I May Have a Son, but I’ll Never Know for Sure

 

 It is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad. 

In a medium-sized city in the Midwest, there’s a boy who will turn 13 next month. He lives with his parents, who were wed three months before he was born.  He is tall, with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes. His name is Alastair*, and he may – or may not – be my son. More on that in a moment.

No woman ever wonders if she’s a mother or not. (Egg donors are one possible exception.) But as the Casey Anthony trial vividly reminded us, it’s possible for a woman to be unsure about the identity of her baby’s father. And even more possible for a man to be entirely unaware that he’s a father – or to be unaware that the child he thinks is his is biologically another man’s.

♦◊♦

Do you have any kids?

No. Not that I know of, anyway.

That clichéd exchange has become a standard part of first-date conversation. When I was single, I got that question and gave that answer many times. I eventually stopped saying it, not because I had received hard evidence about my reproductive status, but because a woman I was dating called me out on it.  “God”, she said, “you guys always say that. It’s such an obvious and cheesy way to show off that you’ve slept around. You think you’re being sly, but it’s just juvenile.”

That cured me of the habit, but to judge from what I hear from my friends, there are plenty of men of all ages still offering that same reply. And while for some it may indeed be a not-so-subtle way of hinting at a promiscuous past, for others it may reflect a sincere acknowledgment of the very real possibility that they’ve fathered a child.   In my case, I have very real grounds for uncertainty.

♦◊♦

Fourteen autumns ago, I was casually dating a woman I’ll call Jill*. We had unprotected intercourse a handful of times in late October and early November. And just before Thanksgiving, Jill discovered she was pregnant.

She didn’t tell me until after New Year’s Day. While Jill and I had been in a “friends with benefits” arrangement, she’d also been growing more serious about another man, Ted.*  She’d first slept with him for the first time two nights before she had last slept with me. It was that week that Jill got pregnant, and as she would later tell me, there was no way to know for sure which one of us was the father.

But there was no question which one of us was a better bet as a romantic partner. Jill had broken things off with me as soon as she and Ted had decided on an exclusive relationship (just before she found out she was pregnant.) Ted was several years older than I was, professionally and emotionally stable, and clearly falling in love with Jill. I was drinking, partying, with some time to go before I’d hit my rock bottom. Jill wanted to be a mom. Ted wanted to be a dad. I wasn’t sure what I wanted. In her mind, these facts settled it: the baby was Ted’s. Or it needed to be Ted’s.

They got engaged at Christmas, and were married in May 1998. Their son was born in August, and a few months later, the new little family moved out of state. I haven’t seen her, or Ted, or Alastair in over a decade. Except for a half-dozen short emails in the past few years, Jill and I have had no contact.

Jill never told Ted that she’d been sleeping with someone else the week their son was conceived. Ted and I were both about the same height with the same fair skin and the same pale blue eyes; she knew that without a DNA test, there’d be no sure way to know which one of us was the biological father. But there was a sure way to know which one of us was “dad material”, and which one of us wasn’t. Jill was clear that she preferred everlasting uncertainty to the possibility of discovering that her Ted was not her son’s father. As the one who carried Alastair in her womb, it was her choice to make.

I made a promise to Jill before Alastair was born that I’d never ask for a paternity test, nor reveal to Ted the possibility that I might be the biological father of his son. I wasn’t in love with Jill and wasn’t ready to be a parent: Ted was both of those things. From what little I hear, he’s been a great husband and a doting father all these years. He and Jill have had two more sons together. With all that in mind, it would be an act of destructive narcissism on my part to ever break my promise and barge back into Jill’s life.

I won’t lie and say I don’t wonder sometimes about this boy who will become a teen next month. But I’ve wondered far less since becoming a father to my own daughter in 2009. My role in Heloise’s conception was brief (but, um, not that brief); my roles as a devoted husband to her mother and a doting papa to her are my most treasured and important tasks. If I were to discover that I was not my daughter’s biological dad, I’d be hurt by my wife’s deception – but Heloise would be no less my daughter. (I have no reason to suspect otherwise, of course.) Fathering has everything to do with being present after conception and after birth, and very little with providing the sperm to fertilize an egg. Regardless of what a paternity test would reveal, I am still my daughter’s dad – and in every meaningful sense, Ted is Alastair’s.

♦◊♦

I only met this boy who might be my son once, when he was just eight weeks old. Ted and Jill were getting ready to move to the Midwest, and she and I met for coffee so that we could say goodbye. For a host of reasons I’m not sure I fully understand, she wanted me to meet Alastair, and I was eager to see him. I rocked him in my arms and smelled his baby smell. I studied his blue eyes and fine hair. Jill and I sipped our lattés and chatted; Alastair fell asleep in his baby carrier. After an hour, his mama kissed me on the cheek and I pressed my lips against his forehead. I said goodbye to my friend and her son and walked away with tears in my eyes. I’ve never seen so much as a photograph of Alastair since.

The specifics of human reproduction mean that men may have children of whose existence they are unaware, and they may unwittingly raise as their own children conceived with another man’s sperm. But women have it harder, and not only in terms of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. It is Jill, not I, who carries the burden of an unresolved question through her relationship with her husband and her first-born son. Perhaps that weight has become so light that she’s forgotten it altogether. I hope so.

I may or may not be Alastair’s biological father. I may or may not have other children “out there.”  These uncertainties that I know many men share are part of the cost of a habit of unprotected heterosexual intercourse. But the solution to the problem isn’t suspicion or frantic demands for paternity tests, Jerry Springer style. The solution isn’t even the rigorous use of contraception (though that’s a very good idea.)

The solution is to remember that it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.

About Hugo Schwyzer

Hugo Schwyzer has taught history and gender studies at Pasadena City College since 1993, where he developed the college's first courses on Men and Masculinity and Beauty and Body Image. He serves as co-director of the Perfectly Unperfected Project, a campaign to transform young people's attitudes around body image and fashion. Hugo lives with his wife, daughter, and six chinchillas in Los Angeles. Hugo blogs at his website

Comments

  1. I agree with Hugo here. Just because you’re not the biological parent does not mean that you’re not the real parent.

    A woman who lies about paternity in order to secure the husband she wants is not “wrong”, because the husband she chooses, regardless if he is the father, can still learn to love the child.

    And it goes both ways.

    Say I have an affair with my secretary at work and get her pregnant. I ultimately wind up with custody of the child. What kind of wife, or woman, would divorce me or refuse to raise the child, just because she wasn’t the biological mother?

  2. What ever happened to not screwing around? Chastity, FTW!

  3. So you’re endorsing cuckolding? You sick man.

  4. I firmly believe that, in order for Hugo to have deceived Ted the way he did, and to continue to believe that what he did was perfectly OK, there must be some serious physical brain damage present. Hugo’s brain has something physically, pathologically wrong with it such that much of Hugo’s dysfunctional attitude and behavior can exist in the first place. That said, I have absolutely no sympathy for him because he has hurt more people than the other way around. We can only hope that his life will be chronologically shortened as a result of this brain damage which will never be addressed. Of course, I, too, share the dream of his children rebelling against him.

    • Whatever happened to just calling someone an asshole or condemning their actions? Why must everything be some armchair diagnosis? He’s a sociopath, she’s mentally unstable, he has some damage to his brain. Oh really, is that your professional, medical opinion? I don’t know if and what is wrong with Hugo’s brain, because I’m not a neuroscientist, and I don’t have any information about Hugo’s brain. It’s also not required. I’m not going to judge a person’s moral character based on their schizophrenia or their psychopathy any more than I would judge them on their diabetes. I would also argue that it’s immoral to do so, just look at the history of society’s treatment of the mentally ill. However, what I am going to judge a person on is their actions and intentions, and Hugo’s actions and intentions are consistent with those of an asshole, therefore I deem him to be one. No armchair psychology required, no Dr. Phil style sophistry, no diagnosis of mental illness and subsequent condemnation for being mentally ill. You need not pretend to know things you don’t know in order to make moral assessments.

      • Easy there, Al, I’m on YOUR side. I, too, think that Hugo is an asshole, and his behavior certainly reflects that. I just wanted to add the extra suggested stigma of brain damage as a further means of discrediting him from functional society. Your mileage may differ.

        Another point I’d like to bring up, is that back in 2006, I posted on one of his blogs about my (failed) attraction to younger women (which he criticizes to no end), and he had no sympathy for me. Another man came to my defense and called Hugo an asshole for showing no compassion. Hugo responded by saying,

        “Martin, if being curtly dismissive of those whose erotic attraction leads them only to younger women and excludes their peers makes me an asshole in your eyes, then I wear that sobriquet with pride.”

        In other words, Hugo is PROUD to be an asshole. How can you insult, or tear a man down, when he has pride in the name you call him? If calling Hugo a “loaf of bread” (or calling him brain-damaged) would more easily offend him, I would do it every day and with a song in my heart.
        And let me go on the record and say that NOBODY hates Hugo more than I do.

        • I don’t fault you for your intentions, after all it’s hard to fault someone for agreeing with you. But here is the problem: “I just wanted to add the extra suggested stigma of brain damage as a further means of discrediting him from functional society.” Now, I’de imagine your not in support of the stigmatization of the mentally ill, rather this was just your colorful way of calling Hugo an asshole. So what’s my problem with this? Well in discussions of morality and moral condemnation, emotions tend to run high, and people tend to make fast, reactionary moral condemnations and through around charges and suggest punishments at whim. What people don’t tend to do is look at the facts and construct a calm, rational assessment of the situation. All of this leads to all sorts of moral illusions, best exemplified by this Dr. Phil/armchair psychology/appeal to emotions babble so common in contemporary discourse on anything that involves morality, we see present in Hugo’s piece. Hugo constructs the moral illusion that because something should not be important it therefore isn’t, and furthermore that this somehow remits himself and possibly Jill for years of deceit of and a callous lack of consideration for Ted. All of this enabled by this poor style of thinking.

          I think you are not seeing the big picture, because your comments seem to reveal this same style of thinking. I would argue that your illusion is that it is ok to diagnose (with no knowledge) and stigmatize someone for being brain damaged because that person has done something morally reprehensible, even if it was never your intention to stigmatize the mentally ill. Take a moment to reflect on this. You will probably come to the conclusion that it isn’t ok to stigmatize people for being brain damaged, even if they have done something wrong, or to associate immorality or insult with being brain damaged, or that your intentions somehow negate what someone with a mental illness might ascertain from your comments.

          The big, pervasive problem with this article isn’t Hugo and Jill’s action, although they were/are immoral, its the style of thinking it perpetuates. The kind of “reasoning” that makes logic and facts amenable to emotion, armchair psychology and positive sentiments. The savage treatment of our fellow man doesn’t come as a black pustule of wanton desire to cause harm for the sake of causing harm, it comes to us as the warm, fuzzy glow of emotional “reasoning”, the pretense of knowing how people think and what is in their best interests, the seductive voice of post hoc rationalization, moral righteousness, righteous indignation and the need for retribution. It is important that what you think is moral actually is, that what moral actions you take actually are, and these things are more important than your intentions and your emotions. Many people seem to have inverted this notion, as Hugo demonstrates, and neither of us should so readily assume that we haven’t either.

  5. This entire article is nothing more than papering over a despicable act with Dr. Phil style nonsense. It is Ted who is raising this kid, it is Ted who is devoting his time, love and resources to this kid, not Hugo, and so it is Ted who deserves to know his biological relation to this kid. I happen to share Hugo’s opinion, I don’t think my lack of a biological relation to the children I may raise would be important to me. I also happen to understand that many men may feel differently about this myself. I understand that a man who discovered that he has been deceived into raising another man’s child, might very well come to view that child as a product of his partner’s betrayal. I understand that this transformation of what he thought to be his child, his flesh and blood, his toil and joy, and his relationship with his partner into one forged in his betrayal and continued in his partner’s cowardice and his ignorance, would likely be utterly devastating to him and may be unshakable. I also understand that when it comes to the matter of Ted’s fatherhood, it is Ted’s opinion that counts, not mine, not Hugo’s, not Jill’s, not anyone else’s. What Hugo and Jill have done is despicable, Jill has sexually betrayed Ted (i.e. cheating) and both of them have deceived Ted as to this and to the status of his supposed progeny, and in so doing potentially placed Ted’s wellbeing, marriage and relationship with his son in serious jeopardy. No amount of feel good casuistry will undue the fact that what Jill and Hugo have done to Ted was and is enormously deceitful and incredibly callous, considering the very possible aforementioned consequences for Ted as well as Alastair. What Jill and Hugo have done and continue to do to Ted is despicable and doesn’t matter whether or not either of them agrees because neither of them is Ted.

  6. This is soo evil article. I mean the woman was lying to Ted all the time — she was into serious relationship with him while at the same time sleeping with other guy. She lied to him probably, simply by not revealing that the child would not be his. If he will ever find out, it would probably destroy his life. The cuckoldry is one of the greatest fears males face. Pretending that it’s ok to lie to Ted is a female equivalent to saying that it is OK to rape drunken girls. It is NOT OK. I’m shocked that anyone would think it is OK.

    The biology does not make father. The __conscious__ decision does make a father. If the child is not Ted’s, then if would be OK if he would made a concious decision to be a father to a children, which is not biologically his. And it would be OK. But it seems that someone made the decision for Ted. And the worst thing is that seemingly none see how terribly wrong it is.

  7. Adam Thomas says:

    I feel really sorry for the guy. Revealing the truth would destroy him now, but this should never have happened in the first place. I don’t think that this is a “wonderful article” at all, it’s evil.

  8. …. At eight weeks I’m betting she knew and now knows exactly who the father is/was and she gave you every opportunity to speak up and stand up…. And you blew it.

    • And she knew this, how? Divine guidance? If she was having sex with two different men of the week during conception, then she could very well have no idea which man is the biological father.

      • But would you say that it then is her ethical responsibility to find out whom of those two is the father? That knowledge is obtainable. It’s just wrong to arbitrarily choose one based on her personal preference of who she would prefer to be the father of the two candidates.
        .

