Divorced Dad Desires DNA Disclosure

By Amy Dickinson | January 27th, 2023

Is it a good idea to share his suspicions with his grown son?

troubled father and his adult son on a couch. By Fizkes. A father suspects that one of his sons was the result of his ex-wife’s affair. Now, this dad desires DNA disclosure. See what “Ask Amy” says.

A father has long suspected that one of his sons was the result of his ex-wife’s affair. Now, this dad desires DNA disclosure. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson advises in this edition of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy:

I am the father of four sons, divorced from their alcoholic mother 17 years ago when the boys were very young. All of my sons are now in their 20s.

Shortly after my divorce, I learned from a good friend of my ex that she began her long streak of infidelities within the first year of our marriage. I was aware during my marriage that she was “spending time” with male co-workers, including one man in particular, during a period of time which coincides with the conception of one of my sons.

This particular son does not resemble his brothers. His physical characteristics strongly resemble the male coworker that I suspect his mom was having a relationship with. I have questioned for years whether I am his biological father.

For both his sake and mine, and for numerous other reasons, I have considered discussing this with him or getting DNA testing done. I cannot discuss this with my sons’ mom, because I will never get the truth.

Is it wrong to discuss this with my son and/or get DNA tests to confirm or deny my biological connection to him?

What is your advice?

– Heartsick in the Heartland

Dear Heartsick:

It isn’t necessarily wrong to try to discuss this issue with your son, but if you do, you should prepare yourself for a wide range of reactions from him – from possible relief to rejection.

You should closely examine all of your motives for wanting to determine his DNA.

This sort of DNA revelation can be extremely destabilizing, not only for an individual, but for the entire family system – including his relationship with his mother and his three brothers.

I always advocate for an individual’s right to know the truth about their DNA, but for your son, having this question imposed upon him by a parent – versus his choice to investigate on his own – could be very tough for him. (And – if you make this allegation and you two are proven to be biologically related, what then?)

I suggest that you have your own DNA tested. See where that effort takes you. If your adult sons have already had their own DNA tested, your family connection (or lack of connection) might be revealed through the testing database.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from relationships to when a dad desires a DNA disclosure. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson

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