Q. I am one of the many who have found a half-sibling through DNA testing. The birth mother never told my father that she was pregnant, and the child was put up for adoption over 50 years ago.
I told my dad about this and he reacted by getting angry and stopping the conversation by telling me to not have contact with the new half-sibling. I gave it a few months and gently brought it up again, only to be shut down right away. He does not wish to discuss it. I was going to ask him to tell my sibling that we have a newly discovered half-sibling out there, but I know that is out of the question.
I am excited about my new relative and would like to meet and get to know them. I wish my dad would be open to discussing this. Before moving forward, I would like to tell my other sibling about our new half-sibling. I am not sure if they will share my excitement but then they can decide if they’d like to pursue a relationship as well. I worry that I am going behind my dad’s back and he’ll be furious that I have shared his secret. The cat is already out of the bag; all it would take is another relative to take a DNA test for someone else to tell my sibling.
I am feeling quite anxious about having to keep this a secret. How do I tell my sibling that we have a half-sibling if our father is not open to discussing this? I’d like to move forward.
A. Your father had no knowledge of this child he fathered, so the existence of your half-sibling has not been a long-held secret. Don’t hold this as a secret now.
Your father’s response to this is completely understandable. He feels betrayed and, of course, he is unhappy about it. He does not want to face the imponderable complications of this possible relationship. He assumes it will upend your family, but, if anecdotal evidence I’ve collected on DNA discoveries is accurate, the toughest part of the experience is the anticipation. Your father will not give you permission to pursue this. Understand it and forgive him for his own reaction.
I suggest you take this in discreet stages. Keep your own expectations modest. After you make some initial contact with your half-sibling, tell your father that you are going to inform your other sibling. Reassure your father every step of the way, and if he refuses to discuss it, proceed on your own.
Q. I believe my husband is cheating on me. I went through his phone once and he had another girl’s naked picture on it.
He is also on a dating website talking to other girls.
Amy, he works very long hours and comes home extremely exhausted.
He is a delivery driver, and I believe he may be delivering more than just packages.
He hardly looks at me or talks to me anymore, and our sex life has been devastating. What should I do? Please help.
A. Instincts are powerful. But you also seem to have ample evidence of your husband’s extracurricular activities. If your husband is having sex with random people, you should get tested for STDs.
Surely the holiday season was an especially busy time for your package-toting Casanova. Now it’s your turn. You should schedule a special delivery: Hand him an ultimatum.
You two need to talk, urgently, about your relationship. And then you have a tough decision to make. Marriages can recover from infidelity — or suspected infidelity. But you can’t recover without communication and trust.
Q. Thank you for your literacy campaign, promoting the idea of giving books to children at Christmastime.
Ever since my three daughters were babies, our tradition has been to give a book on the first night of Hanukkah.
The kids are now between the ages of 18 and 25, and they still anticipate their first night book.
Even though the authors have evolved from Sandra Boynton and Dr. Seuss to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Lin-Manuel Miranda, I have nurtured their literacy and love of books, which I hope they pass to their own children someday.
A. Ever since announcing my annual Book on Every Bed literacy campaign, I have been flooded with beautiful literacy stories. Reading them is a warm and wonderful way to get through these dark, cold days. Your story is lovely.Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.