Life Advice



Ask Amy: Long-ago encounters may yield current offspring

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Over 35 years ago, when my husband was 19, he had sexual relations on two occasions with an older lady, who later informed him that he was the father of her two children.

His paternity was never proven, as she was known to be dating others at the time.

I met my husband a few years later. We emigrated to this country after our marriage. We have been married for many years and have children in their 20s.

One child recently did a DNA test, which did not show any link to any possible siblings elsewhere. However, am I correct in understanding that this link would only show up if the possible siblings also did the DNA test?

I am concerned that at some point in the future, our children may find out that they do have half-siblings and will be shocked and maybe angry that they were never told.

I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to tell them, as this all happened before I met their father.


Should my husband inform them of the possibility of half-siblings (though we don’t have proof of that), or wait to see if anything comes out of these DNA tests down the road?

– Wondering Wife

Dear Wondering: This story isn’t quite holding together for me (are these children twins, or did these encounters happen over the course of a couple of years?), and so I am trying to imagine the conversation your husband might have with the kids: “When I was 19 I had sex two times with a woman who claimed I fathered both of her children, but I don’t think I did …. Sooooo, just giving you a heads up!”

I can’t imagine what you might expect your kids to do with this incomplete and ambiguous information.


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