How do I deal with a DNA bombshell?
May 25, 2011 7:00 AM Subscribe
Some heavy shit went down this week and I've become the unwilling party to a new family secret. I want to tell one or two trusted family members because it affects them to a lesser degree. Can people with calmer heads and more perspective help me sort through this and figure out the best line to take?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (58 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My husband has twin daughters from an earlier relationship - they were unplanned and the result of an affair and my husband was quite young when they were born. I've been in their lives since they were 6 (they're now 20) and I've worked very hard to maintain a good relationship with their mother and we are friendly.
However, recently as part of sorting out a bureaucratic snarl with birth certificates, the girls decided that they wanted DNA testing and their mother and my husband were happy to oblige. Needless to say, it turns out that he's not their father.
End. Of. The. World.
The girls are upset with their mother, my husband is generally upset and I am swinging between anger and grief depending on what bit of the mess I'm dealing with at the time. The mother's reaction is unknown and frankly I don't care right now - years of friendliness have gone out the window and I really couldn't say what I do right now if she walked into my house. I suspect it would be both noisy and very messy.
The only people who know about this mess are the two girls, their mother, my husband and me - but secrets being what they are, I'm sure that this will eventually get out somehow. I want to tell my sister in law about this mess now - we are very close, she doesn't have kids and it doesn't seem likely that she will either - and she dotes on her nieces. She, however, loathes their mother for various reason and my main worries are that she'll do or say something to inadvertently aggravate the situation and also that she might perhaps not want to know. Is ignorance bliss or would you want to know??
Some extra flavor to the mix: due to shitty genetics, I probably can't have kids (marrying a man with kids was an awesome bonus and a relief) and my husband had a vasectomy after the girls were born on the understanding that two girls were enough for him.
Also, obviously, neither my husband nor myself intend on treating the girls any differently than before and life will go on as before. Only it won't.
So what do I do - I'm too messed up to look at this with any degree of sanity.