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Abby: Baby’s birth spurs interest in dad’s family


Dear Abby: My twin sister and I were raised by a single mom. Because Mom received welfare benefits, she was required to list “potential” fathers in order to receive aid. After a time, the state required paternity tests be given to the men she had listed, so we had no idea who our biological father was until we were 16.

Although paternity was proven, he never attempted to contact us. I recently learned that he died several years ago at a relatively young age (mid-50s). I also discovered that he had at least two other children, one of whom I was able to locate on Facebook.

I don’t want to cause any undue distress by reaching out to them. However, I’m curious about any historical information they could provide, particularly medical or hereditary issues I should know about. All of a sudden I have this overwhelming need for information, especially now that I have a child.

Should I try and contact my half-siblings, or let it go and hope there’s nothing there to find out? I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I feel I just have to know.

Needs To Know

Dear Needs To Know: The revelation that you and your sister exist may come as a shock to your half-siblings, so be prepared. Ideally, the way to go about asking for the information you’re seeking would be through an intermediary such as a lawyer. However, if you can’t afford one, then write a letter explaining who you are and that you are a parent and would like any information that can be provided about any genetic illnesses that run in your father’s side of the family, including his cause of death. While you’re at it, be sure to mention that you are not trying to intrude — only to find information that may be pertinent to you, your twin sister and your child.

Dear Abby: My wife of 37 years is a perfectionist. I am not. Her father used to call her “Little Miss Perfect.” I try to help around the house, but she always comes afterward to “correct” my mistakes and make things “perfect.” I am not sloppy about my work — just not up to her standards.

Two examples: I make the bed; she remakes it. I can’t even mow the grass correctly because she likes diagonal cuttings and I cut parallel to the street. After one day, there’s no difference. As a result, I have given up helping.

This doesn’t bother her one bit; she gladly does all the work. Further, she’s busy ALL day. We never have a chance to talk. When we do, it is always trivial: the weather, our schedule or her job at work.

I am retired and find this disconcerting. When I try my hobbies, she’s all over me, so I quit them. Most men would trade places in an instant, but I’m just trying to figure out how to live with her and myself. I try to golf a lot.

Unhappy Hubby

in Michigan

Dear Unhappy Hubby: Has it occurred to you that your wife may suffer from OCD, and that’s the reason everything has to be “perfect”? It appears the only thing that isn’t perfect is your marriage.

Perhaps it’s time you talked to her about how her obsession with perfection makes you feel — because from where I sit, it comes across as a passive-aggressive putdown. Unless she’s willing to recognize that what she’s doing isn’t healthy for your marriage and consider professional help, nothing will change.

In the meantime, consider more hobbies you can do on your own or with friends — hiking, hunting, skiing, fishing, etc.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.