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Dear Annie

When 35-year-old surprise came calling

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: We received a shocking message on our answering machine a few days ago. A woman called and identified herself as a possible daughter from an affair 35 years ago. Later, a woman left a message saying she was the mother. I have not been in contact with this woman for 31 years!

Later, I told my wife of 30 years, to whom I have been faithful. When I made those vows, I meant every word of them.

But I felt that I should call the daughter back, as I respect the courage it took for her to call a total stranger and request that I take a DNA test with her.

My wife blew up! She said I have betrayed and disrespected her, and grievously wounded her for wanting to contact the “daughter.” She said we would be getting a divorce and that she is out of here!

I have been thinking about all this and am wondering if someone is trying to break up our marriage. If I had a child with the “mother,” why did she not tell me 35 years ago? Or some time before we parted ways?

We are both blindsided by this, and I am lost by the prospect of losing my wife and partner of 30 years. — Lost and Confused

Dear Lost and Confused: If you have truly been faithful to your wife for 30 years, and this is a daughter from your past, then, while it might be a large and difficult pill to swallow, your wife should support you. Continue an open dialogue with her about your feelings regarding this matter.

You had a life before you met your wife, and this might be part of that previous life. Remind your wife that this does nothing to change the last 30 years you’ve had together. In good times and in bad, you have stuck with each other.

On the other hand, if someone is trying to break up your marriage, shame on them. The most important thing here is that you and your wife are a united front.

You also can’t blame this woman for wanting to know who is her father. Perhaps now would be a good time to seek couples counseling.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.