Good Reads / Art / Video

Type to search

Secret Father

CD Knowles 9 months ago

Dear Knowles,

I wonder if you can help me. Many years ago I had a weekend affair with a woman I met at a conference. She was married and I was otherwise involved, so we both knew there was no future to this connection. I didn’t even know where she lived or what her last name was. I’ve never had an experience like that — an instant rapport and incredible passion that caused me to want to drop everything for this woman, even though I knew that was out of the question. After the weekend was over I couldn’t get her out of my mind and began to search everywhere for her. Since I knew so little about her, I was operating at a handicap, but did the best I could, enlisting a friend who was one of the organizers of the conference. I learned her last name and the city where she lived, a city I coincidentally had to travel to frequently because of business. One weekend when I was there, I spotted her in the local Wholefoods. She had a little boy with her and I instantly knew the child was mine because he looked exactly like myself at that age, and because he was about four — the age he would have been if he’d been conceived at the conference early in 2000. I called out to her, but when she turned and saw me, she went white in the face fled from the store. I tried to follow, but she and the little boy had disappeared in the crowd. I was able to learn subsequently that the child was being brought up as her husband’s and that she wanted nothing to do with me. Now, eighteen years later, I have reason to need to be in touch with my son who knows nothing of my existence and will be very shocked. Can you please advise me how to handle this?

All the best,

Secret Father


Dear Secret Father,

Yes, that is an interesting problem. First, I would wonder how sure you are the child is your yours. Physical appearance isn’t a lot to go by. I’m assuming you’ve watched the boy from a distance all these years. And that you consider eighteen, the year an American can first vote, the right age to introduce yourself to him. In my opinion, knowing no specifics, you should either be prepared to have a paternity test or leave the boy alone. Why step in after all this time? On the other hand, if it’s for medical reasons, meaning if there’s information about your history that your son needs, then by all means you should find a careful — and I mean really careful — way to introduce yourself. You need to know that the boy is in good emotional condition before you approach him. Also, if possible, you need to assess his family situation as it exists right now. This could take some detective work on your part. If your desire to see your son is merely the result of curiosity, I suggest you give up on it. To put it frankly, you were an unknowing sperm donor and you should see yourself in that light before taking the precarious step of reaching out to a person whose whole life could be put in emotional jeopardy by the fact of your existence. I recommend that you think very carefully before embarking on this journey.


CD Knowles




Dear Concerned,

I hate to say it, but if your daughter is a serious and talented ballet dancer with a big career ahead of her, there may be nothing much you can do about this problem other than point out the dangers of her poor eating habits and hook her up with a therapist. Make sure you have a lot of low carb nutritious foods in the house.

– Marion Z, Brooklyn,  NY


Dear Concerned,

My daughter wasn’t a dancer, but she had a serious eating disorder that landed her in the hospital more than once and continued into her adult years. She’s now in her forties and continues to eat like a bird, but at least she’s still here. She refuses to speak about her problem — that’s off limits. We did send her to therapy when she was younger, but all that got her to do was eat just enough to stay alive and functioning. I wish I had better advice for you. It’s too late to get rid of the teacher, but that probably wouldn’t make a difference anyway. Best,

– Sylvia R, Teaneck, NJ


Dear Concerned,

Our daughter had an eating disorder that caused her to yo yo from extremely thin to fairly heavy. She grew increasingly depressed and isolated. We knew how serious this was and sent her to a rehab clinic. When she returned after six months she was a different person — self-assured, knowledgeable about her condition and what had caused it, comfortable with her body, excited about her life and her future. That was eight years ago and she’s a happy, healthy, successful woman now. If you’d like more detailed information, perhaps Mr. Knowles could put us in touch. All the best,

– Natalie Lewis, Dallas, TX


Submit your question to Knowles Knows here.

Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.