Wedding Woes

My full brother may only be my half brother and he doesn't know.

Dear Prudie,
I am a woman in my 40s with a brother of similar age. We are both successful people with spouses and children. We are very close. Our parents divorced when we were both little, and both of our parents remarried and have been with their second spouses for decades. We are both close with our dad but have always had problems with our mentally ill mother. I always knew my mother had cheated on my father back when we were young (I was told that caused the divorce). A few weeks ago, a family member revealed that my father is not my brother’s biological father. This was completely shocking news to me. I never once suspected it, and I doubt my brother has either. I asked my father about this, and he admitted that at one point he started to suspect he wasn’t my brother’s father, based on the way my brother resembled the man my mother cheated with. He confronted her and she told him it was true but said not to tell my brother. My father continued to raise my brother as his own, and they have a great relationship. My father says he never plans on telling him, unless a medical reason comes up. I agree that telling my brother will change everything, potentially ruin relationships, and send his world spinning. My father doesn’t see what’s to be gained from that. On the one hand, I agree with him. On the other hand, doesn’t everyone have a basic right to know this information? From what I can tell from Facebook, the real father is still alive, and he has other children.

—Sad Half-Sister

Re: My full brother may only be my half brother and he doesn't know.

  • This happens so often. Just be upfront with the kid and let them build a relationship with the non-bio parent on a honest foundation from the start. The truth always comes out years later and it usually doesn't go well when it does.
  • That family member needs to be slapped.

    Other than that, I agree with NOLA.  It's out there now, there needs to be a plan to deal with it.
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