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ASK AMY

ASK AMY: Some scuttlebutt should be shared

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Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: My daughter-in-law’s mother, “Penny,” was cheating on her husband right before he died. Penny moved him into the family home three weeks after her husband’s funeral.

My daughter-in-law and my son recently had a baby that they will not allow to go to Penny’s home because they do not want the child around this man.

Unfortunately, my daughter-in-law is not aware that Penny actually married him.

Penny and I are not only in-laws, but we are neighbors.

Everyone in the neighborhood knows that Penny has remarried.

My dilemma is — now that I know this, should I share it with my daughter-in-law?

Penny has added this man to the title deed of the family home.

He has two grown children of his own, and one is an addict who has stolen from Penny.

I am concerned that withholding this information from my daughter-in-law will eventually cause a giant rift with my son and my own family.

Do I tell?

– Everyone Knows But You

Dear Everyone Knows: Yes, you should pass this along, but you should completely detach from the inherent drama, and understand that repeating untrue gossip will definitely backfire and affect your own relationships. (If any of this information came directly from Penny, you could repeat it with confidence.)

You can say, “As you know, Penny and I are neighbors and I want you to know that there is some neighborhood scuttlebutt concerning her. I feel very uncomfortable both holding onto this and also passing it along, but because it has to do with your mother, I want for you to decide whether you want to hear it from me. I don’t even know if it is true, but if I were you, I think I would want to hear it.”

Your DIL may say, “I’m not interested.” If so, respect her choice.

If she says she wants to hear it, tell her about the marriage. Her mother’s remarriage has legal and financial ramifications that could affect the family.

I would not repeat the other family-related gossip, unless you hear it directly from Penny. I hope you will encourage your daughter-in-law to keep in closer touch with her mother.

Dear Amy: My husband has always suspected the man he’s always known as his dad is not his biological father, although this knowledge would break his dad’s heart.

We both decided to do a DNA test.

His results showed him being very different than the family’s ethnicity.

I wanted to link my husband’s profile to mine, in order to have all of the information together.

With his permission, I logged onto his account. He hadn’t yet chosen the option to find family members.

The very first family connection was for his biological father, which was a different name than the dad he knows.

I panicked and turned that feature off immediately and have kept this information a secret ever since.

Since my husband had wanted to know the answer for so long, I thought he would take this opportunity to look into it more, but after getting the results of the heritage, he has never really said much about it.

With the possible answer at his fingertips, he is shying away from it, so I don’t feel it’s my place to tell him.

Should I say something, or leave this alone?

This information could shatter both sides of his family.

– Wish I Didn’t Know

Dear Wish: This is your husband’s journey, and he should control the pace.

Your burden will be to sit on this knowledge with patience and compassion. If there is ever a health-related urgent reason to uncover this DNA parentage, you’ll need to make a fresh choice about what to do.

You might only say to your husband, “The answer is waiting for you. Whenever you might be ready to take the next step, understand that I will be with you all the way.”

Dear Amy: To “Holiday Headaches,” and any others who have conflicts around this time of year.

I have two grown children, both of whom are in committed relationships.

That means two sets of in-laws who have their own holiday traditions.

I invented “Fake Christmas” for my husband and me.

We pick an earlier weekend in December and do all of our Christmas traditions during that weekend, including opening presents.

To my surprise, when the real Christmas Day arrived, my husband and I were quite satisfied, and didn’t need any more holiday stimulation.

– Gifted

Dear Gifted: I love this idea. I hope you have a cozy Christmas this year.

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

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