Living Columns & Blogs

Carolyn Hax: She has suspicions about her dad and aunt, but what can she do?

DEAR CAROLYN: My father had several affairs, left our family, and remarried another woman. We have confronted him about his sins, but he acts as though everything is fine and he has done nothing wrong.

I also have a maternal aunt who has a son, but we don’t know his father. Our family believes our father is also his father because our cousin looks like my father when he was young. My father calls him often and even attended his graduation.

We have asked our father and our aunt about our cousin’s paternity, but they both deny it. Our aunt said she will tell the truth at the right time.

I’ve already written an advice columnist about this, and she said, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” We just want the truth. We know it will hurt, but it will set us free.

It’s Complicated

DEAR COMPLICATED: Free to do what – write to multiple advice columnists about something else?

Seems to me you’re already living as if your cousin is your brother. Consider:

You know your father is a cad. He will remain that in your mind if you learn your cousin is your brother, and if you learn he isn’t.

You apparently think your aunt is/was capable of getting involved with her sister’s husband. You will have to revise your opinion of her upward if she proves your cousin is just your cousin, but proof he’s your brother would leave the status quo intact.

Your dad and your cousin are close. Truth would be a wash here, I expect.

See where I’m going? With the circumstances you present, will The Truth have any impact at all?

DEAR CAROLYN: I am 49 and have been separated from my husband for two years. I recently ended a nine-month relationship with a man because I began to think he’s at best a heavy drinker and at worst a functional alcoholic, and to suspect he may have cheated on me. I am sad because I feel like I should’ve ended the relationship months earlier.

How do I avoid making the same mistake in the future? When I raised my concerns about his drinking and possible cheating, he discounted them entirely, but the evidence was there.

Moving On Healthier?

DEAR MOVING ON: When your biggest problem is that a nine-month relationship should have been a five- or even one-monther, I have trouble sharing your sadness or sense of urgency. You caught your error, such as it was, and so there’s no reason to think you won’t catch it sooner if you find yourself again on a similar path.

I do think, for what it’s worth, that you might flirt with the same problem again, and that’s because you seem unsure of your own priorities.

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