Dear Miss Emily:

I need advice since I have a very unique situation. My boyfriend of a year and half has a 10 y/o son who is not biologically his. He raised him from birth and when he was about 2 y/o he found out it wasn't his by a paternity test. My boyfriend got back into his life about a year after the test and has been part of his life since then. The weird twist is now his ex is in a relationship with the REAL father of the little boy, again.  He has been back for the past 3 years or so. What I'm having trouble with is understanding the relationship my boyfriend has with the little boy, the ex, and the real father. I feel they are taking advantage of him, since my boyfriend still pays for school supplies, buys him clothes, and picks him up every other weekend...except ALL holidays and his birthday. I love my boyfriend and hate to see him taken advantage of, but he is blinded by the love he has for the little boy.  I have a son of my own, but his father is no longer part of our lives. I would like my boyfriend to be a father figure to my son but it's nothing that I need or demand of him. It's very hard to accept this odd relationship between all three of them...what should I do?

-----------------------------Miss Emily's advice----------------------

What you need to do is find a way to accept it. He's done a wonderful thing by being a part of this boy's life, despite the odd circumstances. I say odd, but this is probably more common than we realize. Women often makes false claims of paternity, and when the unsuspecting, unrelated father gets involved, it's hard to sever a loving bond with a boy he believed to be his son -- not to mention what it would do to the innocent child.  In time, when the biological father gets more involved with the boy's life, your boyfriend will probably take more of a backseat when his life heads in a different direction. Right now, this kid is benefiting from all the attention. But don't misjudge what you think is this boy's mother and father taking advantage of your boyfriend. That's your slant on this, and not his, obviously. It would be a mistake if you were to meddle in this by pointing out what you believe is your boyfriend being duped by the others. It would undermine his earnest efforts, insult his intelligence, and make you look jealous of the relationship. Things can flow nicely if you let them and, hopefully, in time, your son will become more integrated in your boyfriend's life if you stay together.