        • That is a tricky question. On the one hand, I am all for fathers having more legal rights in custody battles, and I’m all for men having some sort of opt out option (where they give up both their responsibility and rights) as a parent. If the author disagreed enough with her decision, he should have some form of legal recourse. Also, in an ideal world, people would be freaking responsible about this sort of thing, and they’d discuss what the plan will be if a woman becomes unintentionally pregnant…and they’d have this discussion before ever having sex.

          On the other hand, well in this case the author was complicit in the decision. He could have tried to sue for a paternity test, but he didn’t…so at some level he agreed to it. Also, I don’t place as much importance on biology…like the guy said at the end of this article, it’s love that makes a father.

          • According to you, what was this woman’s responsibility to tell the truth to her child and to the man who she chose to be her child’s father? I think it would take about 2 seconds for a normal person to ask themselves this question after thinking about this conundrum and then see a problem with this woman’s actions.

            It’s really bizarre to me that you seem to be in favor of men having an opt-out, but you haven’t thought about the right that the other man had to learn that he might not even be the father and should definitely get a DNA test. That man has been raising a child for 20 years that might not be his. It would seem to me that the two con artists who are complicit in lying about the baby should have less rights than the person they have been fooling

            • A problem, yes, but not quite the malicious act your comment seems to imply.

              “That man has been raising a child for 20 years that might not be his.”

              Except that now the kid is his. Biology does not make a child yours, or not yours. As I said, ideally everyone would be upfront and honest about this sort of thing before actually having sex. The responsible thing to do is to tell the truth, certainly. But 20 years later, it’s mute.

              • Peter Houlihan says:

                The child is his emotionally, but don’t you think it’s something of a breach of trust to have someone raise a kid that isn’t theirs?

                When it happens (people ending up raising other people’s kids) due to mixups in IVF clinics and maternity wards theres hell to pay, its recognised as having an emotional impact. Shouldn’t the same be true of someone who is duped into thinking a child is biologically theirs when it isn’t?

                • I think it’s a breach of trust, certainly. I also think that it shouldn’t happen, and everyone should be honest about such things, yes. The difference, for my mind, between when it happens at an IVF clinic and when it happens between individuals, is that I think we should hold companies to a higher standard and that we should, as a society, perhaps be more forgiving of individuals who screw up. I’m all for very closely regulating companies…I’m not for closely regulating individuals.

                  Keep in mind that I’m coming at this from the exact opposite direction of any straight/bi guy. I will never be a biological parent, if I ever have kids at all. Because, here’s the thing…he was duped into potentially raising a kid he didn’t father. But, he wasn’t duped into spending his life with the woman he loves. He wasn’t duped into having a family her. The two of them built a life…what’s the biology of the kid compared to that? Ya know? And yeah, I guess you could say, if he’d known the kid wasn’t his (biologically) he wouldn’t have stuck with her. And maybe that’s true…and yes he deserved to know. But people make mistakes, and people lie…we can’t start punishing people for the lies they tell.

              • Maybe it’s that lady-logic again. Rewind the tape back to 13-15 years and ago and yourself, what is the mother’s responsibility towards telling the truth to potential fathers of her child? Does it become less important the longer that she keeps lying about it? Or was it never important to tell the truth and let the man accused of being the father get a test and make up his own mind?

                You seem to have absolutely no problem with a woman lying to her man and her child for decades. How would you feel if the child found out later and hated her guts for it? Would you blame the child? How would you feel if the child hated the man who raised him and went to live with his biological dad? What if this woman decides do divorce him and take the kid away to live with yet another man? What use is it, then, for this man to have raised another man’s child for 13-15 years?

                These are people’s lives that we’re talking about, and the ones which matter the most are not the train wrecks sorry excuses for human beings. How is it your decision, or any other woman’s decision, to keep the truth from their children and from their fathers?

                Except that now the kid is his. Biology does not make a child yours, or not yours.

                Had this man knowingly made the decision to be a father to this child, then it would be his. Let’s do a thought experiment. If you rear-end another car in traffic, then you give your insurance to the other driver and pay for the damages, right? But how would you feel if it turned out that your collision didn’t even put so much as a scratch on the other person’s car and the damage that was there was pre-existing? Would you be happy to take responsibility for it?

                • “Maybe it’s that lady-logic again.”

                  Woah. Way to shut the conversation down.

                  • You had already shut it down a while ago, to be perfectly fair. The kind of blatant excuse-making is unnerving. Do you not realize that men read this? As in, people who have to in turn trust women to do the right thing? If a sizable portion of women think that it’s “no big deal” to lie to men about being a father, then women simply shouldn’t be trusted and their reasoning is faulted. This fits the term “lady-logic” perfectly, as it is only women who are able to get pregnant and lie to fathers about the baby.

  9. It’s a great topic and would have been an even better story if you were raising this child. The notion someone else is paying your debt for perhaps your action or actions and the burden is on the mothers, is silly and naive. You may have been dreaming for the last thirteen years about a child that is not even yours. You made a promise you should have never made and here you are writing stories about it. I’m pretty sure the child got the better deal.

  10. Transhuman says:

    “Do you have any kids?
    No. Not that I know of, anyway.”

    I have always verified I have no children, just in case there was an “oops pregnancy” after a relationship I was in was ended. As for being tricked into paternity, get a DNA test. Bypass the mother’s consent if she’s being obstructive.

  11. I don’t understand how you can justify tricking another man into believing that a child that may or may not be his is definitely his. You’re a bad person, any way you slice it.

  12. Get over yourself!

  13. truthvscompliance says:

    You should get a “Father of the year” award. HAHA

  14. Curiosity drove me to this site and was merely lurking, but this article stood out.

    This situation happens quite often actually, a woman has sex with two guys around the time of conception. One guy is older and well off, the other is enjoying life yet uncertain of his future. She gets pregnant and chooses the stable guy to raise “her” child. Now you can replace the enjoying life guy with another who’s unpopular/average joe/nerdy/low-pay/etc but it fits the mold.

    If I know I may of knocked a woman up, I’d like to know if the baby was mine and not leave it up to uncertainty. Just because a man isn’t making over 50k/yr and living in a big house doesn’t make him ineligible to father a child. Don’t know why women think it’s okay to keep something like this a secret until the kid is old enough, the old canard of “what’s best for the child” is such a lame argument because she’s justifying her lies. It’s only a matter of time before the guilt eats her alive, they always crack.

    And if that marriage dissolves, the child isn’t his, he’s on the hook for child support and possibly alimony.

    But the one that truly suffers from this the most, is the child. We need to break from the age of selfish marriage and bring back honesty and integrity. Make those vows actually mean something for a change.

    Nice article, I’d feel very upset watching (What could be) my child grow up in another household.

    • The notion that the woman is always going to choose the older, more stable partner is old-fashioned at this point. Modern women don’t behave much differently than men in this regard and if latching on to a younger man is possible, I’d argue that it’s just as likely she’ll swing in that direction. Hooking up with a younger man has exactly the same appeal as a younger woman does for us males and the State will support (literally) any choice that any woman makes these days.

  15. Dude if Jill, Ted or Alastair (whatever their real names are) read this article, they’re gonna know, man…

  16. This is not about fatherhood being born out of love, this is fatherhood being born out of lies. I Jill lied to Ted and, even worse, she is lying to her child. Doesn’t she knows that the most damaging thing you can do to a child is lying? and the big problem when relationships are built over lies is that sooner or later when the truth comes out, everything crumbles downs. This wasn’t a decision made thinking about the child’s benefit, this was a decision made to take advatage over one person and it is not right. Also, Hugo says he doesn’t want to disrupt Jill’s life but he publishes this on the internet so everybody will know about it. It is very easy to put things together and someone who might know any of the people involved in this can tell Ted or Alastair. This sitution is a time bomb and the longer it takes for the truth to come out, the bigger the explosion.

  17. Wonderful article, Hugo!
    You told a complex and difficult story in a very honest, humble and fascinating way.
    Your story is a brilliant example of how much “real life” (“Life as it is”) and “imaginary life” (“Life as it should be”) can be so dramatically different. And there’s no amount of “imaginary life” that can mend real life troubles.
    Sometimes there’s no “best choice”… sometimes you can just choose “the lesser evil”, and I think Jill did just that.
    Your article is very good food for thought, if one just suspends the urge to judge (and his/her own projections). Being “moral” and righteous is easy… but the people doing that, are obsessed with their values and forgetting all about the happiness of people involved.
    In the end, Jill’s choice made three people happy, and one (you) at least not oppressed with a burden you couldn’t handle. A fair result, I’d say.
    Obviously, Jill’s choice was morally ambiguous… but what’s the value of truth, when truth can wreak havoc on people’s lives?
    Even if I regard truth as my highest value, I must admit (knowing how fragile human beings are) that sometimes “ignorance is bliss”.

  18. Irregardless of how you feel about all of this (and most everyone seems to hate it), this struck me as kind of a modern problem. 100 years ago, Jill would have picked who would be the best husband/father for her and her baby, that would have been that, and life would have carried on. Without DNA, blood types, etc… to worry about, I wonder if she would have given it a second thought back then?
    Just wondering, too… if Ted sees this, will he be suspicious? Or if Alistair, or Heloise sees it one day?

  19. Notice how Jill has the least amount of culpability possible without eliminating the story altogether.

    1. There was minimal overlap in the period when she was encouraging two men to inseminate her
    2. She really didn’t/doesn’t know who the father is
    3. She stopped boning two men once she agreed exclusivity with one of them
    4. She agreed to take the relationship with Ted to the next level (by agreeing to exclusivity) before she found out she was pregnant. It wasn’t a coldly calculated move at all.

    Lol. All this from the woman who has shown herself capable of carrying out and living with one of the cruelest possible deceptions. Color me unsurprised if it turned out that any or all of the points above were false.

  20. SocraTTTes says:

    So the general concept here is that because the guy never found out, even though finding out would probably horrify him owing to evolutionary and cultural programing, it’s all good.

    With this kind of logic it would be acceptable to rape an unconscious woman, as long as you used a condom and made sure you didn’t have any transferrable venereal disease. I mean, as long as she doesn’t wake up she doesn’t know anything ever happened? So it’s ok right? No harm no foul?

  21. ZimbaZumba says:

    This is a dreadful awful story, that this woman should deceive her husband this way and you are in cahoots with her shocks the conscience. The fact that this child might be yours and you care little about the truth boggles the mind.

    Either this article is an intentionally provocative piece to create discussion or simply an veiled attempt to tote the idea amongst men that fatherhood has nothing to do with genetics, an idea that would further the agenda of some politically motivated groups.

    The whole of human societal structure has been influenced fundamentally since prehistory to ensure certainty of fatherhood. If anyone thinks they are going to to disabuse fathers of their genetics rights then they are going to have to wait for a lot of evolution and luck.

    I sincerely hope the idea of fatherhood being purely social is not going to be part of the Good Men Project. If it is then your numbers are going to drop through the floor.

  22. Linguist says:

    Hugo you never disappoint me. Your articles are always so full of the most insane man hating rationalizations that they are always entertaining. Your moral compass is so far off that you shared this appalling story thinking you would get sympathy. I wonder how does it feel to have the internet confirm to you that you are a complete douche-bag?

    ps. In more civilized times, an admission like yours would get you rightfully castrated. Too bad.

  23. Jemster says:

    One simple thing for any man worried about this sort of thing – get a paternity test. You can buy them for about $100-$200. It only requires a mouth swab from the father and child, post the swabs back and wait a few days for the results. At least it would put your mind at rest one way or the other.

    Hurry though. The feminists will try and outlaw them and categorise seeking the truth as a form of abuse and affront to their ‘rights’.

    • Morrisfactor says:

      Paternity tests. “The feminists will try and outlaw them and categorise seeking the truth as a form of abuse and affront to their ‘rights’.”

      Too late. Already illegal in Great Britain unless court ordered.

      Look for that legal concept to be coming soon to the state you live in.

      • Jesus… F__k that. We need to fight back.

      • Morrisfactor – not true. You can buy paternity testing kits in the UK, and UK law merely requires that you obtain consent before removing someone’s tissue for DNA analysis (for any purpose). If a child isn’t competent to give consent, only the consent of a person (not all people) with parental responsibility for them is required.

        See http://www.hta.gov.uk/licensingandinspections/consentanddnafaqs.cfm
        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/30/pdfs/ukpga_20040030_en.pdf

          • Yeah, so all you have to do is get the permission of the person who knows, and who may stand to lose income from the answer. Nope, no incentive for her to refuse to allow it…and DEFINITELY no chance the man will be knowingly forced to pay for another man’s child.

            After all, a cheek swab is SO invasive, and she wouldn’t want to put the children through all that!

            …or lose the ‘support’ cash.

            • No, you have to get the permission of the person whose DNA it is i.e. the child. If they can’t give permission (e.g. too young to understand the idea), and you have parental responsibility for them (which is somewhat elaborately defined across various pieces of legislation, but if you are a “father” questioning the paternity of a child you’ve been told is yours, there’s a good chance you have it), you don’t need anyone else’s permission.

              • To clarify (note that IANAL), I’m referring the type of case originally discussed – where someone who has been raising a child as their own starts to have doubts about paternity. If instead you simply receive a maintenance claim for a child you have not been involved with then you probably won’t have the right to test their DNA if they are not competent to give permission as you don’t have the necessary parental responsibility. But you may well be able to have a test as part of the maintenance dispute process.

                In any case, this is somewhat peripheral to the original rebuttal, which was of the false claim that such tests are illegal in the UK. And to the extent that they do require permission, it’s due to the same law which prevents your life insurance company testing your discarded Kleenex behind your back in order to adjust your premiums, rather than anything specifically directed at paternity tests.

                • Jemster says:

                  I think PQ clarifies things for the UK – If I’m a parent, I have a right to take a mouth swab of my child and get it tested – we’re not talking about a biopsy here! It’s less invasive than brushing their teeth.

