Dear Annie: Recently, I was contacted by a person who had just received results from a popular online DNA test, which I had also taken some time ago. She asked who I was. We share a great deal of DNA, so, naturally, she assumed that she would know me. Well, after looking through our shared DNA matches and carrying out some additional research, I realized that I do know her. We lived next door to each other when we were very young, and played together nearly every day.
Our DNA clearly demonstrates that we are half-siblings sharing the same father — my dad, who was married to my mother at the time. While I'm thrilled that we've found each other after more than 50 years, we are both a bit shocked at the realization that things are not at all what they seemed, for either of us. She was not expecting these results, and she had simply been seeking information on the family of the man she had always believed to be her father.
I'm really on the fence as to whether I should tell my two brothers about this. One was very close to dad, and the other had a more troubled relationship with him. Regardless of our love and respect for our father, this information would undoubtedly flavor their feelings. Mom and Dad are gone. There is no one left who could answer the many questions this brings up. My friend did not contact me looking for a new family, and has not expressed interest in meeting her other half-siblings. On the other hand, this information belongs to them as much as it belongs to me.
I feel that it would be wrong to hide this but am not sure it would serve any positive purpose, and might well affect my brothers' memories of Dad negatively. Should I tell my brothers we have a half-sister, the result of a relationship outside of our parents' marriage? Will this accomplish anything other than bringing up questions that can no longer be answered? — Suddenly a Sister
Dear Suddenly a Sister: When it comes to questions this complicated, there are no right or wrong answers. But I'd lean toward sharing the news with your brothers, if only because they are your closest living family members and secrets build walls. Whichever you decide, I'd love to hear from you in the future about how it went.
Dear Annie: I have been dating my boyfriend for two years. When we first started dating, he was in a high-paying job. He ended up leaving that job because he wanted to pursue his passion, working in the arts.
I have been at a stable job during this time. There are lots of times where I'd like to go to a movie, concert or just out to eat, and I know he's feeling strapped for cash, so I tell him it will be my treat. But he gets uncomfortable and often just says he can't go. I think the issue is this notion he has that he needs to "support me" and "take care of me." He brings this up occasionally. I tell him that I'm doing just fine and not to worry about me. How can I make him see that I really don't need his financial support (and that it's OK to let me pick up the tab sometimes)? — Self-Supported
Dear Self-Supported: This is likely more about proving something to himself than to you. So, no matter how much reassurance you provide him, it might not be enough. That's not to discourage you from reassuring him, however. It's about all you can do. Hopefully, he can get to a place where he feels more confident in himself. Once he can divorce his self-worth from his net worth, you'll both be better off.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]