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Posted on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Dad's sudden death reveals the life he secretly led

By Dear Abby


My father died suddenly a year ago. My sister went to his house and discovered something that deeply disturbed her. Dad was secretly gay. There were lots of materials in his home that I'm sure he never intended for us to find. Personally, I find his interests fascinating, but my sister was unhinged by it. After all, she was the one who made the discovery.

Now she's obsessed with finding out if Dad was having relations with men while Mom was alive, and if he did, did Mom know about it. I have tried telling her that there were probably lots of things that happened between our parents that are none of our business, but my sister can't let it go. She also seems upset that my reaction isn't the same as hers. I'm glad Dad was fulfilling his needs, especially in old age.

My sister was always "Daddy's girl." Any suggestions on how I can help her? -- DAD'S SON IN MIAMI


I'm not sure you can. But a trained therapist might be able to. Your sister's discovery was a shock because "Daddy's girl" now realizes she didn't know her father as well as she thought she did. She's reacting almost as if she, as well as her mother, may have been cheated on.

It is almost impossible to determine who knew what and when, if both the individuals are dead. I hope, with time, your sister will be able to focus on the good times she had with her father and her obsession will lessen.


I have a co-worker, "Amber" who has always been large. She has looked like she was pregnant the entire two years I have known her. She can also be a liar and an attention-seeker.

I am pregnant for real. Soon after Amber found out, she began telling our co-workers that she, too, is pregnant -- with twins.

She has said this before, and then she faked a miscarriage. She is now bringing ultrasound pictures to work that I discovered she had downloaded from Google Images.

Everyone knows Amber is lying, but she keeps it going like she believes it herself. Abby, should I try to save her the embarrassment and tell her that everyone knows she's faking? Or should I just sit back and see where the lying gets her? -- REALLY EXPECTING IN CHICAGO


Your co-worker appears to be mentally disturbed. This is something that should be discussed with Amber's supervisor, so perhaps an intervention can be done and she can get the help she needs. As much of a concern as this is for you, it should be even more so to her employer.

Because there is no way to predict how she might react if her fantasy is threatened, you should not be the person to question it. If she's taking time from work for OB/GYN appointments, her employer could request a note from the doctor.


I have been dating "Jared," who is the nephew of my sister's husband. Due to the family situation, this is a very weird relationship. I was widowed at 22. I am now 27, and this is the first relationship I have had since my husband died. I'm not sure what to do.

Is it wrong to date Jared? How do I introduce him to family and friends? My sister always refers to him as her nephew. That makes me feel like my relationship with him is incestuous. -- MIXED UP IN WISCONSIN


Because Jared isn't a blood relative, your relationship with him is not incestuous. Introduce him to family and friends as Jared, the friend you're dating. If the relationship becomes more serious, introduce him as Jared, your boyfriend or fiance. But please stop feeling guilty about your relationship because you're doing nothing wrong.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)