DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I am gobsmacked. It seems I have a new brother. He just got in touch. He is by a woman other than my mother and we are only three months apart in age. Apparently, my father had an affair while Mom was pregnant that was kept hush-hush all these years. She knew about the baby boy when he was born -- but part of the deal for my mom's not leaving my jerk father, was that my dad have nothing to do with the child and his mother. My dad died a few months ago, and the lid has come off. My new "brother," who sent me photos online of himself, looks exactly like my dad. There is no doubt as to his parentage. He only saw his biological father twice when he was very young and then not for years after that, as his mother married a nice man whom he loved and called Dad. My father asked to see him again after my mom died and they developed a secret relationship. My father gave him permission to contact me, his oldest half-sister, after he went. Dad died in the fall. Why did this guy chose to contact us now? We were all so sad about our dad's death. Except me! I am angry now. Does this guy think we will want to mourn together? Really? I am curious about him, but the timing is so awful. Why couldn't he have waited? I am 42 and the oldest of three siblings. (The others) don't know yet. When should I tell them? -- Upset About "New" Brother, Winnipeg
Dear Upset: Tell them now. They are all adults, and it is not necessary to keep this a secret. It could be argued this man -- your half-brother -- waited a lifetime to see his biological siblings and stayed away for several months when he could have approached you sooner. How about cutting him some slack for wanting to see the family he never knew at this family-oriented time of year? He will have known a lot more about you than you knew about him. It's not difficult to look people up online, particularly on Facebook and see their photos. So tell the rest of the clan today and see what happens. All you have to say is, "We have a new half-brother!" and the questions will flow naturally from your sibs. Share this, and his contact information, and you'll rest a lot easier. By the way, the man, who is your half-brother, is innocent. He came into this world in a difficult situation and never really knew his biological father growing up. That's punishment for a kid. How about letting go of what you think your mother might have felt, as she's not here anymore and can't be hurt? Meet the fellow and see what happens. He may be a good guy, or you might meet and not feel much kinship on either side. It's a life drama and it's one you should not turn your back on, nor should you stand in the way of your siblings meeting him right now.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I found out the hard way that my former lover was a crook and a VLT hound. Now he's in jail where he can't gamble. I want the money he sucked out of our joint account to go gambling, but he doesn't have a red cent. I need that money! Should I ask his family for it? They have lot of money. He's the only one of his family who doesn't have the big bucks. It would be nothing for them to part with the $3,000 I estimate he owes me, and it would make a big difference to me. If I go after the money in court, I will never get it back, but there's a chance the family would pay (to avoid) embarrassment. I'm scared to ask them because they are quite powerful. What do you think? Should I write them a letter? -- Want My Three Grand, Winnipeg
Dear Want My Three Gs: You may not be in the slammer, but you're thinking like a con artist. Your ex is a grown man and his family doesn't owe you money that you think he must have spent from your joint account on the VLTs. If anything, HE owes you the money. You could address him about this after he's out of jail and working again. But for now, you're out the money -- and you really don't know how much, do you? Maybe that's the price you pay for staying with a guy with a gambling habit. Your best bet would be to write the whole thing off as an expensive lesson learned, and stay far, far away from this guy, now and after he's out of jail. And, stop looking for ways to get easy money for yourself. That will only end up getting you in trouble with the law.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org