December 21, 2010 in Features

Longtime love has tumultuous past

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: I am living with the girl I fell in love with 40 years ago. “Nancy” and I were separated during the Vietnam War. Last year, we reconnected, divorced our respective spouses and began planning a future together.

I told Nancy I wanted an honest relationship, and she agreed. She told me she was sexually abused by her boss’ son and never filed a complaint. Later, she was gang-raped by three men. She didn’t report that, either. Then she told me that while I was away in the Army, my now-deceased father raped her. She never mentioned this to anyone, but it was the reason she ended our relationship. She married a guy who cheated on her, and they divorced. While living with her second husband-to-be, she had an affair with his best friend and became pregnant.

When I visited her hometown, I met the man she had the affair with and realized how much her son resembles him. The second ex-husband raised both of her children from her first marriage, as well as the child she had while living with him. I think he deserves to know if he is the biological father of this child. I also think rapes and abuse should be brought up to the authorities. But Nancy doesn’t want to make waves. She especially doesn’t want to hurt her children’s relationship with the man who raised them.

I love this woman, and we are planning to marry in a few months. Knowing her past and not being able to help her worries me. – Vietnam Vet

Dear Vet: Nancy sounds like she’s had a life of emotional turmoil. The fact that her son resembles another man is not proof, but the child deserves to have an accurate medical history. You may be able to convince Nancy to discuss this with her son, but you should not take any action on your own. As for the various sexual assaults, there are statutes of limitation on reporting such crimes. The best thing you could do for Nancy is encourage her to get into counseling to deal with the trauma of her past.

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