17 Men Share Their Inspirational And Devastating Story Of Finding Out They’re ‘Not The Real Father’

Natalya Zaritskaya

1. The Trap

I was accused of being an 11-year-old’s father. The mother encouraged me to meet her. She looked like me, so I figured she was mine. I got to know her, and she was adorable. The mother was encouraging me to sign a paper before the results came back, and as much as I was convinced she was mine, I wasn’t going to sign my life away on a hunch. Test came back negative. I stopped being invited around.

In retrospect, I think the plan was to get me to want to sign the paper.


2. Stepping Up

Ex wife got mixed up with drugs, had an affair and a baby. We got divorced and she ended up on the streets with her newborn daughter. CPS took the child away and she’s been with me for almost 2 years now. Adoption should be final next month. The situation sucks but it’s not the child’s fault and she shouldn’t have to suffer.


3. “I Miss That Little Girl A Lot”

I raised a child for two years thinking she was mine. I didn’t want kids before she was born but I loved every minute of being with that little girl. The mom and I split up and I ended up moving about 2 hours away but drove back every weekend to be with my daughter. I was also paying $200 a week in child support. Then one Monday after I got home from visiting her I was served court documents stating that the mother didn’t think I was the father. We did a paternity test and she was right, I was not the father. I had the option to continue to be in her life but I couldn’t deal with it emotionally. The court continued to make me pay child support while she tried to find out who the father was. After the third guy she tested came back negative, the judge decided I didn’t have to pay child support anymore but could not get any of that money back. $20,000 I’ll never see again. I fell into a really dark place personally and professionally. It’s been about a year and a half since this happened and I’m still not over it. I have a lot of trust issues with people that I didn’t have before. I also regret leaving, every day. I miss that little girl a lot.


4. Just Happy To Have Her In My Life

I’ve known my youngest daughter is not mine genetically, I knew my (now ex-wife) had cheated on me. My youngest daughter has no contact with her mother or her real father. But She considers me her dad, and I consider her to be “my” daughter.

I am taking the proper measures to adopt her this year for her birthday. she’ll be 15. it’s been a tough road, with her mom, I do not understand why she dislikes her daughter, they just do not get along. I’m just happy to have her in my life.


5. Losing Timothy

It was a very strange, but very eye opening experience. It wasn’t malicious or anything, simply that she thought I was the father while later coming to find the doctor mathed wrong. We were a summer fling and her ex and I were around at about the same time. I took the role of father for her entire pregnancy and through his birth. I took off time from school and drove the eight hour round trip between my university and hometown several times instead of studying or going to a party or taking care of my relationships like all the other college students around me. My lovely girlfriend (not the mother) was more supporting than anyone could ask of a then 19-year-old and I’ll never be able to repay her for that immense amount of encouragement. When I got the call to book it back home, I drove way too fast and way too sleep deprived all the way, while anticipating how my life was going to be forever altered with this life that was now my responsibility to nurture and teach.

Timothy’s birth was beyond emotional and I felt an insanely intense connection form with this only seconds old child. His mother and I were on good terms and we just held him and cried. He had some heart issues and was in the NICU for a few days. I held him for hours. I was so deeply concerned for my sons well being. He was moments into his life and already had issues holding him back from the perfect world I was imagining for him.

I got an email about six weeks later with the results of the paternity test my mother insisted upon. “0% chance” of being Tims father. How do you deal with that? The emotions had been established. Did I simply let them go? I still haven’t really figured it out.

I was furious that I was forced to grow up for ‘no reason’ if that makes any sense.

Regardless, I had a strange mixture of grief lined relief and loss based sadness. I feel better for the experience and hope to have a friend-of-the-family type relationship with him one day. However, it’s simply been dismissed from my mind for sanities sake.


6. Didn’t Matter What The Test Said

I kept him and continued to raise him as mine.

His mother left us when he was 1. I went to a lawyer when he was 2 asking about the process of getting custody. This was early 2000’s, in Mississippi, and at the time (not sure if it’s changed), unless his mother formally established residence in another state, she was still fully in her rights to come back and take him whenever she wanted.

A lawyer advised that since it looked like it was going to be contested at the time, me to get a DNA test because the family judge I probably would be going in front of had recently had one of his cases overturned due to a conflicting paternity test. Apparently, from that point on, he was requiring them as a matter of course.

Came back negative. Got another one. Negative as well.

Waited a few months, called the lawyer back. The first question out of his mouth was about the results. I told him I was my son’s father. He said that’s fine, but what did the paternity test say. I told him the truth. He paused for a second, asked me if I was sure about what I wanted. I didn’t even take the time to think before blurting out yes.

That was 13 years ago.


7. A Short Fling

I dodged this one. Dated a young single mom once before I got married, she had one daughter barely a year old. We went out for a short period of time, broke it off and then she emailed me out of the blue about 6 months later saying she gave birth to my son.

