Dear Prudence answers readers' questions live at

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
Aug. 17 2009 3:07 PM

I'm Not a Pedophile

Prudie counsels a man whose cradle-robbing led to true love—and other advice seekers.

(Continued from Page 3)

Western, N.C.: I have a son who is now 2 1/2 years old. At the time I conceived, I had been seeing someone I cared about for three months. I had also been having sex with an ex boyfriend. I know it was wrong. The timeline went like this: I had sex with the ex one day, the boyfriend the next, and started a period the day after that. Two weeks later, I had sex with my boyfriend. The next month I found out I was pregnant. I naturally assumed my boyfriend was the father, and its he who is on the birth certificate and paying child support (even though he hasn't seen the child in over two years). But my son looks like the ex (who I'm now married to) and a medical condition makes ovulation and menstruation irregular for me so the timeline is toast. We're awaiting the results of a paternity test, but if my husband turns out to be the father, how do I tell this other man that I lied to him all this time?

Emily Yoffe: This situation is why there are lawyers (and Jerry Springer). You weren't lying, you were promiscuous and confused. Let's hope your husband is the child's father and that a lawyer can help you straighten out the legal documents and the financial issues.


No P in OOL: Not that I'm advocating little children who pee in pools, but the writer should know that dogs can also pee in pools while they swim (automatic reflex that comes with being in water). Just an FYI.

Emily Yoffe: Good point. This letter makes me want to take a dip in the ocean, where I only have to worry about rip tides and sharks.


Buffalo, N.Y.: re: last question. Perhaps you'll understand when your mother dies. There's no timetable on grief. Your mother probably also is grieving your lack of empathy.

Emily Yoffe: Sorry, but a middle-aged woman who is weeping to cashiers a year later that her mother died is someone who needs help.



Washington, D.C.: My boyfriend of 8 months is a wonderful man who I have grown to care for very much, and we have a great time together. He's in his early 30s. I'm in my late 20s. We have been on the same page about our relationship from the beginning—we both need our own personal time and space, so we don't see each other every day, but when we do get together (a few times a week), things are really good. Although I have not put any pressure on him to make a deeper commitment to me and our relationship (I'm a very go-with-the-flow kind of person) ... he has recently put the pressure on himself to decide whether or not this is "it" and whether or not I am "the one." He has also said that he worries that he over-thinks these things. My question is: Is eight months with a person a sufficient amount of time to decide whether or not this is "the one?" I want to tell my man to stop putting all this pressure on our relationship so that we can relax, enjoy each other, and see where it leads us. What do you think?

Emily Yoffe: There is no rule about when you know it's "the one." There are people who knew after eight minutes, eight days, eight weeks—and there are people (I hear from them) who are still trying to figure that out after eight years. But it sounds as if you and your boyfriend are hearing different external and internal calls. He's in his 30s, so maybe he's feeling, "If this relationship isn't 'it', I don't want to float happily but aimlessly along. It's time to start thinking about marriage and children." While you've got no plans to dock. The two of you have gotten to the point where you need to have a different kind of conversation about where you are in life, what you want, and how you feel about each other. Maybe it's time to make the decision to start making decisions. And if you realize you'd rather just keep floating, then that tells you a lot.


Emily Yoffe: There are timetables for chats, and my time is up. Thanks so much, and talk to you next week!



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