DEAR ABBY: My heart is pounding, and I’m at my wit’s end. This situation is difficult to explain. I’m afraid that other readers may be facing the same horror that I’m dealing with, so please advise us on how to handle an extremely delicate situation.

My husband has it in his head to do genetic testing for “genealogy” purposes. It isn’t cheap. One of the places he wants testing from charges a couple of hundred dollars. He has asked me to have it done, too. I told him I wasn’t interested, and I thought it was too expensive.

Now he wants to have our 17-year-old son tested. I have argued that our son should not have his DNA on record anywhere, that he really needs both parents to give consent for testing, and it costs too much.

The horror I really have is that, 18 years ago, I made an awful mistake. I don’t know if my husband is the father of our son. I’m having panic attacks about his finding out how awful I was 18 years ago.

Can you issue advice that these DNA tests should not be used on minor children, and that there are powerful reasons why not? Can you think of any other reasons I can give for not having him tested so I can convince my husband to drop the idea? Please don’t reveal where we live. You can say it’s Minnesota. – IN A PANIC!

DEAR IN A PANIC!: Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. (And no, I didn’t coin the phrase.)

Although you have my sympathy, I think it takes a lot of gall to ask me to lie in my column. I cannot come up with a reason why your son should not be tested because there are reasons why everyone should be – particularly before having children. (Two of them are Tay-Sachs and sickle-cell anemia.) I have news for you. Your husband already has his suspicions about whether he fathered the boy. That’s why he’s determined to have him tested. If I were you, I’d take a few deep breaths and come clean before the guano hits the fan – and that’s the best advice I can offer. Confession is good for the soul.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a committed relationship for five years with a woman who disagrees with me about something and won’t let the subject drop. Several years ago, I put my family home on the market. I accepted an early offer. My partner told me I was “naive” and selling the house for too little. I took her advice and pulled out of the deal.

A couple of months later, I sold the house for $80,000 more than the previous offer. My partner says I owe her the $80,000 because she “earned” it for me.

Although she says she would not have accepted such an offer from me, she feels I should’ve offered to give her that amount. I believe if she had my best interests at heart, to say nothing of the interests of our relationship, she would never have even thought such a thing. What is your take on this? – SECOND THOUGHTS IN FLORIDA

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: It appears you have partnered up with a greedy woman. Not only was it wrong of her to think of such a thing, it is wrong of her to keep harping on it. Of course she would have taken the money if you had offered it. From my perspective, all you “owe” her is a heartfelt thank- you.

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.

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