I said, “Cool, let’s organize a DNA test before we talk any more about this.”

Never heard from her again.

I’m pretty sure she was pregnant at the time of us dating and then decided to pin it on me because I make good figures. Hell, that may be the only reason why she went out with me for all I know.


8. Coerced Into A Lie

In 2015, while still stationed in Pearl Harbor, I took leave to visit my family back home. During that time I hit it off with a girl who was a Navy veteran. My brother was the One who introduced us. One thing lead to another, I’m tied up on her bed and I found out just how good (or bad, depending) of a sailor she really was. She told me she was on the pill and I believed her.

Fast forward a few weeks and I get a text with a positive pregnancy test attached, two weeks before I was scheduled for a deployment. I freak out but there’s nothing I could really do. I fly her out to Hawaii last minute so we can talk about it in person, and because I kind of liked her.

Turns out she’s an awful human being, and that entire time she was there she did nothing but complain. I had work during the evenings so she stayed in my barracks room. In hindsight, maybe I should have rented a hotel for her. Too late. I ended up buying her a new ticket so she could leave earlier than scheduled because I was sick of her and she didn’t like being there.

Come time for the birth, I travel out to be there when the kid is popped out. The nurses asked– since I was not married–if I would sign papers saying that it is my child. I objected and asked for a paternity test. They said they can’t administer a test and we would have to go to the big city nearly 100 miles away. Faced with the prospect of a newborn, a scowling woman, and pushy nurses, I signed anyways.

I fly back and start sending her child support money. First, it was about $600 a month (I only made $2300/mo). But very quickly she started asking for more and more money until I was shelling out nearly $1100 a month and eating ramen to survive. It wasn’t until my command questioned why I had become so skinny lately that they understood what was going on. That same day, my boss took me in his car and drove me to the legal office and pretty much forced me to talk to a lawyer.

Considering I had been coerced, effectively, into abdicating my right to a paternity test, the state allowed the paternity case to be reopened. She wasn’t happy about all this, especially since police officers had to come to her house to escort her since she was refusing. By the end, she was thoroughly pissed at me and I was getting hundreds of angry texts until January 5th, 2016. One solitary text from her saying “I’m sorry.”

It wasn’t mine.

After finding out it wasn’t my kid and being cut off from money from me, she does the next best thing I can think of; she accuses some guy of rape in the hopes that she could siphon off money from some poor sap the same way she did to me. I have no doubt that she already knew she was pregnant when she met me and was looking for a sugar daddy to leech off of.

Moral of the story: always get a paternity test. Never pay child support without one, or in absence of a court order.


9. Paying Child Support For Someone Else’s Kids

I got divorced. I lost my house to my ex-wife and lost my car to my ex-wife. The court also ordered me to pay three years of alimony (50% of my salary), and ordered me to pay child support (33% of my salary) even though the kids aren’t mine.

I left the country and live and work overseas now. She took my house and car, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay alimony to her and child support for kids that aren’t even mine.


10. A Reconciliation, Of Sorts

I left her because she would never admit it. It was the lying. It wasn’t that I wasn’t the father. It’s heartbreakingly easy to love the child, but living with someone you know is willing to lie to your face is so hard. It took 4 yrs to break me down far enough to leave.

She moved to the other side of the country with the child (within 100 miles of where the real father lived). Called me a year or so later and asked if it was OK to come home. I swallowed my knee-jerk reaction of crying and saying “yes”, so I could croak out “I never want to see either of you again”. Somehow I thought the best thing I could do was back off so she would reconnect the child with her real father. I have no idea why that made sense at the time, but it did. As soon as I hung up the phone, we can fast forward past my alcoholism and risk-taking lifestyle of the next few years, and at a total of 10 yrs later…

I married and had 3 kids. One night my wife and I are hanging out on the porch together, sipping lemonade or something like that, and out of nowhere, I get a Facebook message from the child. 14 yrs old and full of anger, she lays into me about how much she hates me and how terrible I am. I respond “Hi”. She immediately replies with how terribly sorry she is and she has no idea why she said those things to me. We talked for a while, and it turned out her mother had been spun out of control for years. The most recent stunt had been about a year prior and involved getting a DUI with her two kids in the car. The state took the kids and put them into a crisis home. When their mother got herself together enough to get them back, the child we’re talking about refused to go. Staying in the home was better to her than going back to live with her alcoholic pill popping mother and her fly by night abusive boyfriends. So, she lived there for 3 months when a member of the church she was taken to by her neighbor (because the neighbor saw her lifestyle and wanted to help her by giving her a supportive community) came to see her. They had set up living arrangements with a member of the church for the child. She agreed to go. It was a lady in her 80s, so she didn’t have much in common with a 13 yr old from the wrong side of town or whatever. She had to attend Catholic school and church, and couldn’t handle it anymore after something like 9 months. Her craziness was ready to deliver. The old lady couldn’t take it anymore either. They were planning on placing her in a group home in the next couple of months.

