I did a DNA test seven months ago. It came back that the man who raised me is not my biological father. My heart skipped a beat, but I decided to meet my real father. We have developed a relationship, usually a good one, and I now introduce him as my father. My problem is that we hardly know each other or how we react to things.
I had a rough week. My older sister was very rude to me, I had a lot of exams to do and my best friend unexpectedly announced that she had to go away for six months. I just wanted to run “home” but then I realized I didn’t have a house to run to anymore. My dad doesn’t know I’m very clingy when I’m upset, so he wasn’t aware of my constant communication, and I’m sure it came across as annoying.
My mom and I don’t get along very well these days because she kept this secret from me for 25 years. I also usually just wanted to go to his house because my three little siblings are there, and I kind of feel like we’re a family. What do you think, Abby? AM I too affectionate? Is it understandable? How do I explain to him that I need to see them more? If he says no, how do I deal with that?
— Customize in Ohio
If you want a better relationship with your biological father, slow down and let him get to know you gradually. One way to accomplish this would be to fix fences with your mom, believe it or not. Yes, she should have told you about your biological father years ago, but she may have had reasons not to. One of them may have been shyness.
You ask, “Am I too clingy?” The answer is yes. You stand a better chance of building a solid relationship with your biological father, his wife, and your half-siblings if you don’t overwhelm them when you’re feeling so needy. Your chances of finding the emotional support you need are better if you talk to a counselor at your university’s student health center if you’re as stressed as you are.
Disagreements over money put sisters at odds
My sister and I inherited our mother’s apartment several years ago. She wants to sell it; I do not do. She’s been talking to me non-stop with crazy scenarios of what could happen to our heirs if we don’t sell, going so far as to threaten, “If we don’t sell it now, I don’t think I’ll sell.” I don’t even know what that means.
Tired of it, I agreed to sell. The problem is, I don’t even like her right now. I’m not angry – I just abhor the way she spoke to me. I don’t think I ever want to talk to her again, and I feel sad about that. Any ideas?
— Sibling disaster in California
It’s unfortunate (but not uncommon) for money to drive a wedge between family members. When your sister started her speech, you should have involved your lawyer in the negotiations. Since you wanted to keep the unit, you could have bought her half of her so you both had what you wanted. If it’s not too late, give it some thought. As for never wanting to talk to your sister, I hope your feelings will soften with time and fences can be repaired.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article originally appeared in The Providence Journal: Dear Abby: A young adult’s life is turned upside down by revelation