Life Advice



Ask Amy: First cousin is now once-removed

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– DNA Dispute

Dear Dispute: First cousins won’t always share half of their DNA, but you should definitely share some DNA. According to you, you and your cousin have no DNA connection.

You are all assuming that your cousin’s mother was unfaithful to his father, resulting in the lack of a DNA tie to your father’s side of the family.

Isn’t it also possible that she conceived her youngest son through sperm donation?

Regardless of the answer, your cousin is obviously going through a very difficult time, and I hope you understand how this information might have completely upended his sense of his own identity, especially since he seems to have been so interested in and attached to this kinship with his father’s side of the family.

Get in touch with him and simply say, “I understand that this might be very difficult for you, but you are my cousin – first, last, and always. I miss you and would very much like to stay connected.”


Do not expect him to share his genealogical research with you. This is the source of great pain for him. Let it go.

Dear Amy: Sometime after we got married, I went through my wife's phone and saw that she was still communicating with her exes.

As they made advances toward her sexually, she never rejected their advances and remained in communication with them.

I confronted her about this, and she said she was ignoring them. Now she has changed her number, so they can’t contact her.


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