My wife and I looked at each other and decided right there, we had to help. We contacted the church to find out what was true. They confirmed everything I shared here (I left out all the traumatized teen girl lies). So, after a few conversations, I told her I wasn’t her real father but would love if she came and joined our family. The church paid to fly her and the church member that came to get her out of the crisis home out to deliver her and see if we were also crackheads. Custody was easy to get because on paper I was still the father. The mother signed her over to me as long as I let her keep 50% legal custody in case something happened to me (my idea).

It was surreal. I remembered her, but she had zero recollection of me. I totally wanted to hug her, but she was like a feral animal. Good thing I brought a bag of homemade cookies. It was insanely hard to live together for the first 3.5 yrs. We’re not an overbearing family, but we do use a metric shit-ton of logic, reason, and accountability in our family. We have high expectations of our kids, but we’re fair as well. Not a place where you feel insecure constantly is what I’m getting at. She tried to take advantage and got shut down right quick every time. Eventually, we got through and she understood what a supportive, positive, charitable family that holds themselves accountable was all about.

She’s still crazy as hell, but the lying is obviously knee-jerk and gets turned around quickly now. Her risk-taking behavior is incredibly curbed compared to how she started and even curbed for most kids her age. She started learning how to think critically and to care for herself. It’s been a wild ride. She’s almost 19 and will be attending college before that happens, with the expectation that she finishes her general ed before doing anything else. She can take a break and do whatever she wants, even if it is to work at a gas station for the rest of her life, but she has to finish that general ed first.

Everyone is super proud of her and how she turned it around and broke the cycle her mother pushed on her. It’s pretty awesome.

Yeah, I got screwed for child support a couple times during that decade. Since I signed some paper at some point as an 18 yr old, apparently I had done something to screw myself out of ever being able to say I’m not the father. Child support would just get emptied out of my bank account by the thousands, going way into the negative and getting me reported to check systems. Those are the people who say you can’t have a bank account for 5 yrs just because. That happened twice, and both times they attached my wages as well for a few months. I always sorted it out, but not without getting screwed hard first.

How did I know I wasn’t the father? Her mom and I are white. The child is black. The mom spent three months in the Bahamas, and after being back for two months was four months pregnant. It was a big dramatic thing of denial and insisting on getting a different doctor’s opinion and all this stuff. We were kids. I understand it, I just wouldn’t ever live with or be around someone who is willing to lie to my face like that anymore.


11. Paternity In A Small Town

I broke up with a girl after less than a year, due to her loose morals, a short time later, she calls and says she’s pregnant, and because I had slept with her a few times after the breakup, I believed her when she said it was mine. Couldn’t convince her to abort, accepted the fact I was having a kid. Talked with her and her mother about names, and what would happen when it was born, went through all the emotions and feelings of being a father for the first time.

Fast forward to the due date, hadn’t heard from her at all, got a call from a friend to say they saw her at the hospital a few days earlier. Called her, ignored the anger I felt towards being left out of the birth, went to her house, the baby was asleep, sat there for a while, walked out not knowing how I felt about the situation.

Fast forward again, the child is 2 years old, bump into her at a store, she asks about child support, I see the kid, striking resemblance to a friend of mine. I say yes I’m happy to pay child support after a DNA test. More fast forwarding, test comes back negative, I remain humble and don’t give her any grief about it, few months later my friend calls and asks where I got the DNA test from.

Surprisingly, we are all friends nowadays, the daughter is 6, the father sees her occasionally, I stop by every now and then with my kids for play dates. Small town…


12. The Mental Anguish Is Unbearable

Has taken me years to recover, not sure I actually have. It has ruined other relationships that should have been amazing. 28 now and happened when I was 21. Most days I am fine, but when I am in a bad mood the memories rear their ugly little heads and bring me down. I haven’t met anyone in person who I can even remotely relate with because of it. My family supported me 100% of the way but it hits a man in the soul with such a primal force I don’t wish it upon my enemies. Any woman who does this to a child and man should be ashamed. The mental anguish can be horrible.


13. A Happy Ending

Got with a girl when she was young. Had sex a couple of times and we’re together for about a month and a half then broke up. 9 months later I get a call that a baby was born and she was mine. I met this tiny angel when she was 6 days old. Mom and I decided we would try to make it work together and she moved on with me and my parents. We get along great and everything is going well. Fast forward six months and this angel is starting to have features that are features a Black and white child should have and not not a Mexican and white child.

She finally tells me one morning that she has a confession. She had slept with a black guy the weekend we after we had broken up and legitimately did not know who the child belonged to. She figured that since we had been together more in the bed that the chances of the little girl being mine were greater.

