Dear Amy: A few years ago my cousin was absolutely entrenched in doing my father’s side of the family’s ancestral history (our fathers were brothers).
He even went to our paternal grandfather’s native country in Europe to continue his search. While there, he located many distant relatives.
Then he did his own DNA test. He did not share the results with me until I shared mine with him.
My results showed 50 percent of our father’s heritage, while his DNA showed absolutely no connection between us.
He and I should share the same half of DNA as his father and mine were brothers, right?
Since then, he has ostracized the family, claiming that some of us knew this and never told him (he is the youngest). This is NOT true! Both of his parents are deceased.
Now he refuses to share all this knowledge he obtained through his discoveries of our family.
He has always been my cousin. This infidelity on his mother’s part has no bearing on how I feel about him being in the family.
Before this we all got along great, and now he wants nothing to do with any of us.
How do I let him know that his DNA doesn’t matter to me?
– DNA Dispute
Dear Dispute: First cousins won’t always share half of their DNA, but you should definitely share some DNA. According to you, you and your cousin have no DNA connection.
You are all assuming that your cousin’s mother was unfaithful to his father, resulting in the lack of a DNA tie to your father’s side of the family.
Isn’t it also possible that she conceived her youngest son through sperm donation?
Regardless of the answer, your cousin is obviously going through a very difficult time, and I hope you understand how this information might have completely upended his sense of his own identity, especially since he seems to have been so interested in and attached to this kinship with his father’s side of the family.
Get in touch with him and simply say, “I understand that this might be very difficult for you, but you are my cousin – first, last, and always. I miss you and would very much like to stay connected.”
Do not expect him to share his genealogical research with you. This is the source of great pain for him. Let it go.
Dear Amy: Sometime after we got married, I went through my wife’s phone and saw that she was still communicating with her exes.
As they made advances toward her sexually, she never rejected their advances and remained in communication with them.
I confronted her about this, and she said she was ignoring them. Now she has changed her number, so they can’t contact her.
I feel that was cowardly of her. I’d feel more comfortable if she rejected them, outright.
I believe that by only changing her number, she can always call them back if our marriage doesn’t last.
What’s your take on this?
– Confused Husband
Dear Confused: My take is that no one – you, your wife, or her exes – seems to expect your marriage to last.
I agree with your overall point of view that once she married you, your wife should not engage in ongoing communication with former romantic or sexual partners, unless these people are in an active friendship with both of you.
It doesn’t matter what phone number your wife chooses – any person can contact any other person, through social media, instant messenger, email, postal mail, smoke signals, semaphore flag signals, or Bob Woodward style — through leaving a flag in a flowerpot.
Most important is the lack of trust between you two. You should not feel the need to go through your wife’s phone and police her contact with other people. The fact that you do indicates the lack of trust at the core of your relationship.
Dear Amy: I identified with “Stoner – Trying to do Better.” Like him, I also struggled to manage my cannabis habit.
I just wish that you (and others) didn’t maintain this totally ’50s attitude that pot use is bad. Would you say the same about alcohol? Cigarettes?
Dear Upset: Nothing in my answer conveyed a value judgment about pot use. It seemed that he had used it more or less effectively to manage underlying symptoms. Now he wanted to stop.
And yes, if someone wrote to me saying that they were trying to kick their daily alcohol or nicotine use, I would support their effort to stop.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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