Discussing a paternity test with your partner can be a very embarrassing moment, especially if you are in a committed and stable relationship. You know that even bringing up the subject carefully, you may hurt your partner and you’ll start a very difficult discussion.
Have courage! You can break this deadlock and overcome this situation both as “winners.” Keep in mind that it is better to reveal paternity (or non-paternity) as soon as possible! The longer you wait, the more painful it will be. Here are some ideas to help you prepare for this difficult discussion:
If you are the potential father and are asking the mother to participate in a paternity test.
It is highly recommended to include the mother of the child in the analysis process, even if it is technically possible today to take the test without the mother. You might argue that she doesn’t need to know that you have doubts about a certain period in your relationship. When the laboratory receives a maternal DNA sample, father and child, geneticists have two DNA profiles compared with that of the child, which provides more accurate results. Most laboratories offer analysis of maternal sample without extra charge.
There are also many psychological benefits to associate the mother this test. This will allow you to share your concern with her, possibly speak about the period during which you had doubts about the future of your relationship, to discuss your past and current feelings. Involving the mother in the test might make it more bearable to wait for the test results. These moment are often very stressful. Even though it only takes a couple of days from the moment the samples are sent, it might seem ages.
If you have decided to ask her to participate in your paternity test, try to explain the following:
1. Explain calmly why you want to verify the paternity of a child
You should first explain why you want a paternity test, either to relieve you or to eliminate doubt. But avoid at all costs to bring the subject in an offensive or insulting tone, especially in the middle of an argument. Do not position yourself as a prosecutor. You’re more likely to have all the support of the mother of your child if you show that you respect her and her feelings.
2. Have a rational discussion about your future involvement in the life of the mother and child
To help her understand your approach, regardless of the future results of the test, it is important to talk to her about your intentions. If the result was to indicate that you are not the biological father of the child, you and your partner should have a clear idea of what will be the future of the child. Will you continue your relationship or break up? Do you want to remain part of the life of the child? If the test confirms that you are the biological father, but you want to separate from your partner, are you willing to assume legal responsibility for the child? An open and honest conversation on these topics will eliminate sources of confusion and unnecessary stress in the days when you start the paternity testing process.
If you are the mother and requesting a potential father to do a paternity test.
If you cannot or prefer not to have this conversation with the father of your children, know that it’s possible to do a paternity test without the father’s participation. In this case, you may request another member of his immediate family (another child, brother or sister of the father, the paternal grandparents) to participate in a paternity test. The closer the relationship, the more likely you are to have a conclusive test result. When the father is gone, you could use samples containing DNA from the father, even older, such as hair, nail clippings or a licked envelope. Geneticists can attempt to extract the paternal DNA and compare it to the DNA of your child.
If you have decided to involve the father in paternity testing process, here are some things that you should try to explain:
1. Explain why a paternity test is also in his interest
Explain that you think this test can also do him good. Tell him that you want to offer the possibility to know for sure that he is the biological father of your child. You want to reassure him and show him how much you care about him, that your intentions are good, and that you want to strengthen your relationship.
2. Discuss the future of your relationship and your child if the test results are positive or negative
The next subject is to agree on what will happen, given the results for the child and for your relationship. Express your wishes, your feelings: do you love each other forever? Give your opinion on these practical issues. Try to stay calm and have an open discussion about this.
Negative test? Will you stay together, even if the results of the paternity test was negative? What would be in the child’s best interest? How can the non-biological father continue to be involved in the life of the child?
Positive test? When parents do not live together, if the test confirmed that the father is the biological father of the child, is the father willing to assume the legal consequences of this fatherhood and recognize the child? Do the parents want to live together? Will the father (financially) support the mother and child? For couples already in a stable relationship, plan a moment of celebration and relaxation to celebrate the good news. Reassure your partner about your feelings for him.
In conclusion, we can say that asking your partner to do a paternity test is difficult. This is the first step in a number of changes in your relationship and there will be times of sadness and imbalance. Remember that this dialogue that will be beneficial for the future of your child and for creating your plans with your family. A child is sensitive to the tensions and unspoken, one day, he will need to know who are his/her biological parents. Finally remember that you are not alone, there are professionals, marriage and family counselors who can help you establish a dialogue with your partner.