Little one was born and she didn’t “look black” so she went with it was mine. I was pissed. We went and got a DNA test done and low and behold found out that she did not belong to me. We instantly broke up and she moved back in with her parents. Well during this time, my parents did not care and kept on babysitting the little one anytime they were able to.

Six months later, after seeing little one every now and again I decided to call mom and see if she wanted to maybe try again. I ended up adopting her and now she is all mine. Mom and I have been happily married for 12 years now and have two more that I am certain are mine. Couldn’t imagine my life any other way.


14. Soul searching

I found out my 3-year-old wasn’t mine about a year ago- when she was two. I wound up leaving the mother of the child and, for a time, the child.

After a few weeks of being on my ass and in a horrible place I kind of realized it didn’t matter what the biology said. I stayed broken up with the mother but I took her to court for visitation. Now I have my daughter half the time and I’ve never once regretted it. The most challenging thing has been my families reaction. Several members of my family strongly disagree with my decision which has created friction. But at the end of the day, I respected their choices to be involved or not be involved.

It’s hard to explain it to some people and I don’t know how I’ll explain it to my daughter when the time comes- but I know I’ve had a positive influence on her and that I’m a good dad- and more importantly that I want to be a dad. It’s just about the only thing I can truly say I’m good at.

The whole ordeal has made it clear that biology, to me, is overrated. When I look at her it’s true that I don’t see a child that looks like me staring back- but I see myself in her mannerisms and her speech patterns and her budding sense of right and wrong. The parts of me that are in her are so much deeper than her skin… And that’s what matters to me. Watching her step over an ant pile, look up at me and say “We don’t step on ants. They’re friends” or listening to her exclaim “Balls!” when she drops something is a lot more satisfying and important then the color of her eyes could ever be.

And I have faith that when she gets older and I’ve had that conversation with her she’ll see that I’m her dad not because of a function of law or a biological link- but because of the single best choice I’ve ever made.


15. Two Envelopes

I came back to two envelopes. One was my university results and the other was a DNA test.

Passed and negative. I was sure the kid was mine and had put off the test for three years. I made one final email to her, shaking with a mixture of rage, relief, and sadness, asking her to never contact me again.


16. Not The Father But Forced To Pay

In the process of fighting against paying child support.

I know my confession isn’t going to be popular around here, but it’s true. I pretty much took care of the kid for the first nine months of his life thinking (for the majority of the time) he was mine before it came out that his slag of a mum had been fucking around the entirety of our relationship. Furthermore, found out the pregnancy wasn’t accidental, but completely orchestrated to rope me into a marriage. Also, her “night job” wasn’t so much of a full-time third shift job, but mostly a part-time job and her fucking random dudes and her boss. After nine months she told me she was leaving with the child over dinner with her friends, who we were double dating with. Also, she was fucking them and moving in with them. After about three months of that, she moved across the country and disappeared. The cherry on top was that she wanted nothing to do with me until I cut my mother out of my life (for marrying a man who abused me as a child, among her own abusiveness and other things), so my mother (desperate to have someone in her life and refusing to believe the child wasn’t her grandson) did something to give her way too much personal information on me (I don’t know what, but my mother more than likely gave her my inheritance from my grandmother passing). She randomly emailed me one day with a list of demands from me or she was going to sue for back child support (blackmail). I refused because legally I could still be held accountable for child support even if I paid her list of demands off, which is probably her end game anyway.

Not that anyone here, or the court, cares, but her manipulations pushed me way over the edge and left me pretty suicidal for years.

And for those wondering how I’m being held accountable for child support: before I knew about the fuck ton of fuckery she was doing, I signed the affidavit for the child at the hospital. I didn’t really know what I was doing as I was stupid, 21, and spent the last 72 hours with her and the child and barely any sleep through the labor.


17. Trying To Do The Right Thing

He lives with his mom now. I see him sometimes. I was living as a single dad with full custody. I had him till he was 8. I always suspected. From pregnancy to the moment I held him at birth. I knew. But I was 18. She was 16. I tried to do the right thing. It kind of slowly destroyed me inside over years until I got a test done. I guess it finalized my feelings. I love him. But he isn’t mine. He should be with his mom. He has a step dad and two brothers there. He still calls me dad and he knows. But I have no rights I am not legally a parent. I see him when my mom takes him for visits sometimes. I don’t want him to think I abandoned him but I couldn’t continue a life based on a lie. A falsity that I would never have agreed to. I kind if suspect to get downvoted to hell as people tend to scream how blood doesn’t matter. It’s not about that. Maybe I can’t explain it, even to myself. But this path feels like the right thing to do. I have to believe my choices are right. And that in the special time I did have with that boy that I impacted his life for the better.

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Lisa Woods

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