DEAR ABBY: Would it be OK to ask the parents of our daughter's fiance exactly what's wrong with him? We can tell he's "not quite right."
All our daughter, "Cheryl," knows is that "Kirk" is "learning-delayed" because she overheard his father discussing it with someone else. Cheryl has not asked for further details and is wondering if Kirk's condition can be passed on to their children.
Our only experience with someone who has a learning disability is our niece, who has been advised by her doctor that she can have normal children. We are wondering if this is the case with our future son-in-law.
Should we ask? If so, how does one ask a parent what is wrong with his or her child without seeming rude or nosy? Cheryl and Kirk love each other. It's apparent how happy they are. However, genetics are an issue we feel should be discussed.
Cheryl doesn't know how to bring up the subject, and neither does her father or I. We're well aware that hurt feelings could ensue without the utmost tact. We need some answers, Abby. Thanks for any you can offer. -- IN THE DARK IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR IN THE DARK: Since your daughter is engaged to marry this young man, any question she might have that could have an impact on her marriage is a legitimate one. Your daughter should speak up and ask her fiance exactly what the problem is. If it's possible that his "learning delay" could affect their children, a talk with his family doctor -- and possibly genetic testing -- are in order.