  24. This was a very important article. It and a rebuttal should be mandatory reading for every high school male.

    Furthermore, it demonstrates the necessity of mandatory paternity testing laws on a State level.

  25. SnakeEyez says:

    Have you ever ridden on the subway during rush hour when some ‘street preacher’ enters your car? He starts out talking about how about how you have to repent and and change your ways. Then he says that he knows what its like to be you because he used to sell drugs, rob, murder, steal, lie and cheat also. Sitting there in your seat you start to think ‘I’ve never done any of that!’ Hugo Schwyzer is starting to remind me of that preacher…

  26. Hugo! PLEASE STOP TROLLING THE PLANET!!

  27. Hugo constantly acts horribly towards both women and men. To avoid responsibility, to rationalize his own sociopathic behavior, he projects his behavior onto all men.

    • Exactly that is my take on him. He assumes all men have the same revolting motivations as he does and tries to make himself feel/look better by putting all men down.
      He is the most pitiful writer on men you could possibly find. He pulls this website down to a junk level by posting here.

  28. Jill was utterly morally reprehensible. It was her duty to tell Ted as soon as she learned she was pregnant and started doing the math on which week she must have gotten pregnant, that there was only a 50% chance the fetus was Ted’s. She sure has hell should have told him before she accepted Ted’s marriage proposal and got engaged.

    She had no right to withhold that information while he proceeded to marry her before the birth of the child. Doing so was cuckolding him. The timing of her sex with Hugo wasn’t really cuckolding him but letting him marry her without tell him the paternity odds was.

    If I’d been Ted I’d have wanted her to get an abortion, assuming I still loved her despite her tag teaming two guys at once without that being ok with me. We could then conceive a child that we were sure was ours. If she refused, that would strain the relationship, but I’d tell her that if the baby wasn’t mine, I wasn’t going to raise and support another man’s child, and wouldn’t marry her until I knew one way or another.

    The idea that we’re a blank slate and totally socially constructed is utter hogwash. There’s abundant scientific evidence that that isn’t true. Read Stephen Pinker of Harvard’s book “The Blank Slate”. Genes matter a ton in everything from looks to IQ to aggressiveness to personality traits – compare identical versus fraternal twins.

    There should be mandatory DNA paternity testing at birth. It should be the routine.

  29. Anonymous Cuckold Expert says:

    I smell bullshit. This Hugo guy’s limp-wristed writing style betrays his homosexuality (not that there’s anything wrong with that). There’s no way this hipster would miss a single take back the night march for a night of random sex with a woman.

  30. Anonymous Cuckold Expert says:

    Clearly this woman should be stoned to death by all men involved. She has committed the ultimate crime against decency.

  31. I can’t comment on the motives, or the beliefs, or even the feelings of any of the people involved in the story. But, I do invite you to ponder one of the most basic of all questions: what about this child’s mysterious medical history? It seems like the least Hugo and Jill can do for the child in question is to figure that out.

  32. Damn you Hugo. And damn you GMP admins for publishing this child-hating careless selfish garbage.
    I don’t usually resort to this kind of language but the post above is beyond any form of rational debate so:

    ┌∩┐(o_o)┌∩┐

  33. Marshall says:

    People like Hugo and Jill should be regarded with the same contempt that is reserved for rapists.

  34. Loved this piece; thoughtful and thought provoking. A beautiful story about the grays between the black and white.

    While I don’t believe in lying or fucking around, I also don’t believe in telling the truth when it will only lead to pain and anger. The only reason to tell the truth in this story would be to determine to whom the child “belongs”. Most people seem to think there would be a problem with a man raising someone else’s child without his consent. My husband said his main concern was that a man was mislead as to his “bloodline” and “legacy”.

    I think the reactions to this story illustrate how people often confuse caretaking with ownership. I don’t judge either of them for their actions or decisions regarding this child. Hugo showed compassion, caring, and a capacity to tell himself the truth. He knew he was not where he should be in terms of being a partner to this woman and father to this child (if it’s even his), so he chose to stay silent. I respect his choice.

    • I totally agree, people are thinking in terms of ownership, not care. Maybe one day the mother will decide to tell her son, but it is not for Hugo to barge in there dramatically and announce his possible claim!

    • Marshall says:

      So Ted should have no problem with what has been done to him?

    • Most people seem to think there would be a problem with a man raising someone else’s child without his consent.

      Seem to think?? That is what we think. It IS a problem, a HUGE problem. He got engaged and then married her in part on the basis of her withholding the crucially important true from him of the real odds that the growing fetus was his.

      Women I suppose shouldn’t mind very much if the hospital switches her baby on her when in the infirmary during her recovery. Only it seems women mind HUGE!!! They win multimillion dollar lawsuits on it. Those cases aren’t even intentional.

  35. Free Human Being says:

    That any women could cogently deceive a man who puts faith in her honesty is bad, but when a child is involved it is nothing less than disgusting.

    No man should ever raise a child without the knowledge of what someone else knows.

    This is disgusting and weak to expect that a woman has the right to withhold such information.

    Absolute shame!

    Men in this day are second class citizens and acts like this merely prove it

  36. Hugo, dont listen to the haters.

    Had you gone out of your way to rawdog a woman who was years into a healthy relationship and then had this happen, then yes there would be legs for them to stand on.

    What you did was be part of a fucked up sex triangle.

    What you also did was allow a couple to happily grow old together. You also allowed that family to raise a son in a healthy environment.

    Even if the test was done and proved Ted was the father that seed of doubt doesnt go away. That idea that maybe, just maybe, she’s fucking someone else would always have been there. Divorce rate is at an all time high, you gonna tell me that a couple with a history like that isn’t more then likely going to get divorced?

    I’d ask all the people hurling terrible names at Hugo, how many times have you witnessed a crime and not stepped in? How many times have you watched someone steal something, rob someone, even attack someone, and not done a thing?

    Thats what Hugo did. He kept his mouth shut. But in this case rather then someone losing something valuable all parties GAINED something valuable. Hugo wasn’t pushed into a position he wasnt ready for. Jill got the husband that she wanted. Ted got the wife that he wanted. Allistair got parents that love one another.

    Tell me, where is the wrong in all this?

    • The point is simple. Ted got a wife who wasnt the wife he thought she was. He was deceived by Jill.

      Hugo possibly shirked his responsibilities.
      Jill engaged in a lifelong deception.
      Ted got to live a lie.

  37. This is what passes for a “Good Man”? Are you kidding me? This is a horrible man.

  38. What is this I don’t even…

    You do know that there are serious diseases with either genetic causes or genetically-related pathologies that parents and kids need to know about, right? A kid has a right to know his genetic heritage for that reason alone.

    Also, cuckoldry is disgusting from a moral standpoint in that it is the equivalent of raping a woman: in both cases, one party is abusing the other’s resources to achieve their biological imperative.

    I hope that one day you will have to answer for your complicity in taking advantage of one of your fellow men.

  39. Morrisfactor says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Hugo’s writing since he’s such a feminist apologist, but even for him this is a new low. As others have noted, how does this story encourage “Good Men”?

    And for you, Hugo, you are not out of the woods yet.

    A guy I worked with got served with 16 years of back child support ($130,000) for a child he did not know he had fathered. The mother had become pregnant and moved to California, had the baby and raised him without every telling the father. When the boy was 16, she ran into financial difficulties and appealed to the Family Court here in Washington state and got her financial payoff.

    During those years, my co-worker had married, with two children. They had to sell their house to raise the back support and basically start all over, so the selfishness of the first mother affected the entire family of the man.

    There is no time limit on back child support and the State of California will be only too glad to collect it, since they get matching Federal dollars and interest penalty. You better hope your little friend with benefits never gets into financial trouble (or divorces Ted), since you would be liable for the child support and associated interest.

    Sleep well, Hugo.

    • dragnet says:

      “During those years, my co-worker had married, with two children. They had to sell their house to raise the back support and basically start all over, so the selfishness of the first mother affected the entire family of the man.”

      This is the problem with selfishness of feminism, this tireless jihad to increase womens’ freedom of action at any cost. Ultimately, it harms other women—like the woman your co-worker married. Now SHE and HER CHILDREN have to suffer economic and emotional hardship.

      You cannot mistreat men without harming the women who are near and dear to them. We are all in this together. This should be obvious.

  40. Robert O'Hara says:

    Just how long to you all here at the Good Men Project think you can keep this up? Sooner or later your money will run out and then we MRAs won’t have you to laugh at any more. Seriously, this whole site is a joke and I can’t help but think that the people behind this know it.

    It is really amazing that you expect people to buy this crap-and this is real crap I tell you.

    If you people here think for one second that this pathetic organization set up by feminists to derail the Men’s Rights Movement is going to have any effect then you are simply advertising your own self delusion. You are, in effect, heaping hot coals on your head by publishing this stuff and you are becoming the laughingstock of all who read it that are either not a part of your feeble minded plan or happen to poses a brain.

    You would best serve yourselves and the rest of humanity if you would just put down your pens and retire to your homes to jerk off. So for the love of God and certainly for your own sakes do it!

  41. So, concisely translated:

    Jill settles for Ted because he has more money, and Hugo scurries off into the night panicking that HE might be the father. Meanwhile, a potentially explosive lie is fermenting that would devestate both Ted and most importantly, the child.

    Sorry Hugo, despite the smoke-and-mirrors verbal diarrhoea, you come across as a grubby self-serving creep. Jill demonstrates she is a grubby, grasping opportunist.

    Incidentally Hugo, are you absolutely sure your daughter was conceived by you? It wouldn’t matter if she wasn’t, would it? Remember, “it’s love, not sperm that make a great dad”.

    Shame on you both.

  42. Greg Allan says:

    Why is this individual being given a forum on anything including the words “good men”?

    This is a travesty.

  43. The article concludes with the statement:-
    “The solution is to remember that it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.”

    This website clearly needs to consider ‘what makes a ‘Good Woman’ in the project of life ?’

    An individual who considers the physical, emotional and social needs of other human beings perhaps ?

    The shallow, inconsiderate, selfishness of the female featured in this article is highly depressing – but typically not confronted by many people living in a world presently hijacked by radical feminism.
    The featured woman seems to have been granted free license to treat other human beings, her own offspring and the men she comes into contact with, as items of preference no more worthy of compassion than cars in a show room – using men’s sperm as fuel.

    What makes a great mother is an equally valid question here?

    How do people allow themselves to become so brainwashed by such one-dimensional nonsense which so clearly, and unfairly, deliberately dishes out to the human grouping to which they themselves belong with losers medals ?

    Very strange. I oppose hatred of any sort. The hatred of others, as a consequence of exaggeration or misinformation, can be, if (hopefully) not shared, understood. But men supporting such causes as feminism – despite the evidence of its blatant lies – is utterly bewildering to me.

    The motivation felt by white men like Michael Moore, for example, to write books entitled ‘Stupid White Men’ (and the many other similar such parallels) will one day be the subject of much examination.

    As a Brit. I sometimes wonder if many Americans set up websites like this as some sort of spoof or satire. Can people really be so fooled as to think in this way ?
    Very sad.

  44. Christina says:

    It’s unfortunate that the article’s positive message – that parenthood transcends biology – is tainted by this story of a possible paternity fraud.

  45. Hey look, a sleazy asshole thinks it’s OK to stick another man with supporting his kid (possibly), and the ‘Good Men Project’ prints it! Is this a ‘Good Man” Henry? Sleeping with women in relationships, and using legal fraud to stick another man with the bill? You ‘Good Men’ types are quick to throw out the ‘you play, you gotta pay’ ethos…gonna fry one of your own now? Somehow, I doubt you will pick now to grow some ethics…

    I’d LOVE to see one of you display some real integrity and backbone for a change, and throw this jerk off your author list. Or refuse to publish man hating drivel like it.

    But seeing as how your whole reason for existing is to try and blunt men’s desire for equality…I suppose this horseshit is right in line.

    This kind of thing makes me glad I take the stance on feminists and their lickspittle sycophants that I do… The demise of hateful ideologies like yours cannot come too soon.

  46. Richard says:

    This is actually pretty outrageous. You should tell Ted and get a paternity test. It is not “narcissism” on your part and you know it full well. It would just complicate your life and hers, that’s all. In all honesty Schwyzer the more I read about you the more I’m convinced you are probably a full-on slimeball.

  47. jameseq says:

    Why did jill tell hugo but not ted, as far as hugo knows about the paternity uncertainty. in what way was jill compatible with ted if she feared the relationship would break up over this. Clearly jill and ted share very different values. Makes me wonder if jill is being deceptive elsewhere in the relationship for it to last so long

    Now again I say an adopted child would be mine completely. And If I was in Ted’s shoes even if the child/children did not have my dna, I would still view the children as mine completely. Im always surprised at men that raise a child for years and then upon discovering the truth disown the child.
    I realise emotions run uphill, however id like to think that most men would still see children as theirs in such a scenario.
    But that doesnt mean that it is acceptable for devious mothers to abuse fatherly instincts.
    Nor acceptable for feminists to condone or minimise it

    Andrew Pari, L.C.S.W. says:
    July 12, 2011 at 3:03 am

    …For much of history, we all raised children together in small groups and didn’t focus much on these kinds of concerns.

    If this is true Andrew (and i dont believe you, however i will walk along your argument). Then men have shown that being the genetic father was not a concern for much of human history. Then equally, after all feminism is about gender equality and not the privilege and supremacy of the female, being the biological mother should not be a concern for women. Thus, all babies delivered on a Labour Ward that day should be taken away from the mother into a central cot, from where they can be randomly assigned and returned to the mothers.

    To channel hugo:

    Hugo:
    The solution is to remember that it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.

    Then
    The solution is to remember that it is love, not eggs, that makes a great mother.

    • typhonblue says:

      “The solution is to remember that it is love, not eggs, that makes a great mother.”

      Unfortunately for Alistair the woman who welped him (who will not be referred to as a ‘mother’) has the eggs but not the love.

