DEAR ABBY: My twin sister and I were raised by a single mom. Because Mom received welfare benefits, she was required to list "potential" fathers in order to receive aid. After a time, the state required paternity tests be given to the men she had listed, so we had no idea who our biological father was until we were 16.

Although paternity was proven, he never attempted to contact us. I recently learned that he died several years ago at a relatively young age (mid-50s). I also discovered that he had at least two other children, one of whom I was able to locate on Facebook.

I don't want to cause any undue distress by reaching out to them. However, I'm curious about any historical information they could provide, particularly medical or hereditary issues I should know about. All of a sudden I have this overwhelming need for information, especially now that I have a child.

Should I try and contact my half-siblings, or let it go and hope there's nothing there to find out? I don't want to hurt anyone, but I feel I just have to know. -- NEEDS TO KNOW

DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: The revelation that you and your sister exist may come as a shock to your half-siblings, so be prepared. Ideally, the way to go about asking for the information you're seeking would be through an intermediary such as a lawyer. However, if you can't afford one, then write a letter explaining who you are and that you are a parent and would like any information that can be provided about any genetic illnesses that run in your father's side of the family, including his cause of death. While you're at it, be sure to mention that you are not trying to intrude -- only to find information that may be pertinent to you, your twin sister and your child.

DEAR ABBY: I have been separated from my ex-wife for a year and I'm still depressed. I can't eat, I sleep only a couple of hours a night and since the split I have lost 40 pounds.

I'm in my late 20s. My wife and I were together since high school. We have two kids. We separated because of her infidelity and immaturity. I was the one who decided to leave and I don't regret my decision, but a part of me can't move on.

I'm still nice to her and cater to her sometimes, but I want to stop. I feel she uses me because she knows I will always love her. How do I break my bond with her? -- STILL NOT OVER HER IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR STILL NOT OVER HER: If your ex-wife is the only woman you have ever dated or been intimate with, it's not surprising that this has been extremely hard for you. Divorce can bring with it a roller coaster of emotions, some high and some low.

Because you can't seem to break out of the lows, it might help you to go online and research divorce support groups for men and attend some meetings. However, if you find you need more help than that to disengage -- and you may -- ask your doctor for a referral to a licensed mental health professional.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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