DEAR HARRIETTE: Ten months ago, my girlfriend said that she was pregnant. It would be my first child, so as you can imagine, I was ecstatic and anxious. I loved her. Although this child wasn’t planned and came out of the blue, I was going to stay by her side and raise our baby.

I was seriously devoted. I attended every single checkup, ultrasound, pregnancy class, etc. I think I brought everything as far as necessities went for the baby. I attended the baby shower, proud that in a few months, I would be welcoming my firstborn into the world. As I thought more about it, though, it didn’t add up. The time we had sex and the time she conceived weren’t adding up.

I pushed my insecurities to the side. I still went into the delivery room and held her hand. But once my son was born, I just felt funny. I should have been happy, over the moon, overjoyed – but I wasn’t. I knew why. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. So I had a paternity test done while she was at work. A couple of weeks ago, the results came in the mail, giving me the worst news of my life: My son is not mine. I am only 19 percent likely to be his father. That means some other man is walking this Earth 80 percent likely his daddy.

I couldn’t believe it. I loved her so much. I don’t know how to accept it, and I hate her for doing this. What’s worse, I hate the kid. I hate him with every fiber in my being. I can’t even look at him. My now-ex-girlfriend confessed to it and left. She came back last night, saying that the real father won’t accept them and doesn’t believe her, basically leaving her with no place to stay.

I could be that guy and let her stay with me, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to be nice and thoughtful. Where was her thoughtfulness when she slept with another man and hid the truth from me for 10 months? What happened to her loyalty then? I hate them so much, but I know my mother raised me better. What do I do? Do I let her stay with me and live hating her and this kid? Or do I tell her to kick rocks? I’ve never been in this type of situation, and honestly I don’t want her back. I just feel like it would be a lot of drama and stress if I let her back in. – Hateful and Resenting, New Brunswick, New Jersey

DEAR HATEFUL AND RESENTING: Your hurt is raw right now, and perfectly understandable. While at the moment you feel duped and outraged, I recommend that you meditate on this. You did claim this child as your own. Since the birth father will not acknowledge him, you may want to think about reclaiming him. That doesn’t mean you have to build a relationship with her, although you could possibly forgive her over time. Think about the child with love, even though it’s tough today. The child is innocent and deserves love and protection. He could still be your child if you choose to love him despite the deceit that brought him into the world.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.