      • jameseq says:

        typhonblue,
        good to see you 🙂
        ive seen youve been recently guiding the young ones on the ‘teh menz’ blog
        good stuff

  48. I am one of those children, now 49, and my real identity kept a secret. SO very complicated, however, nobody wins when there are secrets, and I knew as a toddler I wasn’t my Dad’s ( who raised me) because we are born intuitive.
    http://www.lovechildstories.com for those who had us, or people like me Check it out.
    E

  49. What you and Jill did was horrible and there are no excuses for it. You say Tim wanted a child. How do you know? You’re relying on the word of woman who never plans to tell the husband she supposedly loves that the child they raised might not be his. Of course, since she chose to confide in you and not her future husband, maybe you see her as trustworthy. You think maybe it’s possible that he was fooling around with this girl (just like you), being a little careless with protection (just like you… and her), and then decided to man up and take on the responsibility of raising the child when he found out (very much unlike you)? Worked out pretty nicely for the two of you didn’t it? Ever wonder if he had a few plans of his own? Things he wanted to do before he started a family? Very few guys, even financially stable guys who want to have kids one day, are ready to have kids after dating a girl for a couple weeks. I think deep down you know that.

    You do have a chance to make it right. Break your promise to Jill and ask for a paternity test, it was wrong of you to make the promise in the first place. If she refuses, tell her you’ll tell Ted. If she still refuses, tell Ted. If the child is yours, Ted has to find out. Then he and Jill can work out how or when to tell Alastair. They WILL both find out one day. It’s better for Ted to hear it from his wife than to hear it from someone else. It’s better for Alastair to hear it from his parents than from someone else. For starters, assuming you’re using your real name, there’s no way to disguise the people in this story by changing names alone. You would have to change a lot of the facts of this story too, not just a few, and if you did that, the story is essentially a lie. Second, this isn’t the 1950s, it’s 2011. DNA testing is already easy, rampant and getting cheaper every day. In this kid’s lifetime, basic DNA testing for genetics research and medical diagnosis will almost certainly be universal, probably sooner than later. Be a real man. Hey, maybe the kid won’t be yours after all.

  50. “God”, she said, “you guys always say that. It’s such an obvious and cheesy way to show off that you’ve slept around. You think you’re being sly, but it’s just juvenile.”
    Considering how its possible that a man may have a child that he does not know about the sad reality is that while it was mostly said as a joke in the past it may very well be true so she ought to come down from her moral high horse thinking she has business declaring someone else’s behavior as juvenile. Espcially considering that in cases where a man may really not know guess who would be responsible for such a deception, yeah a woman.

    Jill never told Ted that she’d been sleeping with someone else the week their son was conceived.
    That’s not good. By doing this she’s allowing the father/son bond between them to be possibly built on a lie. (Mind you if there was no child involved then yeah there’s be no reason to tell him.)

    As the one who carried Alastair in her womb, it was her choice to make.
    This is what I mean when people try to segway the nine months of pregnancy into claiming that she and she along should make all the decisions about the child now and forever. She was the one to carry the child but that does not give her the right to decieve the child about his paternity (unless there’s an actual reason like if the real father was abusive or something, and while Hugo may have been goofing off at that time I highly doubt he was so bad that to justify the deception). In this case I wonder if this was not her looking out for the child or Ted but her trying to spare herself some pain.

    I made a promise to Jill before Alastair was born that I’d never ask for a paternity test, nor reveal to Ted the possibility that I might be the biological father of his son. I wasn’t in love with Jill and wasn’t ready to be a parent: Ted was both of those things. From what little I hear, he’s been a great husband and a doting father all these years. He and Jill have had two more sons together. With all that in mind, it would be an act of destructive narcissism on my part to ever break my promise and barge back into Jill’s life.
    I can understand and respect you not wanting to know and to a point choosing not to tell Ted. But beyond that this is basically you and Jill deciding for Ted and Alastair that they don’t need to know the truth.

    The specifics of human reproduction mean that men may have children of whose existence they are unaware, and they may unwittingly raise as their own children conceived with another man’s sperm. But women have it harder, and not only in terms of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. It is Jill, not I, who carries the burden of an unresolved question through her relationship with her husband and her first-born son.
    You’re trying to compare the (mostly unavoidable) facts and hardships of pregnancy that are a natural occurence with a the possiblity that a person actively choosing to decieve another. Apples and oranges, one doesn’t washout the other.

    These uncertainties that I know many men share are part of the cost of a habit of unprotected heterosexual intercourse. But the solution to the problem isn’t suspicion or frantic demands for paternity tests, Jerry Springer style. The solution isn’t even the rigorous use of contraception (though that’s a very good idea.)
    The solution is to remember that it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.

    Or how about remembering to be honest? For some reason you seem to want to take a situation and just magically say its not bad at all for all men based on your reactions alone.

    The solution is to remember that it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad
    True but its not like they can’t both come from the same man, if he is told the truth. The fact that a child can recieve love from any man who wishes to be the father does justify decieving a child and another man.

    So in the end its okay for a woman to lie and deceive as long as she has a good reason?

    • typhonblue says:

      “So in the end its okay for a woman to lie and deceive as long as she has a good reason?”

      Does she have a good reason? If so, I didn’t notice it.

  51. hugo raper says:

    I hope you get raped.

  52. To the people sympathetic to the story, imagine reversing the genders. The man you’ve been dating comes up and says. “While I was dating you, but before we were exclusive, I slept with a girl I didn’t tell you about and now she’s pregnant. But she doesn’t really want a child and you’d make a better mom anyway, so I signed us both up as its parents. Oh, and you have no say. After all, all you should care about is the best interest of my/her child, and I decided that’s you being the mom.”

    I guess he would have had say, all he had to do was assume she had been sleeping around without telling him and demand a paternity test. I’m sure that would have gone over well.

    It’s ridiculous to force rights onto someone else without their consent. And to say it’s for the child’s best interest is to say someone else’s child is more important than you. At that point we might as well list people by how good of parents they will be, assign babies as they are born.

    Although in this case I think the best interest of the child would be Ted as a single parent instead of being raised by someone who would deceive their own family for over a decade.

    • To the people sympathetic to the story, imagine reversing the genders.

      Actually something like this happened in my family. A couple had been married for a few years and one day received a knock on the door. One of the husband’s ex-girlfriends had discovered she was pregnant shortly after their relationship ended. She had the baby, but never told him. When the child was nine years old, the ex-girlfriend died. The authorities delivered the child to his biological father. The couple stayed together and raised the child. They are still married – the happiest married couple I know, actually. 30+ years later the child is all grown up, also healthy and happy with a family of his own.

      • I don’t believe this is a similar scenario — it does NOT involve more deceit than hiding the child from the biological father, It does NOT involve a scenario where the husband was sleeping around after marriage, and where the wife had NO say in the matter. I can totally understand why he would love the child afterwards, and honestly I don’t think any of these people are implying the child doesn’t deserve love (even if born out of infidelity). They are simply saying that the act of deceit that lasts so many years is pretty horrible, and humiliating to the man being deceived, when it comes out. You raise a child thinking he or she is your own blood only to realize that child wasn’t born out of love between you and your wife, and your wife was okay tagging you along like a useful tool to have in raising a child, not bothering to check whether raising someone else’s child would be okay with you, and even worse, implying that the child is a product of love between you and her. Again, I don’t think it’s the child’s fault in any way, and if a bond were formed between me and that child (and it probably would) I would not break it — but it would greatly, greatly disturb and depress me, and it would have pretty dire psychological consequences for me.

      • Here’s a better example of the gender inverted scenario. Note again that the deceit was slightly different — the child was completely hidden, rather than being presented as the mother’s child. I don’t think that made this example any better a scenario, just pointing out that it’s different, and the psychological implications may therefore also be somewhat different (better, worse, not easy to say).

        http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/4329/how-should-she-deal-with-her-husband%E2%80%99s-child-by-another-woman

  53. “It is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.”

    But there wasn’t any bond before the poor guy was tricked into thinking it was his kid.

    But its ok Hugo, use that rationality so you can continue peacefully enjoying your life without ever worrying about taking your responsibilities.

  54. Contrast the disagreement here with jezebel ‘discussion’ thread of hugo’s piece. Where most commentors dont even mention the cucking. It is a-okay in their world

  55. This is so disturbing.

    He is basically telling men that your power to create life is meaningless, in men that is…

    If I create a baby, don’t I have the right and responsibility to raise it? According to Hugo that’s inconsequential and it might as well be another man who takes that role. But even worse is that he is enforcing cockolding, whereby women trick men into thinking they are the father (before any bonds have been made) and that men like him can go about their live worry free.

    That’s just sick and selling out men along with selling out kids who have a right to know!!!

    This Hugo from the “good men” project is trying to sell the idea that your sperm and the kids you create aren’t important factors in parenthood. Imagine if we said biological mothers are trivial and replacibke and that its ok to trick women into thinking someone is their child.

  56. This is horrifying.

    Cuckolding is the worst thing that can happen to a man. If my son would have the genes of another man my life would end. This is much worse than a rape and is accepted unpunished by the justice system. Rape can last for several minutes but this is years and years of deceit and lies. I despise all the men and women supporting \ understanding this. I am also really starting to despise the culture in which we live in. My stomach is turning from the comments and from Jill and Hugo. You must be held accountable, many years ago people were punished for this, today Jill and Hugo are applauded to deceiving a man.

    I hate you Hugo, I hate Jill and all of people giving these sympathetic comments. Men have become a second grade humans. We are told to accept exploitation by women “for the sake of the child”. The hell with this, let this culture burn and die.

    Men should act and be accepted based on what we really are, not what women want us to be. Even if it is uncomfortable to them. If a child is not my biological child than I am used and cheated to give my love and power to my real child. Reading the comments by the women here I truly hope that someday somehow you will be punished.

    Ted, (in the remote possibility you are reading this), I which I could have help you and let you know the lies they told you. I hope the best for you and a revenge on the people who raped you.

    • I disagree. I don’t think the moment of conception is really that big of a deal for a dude. A kid isn’t physically as parasitic to a man as it is by nature to the mother for a short while. Relationships to the younger generation matter. But I agree with the writer, whether a kid is biological has the least amount to do with anything. It’s the relationship you make with your actions that matters.

      Being told lies and stuff would be an issue between the parents and thought-to-be-parents. The article is only concerned with the connection between dad and thought-to-be-child.

    • Vegetus says:

      Please don’t ever compare ANYTHING to rape unless you’ve personally experienced being a sexual assault victim. Unlike what you’ve said, the effects of being a rape victim DO last with lifetime, from permanent physical damage to the lifelong emotional and psychological damage of enduring such inhuman treatment. Please look a little further into this website for ways to become an ally against violence on women rather than banally throw around the R word because your masculinity is threatened by the concept of raising a non-biological child. I’m not in favor of non-consent (and that’s what it seems to me is happening here with cuckolding) but it is in no way comparable to being a rape victim. If you look at the horrible things that happen to women, LGBT persons, and children in the name of preserving masculinity globally, and your concern is cheating, check your privileges and feel blessed.

      • typhonblue says:

        “your masculinity is threatened by the concept of raising a non-biological child.”

        My god. The charge of ‘fragile masculinity’.

        Whenever a man actually feels personally vulnerable to something, everyone trots out the ‘fragile masculinity’ excuse for ignoring their pain.

        I don’t see any man objecting to consensually raising an adopted child or one conceived with surrogate sperm. If the objection really was due to ‘fragile masculinity’ you’d actually see this. You don’t.

        What they’re objecting to is the deception, being forced into a role that requires providing intimacy and love through deception.

        Also, turnabout is fair play is it not? The only reason women get upset over rape is due to ‘fragile femininity’; rape reduces their feminine value and if they weren’t so profoundly egotistical about having more value then men, then they would be about as bothered by rape as men are.

        “f you look at the horrible things that happen to women, LGBT persons, and children in the name of preserving masculinity globally”

        These things happen in the name of preserving a particular notion of how people conduct themselves otherwise known as culture. They also happen to men. Men are the targets of a significant minority of honor killings (plus you could argue that the role they are forced into under threat of being a victim of honor killing is also responsible for a significant number of murders, maimings and rapes of men.)

        • Huh? Women only get upset about rape because they are fragile? They are not upset about the physical injuries that result from being violently violated, beaten up, tied up, kidnapped, held prisoner for hours, days or weeks, etc.? Is Elizabeth Smart only upset about being held as a sex slave for 10 months and violently and repeatedly raped because she thinks she’s better than men?

          Men who commit honor killings are the victims?

          You have a strange perspective.

      • Falrar23 says:

        When I was a young man, I was raped. A person I thought was a friend drugged me and proceeded to have his way with me. It took about six months for me to learn to trust people again. Fortunately, I healed physically, and began to understand how to move past it.
        About five years after that incident I got married. The marriage seemed great until about the eight year. She told me she had found someone else, and wanted a divorce. I didn’t fight it, and we decided to share custody of the boy. He was 3 at that time.
        A couple of years later I started noticing things about the boy .his hair was an off color for the family, his eyes were shaped differently. I started to suspect and got a DNA test done.
        After the results came back she told me that her the boyfriend she had left me for was really the child’s biological father. So not only had she been screwing around on me for years….but she also lied to me about the child’s father.
        If that is not a form of rape…I don’t know what is. The boy has now distanced himself from me, calling the the ex’s boyfriend his “real father”. This is not something that heals physically, and it is not a one time event. This is not something that is going to go away.
        To be a cuckold at a woman’s whim is no way to live. It is degrading and humiliating…..more degrading and humiliating than what I went through with rape several years ago. I have been shamed, and that shame will never get better.
        Even now I am paying for the boy’s benefit…courtesy of state law, and an unfaithful, untrustworthy, and deceitful woman. How anyone cannot think for one moment that being cuckolded is not akin to rape? I have experienced both…..and I know there is no difference.

