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Dear Annie: 35-year-old surprise

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.

Dear Annie: I read your answer to “Furious Over a Ring.” I thought my story about a ring might be helpful to the writer.

For our 25th anniversary, my husband gave me a beautiful amethyst ring surrounded by small diamonds. I loved that ring!

A year later, we were separated, and I found out he was having an affair when he gave me that ring. I thought I would never want to see it again.

But I remembered how much I used to love it, so I hated to get rid of it. I put it away for a while. After three years, I found it, thought about all the good years we had and put the ring on. And I have enjoyed it ever since.

It may take her a while, but I bet at some point she will love that ring again. — Loving My Ring

Dear Loving My Ring: Thank you for sharing your letter. It is amazing what time and distance from negative feelings can do to objects. Congratulations on seeing the positive in all the good years you had.

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