Dear Abby: I just found out my elderly dad has a secret daughter

Now in his 80s, he may or may not know about the child he fathered at 17, and bringing it up could cause stress.

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DEAR ABBY: I had pretty much an ideal childhood. My parents have never had issues that I ever saw. We went to church every Sunday, gathered with family often, etc. I’m now grown, and my parents are in their mid-80s.

Out of the blue, I got a message on social media from a woman who says she’s my father’s daughter from when he was 17 years old, before he met my mom. She found out through DNA testing. She is very nice about whether I tell my parents about her.

Their health is beginning to deteriorate, and I don’t want to stress them more than they can handle. At the same time, I don’t know if it is right for me to withhold this information from my dad. I feel so alone in making this choice, so please give me any advice. — SECRET-HOLDER IN GEORGIA

DEAR SECRET-HOLDER: Your father may be unaware that he fathered a child at 17. (Back then, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy was sometimes kept secret and the baby placed for adoption.) He should be given the information privately so he can decide if he would like to meet his daughter and whether, at this late date, your mother needs to know.

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I began dating 2 1/2 years ago. We are in our late 50s. We moved in together four months ago and took out an equity loan for improvements on the house. Until we moved in, we were planning our future together, traveling and having fun. Once we moved in, however, everything changed.

Two months later, she came to me saying “something is not right.” She says she loves me, she’s attracted to me and doesn’t want me to leave. She says I treat her like she’s never been treated before, and I’m so good to her (her words). But I feel like I have been put into the friend zone. This usually happens after a couple of dates, not years. It’s tearing her up because she doesn’t want to feel this way, and it has me stumped about how to handle it. Is it cold feet? — BAD CHANGE IN NEW YORK

DEAR BAD CHANGE: I don’t know, you don’t know and it is possible that SHE can’t identify what’s “wrong” either. Do not procrastinate. Get a referral to a licensed marriage and family therapist for pre-marital counseling. If the two of you do this, whatever is bothering her will be revealed. If she refuses to go, seek counseling without her. (I hope there is no prepayment penalty on that loan.)

DEAR ABBY: I am a friendly person who can get along with most everyone. I am petite in height — 4-foot-8, to be exact. Recently, while my husband and I were at a social gathering, one of the male guests approached me and commented, “Who let a child in here?” I was not only hurt, but also offended at his rudeness. My husband is much taller than I am, and he has never mistaken me for a child. I’m tired of being judged for my height. Any thoughts? — TINY BUT A TRUE ADULT

DEAR TINY: Was the guest who said it drunk? I can’t otherwise account for his egregious breach of etiquette in making a comment about the appearance of another guest at the gathering. I hope you ignore his tasteless comment. (What a nitwit.)

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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