Life Advice



Ask Amy: DNA discoveries make (and break) families

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

It hurts so deeply that my own aunts, uncles, and first cousins refuse contact, based only on whose child I am. I don’t speak to my half-brother because of some things he has said to me, which also hurt me deeply.

I’m trying to forgive them all for the pain they've brought to me but it’s very hard. I thought over time they might change their minds, but – no.

Am I wrong to be angry and hurt? Should I be the bigger human and forgive them? Am I justified in feeling like I’ve been wronged?

– Hurting in New York

Dear Hurt: Your hurt feelings are entirely justified. However, you must understand that you stepped into a family system that was already entrenched, and which is extremely closed and negative.

Understand in your bones that this dynamic has nothing to do with you. It is not your fault. “Family” is something of a construct, and you can construct your own, populated by people who want to have a relationship with you.

If you want to forgive these people, you should start by simply accepting them as you perceive them: Flawed, possibly hurting, and hurtful.

Dear Amy: You published a person’s “advice” regarding online dating: “Meet in public and tell them you have an event later, so you have an ‘out’ if you need it."


Great. Start the relationship out with a lie.

Are you sure the person wasn't giving advice about how NOT to do things?

– Disappointed

Dear Disappointed: I take your point, but as someone who has participated in online matching, I cheerfully reject it.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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