    • Daniel, you seem to be projecting a lot of personal insecurities here. While I am not condoning cheating or lying to an intimate partner, and deceiving a man into thinking he’s the father of your child is totally, absolutely wrong, I submit that having a happy, loving relationship with a child who you are not biologically related to is really NOT the worst thing that can happen to a man. It’s relationships that make our lives fulfilling, not common bits of genetic material. Do you even have children?

      • Susan,

        You are not a man, so you cannot be cuckolded, so you just don’t care. Just like most women today, and many men, only women’s feeling are important to you (thanks to feminism). You just can’t identify with men and our pain and fears. Society today don’t give a damn about men’s problems and issues. Ted is every man in this feminist era. Nobody cares.

        Rape (commonly male crime against a female) is considered the most horrifying crime with the exception of murder. If I just give a wrong comment to a women today I can be accused in harassment. However, deliberately deceiving a man and taking his entire love and commitment, using him like a slave to raise another man child, is not a problem. This is not even a legal crime. Many years ago this was punishable by death. I am getting resentful of our culture and frankly, reading your responses, I don’t want this culture to continue further.

        • Then leave. If you have an issue with something, then find a solution. Otherwise leave the problem. If you’re deceived, I agree it sucks. But find a solution to the problem, or leave. No one deserves to be deceived, and you have the option of making it clear to the other person that their behavior isn’t acceptable.

          The problem with rape, however, is that you can’t leave the situation, and you can’t initiate a solution. A woman is forced by a larger animal, the male, to have sex. She is beaten, threatened to death, and there is nothing that she can physically or mentally do to stop it.

          You can physically and mentally leave the situation if you’re not sure if your son is yours. You can take a paternity test–these are all solutions. Hugo himself sought out his own solution, as he even noted at the end, to just love his son.

          You can NOT compare rape to being cuckolded. When a woman is raped, she has NO options. She is absolutely forced because she cannot easily physically or mentally escape the situation, and that lack of control could–and often does–mentally and physically her for the rest of her life. Why is it that women still, in our civilized society, need to carry around a weapon if she wants to escape from a situation of rape?

          However, if you happen to not know if your child is yours, you do have control to escape the situation or seek solutions, as Hugo has.

          • typo: mentally and physically scar her for the rest of her life*

          • And I’m specifically using the example of rape to a woman since you had used it, but rape against men would also be equally uncomparable. The situation I speak about that you have little or no control over is being unable to escape a forced and violent attack upon your body by a stronger or more threatening person, whether you’re attacked as a male or female.

            • @Jo,

              Thanks for your reply.

              I use the term rape for two reasons. The first is to convey how terrible this is for me. I would basically kill myself if it was to have happen to me. And I definitely would have chooses to be raped over learning that my family is a lie. This is one of my biggest fears and of many other men and you, society and specially women needs to respect that.

              The second reason is due to the genetic nature of this crime. I believe that rape is such a terrible crime (much more than just regular physical assault) and cause so much pain since it is a GENETIC crime. A raped woman loses the control over her own reproductive system.

              I wan’t my son to live a place in which is safe to be a man and my daughter in a place in which is safe to be a woman. In my view of the world, rape and cuckoldry are crimes of the same caliber. However, crimes against men are often ignored and are even celebrated online as moral choices (just the see above article). And yes, you are right, there are solutions. Mandatory paternity-testing at birth can basically eliminate this problem and should be legally required to determine father-child relations.

              This is a sad thought, but reading the responses support of some (but definitely not all) women to this I hope that the Teds of today will be wiser and less trusting.

              • Why does it matter if the son isn’t yours? Leave. You don’t own anoother woman, you can’t say what she does with her own body. She has deceived you, and that is sin itself, but if she has wronged you then leave. I don’t understand what the problem is. You can’t leave a situation where you are being physically forced down. This isn’t a situation where you’re stuck, because you don’t own other human beings and they don’t own you. It hurts, yeah, but if you want to fulfill that primal desire to procreate then make another zygote with a woman who respects you.

                • My God, Jo… I realize this is months later, but how can you not see it? Just leave? It’s something that happened, just as a woman who got raped can’t just “leave” that problem, a man who has been cuckolded can’t just “leave” what has happened to him.

                  Imagine this, Jo. Imagine you are in a car accident and suffer amnesia. You wake up in a man’s house. There is a wedding ring on your finger. You are undressed in his bed. The man walks up to you with breakfast in bed, says that he is grateful that you are safe. He has a matching wedding ring on his finger. You have sex. You have a child. Then one day, you are walking down the street and you see another man, with a child that looks so much like you that you are shocked. The man tells you he is your husband and that you have been missing for years. It then dawns upon you that you have been deceived, held captive by a lie to a life that you had never sanctioned for yourself. How would you feel? How would you feel if you woke up one day to realize that the family you think you know is not your real family… that the child you have raised for the past however many years was conceived through fraud?

                  What’s your solution to that? Just walk away from the problem? Just pretend it never happened? How do you get those years of your life back? How do you deal with that?

      • typhonblue says:

        Since you will never experience paternity fraud or ever understand feelings of vulnerability to paternity fraud–yet men *can* experience rape and feelings of vulnerability to rape, perhaps you aren’t the best person to judge the relative horrors of both.

        The best person would be a man who has experienced both. Perhaps such a man will step forward and give a more credible appraisal.

        Also, happy, loving sex is consensual. Happy, loving relationships with your children are also consensual.

        Men have a right to consent to fully informed parenthood. Let’s repeat that notion. Men have the absolute, inviolate right to consent to fully informed parenthood.

        This is non-consensual parenthood.

        • Maybe we should take an opposite, horrifying example. Jaycee Duggard was kidnapped at age 11, held prisoner for 18 years, repeatedly raped by her captor, and gave birth to 2 children at age 13 and 15. She is without a doubt a non-consensual parent.

          However, she loves her daughters and says she was afraid to try to escape because of fears about how she would take care of them. her greatest worry, after she was freed, was that her mother would reject her girls.

          All I’m saying is that loving relationships between parent and child can trump a lot of horrible things. I think it’s terrible if a woman tricks a man into raising children that aren’t his but that doesn’t mean he won’t love those children anyway.

          • Susan, this is not a valid analogy since the children are her genetic children.

            Why can’t you accept that such a deceit is a horrible crime and Hugo and Jill are criminals? All the social behaviors that hurt women are regulated by law, but when men are hurt we are supposed to just face it and think of the family.

            Just look on the comments of the men here, yes, we have fears and insecurities and this is a MAJOR fear. Men should be protected from abuse just like women. This crime should be punishable by law. Hugo and “Jill” should face jail time and pay Ted for the fraud they committed as well as for 14 years of child support.

      • Yes, I have two children and an amazing wife (who by the way, thinks that women such as Jill belong in prison).

    • This article is 110 percent pure unadulterated bullshit.

      If biology makes no difference whatsoever, then why do hospitals devote hundreds of hours and millions of dollars to implementing systems and checks to ensure that mothers get their biological children when it’s time to go home? If biology was irrelevant and love was all that mattered then what’s wrong with just giving any child to any new mother and sending them home together? Oh that’s right—biology is only irrelevant when men are concerned!! The whole idea is just so transparently misandric and illogical it makes your head spin.

      Articles like this are just more proof that feminism really isn’t an equality movement (I’d bet my left nut the guy writing this identifies as a feminist). It’s really about enhancing women’s rights and alleviating the responsibilities that accompany those rights—at the expense of men.

      This is revolting.

      • And also, a child has a right to know his genetic heritage. So many illnesses and health conditions we now know have a genetic basis, and we will soon have genetic treatments for them. It’s in the child’s best interest to know his or her true genetic heritage. The real question is whether a mother’s wishes trumps her child’s well-being.

        Pretty soon, the feminists and their male apologists are going to run out of excuses and rationales for protecting women at the expense of men & children. We men have our own hopes and dreams, our own ideal of fatherhood. We cannot and will not be fathers on someone else terms. The billions of dollars in child support arrears prove that. Until we recognize that bio fathers are not disposable, and that it is safe for men to love THEIR children to the fullest extent that is consistent with our most deeply held ideal of fatherhood then you will never the get from us and will receive far worse from the many.

  57. There seems to be a gaping hole in this story and the comments. Maybe Jill did tell Ted about her relationship with Hugh. Maybe Ted is okay with it. Maybe Ted loves his son and doesn’t care if he’s biologically related. People adopt children all the time and love them just as much as biological children.

    Kow a couple who are raising their grandchild. Their son and his wife lost custody because of drug use. There is a good chance that their granddaughter was fathered by a different man. Their son and their daughter in law were living very screwed up lives during the time she was conceived, and the daughter in law was sleeping around. The granddaughter looks nothing like her father.

    You know what? My friends don’t care. She’s their granddaughter. They love her. She needed their help and they gave it by taking custody and raising her and her brother even though they were in their 60’s at the time. Their son, who is off drugs now and has cleaned up his act, has a positive relationship now with both his daughter and his son.

    Love for children is way beyond genetics.

  58. There’s a lot of drama going on in these comments. A lot of speculation. A lot of wailing, “But what about the child!” The child who presumably does not know anything about it (so he’s got no perspective on the situation to speak of). And if he does find out? People have been adopting kids and not telling them they were adopted until they were much older for a long time. It’s probably hurt some people and not hurt others. I just find it so interesting that so many people are so up in arms about biological fatherhood.

    To some degree it makes sense. We’ve been worked up as a culture over the need for father’s to not shirk their duties for a long time. It’s part of our cultural subconscious at this point: men can get off too easy, fathering children and walking away, and this is deplorable. But in this case, all of the child’s needs are being met without help from the POSSIBLE biological father. And this is where I get confused. Why do we care so much about biological ties when other ties are so much stronger? What are we so afraid of? I know all about the evolutionary arguments that your biological progeny are your genes passed down; they’re your biological key to the afterlife here on earth, as it were. I find it deplorable when a man creates a relationship with a child because of biology and then walks away if he finds out there are no biological ties. That happens. It happens because we’re so obsessed with this fear of cuckholding. And to me, this fear is more harmful than not being the actual biological father of a child with whom you’ve had a relationship for 13 years. It’s crazy to me that anyone would argue that it would’ve been better for Hugo to be involved at the time if he were the biological father. He was an alcoholic. He and Jill didn’t really have a loving relationship. Regular, ordinary people find themselves in sticky situations in which they must make a decision all the time. And I find all the hating on Jill to be absolutely disgusting. She did what she thought was best for her child as well as herself, and I can’t possibly fault her for that. But it’s certainly easy to sit at a computer and type very dramatic judgments on people in an anonymous forum.

    • Hugo should have severed his rights at the time if he was incapable of being a dad to the child.

      I don’t think people are saying the biology is more important than being an actual good father, or at least, I’m not. I am saying both are important and Alastair is entitled to know his bio parentage, especially if it means it may jeopardize his relationship with Ted or with Ted and Jill’s other children, the very concern you are raising. There is a reason we have adoption laws that clearly transfer responsibility from the bio parent(s) to the relationship parent(s), so that kids are not left in limbo like this.

      The jeopardy is already there; it can’t be wished away and has to be dealt with. The more you sweep it under the rug, the more the trauma increases in the child’s life, as several of these commenters who were children in positions like Alastair’s have noted.

    • You’re totally misunderstanding the point.

      I’m not angry at Hugo. I don’t think Hugo did anything wrong. Jill is the one at the center of this. Not because she got pregnant, but because she didn’t tell Ted what was going on. She wasn’t honest with him. She told him that kid was his and she has no idea if that’s really the truth. Maybe he would’ve stayed anyways. Or maybe he would’ve ordered a paternity test, found out it wasn’t his and taken off. And rightly so. But instead, Jill took that choice out of his hands. She lied to him about something that could’ve drastically changed the course of his life.

      It is absolutely appalling to me how many of you are OK with dishonesty and flat out fraud. That’s what this is on Jill’s part…FRAUD! The truth will set you free, honesty is the best policy, always tell the truth. Ever heard of these things? This wasn’t a little white lie, this was a lie about the paternity of her child. And it’s pretty disgusting how she handled the situation.

      • Sorry, Hugo did do something wrong – and continues to do so. You cannot put all the responsibility on Jill.

  59. Good men project? Is Ted not a man? Who stands up for him and his right to know? Sorry if the truth might inconvenience some folks but isn’t he entitled to it?

  60. I don’t know how the “Good Men Project” can even pretend to be for men when it allows feminist ideologues like Hugo Schwyzer to post apologia pieces for paternity fraud that tell us we should just “suck it up” with being deceived and cuckolded– no amount of “best interests of the child” or other deflective language will make this scenario less repugnant. Hugo is amoral scum as is this woman he describes.

    When it is more widely known how commonly this happens you had better believe that more paternity testing will be demanded. It’s already started to happen with bills being made for mandatory testing on all births in a couple US states.

    Yes. Men too want to have their own biological children. Why are women but not men be allowed to desire this? Seems a little bigoted to me. Biology is important– don’t even dispute this. If biology weren’t important, then women would opt to adopt rather than go through the pains of pregnancy and childbirth. Yet here we have “gender studies” ideologues like Hugo who try to tell us that men and only men are somehow in the wrong if they want to have their own children and should happily be deceived and defrauded into raising the child of some other guy that a woman cheated with. Classy.

  61. Hugo, thank you for sharing your story with us.

    However, I want to remind you of something. In the case that you should die prematurely (car accident, cancer, etc.) your “possible” son will be left without the benefit of your medical records.

    As someone recently diagnosed with a life-changing disease that I only found out about because of my father’s genetics (even though he does not have the same disease I do) I want you to know that Jill’s decision could cause real, quantifiable pain and suffering.

    If you have the option to get your medical records released to Alistair, you should do so. He deserves the truth, and not just for traditional reasons – for medical ones.

  62. I was so touched by this story of Hugo’s, so pleased that he was able to put his ego aside long enough to understand Jill’s motivations, that it shocked me that the first comment called Jill wicked. I see. For thinking not of a man’s ego, but a child’s need, she is wicked?

