Man is disinclined to meet with newfound half-sisters

Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: My father, who has been gone for 40 years, had many good qualities, and he provided well for our family. I loved him and treasure many of the memories I have of my time with him. However, his deep-seated lechery overwhelmed his life and destroyed what might have been an idyllic '50s youth for me. It caused great pain and embarrassment to my mother, my sister and me.

I recently received communication from four different half-sisters I didn't know of who discovered our kinship through DNA tracking. I am indisposed to a reunion. I may have felt differently at one time, but I am 81 now. I no longer travel and am leaning more toward releasing relationships than making new ones. My wife has had a stroke, so we pretty much confine our entertaining to our children and grandchildren.

I deeply regret any pain my father's libidinous nature has caused, but I am not inclined to spend time dealing with the results of his affairs. I don't want to be cold. They seem nice, but it's too late in the game for me. Do you agree? -- ANCIENT HISTORY

DEAR HISTORY: I do agree. Because your father's flings caused you, your mother and your sister pain and embarrassment, I see no reason for you to engage with these individuals if you don't wish to. That said, if they have questions about your father's medical history that could be relevant to them, consider providing the answers.

DEAR ABBY: My brother and his wife have been married for 40 years. They moved out of state 10 years ago. We no longer get together for holidays, and the only time I talk to my brother is when it concerns our parents (whom I take care of).

Two years ago, my sister-in-law informed me that she never really cared for me and has issues with my family. When I asked her why, she accused me of being a liar. I don't know why she feels this way. I talked to my brother about it, and his answer was vague.

Although my sister-in-law has issues, she still wants to exchange birthday and Christmas presents. I am finding it difficult to purchase a gift for someone who doesn't care for me. Is there a nice way to say I no longer want to exchange gifts and would rather we just exchange cards? I don't want to cause another family feud. -- CURTAILING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CURTAILING: You should have stopped the gift exchange two years ago when your sister-in-law told you she had never really cared for you. Tell your brother you no longer feel the joy in it that you did before his wife told you what she did and that you would prefer to send cards from now on. Don't worry about causing another family feud. Your family is already fractured, and I doubt that once your parents are gone, he and his wife will be sticking around, so don't be surprised when it happens. You are a good daughter, and you have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I are in our early 50s. We dated for two years and have been engaged for three months. She's a wonderful lady, and I can't imagine life without her.

I knew she was bi-curious a year ago when she told me one of her married female co-workers was flirting with her and she kind of enjoyed it. Since then, their relationship has grown, and they get together every couple of weeks for intimacy in our home. They have even asked me to join them, which I haven't done yet.

My fiancee insists she isn't a lesbian or bisexual and what she and her friend are doing is innocent fun, but I'm not so sure. So far, I haven't made an issue of it and go to bed at my usual time when her friend visits so they can have their fun. But have I opened Pandora's box by being so agreeable?

She promises no romantic feelings are involved, that her friend is no threat to our relationship and the two of them are just blowing off steam. Our love life is great, and she says nothing can replace us in the bedroom. Should I continue to look the other way? Or is this a fork in the road that could lead to a life of "anything goes"? -- CONFOUNDED IN KENTUCKY

DEAR CONFOUNDED: This is not happening because you "allowed" it. It is happening because this is what your fiancee feels she needs. Not knowing her, I can't predict where she is on a Kinsey scale -- a one being entirely heterosexual and a 10 being entirely homosexual. At this point, I don't think she can either.

Unless you are comfortable with the idea of living this way, I urge you to have a very long engagement because it is anybody's guess how this will turn out. The three of you are all consenting adults, so I won't judge. (I can't help but wonder if the spouse of your fiancee's lover knows about the steam they are blowing off.) I must, however, point out that if a traditional, monogamous marriage is what you want, your fiancee may not be the lady for you.

DEAR ABBY: I am 15, and in my job I work with some of my cousins and siblings. There are other people, too. I make friends easily because I can talk to everyone.

Everyone I work with says I'm flirting with two guys who are just my friends. I don't want people to think I'm flirting because I'm not. How can I convince people that we are just friends and nothing more? -- FRIENDLY TEEN IN IDAHO

DEAR TEEN: The individuals who are accusing you of flirting may be teasing you to get a reaction. Or, they may be trying to point out something important that you should keep in mind when you are working. Working with someone is different from hanging out. The relationships are a little more formal (and serious) than in a social environment away from the job.

This will not be your only venture into the workforce, and when you are a little older, you will realize that rules discouraging personal relationships between co-workers, both written and unwritten, are put in place to protect you and the business. So rather than work on convincing "people" that you're not flirting, be your friendly self but in a more professional way.