Dear Fiona: My husband might not be our daughter’s dad: should I tell him?

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Agony aunt Fiona Caine tries to solve readers’ problems

Q My daughter is now eight and I’ve never told my husband she may not be his child. I had a one-night stand with an old boyfriend when our marriage was going through a rough patch, and although we got back together very shortly afterwards, the timing means it’s certainly possible.

We both love our daughter very much and I wouldn’t want to tell him she may not be his child, but I do worry about it. My ex-boyfriend and I haven’t seen one another since, and he probably has no idea he might be the father.

I don’t really know why I feel so lousy now – almost nine years later – but I do. Should I tryto find out who my daughter’s real father is?

A A paternity test would confirm whether or not your husband is the natural father of your daughter, but arranging this without alerting him to the issue would be virtually impossible.

I sense part of the problem is that you’re finding it difficult to keep your fears a secret, and perhaps what you really need is someone to talk to. What do you hope to gain by investigating this further; your husband loves your child and is a good father to her, so why risk spoiling what you already have?

I suggest you talk to the Samaritans (samaritans.org or call 116 123) rather than keep things bottled up. If you feel you need more help, they can refer you to other confidential counselling services. You may find simply telling someone how you feel is all the reassurance you need to put this problem behind you.

Q My elderly aunt, my only living relative, lives on her own and is fiercely independent. My mum, a single parent, died when I was 11, so my aunt brought me up and I love her to bits.

She’s had a number of illnesses and is very unsteady, but she won’t consider coming to live with me and my family. I’m so worried about her. She lives a good hour’s drive away and, with a young family, it’s hard to visit as often as I’d like.

Can you think of any way I could persuade her to move in, or at least, get help?

A Start by finding out what help is available – if your aunt understands her options, she may be less reluctant to seek help. Age UK (ageuk.org.uk) can almost certainly point you in the right direction.

You might manage to persuade her to wear a personal alarm around her neck that she could activate in an emergency. You might also look at accommodation options – some form of sheltered housing near you, perhaps, if she won’t actually move in with you. The Elderly Accommodation Council (eac.org.uk) helps people make choices about their needs.

Q I’m 80 and can’t walk without a stick. I also have angina and have to have a nurse visit regularly. The one that comes is very rough with me and is rude and cruel at times. If I complain she’s hurting me, she says the dressings will just have to stay in place for another week if I make a fuss. I am scared to complain.

A You should not be putting up with cruel treatment, but I understand why you feel worried about reporting it.

Is there a friend or family member who could help you by contacting this nurse’s supervisor?

If there isn’t anyone, could you speak to your GP and explain what’s been happening?
If neither of these feels like an option for you then please contact the organisation Action on Elder Abuse (elderabuse.org.uk). If you don’t have access to the internet, call their helpline on 080 8808 8141.