    And this nonsense that one’s biological history is all important is a fetish. I’m adopted and I can tell you that if you have a mature sense of self, you have a mature sense of self. This instant identity that biology gives you is junk food. It makes you think you understand who you are but you are not healthier than before.

    I salute you Hugo for respecting Jill, and really, respecting what was best for the child. I do know why Jill both told you, asked you to promise and then showed the child to you, she wanted to be sure you knew what you were walking away from. She didn’t want to steal your child from you.

    And I don’t see how Ted who has a wife and child he presumably adores has lost out. It is not even his only child, so he has DNA on the ground.

    Again, thank you Hugo for being self-aware, civilized and thoughtful. I’m glad to hear you have a lovely daughter.

    • Thank you, NSH, for pointing out what kept jumping out at me as I read through the comments.
      The genetic argument is flawed. It is only extremely recently that science had the ability to do “paternity testing.” Prior to that, there was no certainty and the medical health of society did not collapse. I’m sure there are individual stories of people who may have been better off if they knew, but considering MOST “inherited” conditions are not substantially more common than the average population, it really doesn’t make a huge difference.
      And, in fact, the whole concept of paternity is a relatively recent concern, rooted primarily in patriarchal and controlling interests. If you don’t have monies and land to leave your “heir,” there is less concern about parentage.
      For much of history, we all raised children together in small groups and didn’t focus much on these kinds of concerns.
      It really is love over other factors that give us the esteem and confidence to move through life.

      • That is a non-argument. The fact that it wasn’t provable that a man was or wasn’t the father of a child before doesn’t mean that people didn’t think it was important or that they didn’t think about it. People– and the law for at least hundreds of years–knew that if a different man had sex with a woman than the child may belong to that other man. There was just no way to prove it before blood testing (which could exclude a man based on certain blood types being an impossibility based on the alleged parents’ blood types) and later, the far more accurate and reliable DNA testing.

        You are attempting to defend deceitful and exploitative behavior that is unacceptable in a civilized society. I can’t think of many more evil things to do than to deceive someone into pouring decades of their sweat and labor into raising a child that you either know is not theirs or know that it may not even be theirs. Yet here you are trying to defend this behavior. Sickening.

      • “Prior to that, there was no certainty and the medical health of society did not collapse.”

        I can’t believe a mental health professional is advocating this. The whole melodrama of cultures like ancient Greece is based in problems with misunderstanding the biology. All you have to do is look at their religious system with the gods and goddesses to see how dysfunctional this was. And this is just the mental health aspects.

        Patriarchy, which developed out of this, was civilizing, but it was based on paternal control of the mother encouraging the father to invest in the child, rather than an actual connection just between father and child being proven.

        Now we are in an era where paternity can be proven – and disproven.

        I can’t imagine it is good for the mental health of a child for there to be ambiguity around this.

        And I do think the medical concerns are relevant; just because it is only in recent years that medical science has been able to use genetic testing in combination with certain treatments to help people somehow makes them irrelevant. Why should Alastair be deprived of this benefit that others receive? And, again, isn’t this traumatizing to his mental health?

  63. Lawyer here says:

    Something missing from the discussion here is the fact that in most states, the mother’s husband is presumed to be the father of the child. Although state laws may differ in some respects, generally presumed fatherhood exists where the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage ended, the husband allowed his name to be put on the birth certificate, he has resided with the child and has held himself out as the father. In many cases the presumption is irrebutable which means it can’t be disproved. It’s quite possible that Hugh would have no right to get a paternity test, establish himself as the father or to seek custody or parental rights — even if he wanted to.

    • Not sure this is how the law works. As a presumption, it is by definition rebuttable, no? Otherwise the law would definitively regard Ted as the father.

      Whatever Hugo’s rights, I think Alastair would have a right to a DNA test under the law, provided that he can show a reasonable basis for Hugo being the father. It is possible that abuse/neglect authorities would have the right to step in to represent the boy’s interests and seek a test for that purpose.The only problem is that I think Alastair would have to be kept informed of this all the way through the process. If instead Hugo, perhaps working with Jill, did the DNA test without Alastair’s knowledge, and it turned out Ted was the father, this might spare Alastair some turmoil.

      I think paternity tests have now become pretty clear evidence. Their only flaw is that I think sometimes they can’t distinguish between close male blood relatives of the father and they actual father with certain.

      • Lawyer here says:

        There are rebuttable presumptions and irrebutable presumptions in the law. The presumption that a child born within a marriage is the husband’s child may be irrebutable under some circumstances. Generally, if the child was born during the marriage and the husband has held himself out as the father, it’s irrebutable — which means even if a DNA test proves he’s not the father, legally he’s still considered the father.

        • I think the scenario you describe allows Ted to rebut the non-bio fatherhood and Alastair as well (either himself or someone standing in his shoes such as state child welfare authorities).

          So it is not an “irrebuttable presumption” (even if Hugo can’t get any custody at this point, that doesn’t make Ted’s paternity “irrebuttable”; it just means Hugo doesn’t get any rights from his paternity; he may face financial obligations still however, I don’t know).

          Calling something an “irrebuttable presumption” is not only an oxymoron but it is misleading to people.

          • Lawyer here says:

            Emily, it’s a legal term of art. Trust me, there are irrebutable presumptions. In the eyes of the law. That’s all I’m talking about. As far as the law is concerned, Ted is the father. Period. How you or I characterize paternity is a different issue, I’m only talking about legal presumptions which affect legal rights.

        • The fraud in the foundation of Ted’s current position of paternity allows him and Alastair to rebut it – in case you didn’t understand the legal basis. They both probably have an action against Hugo and Jill for the fraud, but since Jill is already doing a lot of the work and support of raising the child (presumably) a lot of the compensatory damages would probably be collected from Hugo, I imagine. There may be punitive damages against Jill.

  64. Okay, first off let me preface my comment. I am 44. I only found out last August that the man who I thought was my father was not my father. If there is even the slightest chance that this child could be the result of a an Non Paternity Event, then at some point he needs to know. It is his identity and he has right to it. Do not make any assumptions. Will this marriage last forever? Maybe. Does he indeed have a loving relationship with his social father? maybe. But if there is a CHANCE that he is Mr SCHWYZER’s son then that needs to be defined and dealt with.

    Trust me, the last thing you want to end up with is this poor kid finding out in his middle years that he is not who he thought he is.

    A home DNA kit only costs $230. Man up.

    • Thank you for contributing. We needed to hear from someone who actually lived this kind of trauma; I was only trying to imagine it.

      Maybe there are some more people out there who had to go through this as children and can articulate what it is like for them?

  65. Daddy Files,
    I appreciate your holding up a solid standard of honesty. Your questions (should) make me/us ask: How open, trusting, courageous am I with my wife? And how open am I to hearing all she has to say to me? I’d like to think my “Jill” would have felt comfortable taking that risk with me early on – the risk being that if I turned away hurt or deceived – Jill might be on her own with that baby. Her responsibility? Sure. But a big risk. When I was younger I worried more about consequences than I do now. Now, at 53, I’m pretty comfortable saying, “this is me, bumps and ideas, and all.”
    I find, though, that it’s so hard to judge others in this circumstance. I think Hugo has deftly articulated the questions Jill might ask and the weight she might bear.
    My gut says: If I’m the child, I really don’t need to know this. Dad and mom love me, and this is enough.
    Dan

    • I am a bit baffled by the patronizing of the woman and the shift of responsibility from Hugo to Ted in your scenario, Dan.

      Why aren’t you (and more importantly Hugo) looking at what are Hugo’s questions he needs to ask himself and the weight he needs to bear? (Not just the “questions Jill might ask and the weight she might bear”) Why the shift of the man’s responsibility onto the woman?

      And you say “”I’d like to think my “Jill” would have felt comfortable taking that risk with me early on – the risk being that if I turned away hurt or deceived – Jill might be on her own with that baby. Her responsibility? Sure. But a big risk.” What does this mean? She (AND HUGO) took the risk when they had the sex. How is it Ted’s role to deal with what is really Hugo’s responsibility by dealing with the results of that risk-taking? The “White Knight” Ted you and Hugo seem to fantasize about creating has no responsibility to provide unconditional love to the woman and to deal with this situation or a mess that Hugo and the woman created – not Ted. Ted may have taken some foolish risks of his own in the sex he had with the woman, but he is dealing with those; Hugo is not.

      • SpudTater says:

        Except that it is made abundantly clear, several times, that Jill did not want Hugo in her life. It’s all very well talking about his “responsibilities”, but a woman should always have the choice to raise a child without the genetic father’s involvement, if both parties agree that it is for the best.

        • I disagree with this. I don’t think that the parents can overrule the child’s interest in clarity around his bio parentage and his interest in having actual, good quality parents.

          It was not Jill’s place or Hugo’s place to decide that ambiguity was better than clarity.

        • Just because parents can’t get along this doesn’t exonerate one of the parents of responsibility toward the child, both financially and the unpaid work of being a parent. If Hugo is the bio parent, he can sever his rights and give his obligations to Ted, of course, if Ted wants them, but Hugo and Jill can’t just override the child’s interest in knowing about his bio parents and in having actual parents.

    • Dan: I really do get what you’re saying and I see your point of view. I just disagree completely.

      I can only speak for myself, but I would never marry someone I couldn’t be completely honest with. And I mean completely. I aired every bit of dirty laundry I had to my then-girlfriend. When she didn’t run for the hills, she became my wife. When I try to put myself in Ted’s shoes it’s tough. If I had found out 13 years ago my future wife had slept with someone else and possibly fathered a child, I’m not sure how I would’ve reacted. But I can say one thing for sure: I would’ve respected (even grudgingly so) my girlfriend for coming clean.

      But the biggest issue I have with your statement is you seem to view the pregnancy as a mitigating factor for Jill’s dishonesty. Almost as if to say you can see why she lied, and the situation made it almost understandable. I think that’s fundamentally wrong. Faced with bringing a new life into the world and the gargantuan responsibilities that come with raising a child, I believe total honesty becomes MORE important. Not less.

      I just see this being a huge issue when/if the boy does find out. It’d be unfortunate for the thing to blow up their family when it could’ve been in the rearview mirror a decade ago.

    • Dan, I do not think it is difficult to judge people in these circumstances. Jill’s choice was whether to raise the child with a misfit, by herself, or with a man that could provide for her needs. She chose the latter, which is honestly a pretty selfish decision. It is not brave or courageous or even sympathetic. She may have tricked a man into believing her child was also his solely because of the man’s social status, and she withheld that information from, perhaps because if he found out he would not have married her. She should have taken responsibility for her actions and accepted the consequences of that. Now it is really too late to do that. If she reveals the truth now, assuming the child is not Ted’s, it will have a much worse outcome.

      As for the child needing to know, I would agree that he does not need to know, but he should know. It will eventually come out. At this point it is all about timing. Now is probably not the best time. Maybe once he is an adult would be better. But he and Ted deserve to know the truth so they can decide for themselves what to do.

      • SpudTater says:

        Entirely selfish? The decision on who to raise the child with was obviously taken in his best interest. It does sound selfish — and disrespectful — that she kept the truth from Ted, though.

  66. When men say they don’t have children that they’re aware of, some of them may be acting cute. But others are quite serious and don’t say it lightly. Many men that I know wonder what – or rather who – they may have sown.

    I cannot understand men’s perspective on birth control. Use it. Just use it. Every time. Alastair is fortunate in that he has loving parents. Many unplanned children are far less fortunate. You want to know more about this? visit a prison.

    • Kitty – I agree with much of what you say, except: “I cannot understand men’s perspective on birth control. Use it. Just use it. Every time. Alastair is fortunate in that he has loving parents.”

      Their perspective is easy to understand. It is a narcissistic desire to father a child without consequences. They pretend that sex doesn’t create babies – an intellectual gap that should prevent someone even graduating from high school, I think.

      They put women on the defensive with this attitude, which is painful to look at, but necessary for women to be able to make progress in their own lives.

      Finally, Hugo has no idea really whether Alastair has loving parents. He is not there. He is fantasizing this.

      • SpudTater says:

        Another tiresome pronouncement of what goes through men’s heads. If you want to know how men think, ask one. Don’t make random shit up based on your prejudices.

        • I was listening to a man “talk about how he thinks” – Hugo, in his writing about this situation.

          If you saw a generalization to all men in my comment, I apologize for any failure on my part to communicate that I was speaking of Hugo and other men who do this. Some men do understand that every time they have vaginal sexual intercourse they could be making a baby and take responsibility for that; and some get vasectomies, use condoms, and otherwise take responsibility for managing their reproductive potential.

          I would note, however, that if you can’t acknowledge that some men do engage in the narcissistic refusal to look at the biological reality of what they are doing (as well as in being “deadbeat dads” financially and “bad dads” in terms of the unpaid work of parenting), then you are as guilty of sexism as you accuse me of being; you see all men through a generalized ideal rather than the way many are behaving in reality.

  67. Jocelyn says:

    This is interesting. I am a product of an affair occurring 42 years ago by an attorney and his secretary. The attorney was married with three daughters, the secretary was in college – only 20. I was adopted by an amazing couple who have been solid parents. I have always known I was not their biological child. They had two sons and they will always be my brothers.

    I hired a private investigator after the birth of my second son about 10 years ago to find the source of my creation – I won’t call them parents. There is something about having children that encourages me to ponder the thread that connects biological families. Who was attached to MY belly button? My sons are my only thread and my greatest joy. I LOVE being their mom.

    I discovered very little from the PI – all files are off limits. Sometimes I wonder how a man can father four daughters but only raise three or a woman can give birth and leave a baby at the hospital. I am making it as a single mom – why couldn’t she? My answer: Just about anyone can create a life, but only parents can raise a child. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. Would this woman be an okay parent after she matured? Perhaps. Are the man’s three daughters being hurt by not knowing there’s a fourth? I don’t know. I can imagine how devastating it could be for them to learn their father was unfaithful to their mother. What about their mother?

