Tell Me About It: ‘I don’t want to rip my family apart to get answers that won’t be enough’
By Trish Murphy
Question: I just found out through DNA testing that my father isn’t my biological dad, and my real father died many years ago. No one else knows this except my husband and presumably my mother. She most likely had an affair – they were in the same social club.
Only my mother knows the truth, but I don’t want to rip my family apart and wreck my elderly parents’ marriage just to get some answers that I know won’t be enough.
Answer: Did you try DNA testing out of curiosity or because you had some niggle or unanswered questions? Usually, before seeking or waiting for a DNA result, we go through “what if” scenarios in our heads and this may have prepared you somewhat for the situation you are now in. You have discovered some key information: your birth father is dead and your mother and he were in the same social club. Maybe you have half siblings that don’t know of your existence or your children (if you have any) may be likely to engage with people in their lives who are actually their relatives – this becomes difficult when the next generation starts dating.
This may be an unlikely scenario if you live in a city, but it becomes a genuine possibility if you are living in a smaller community. Inherited medical conditions may also be important to either you or your (future) children and we have not even broached the topics of identity and belonging.
Would you like it if your children did not tell you what was going on in their lives for fear of upsetting you?
All this leads to the reality that you now have knowledge that you cannot unknow, so the question is what do you do with it?