I am in shock. My brother, "Paul," invited me to lunch yesterday and introduced me to an 18-year-old girl, "Amy," whom he says is his daughter from a woman other than his wife. Naturally, she was full of questions about me and the rest of the family.
I don't know why Paul chose to reveal Amy's existence to me - and only me - but I told my brother he needs to share his "secret" with all concerned. I don't think it's fair for Amy to be deprived of meeting her father's side of the family.
I also don't want anyone to get hurt, but Amy has been hurt enough by this secret.
I am uncomfortable that my brother has included me in this conspiracy, and I'm not sure how to handle this.
- In the Middle in New Jersey
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: On some level your brother may want the truth to come out, because when a secret is shared it's no longer a secret.
So tell your brother that you refuse to be his co-conspirator, and that you feel his keeping Amy isolated from the family is unfair to her.
Then give him a deadline to come clean, with the understanding that if he doesn't, you will.
DEAR ABBY: Now that I have found a job after a few months of unemployment, my boyfriend and I are tying the knot.
I work in a very small office and would like to invite everyone to bring a date to the reception.
My dilemma? I suspect that two of the men in the office are involved with each other, and I'm not close enough to anyone else to inquire.
I have no problem with their sexual orientation, but I don't want to put my foot in my mouth by inviting them as a couple.
What would you think of posting an invitation (postcards and e-vites) to all employees and their dates? I ordinarily wouldn't, but being a little "gauche" seems better than being downright rude.
I suspect the men downplay their relationship, and I don't want to invade their privacy.
Abby, what would you do?
- Bride with a Dilemma
DEAR BRIDE: I would handle it by inviting each of my co-workers, stating "and guest" on the invitation, and asking for an RSVP.
Then, whomever they choose to bring is up to them, and all I'd need to know is how many guests to expect at the reception.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "Luke" for about three months. He's a sweet and thoughtful guy who cares about me, and I care for him as well.
My problem is, I have never been the kind of person who likes to be touched. It makes me feel tense and uneasy. Luke likes to touch me constantly - stroking my cheek, rubbing the back of my neck or kissing my cheeks and forehead.
It isn't that I don't like hugs or kisses, but too much drives me crazy.
How do I explain this to Luke without hurting his feelings?
- Enough in the Southwest
DEAR ENOUGH: A good start would be to say to him exactly what you have communicated to me. And when you do, tell him to please not take your feelings as personal rejection.
Different people have different needs for closeness and affection. Because the constant touching makes you uncomfortable, you and Luke must reach a compromise that's acceptable to both of you - or you're not the girl for him.