Sage Advice: Affair Discovered Through DNA Test Kit

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency | January 31st, 2018


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Dear Amy: My husband and I decided to do a DNA test for fun.

It turns out that my father and I don’t share DNA.

I knew my mother had an affair back in the ’50s, but I thought the affair was after I was born. We had a relationship with the other family; the husband and his wife were very dysfunctional alcoholics and I went through school with their kids.

Turns out this man was my biological father.

Needless to say, it has rocked my world and has broken my heart. My mother is 97 and it wouldn’t surprise me if she doesn’t know that my father wasn’t my biological father. My parents seemed to have a solid marriage.

Amy, it’s like I don’t know who I am!

I would warn people about finding out about their DNA. I wish I hadn’t explored mine. Through this DNA test site, I was contacted by my biological niece. I also have a half-sister. Amy, she used to babysit me! Also I keep thinking – what if I had dated one of my own brothers? I feel like I’m living in a soap opera.

What do you think about this?

– DNA Regrets

Dear Regrets: The rise of at-home DNA testing seems to be transforming human relationships in a way that reminds me of some of the relational changes brought about by the rise of the internet.

I think it is important for people considering using a test kit to try to prepare themselves for – or at least try to imagine – a world-rocking shock, such as you have received.

In your case, I hope you will find someone to talk to about this. A professional counselor could offer you support and a fresh perspective.


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. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers.

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