Dear Abby: I took a DNA test seven months ago. It came back that the man who raised me is not my biological father. My heart dropped, but I decided to meet my real dad. We have formed a relationship, mostly a good one, and I introduce him as my dad now. My problem is, we hardly know each other or how we react to things.
I had a hard week. My older sister was very rude to me, I had many college exams to take, and my best friend unexpectedly announced she had to go away for six months. I just wanted to run “home,” but then I realized I no longer have a home to run to. My dad doesn’t know I’m very clingy when I’m upset, so he was oblivious to my constant communications, and I’m sure it came off as annoying.
My mother and I don’t get along these days because she hid this secret from me for years. Also, I mostly just wanted to go over to his house because my three little siblings are there, and I actually feel like we’re a family. What do you think, Abby? AM I too clingy? Is it understandable? How do I explain to him that I need to see them more? If he tells me no, how do I handle that?
— Adjusting in Ohio
Dear Adjusting: If you want a better relationship with your biological father, slow down and let him get to know you gradually. A way to accomplish this would be to mend fences with your mother, believe it or not. Yes, she should have told you about your biological father years ago, but she may have had reasons for not doing so. One of them may have been embarrassment.
You ask, “Am I being too clingy?” The answer is yes. You stand a better chance of building a solid relationship with your bio-dad, his wife and your half-siblings if you don’t overwhelm them when you are feeling so needy. Your chances of finding the emotional support you need would be better if you talk with a counselor at the student health center at your college when you are as stressed as you are.
Dear Abby: My sister and I inherited our mother’s condo some years ago. She wants to sell it; I do not. She has harangued me nonstop with inane scenarios of what “could” happen with our heirs if we don’t sell, even going so far as to threaten, “If we don’t sell it now, I don’t think I will want to sell.” I don’t even know what that means.
Because I was fed up, I agreed to sell. The problem is, at this point, I don’t even like her. I’m not mad — I just abhor the way she harangued me. I don’t think I’ll ever want to talk to her again, and I feel sad about that. Any thoughts?
— Sibling Disaster in California
Dear Sibling: It is unfortunate (but not uncommon) for money to drive a wedge between family members. When your sister started her harangue, you should have inserted your lawyer into the negotiation. Because you wished to keep the unit, you could have bought her half from her, leaving you both with what you wanted. If it’s not too late, give it some consideration. As to never wanting to talk to your sister, I hope with time your feelings will mellow and fences can be mended.
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 DearAbby.com.