    On one hand, I feel I have been denied a basic human right in not knowing who my “creators” are. Even at 41 years old, I’m not allowed to know. The man and woman who DO know, are protected with anonymity. I’m not angry or upset but I definitely think it is unfair. Many, many things that happen in life are unfair. It’s how I choose to react that matters. But this isn’t about just me – there are a whole lot of people who could be affected by the truth.

    HOWEVER, as a child, I don’t think I needed to know. I didn’t care. My parents were honest and loving – I had what I needed. I don’t know that I would have been equipped to deal with it. It is impossible to say what the impact would have been. I think we all have issues to wrestle with regardless of what happens to us. Blanket judgements are certainly not helpful in reconciling issues.

    • Jocelyn,

      I agree with you on almost everything. But the difference between you and the child in Hugo’s piece is that you knew you were adopted. This child (and the boy’s father) have no idea they might not be related.

      And in the end, that probably won’t matter. Ted sounds like a good guy who will continue to be an exemplary parent. But I think he deserves to know the truth. If the family is strong, they’ll get through it. And they’ll do so with a fresh slate and a life that isn’t built on deceit and manipulation.

      Because any way you slice it, Jill LIED and manipulated the situation to suit her needs.

    • Jocelyn-

      I appreciate your post. I do pro bono legal work representing the interests of children in these situations and I always find it helpful to hear an adult articulate how this was for them to be in this situation.

      The one thing I would say that I imagine is better about your situation is that people were honest? The bio parents were honest about being the bio parents and clearly severed the rights so that you could have adoptive parents who felt free to raise you as their own without fear you would be taken away from them. Also, your adoptive parents were honest with you about not being your bio parents. The facts were on the table, even though they had some emotional difficulty to them; this is the adult way for these people to handle this, I think, although I do not let the bio parents off the hook for their failure to deal with this in advance of having sex in the first place.

      I do think you are entitled to know something of your genetic history, for the purposes of your maximizing your health if for nothing else (if there is some genetic-linked disease you could prevent or mitigate, you need to know that, for example). I am not sure if the law has quite caught up to this issue yet, unfortunately.

      The emotional trauma you describe of wondering how these people could give you away when I am sure you were a lovely, beautiful baby with every right in the world (a) to feel fully wanted, cared for, bonded and parented by your bio parents and (b) to actually receive that from them, is very difficult I imagine. Looking at the trauma of this can be excruciatingly painful but, I am told by people who’ve been through it, very helpful in mitigating the intense emotional experience of it (although the feeling of trauma probably never fully goes away) and in freeing you to live the life you want and be the parent I imagine you want to be to your own children.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience.

  68. Sad, beautiful, hopeful.

    • Sad indeed and nothing here is beautiful or hopeful.

      Horrible, gut wrenching and immoral. The fact that Ted is expected to be a willing victim is disgusting. The hell with you and with our modern culture. BURN IT ALL.

  69. “It is Jill, not I, who carries the burden of an unresolved question through her relationship with her husband and her first-born son.”

    Wow, no mention of how the son is affected if he is Schwytzer’s. I think he is the one with the gravest suffering, perhaps so grave that it is hard for Hugo even to look at it. At best he has no relationship with his bio dad and thinks he shares genes with Ted when he may not (this can have all sorts of implications, for example, he may think he has genetic vulnerability to certain diseases he doesn’t, or, vice versa, not know he has genetic vulnerability to diseases that he could mitigate). At worst, he finds out this has been going on and he has been lied to; a foundational betrayal in his relationship with all three people, the woman, Ted, Hugo. Where else can he go? He is a child and dependent on these people who are untrustworthy and betrayers. A serious trauma.

    Hugo says “But the solution to the problem isn’t suspicion or frantic demands for paternity tests, Jerry Springer style. The solution isn’t even the rigorous use of contraception (though that’s a very good idea.) The solution is to remember that it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.”

    Rigorous use of contraception is critical; I am appalled that Hugo minimizes this.

    A high-drama demand for a paternity test, Jerry Springer style, is not in the child’s interest. But I do think a paternity test should be done for the child’s benefit and he should be told the truth if he is Hugo’s child. Then he is entitled also to some other answers from Hugo and the woman about why this happened and about his genetic history from Hugo.

    • And if Ted refuses to pay the father’s portion of the support of the child once he knows the boy is not his bio-son, then Hugo will need to pay that support. In this case, where the mother has been doing the unpaid work of raising the child (perhaps Ted has been doing this as well), the historical financial child support obligation on the bio father is likely to be greater than half, I believe, because the bio dad has not been doing the unpaid work. What happens next, i.e., the forward-going distribution of unpaid work and money, after the truth comes out, can be negotiated, I believe.

    • The son doesn’t care because the son doesn’t know. Ted is the one this child has memories with, Ted is the one who raised him. If Hugo were the biological dad, not having a relationship with him is not something to pity the child for, as the child has no memories of Hugo and has no idea Hugo even exists. I think Hugo’s indifference is smart. He’s being selfless by keeping this tidbit of knowledge to himself. Sometimes things are best left unknown. Imagine if Jill or Hugo did tell her husband all of this. Her life would be destroyed, his life would be destroyed, and so would her son’s. And Hugo’s might be too in some way! Jill seems like she just wants to avoid this mess for all of them. Their family would be thrown into emotional turmoil. Why would she want to do that to her family, especially this far down the road? To me, it would be selfish of her to tell her husband and son this just to relieve her own self of guilt because at this point that’s the only reason she would tell them is to remove the burden of guilt off her and place it on them. You could then argue their relationship is a lie, but years of assumed good memories between the three would beg otherwise.

      • Sometimes what we don’t know can hurt us profoundly, as I pointed out in my post above Hugo is not being selfless by being indifferent; he’s being selfish, just like the mother. They made a mess and they are seeking to sweep it under the rug; but the one most likely to be hurt, the boy, is someone who is getting no say in this – and can’t have a real say because he doesn’t have the adult mind to understand the ramifications.

        If you get the mess under the rug on the table, the woman, Hugo, Ted can then make adult decisions. It may still be that it ends up that Ted adopts the boy and Hugo can walk away without obligation and with indifference. Or maybe Ted will be the one to walk away without obligation and with indifference and Hugo will have to deal with this the rest of his life, but he made the choice to create the child, the child didn’t.

        What a mess.

      • Amber: Then I assume if Ted had an affair and cheated on Jill last year, he shouldn’t tell her. After all, that would hurt her, him and potentially destroy their lives right?

        It’s very off-putting to me that the solution by so many is simply dishonesty and sweeping everything unpleasant under the rug.

        • “It’s very off-putting to me that the solution by so many is simply dishonesty and sweeping everything unpleasant under the rug.”

          Totally agree, only it’s more than off-putting to me, it’s intensely frustrating as a taxpayer and someone who does volunteer work representing the interests of children in court. Why do I care more about other people’s children than they do?

          This is why I think we need some legal reform around the bio father’s rights and responsibilities. The ambiguity around this issue is making people believe that this sweeping under the rug is harmless – when it’s never harmless to the child.

          Because the baby grows in the woman’s body, she does get the trumping say on abortion, but with regard to everything else I think we should we reform the law so that both bio parents are jointly and severally liable for both financial support and parenting/child care, etc to adulthood. If they can find replacement parents, such as adoptive parents, OK. But they can’t sue each other or dump the responsibility on each other. The child has a right to pursue either or both of them for failure to meet these responsibilities and the state, or certified volunteer organizations, can step in and do this on behalf of the child since the child is a minor.

      • Amber, I understand where you are coming from, but practically speaking it would have been easier and better for Jill and Hugo to just do a paternity test thirteen years ago and tell Ted about the situation. It is unfair not to tell Ted because while he may have decided to raise the boy as his own, by not telling him Jill denied him his right to choice of whether he wanted to be a father. Likewise, it unfair to Alastair not to tell him because he might want to know and has the right to know who his biological father is. It may not make a difference to him. That is for him to decide.

        Hugo’s indifference seems less selfless and more narcissistic, e.g. “I’m doing a great thing by not getting involved”, although he is incidentally doing a great thing by giving the boy a chance to have a father who loves him.

        I do not think it would be selfish for Jill to admit her deception. It is something she should have done in the first place. It is possible she already revealed it and never told Hugo. It is just that this is an issue that Ted and Alastair have the right to know and they should be told, but not by Hugo. They should be told by Jill.

        • “although he is incidentally doing a great thing by giving the boy a chance to have a father who loves him”

          Not really. The rug could be pulled out from under that at any moment, and make everything that has happened to date in that child’s life, a fraud. And it likely will; often in our modern world, people ending up looking into genetic issues for health reasons if nothing else.

          Also, Hugo doesn’t know if Ted loves the child. He has no idea whether the guy is a good parent – or whether the mother is, either. He is really just fantasizing that.

          • Emily, you are correct that at any moment the truth could come out. Yet it is also possible that the truth already did come out. It is also possible that Ted might divorce Jill, but maintain his relationship with Alastair. A lot of scenarios are possible, which is this sort of thing should be revealed up front. As for Ted loving the boy, you are correct that we do not know if that is true. However, since most fathers love their children, we can assume that Ted probably loves his son.

            • I agree with you but you are still not looking at Hugo’s actual responsibilities now. He had responsibilities at the time when he had the reckless sex and didn’t discuss this possibility with the mother, when he suspected he might be the father during the pregnancy and/or infancy. But can’t fix those harms now; they stand forever.

              I think he still has responsibilities, which have become more difficult to fulfill because of the delay. They will only get worse if there is further delay, however. I think he should get a paternity test – but the child should not be told unless Hugo is the father.

              I am just a bystander, not the child, but I do a lot of work trying to look at these things from the child’s perspective (including listening to adults who were children in these circumstances) in order to articulate them for the minor child in legal matters. This whole situation infuriates me; the way Hugo is not looking at this carefully from the child’s perspective and grasping that the child needs both bio parents to look at the child’s perspective here; the fantasizing that the child has a good dad in Ted when he doesn’t really know what the circumstances of the child’s life; the original lack of adult communication and responsibility by both Hugo and the woman; the writing an article now in this proselytizing “good man” forum without getting input from experts who have dealt with these issues, including some objective outsider who can look at the child’s perspective, the possible displacement of responsibility from Hugo to Ted; Hugo’s patronizing the woman under the guise of feminism and not owning up to questions he needs to ask himself.

              These things just get worse the longer you keep them buried. And we all as a society end up dealing with and paying for these people’s irresponsibility and immaturity.

              • I do not see what Hugo’s responsibilities are at this point. He does not know if this is his child, and he cannot force a paternity test. At this point it is in the boy’s best interest to have nothing to do with Hugo, including for a host of reasons unrelated to this specific issue.

                I still see no reason to assume Ted is not a loving father. It is possible that he is not, but it is also possible and likely that he is.

                As for Alastair’s perspective, I cannot imagine that telling him anything right now would be good. My foster parents waited until their son was in high school to tell him that his father was not his biological father (his bio father died) and it crushed him. Alastair’s situation is potentially worse because Jill does not know who the father is. The boy not only has to cope with potentially not being the son of the man he calls Dad, but also with the chance that this man may now want nothing to do with him and that his mother deceived him and this man for her own benefit. Then add that he is a teenager in junior high. It is a mess waiting to happen.

                Now probably is not the best time to come forward, but at some point Jill should woman up and tell the truth, assuming she has not already. Her husband and son have the right to know and to make their own decisions.

                • Hugo’s obligation arises because he is one of the two bio parents potentially. Jill has failed in her obligation to represent the child’s interest clarify both the bio paternity and the relationship with Ted; she is at fault for that.

                  But just because she failed in her obligation doesn’t exonerate Hugo. If he is bio parent or has a reasonable suspicion he is, he has an obligation to stand up for the child’s interests in clarifying this situation.

                  You can argue that Ted may even have an obligation as well on behalf of the child here if he suspects he is not the father but has taken on custodial responsibilities.

                  The child has a right to clarity, and all these adults have some responsibility, to varying degrees, to get that for him.

      • Ignorance is not bliss.

  70. Great post …

    To the rest–Get over yourselves–Really.

    First, Ted most likely is the father–so it’s all much ado about nothing.
    Second, Jill made the *BEST choice for her *child*–so get off your useless high horses and think about someone other than yourself.

    Jill did.

    • So it’s OK to lie and mislead as long as you have your kid’s best interest at heart? I’m sorry, but what’s best for the child is a mother who is honest and upfront about things. We shouldn’t be able to manipulate and be dishonest and then blame it on our kids and get away with it. That’s just ridiculous.

      • Not just a mother who is honest and upfront about things, but a father as well (meaning the bio father as well as the father in his life as a dad), no?.

        • Emily: Of course the father as well. But in this case only the mother has been dishonest and I was referring specifically to Hugo’s example.

          Just to be clear, I don’t think Hugo is at fault or did anything wrong. He respected her wishes and (I’m guessing here but giving him the benefit of the doubt) would’ve talked about financial support and a fatherly role if she wanted that. But she didn’t. Instead she lied and definitively said Ted was the dad even though she can’t be sure that’s true.

          Also, what if Ted didn’t feel as strongly about Jill until he found out he was going to be a dad? Would he have stayed with her if he had known the child wasn’t his? We’ll never know. But I think it’s incredibly selfish and disrespectful that Jill manipulated the situation to best suit her without being up front and honest about the details. Now she’s created a life and a family based on a lie. Will it backfire? For the boy’s sake I hope not, but lies tend to catch up with all of us sooner or later.

          • I probably disagree with you that Hugo has no burden here. I think he should at least acknowledge more definitively that he made a mistake in not using contraception.

            More importantly, I also think that the fact that the baby grows in the woman’s body, and gives her a right to abort it, doesn’t mean that he completely defers to her judgment if she decides to keep the baby. He does have a choice here as well but his choice to create the child (whether it was conscious or unconscious) happened earlier. He is somewhat at the mother’s mercy on her decision whether to abort or not, but he needs to step up and look after that child’s interest in tandem with the mother if she decides to carry it and have it.

