Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Contacting half-sibling will require tact

RECOMMENDED READING


Q: My father passed away very suddenly several weeks ago. Though he had to cope with being a single dad my entire life — my mom died when I was a baby — he was the best dad any guy could ask for. He had a lot of relationships with women over the years but never remarried.

I was in my hometown clearing out my dad's things when I stumbled upon evidence that the woman he was seeing 25 years ago, when I was in high school, got pregnant and left town, apparently to avoid gossip and to give the child up for adoption. I was absolutely floored. My dad never told me any of this. I do remember this woman, though.

I'm a police officer, and I did some sleuthing to locate her. I found out she died three years ago, having never married but leaving behind a daughter who I believe has to be my half-sister! My sister and I both live less than two hours from each other.

I want to reach out to her through social media and try to arrange a meeting, but my girlfriend thinks I should let sleeping dogs lie. I have no idea what her mom told her about her father, but I strongly believe she has a right to know about him — and me. However, I have absolutely no wish to upset her or her life.

Any advice for me?

Want to Meet My Sister

A: The main problem in a situation like this is that you're the one with the information, but she's the one entitled to decide whether she wants this information, much less what she'll do with it. You can't know what your maybe-sister (let's call her "Missy") would want, but Missy can't decide what she wants without your deciding for her that she'd want to know. It's a catch-22.

So, reach out, but not to arrange a meeting. Mention the evidence you stumbled across, say you'd like to find out if you and she are related, and provide your contact information in case she's willing to talk to you. Say you will understand and accept it if she doesn't. No pressure.

Comments
Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Here's where to see Christmas lights in Tampa Bay

Once the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away, you can stop grumbling about it being too early for Christmas lights and decorations. Let the grand illuminations begin! Despite our tropical climate, or maybe because of it, Tampa Bay goes all out when ...
Published: 11/21/17
Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekendShoppingBlack Friday: Avoid the madness of the malls at a variety of indie shopping experiences this weekend. Skatepark of Tampa has one of the best sneaker selections in Tampa Bay and free skating all day Friday to celebrate. They’l...
Published: 11/21/17

Tell Me About It: Sister’s partner is a textbook abuser

Sister’s partner is a textbook abuserQ: My sister stays home with her two small children (2 and 1) while her partner works. Recently, during a fight, he took all of their money and left. He has since returned and they have patched things up for now. ...
Published: 11/21/17
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’ has a Dia de los Muertos theme and is, well, lifeless

Disney-Pixar’s Coco was more enjoyable three years ago when it was titled The Book of Life and came from Twentieth Century Fox.Both animated features spring from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, the annual "day of the dead" when departed rela...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Tell Me About It: Couple considers living on one income

Couple considers living on one incomeQ: My husband and I, both unhappy in our jobs, have determined that with some strategic penny-pinching, we can live on one salary for a while. The question now is, whose salary?The argument for my husband quitting...
Published: 11/20/17

Tell Me About It: Consistently treat twins as individuals

Consistently treat twins as individualsQ: We have 11-year-old identical twin boys who are wonderful and very different little guys. They both do well in school and their other activities, but "Dylan" is pulling ahead a bit, particularly in sports. We...
Published: 11/19/17
With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

With Harry Potter’s Christmas, Universal Orlando proves holidays are big business

ORLANDO — Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando in a new holiday attraction opening Saturday. In addition, Universal Studios has completely upsized its holiday parade with more Macy’s balloons, stunning floats and snowy effects ...
Published: 11/17/17
First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

First look: Harry Potter’s Christmas finally arrives at Universal Orlando

Christmas has finally come to Hogwarts at Universal Orlando, with the promise of warm butterbeer, a Frog Choir singing carols and a magical light show projected onto Hogwarts Castle nightly followed by fireworks. It opens to the public on Saturday. C...
Published: 11/17/17

Tell Me About It: Mom’s stroke threatens plans for children

Mom’s stroke threatens plans for childrenQ: Recently you gave advice about how it’s "never the perfect time to have a baby," and that’s true, but does the calculation change any if you’re planning to be a single mom?I’m 36 and a year ago I broke up w...
Published: 11/17/17

Tell Me About It: Wife uses silent treatment to be cruel

Wife uses silent treatment to be cruelQ: My wife is a wonderfully sensible person and appropriately sensitive. She is the oldest of three sisters and often feels left out. The age and geographical distance make it understandable that her two sisters ...
Published: 11/16/17