This Is A Nightmare: Man Discovers He’s Married His Sister

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Whenever you think about the travails of dating and mating, consider this guy, and be glad this hasn’t happened to you.  An anonymous man wrote into Slate’s advice column, Dear Prudence, asking what to do about a rather unbelievable series of genetic events.

Read on for the full query.

When my wife and I met in college, the attraction was immediate, and we quickly became inseparable. We had a number of things in common, we came from the same large metropolitan area, and we both wanted to return there after school, so everything was very natural between us. We married soon after graduation, moved back closer to our families, and had three children by the time we were 30. We were both born to lesbians, she to a couple, and me to a single woman. She had sought out her biological father as soon as she turned 18, as the sperm bank her parents used allowed contact once the children were 18 if both parties consented. I never was interested in learning about that for myself, but she felt we were cheating our future children by not learning everything we could about my past, too. Well, our anniversary is coming up and I decided to go ahead and, as a present to my wife, see if my biological father was interested in contact as well. He was, and even though our parents had used different sperm banks, it appears so did our father, as he is the same person. On the one hand, I love my wife more than I can say, and logically, done is done, we already have children. I have had a vasectomy, so we won’t be having any more, so perhaps there is no harm in continuing as we are. But, I can’t help but think “This is my sister” every time I look at her now. I haven’t said anything to her yet, and I don’t know if I should or not. Where do I go from here? I am tempted to burn everything I got from the sperm bank and just try to forget it all, but I’m not sure if I can. Please help me figure out where to go from here.

My, that is a pickle. I’m inclined to say fuck it, tell your wife, split up amicably and never mention a word of this to your poor children, because seriously? How do you ever get over that kind of weirdness? But Emily Yoffe, who writes Prudence is way more progressive than me. She advised that the couple to “seek out a counselor who deals with reproductive technology to help you sort through your emotions,” but that maybe it’s not that big a deal. “Yes, you two will have had a shock, but when it wears off you will be the same people you were before you found out. Shocking news has the effect of making people feels as if the waves it sends out will always rock them. But I think you two should be able to file away your genetic origins and go on.”

Uh, really? I’m not so sure about that. What do you think? Would you be able to just get over the shock, or would you, like me, want to totally eviscerate the relationship? [Salon]

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