DEAR ABBY: I recently found out who my biological father is/was. Apparently, my mother and this man had an affair more than 50 years ago. There’s only speculation as to why.
What bothers me is, I have always lived no more than 15 miles from this man and his family. I tried reaching out to the one half-sibling I am most knowledgeable about. They have made no attempt to contact me about this elephant in the room. I don’t know if it’s shame or embarrassment on their part.
I am a respectable man with a great family. Why someone would not want to reach out and at least get to know a brother they supposedly never knew existed is beyond me. We’ve wasted way too many years kept in the dark about this well-kept secret. My thought is that you can never have too big a family — even if we are only half-siblings. Should I continue attempting to reach them, or just sweep all of this under the rug and pretend it never happened? — EXPANDING THE FAMILY IN OHIO
DEAR EXPANDING: Not everyone is as open-hearted or inclusive as you. After half a century, your birth father’s family may prefer not to open this chapter of their father’s life, and they should not be forced to. Because you have already reached out to them without getting a response, I don’t think you should push the issue. You wrote that you are a respectable man with a great family. Count your blessings, because not everyone is so fortunate.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 42-year-old man who lives at home with my parents after getting out of an abusive relationship. A full night’s sleep is important to me and waking up early from avoidable noises is upsetting because I am unable to go back to sleep. My mother’s cellphone is what’s waking me up.
I have asked her numerous times to turn off the ringer at night. She has no reason to be a go-to for emergencies, yet she acts as if she is. The last time I asked, she actually told me the phone calls she missed (because she forgot to turn her ringer back on) are more important than my sleep.
She says she’s glad I’m back living at home because I am making life a little easier for them. They are getting old, and I have come to the conclusion I will be here taking care of my parents in the coming years.
I have told Mom numerous times to have her hearing checked, too, to no avail. I think that may be why her cellphone ringer blares so loudly. On numerous occasions I have been sitting upstairs and heard Dad ask her a question in the living room, and Mom, who is sitting right next to him, says, “What?” She’s in denial about her hearing.
I would rather not move out, but I am about ready to do it for peace and quiet. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? — INJURED EARS IN ILLINOIS
DEAR INJURED EARS: Yes, I do. Ask your mother to put her phone on vibrate at bedtime or use its do-not-disturb feature between certain hours. If she refuses, then purchasing a white noise machine might be a solution.
Suggest to your father that he inform their doctor about your mother’s hearing problems. Perhaps if the doctor tells her it’s time to have her hearing checked by an audiologist, she won’t tune out the message.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)