G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Emily Yoffe, aka Prudence of Slate’s Dear Prudence advice column, does her best Hugo Schwyzer impression in response to a woman who asks for advice about her son who is the biological child of a man who was not her husband. The woman cheated on her husband, gave birth to the other man’s child, and the husband put his name on the birth certificate. The husband died after a terminal illness and became re-acquainted with his own parents shortly before his death. Now the mother is faced with a dilemma: to tell or not to tell her in-laws that they are not the biological grandparents of the child. The woman mentions that the grandparents are talking about changing their will to include the kid.
Your late husband was your baby’s father.
But I don’t think your late husband’s parents need to hear this. Of course they see similarities between your son and theirs. It may be that both boys were confident and verbal, so their observation is correct. In any case, seeing such connections is natural and there’s no reason to disabuse them of this. Keeping up a connection to your son’s paternal family surely will only benefit him—he’s not going to get anything from his actual biological father. And I don’t see any reason to deprive your child of a potential inheritance. (emphasis mine)
Who can say that with a straight face? Yoffe makes a debatable point – that the deceased husband knew that the kid wasn’t the product of his loins but signed up for duty anyway. It’s not something I would do, but it’s whatever. The wife is a monster, but that is self-evident. The point is that the husband knew something about the child that his parents did not. And Yoffe is suggesting to her that she essentially perform financial cuckoldry on the grandparents. She denies that the woman has a responsibility to give the grandparents the same opportunity given to their son to judge for themselves whether or not they’d like to provide for this kid. To Yoffe it’s all about getting paid. It’s all about the kid now, you know.