ASK AMY

DNA re­sults reveal se­cret half sib­ling

Baltimore Sun - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

Dear Amy: My wife (who is 64) re­cently dis­cov­ered a new cousin, “Meg,” (also in her 60s) through DNA test­ing. Meg lives in a dif­fer­ent part of the coun­try and al­though they have not met in per­son, they com­mu­ni­cate via so­cial me­dia and email, and have since be­come close friends.

My wife’s un­cle, at the time of his af­fair with Meg’s mom, was mar­ried with four young kids. He re­cently passed away.

My wife’s aunt is in her late 80s, suf­fers from de­men­tia and is in very poor health. She has no idea that her late hus­band fa­thered a child 60 years ago while they were mar­ried. My wife is close to her four cousins, who are not aware that they have a half sis­ter.

I be­lieve that my wife should let them know about Meg. If it were me, I would want to know if my fa­ther had sired an­other child and that I have a half sib­ling out there. My wife feels just the op­po­site and will not tell them.

Who is right? Dear Cu­ri­ous: I be­lieve you’re right, how­ever, you and I don’t share DNA with your wife or her cousin, and so while we have the right to our opin­ions, that’s about all we have.

DNA test­ing has ex­ploded in pop­u­lar­ity, and ques­tions about the un­fore­seen personal and re­la­tional com­pli­ca­tions aris­ing from it have flooded my in­box. We are in fairly un­charted ter­ri­tory. But the truth is the truth, and peo­ple de­serve to know the truth about them­selves.

I have long ad­vo­cated against hold­ing onto “fam­ily se­crets,” mainly be­cause peo­ple who keep se­crets are ba­si­cally de­cid­ing who de­serves the truth. I re­al­ize that peo­ple keep­ing se­crets are of­ten well-mean­ing. But I also be­lieve that most peo­ple can han­dle the truth, even if it is shock­ing or painful. (For in­stance, you and your wife don’t know whether her aunt knew about the in­fi­delity. She may have kept it se­cret.)

In this case, your wife has met a per­son who is so won­der­ful that they have be­come close friends. And yet your wife is deny­ing her cousins the op­por­tu­nity to also know her.

Your wife may be wait­ing for her aunt to die be­fore dis­clos­ing this news to her cousins. The same DNA test­ing and so­cial me­dia that brought her and Meg to­gether can also even­tu­ally lead Meg to her half sib­lings. Your wife should con­sider how her cousins will feel when they learn that she has had a se­cret re­la­tion­ship with their own sis­ter.

Dear Amy: My wife’s sis­ter is get­ting mar­ried in five months. Both my sis­ter-in-law and her fi­ance come from cul­tures that are not ac­cept­ing of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. I’ve spent only a few weeks to­tal around my sis­ter-in-law’s fi­ance, but af­ter a few meet­ings I started get­ting an impression that he might be at­tracted much more to men than to women.

He doesn’t seem overly phys­i­cally af­fec­tion­ate — and some­times seems down­right aver­sive — to my sis­ter-in-law, while I’ve seen him be quite af­fec­tion­ate to old male friends.

I like and re­spect him as a per­son, and he seems to mostly treat my sis­ter-in­law well. I’ve talked with my wife about this, and we are un­sure if we should do any­thing. Any thoughts? Dear Un­sure: Con­grat­u­la­tions! You are about to have a new in-law. And con­grat­u­la­tions! You don’t need to have an opin­ion — or do any­thing at all — re­gard­ing his sex­u­al­ity.

He might be straight but ac­cul­tur­ated to main­tain­ing a phys­i­cal dis­tance from women. He might be gay and clos­eted for cul­tural (or other) rea­sons.

Your sis­ter-in-law might be straight or gay and mar­ry­ing for love or for cul­tural or financial rea­sons.

The beauty is that un­less your in-laws so­licit your opin­ion on their mar­riage, you can, and should, ac­cept this cou­ple at face value.

Dear Amy: “Stuck in the Mid­dle” said her best friend gave her adult kids’ vi­o­lin away to Stuck’s son. Now the adult kids are pres­sur­ing her to get it back. Thank you for telling peo­ple that par­ents are not re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing their kids’ stuff for­ever! Dear Grate­ful: Our adult chil­dren might pre­fer that we main­tain their rooms as shrines and their pos­ses­sions as trea­sured mu­seum pieces, but at some point, if the kids don’t claim their stuff, own­er­ship re­verts to the par­ents.

Copy­right 2019 by Amy Dick­in­son

Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

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