological father.

She and Jerry know this, but I take issue with the fact that they are trying to force the idea that Jerry has to be the biological dad. For instance, they show me pictures of the ultrasound and ask, "Doesn't it look like a mini-Jerry?!"

It looks like a blob, as most ultrasounds do, and I don't really care who the biological dad of this baby is. I will love it no matter what. I am tired of being asked to reaffirm something as fact that I have no way of knowing is fact.

How do I tell her that she doesn't have to convince me of anything?

— Tired of Mini-Jerry

Dear Tired: You seem to have a sort of sister status with "Karen," meaning that she and her husband have shared extremely intimate details of their personal life with you.

Make one gentle statement of affirmation. You say, "Karen, I hope you realize that we aren't judging you or Jerry. You don't have to prove anything to anyone — least of all me. We will welcome this child into the fold no matter what."

And then you drop it. They have other children, and you should be sensitive to their wishes.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for 38 years. He met a woman several years ago, and I recently found out that they have been corresponding. In fact, he has a post office box where he receives his mail. I am 60. She is half my age.

What do you think of a married man who is out of town on business, flies home, stays in a hotel around the airport, rents a car and then drives to the state where this female "friend" lives and spends a week there all without the knowledge of his wife? He says that they are just friends, but a month ago he served me with divorce papers.

I don't believe or trust him. I want to bring this "friend" into the mess that this divorce will become. I also have several receipts for "gifts" that he sent this person and charged to his business account for tax purposes.

I am really having a hard time with this divorce issue and think about reconciliation. My friends say it is time to cut my losses. What do you think I should do?

— Depressed Wife

Dear Wife: What you should do is get yourself a good lawyer and a therapist. Your husband's adultery might not have the impact (legally) that you expect. No-fault divorce seems to have taken the sting out of adultery disclosures. An attorney will advise you on the laws where you live — and also about the impact of his financial choices and your options.

If your husband has already delivered divorce papers, he is 10 steps ahead of you. From this point forward, you will be wrangling not over his behavior but over money and property. And yes, I agree that he has done you wrong.

Dear Amy: You gave good advice to "Their Other Mother," and I would like to add to it. This woman was dealing with the fallout from a birth mother who had effectively abandoned her kids.

She should consult a lawyer who specializes in family law. My niece and her husband found a lawyer who helped them terminate the birth mother's parental rights and helped my niece adopt her stepchildren. This way, if anything happens to her husband, there will be no question that my niece retains custody.

— Aunt J

Dear Aunt: Good counsel. Thank you.

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