            If the baby is his, he can relinquish his parenting rights if he wishes (he should ideally make clear to the mother that he intends to do so at the time they learn of the pregnancy, or, preferably, before they even have sex in the first place), But he will likely still face some child support obligations even if he is not going to be a parent to the child.

            I personally would like to see our laws on this topic reformed. Perhaps so that the bio father has to declare whether he will/won’t be a parent as early as possible in the child’s life or pregnancy (it’s like the father’s portion of deciding whether to put the child up for adoption, which can be overruled by the mother). Then, if Hugo relinquishes parenting rights, Ted can adopt the boy if he wishes and assume all obligations and/or take the parenting obligation but still seek financial support from Hugo. The problem with this approach is that in some cases, where the bio father relinquishes rights and there’s no Ted in the picture, the mother may elect to have the baby and try to raise it on her own, which I suspect is more often than not very hard on the child both in terms of less financial support and less parenting; also we as taxpayers and anyone who volunteers in social services end up having to subsidize this. So maybe my solution doesn’t work and the father can’t give up parenting rights/obligations unless the mother does as well.

            At a minimum, I believe the child deserves an honest answer about his biological paternity.

            • I agree he made a mistake by forgoing contraception. But he is in no way a father to this child. Even if his genes are involved, he is just a biological factor, and not a father. Not legally, not emotionally, not monitarily. Ted is the child’s father.

              I don’t want to talk about Jill. Her decisions were very different from what mine would have been.

              • He is a biological father (if he is). That is the reality. You can’t pretend it away just because he is irresponsible and indifferent to the child. The child does not see it that way – not ever – and the child is what matters here; the child is a dependent and needs two parents and needs to know his/her genetic background. Far too many experts like Poulter have established that a bio father’s absence, lack of honesty (for example, not owning the fact he is the bio parent and clearly giving parenting rights to adoptive parents), lack of responsibility for getting these boundaries established and seeing that the child has adoptive parents if he is not going to provide financial support and parenting, are all things that traumatize the child.

      • By definition they don’t have the kid’s best interest at heart. Lying to a child – or creating a mystery – about something as foundational as this is not in the child’s interest.

    • The ends don’t justify the means.

    • GO TO HELL. Jill lied, abused and destroyed a man life. I can’t believe that people like you exist. I wish I could have meet you in person…

  71. It’s very easy to judge other people’s life decisions, and less easy to accept that all of us are muddling through life the best we can. Thanks to the author for sharing your story so honestly – hopefully it will give other men (and women) the courage to talk about their own experiences.

    • I agree that I am glad for the honest statement of Hugo’s viewpoint (and apparent indifference toward the child’s situation), but I think these stories about these serious issues would work better if people processed them before writing them in a magazine that purports to proselytize about “being a good man,” the way this magazine does?

      I wish they would talk about these issues with experts – someone uninvolved who is trying to look at this from the child’s perspective, people who know the law in this area – and then write the article. Otherwise, they are encouraging other people to make the same mistakes, and not warning of them of the consequences or making them aware of how they are hurting others when they do this.

      • Just to clarify, I am not glad Hugo is indifferent toward the child, I am just glad he is honest about that and doesn’t pretend to care about him or to be able to see things from his perspective when he apparently lacks that. But again, this is all the more reason that these articles would benefit from some input from people with more knowledge and perspective in these areas before they are written.

        • I think you’ve entirely misread the author’s intent. Clearly he cares about the child and the child’s perspective. That’s why he has resisted turning the child’s world upside down by confronting the reality that the child might be his. His concern for the child is so great that it trumps his own need to intervene for what would amount to mostly ego needs.

          To my way of thinking this is a far far cry from the “indifference” you seem to find here.

          • Exactly. I agree. Neither Jill nor Hugo want to turn the lives of their families upside down by divulging this one secret that Hugo may potentially be the father. It’s an act of selflessness on both their parts, I think. If either one were to tell, Jill would be telling to remove the guilt off her, and Hugo’s telling would be driven purely by ego. Those are not selfless reasons by any stretch of the imagination.

          • Hugo may have the intent to look at this from the child’s perspective, but he lacks the capacity to do so.

            He hasn’t thought through how it affects a child not to know his genetic parentage, for example, nor has he thought through how this will affect the child if it comes out now or later (rather than have been dealt with back when the conception became known, or preferably, before they had unprotected sex in the first place). He is unable to imagine the child’s experience and really see how his indifference is affecting the boy and will likely continue to affect him.

            We need two parents, not only to be created biologically, but because we are such complicated creatures, with complex brains and abilities, and take so long to reach adulthood and are dependent for so long and need so much nurturing/mentoring to get to adulthood. We would not have evolved to be who we are today as human beings without two parents, both biologically, and in the sense of looking after the child’s welfare and providing parenting.

            Unless Hugo focuses fully and unflinchingly on the needs of this child that may be his, this child may easily end up with only one parent if he is Hugo’s because Ted may, understandably, not want to provide parenting or financial support to the child. Also, the child will find that the first years of his life have been a fraud, a foundational betrayal and trauma he may never recover from.

            Even Hugo’s being the boy’s father is successfully kept hidden, the child has still been misinformed about his genetic lineage which has all sorts of ramifications and puts him at a disadvantage..

            The best thing to do is to get the facts on the table, I think. I wouldn’t tell the boy about the issue unless it turns out that Hugo is the actual father, and, in that case, I wouldn’t tell the boy until Ted has had a chance to decide what he is willing/not willing to do.

            • When I say “he lacks the capacity to do [look at this from the child’s perspective]” I don’t mean that he lacks this capacity forever, but more that he is not showing it here. To develop that capacity, you have to be aware of your own experience as a child. You need that self-awareness to be able to empathize with a child’s experience (when the actual child is there with you and communicating his/her experience) or imagine a child’s experience like in this situation where the child is not here and cannot articulate his/her experience on something this complicated, especially how it will affect him/her over time. You also have to be willing to listen to the stories of adults who were in these situations as children; they are often able to articulate what it was like, to varying degrees depending on how much of their trauma they’ve processed as adults.

            • What the hell. Nobody cares about Ted. He has a fate worse than rape and nobody is going to pay the price. Jill belongs in prison for her rape of Ted’s life and Hugo must pay Ted back for 14 years of child support.

              You sympathy to Hugo and Jill and the old “the child’s benefit” excuse is disgusting. Men are humans too and have rights to know they are raising their own BIOLOGICAL children.

              Make sure you tell the man you will spend your life with that these are your opinions so that he will be smart enough to get a paternity test and not live his entire life in a lie with a cuckolding supporter.

              • I can understand Ted being enraged by this as well, that is why I said it would be understandable if he didn’t want to raise the child any more. And this would be a serious trauma to Alastair to have had this foundational betrayal.

                II am concerned that you are more worried about Ted than the child. f you are not capable of looking at the child’s experience and can only see Ted’s, then you are not capable of being a good father, no?

                • Your argument about “protecting” the child is a total redherring. Informing Ted of the truth about the situation does not mean telling the child. Ted has legal and moral rights and he may CHOOSE to continue to “protect” the child and remain as his father even if he is not related by blood, but that is HIS decision to make, not YOURS and not Jill’s. If Ted was not the bio-dad and chose to dump the kid, then you could make judgements on his capabilities as a parent. But denying him his rights doesn’t just make Jill a bad person, but a bad MOTHER.

              • I’m not sure why you continue to draw a parallel between rape and the uncertainty of this child’s paternity. Rape is a brutal act of violence, an experience that may damage the victim the rest of her/his life. I see no such intent to harm or cause lasting damage in this story. To the contrary, I believe Hugo and “Jill” acted out of compassion and the desire to create a good life for “Alastair”. You continue commenting (angrily) as if you assume the child IS Hugo’s; there is no evidence to support this, which is an important premise of the essay.

                • I wouldn’t call it rape either, but it definitely qualifies as SEVERE emotional abuse! Abusers aren’t good people, or good parents.

  72. Jill is awful.

    Really. She’s terrible. And not for sleeping with multiple people at the same time. I don’t care about that. There weren’t any rings on anyone’s fingers and if there wasn’t a call to be exclusive then that’s fine. But she never told him his kid might not be his, and that is despicable.

    Perhaps Ted would’ve stayed and raised the kid on his own. More power to him. I agree that biology alone does not make one a father. My problem is he was never given that choice. Jill founded their relationship—at least in part (and a large one at that)—on a lie. So if I were Ted, I wouldn’t stop being a father simply because of a paternity test. But I’d give heavy consideration to dropping the title of husband to Jill, seeing as she’s lied to him for more than a decade.

    This story is genuinely upsetting because so many people will rise to Jill’s defense for being deceitful, manipulative and underhanded. I’m sure Ted is a good man, so let him prove it. Don’t lie to him because you’re afraid he won’t stick around.

    Wow…

  73. Jameseq says:

    So far two wicked and deceit-loving people have downvoted the sanity of my initial post. But, i dont see their posts…

  74. Jameseq says:

    So my second post was posted. Too much javascript and flash on this site makes for slow comment loading

  75. Jameseq says:

    Strike the words ‘how the hell’ from my above post, I was typing in conversational english. however upon rereading, i see those words could be misinterpreted as being scornful, which was not my intention.

  76. Jameseq says:

    Strike the words ‘how the hell’ from my above post, I was typing in conversational english. however upon rereading, i see those words could be misinterpreted as being scornful and rude, which was not my intention.

  77. Jameseq says:

    It is one thing for ted to choose to raise another man’s as his own. An adopted child would be mine completely. But he didn’t make the choice. The choice, if the son is yours, was made by jill

    The deception and deceit by jill is a wickedness upon ted. And given jill’s history, how the hell do you or ted know that the other two children are indeed ted’s.

    Finally If this is no big thing, then after childbirth we should just return random babies to mothers in the labour ward. No?

Trackbacks

  1. […] has already gone on record endorsing cuckolding and other ridiculous notions, so I’ve truly come to expect madness from him. What came about this […]

  2. […] I May Have a Son, but I’ll Never Know for Sure […]

  3. […] a case for more men being involved in the contraception questions, I don’t know what does.” I May Have a Son, but I’ll Never Know for Sure By Hugo […]

  4. […] father” and use him to provide your children with a better environment to grow up. (See Hugo Schwyzer, a feminist and a (former?) player who justify such behavior.) 3. If you are high status and have […]

  5. […] enduring monogamous relationships (if they want them) when they’re older.   …I do regret the pain I caused other people. Rightly so. But what my life has taught me is that insight and compassion are rooted in […]

  6. […] however, is not Schwyzer’s forté. In an article that enraged many an MRA, he argued that it doesn’t really matter whose kid you’re bringing up — “…it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.” In the article he […]

  7. […] that men never have problems and are always the cause of women’s problems. He talks about cuckolding another man and sees nothing wrong with his actions. Seems like he’s had his fun with the […]

  8. […] Hugo Schwayzer’s post  about his potential paternity to a 13-year-old-boy really brought me back to thinking about my dear old dad.  This quote in particular got to me: “The solution is to remember that it is love, not sperm, that makes a great dad.” […]

  9. […] I May Have a Son, but I’ll Never know for Sure […]

  10. […] feminist and male apologist Hugo Schwyzer recently let the blogosphere know that he had been party to a potential fraud involving the paternity of a child. The story goes like […]

  11. […] Hugo Schwyzer —In a medium-sized city in the Midwest, there’s a boy who will turn 13 next month. He lives with his parents, who were wed three months before he was born. He is tall, with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes. his name is Alastair*, and he may –- or may not -– be my son. More on that in a moment. […]

  12. […] been an interesting week, as the original story I wrote about a boy who might or might not be my biological child caused a minor kerfuffle in the blogosphere. My friend Katie sent me a text Monday night, saying […]

  13. […] Dude I totally just stole Schwyzer’s thunder on his ending also. Guess I owe him a drink. Sauce: Good Men Project […]

  14. […] Note: Hugo Schwyzer’s piece “I May Have a Son, but I’ll Never Know for Sure“, a version of which was printed on Jezebel, and   and excerpted Hugo’s own blog, […]

  15. […] morning longtime reader GudEnuf tipped me off to a piece that feminist apologist Hugo Schwyzer wrote for The Good Men Project, which has been reprinted at Jezebel. Many other bloggers will be […]

  16. […] ballistic (many were longer than my essay), but at least no one said “I hate you,” like they did to Hugo. […]

  17. […] to bed early” was interrupted by her link to a post by feminist writer Hugo Schwyzer titled “I May Have a Son, But I’ll Never Know for Sure”.  Susan covers the story well and Paul Elam hits some other notes that I’ll reiterate.  […]

  18. […] morning longtime reader GudEnuf tipped me off to a piece that feminist apologist Hugo Schwyzer wrote for The Good Men Project, which has been reprinted at Jezebel. Many other bloggers will be […]

  19. […] the comments below my last two posts (based on my “13 year-old son?” piece from Monday) seem hostile, you should see the ones that were deleted in the moderation queue. The […]

  20. […] Monday, Jezebel republished Hugo Schwyzer’s piece, “I May Have a Son, but I’ll Never Know for Sure.” As always, their commenters produced some quality, thoughtful, and insightful stuff. They […]

  21. […] just recently read an article from the “good men” project written by Hugo Schwyzer entitled; I may have a son, but I’ll […]

  22. […] and such wildly divergent reactions– than my column yesterday at the Good Men Project: I May Have a Son, But I’ll Never Know for Sure. Both at GMP and at Jezebel, where the piece was reprinted, there’s been an outpouring of […]

  23. […] just read a really traumatizing story at Good Men Project. The narrator tells us that he might have had a son with a woman he dated casually a while ago, but […]

  24. […] Project column runs one day early this week, and it’s turned out to be a controversial one: I May Have a Son, But I’ll Never Know for Sure. It’s a true story I tell, one I’ve not written about before. I had wanted to write a […]

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