I recently learned that my husband had a child when he was a teenager, and gave up his rights to it.
I can't tell him that I know because it’ll cause a family rift that’s unfixable.
I'm so upset that he’d hide such important information from me but I get it about having skeletons in your closet and wanting to leave them there.
His entire family knows except for me. It makes me wonder what else he’s hiding from me.
How can I get him to tell me this information without my asking for it and giving up my source?
This knowledge will become your “elephant in the room” dividing you unless you deal with it soon.
Your “source” owes you more information. It was unfair to just drop that bomb.
Say so, and that you’d be forced to “reveal,” unless you’re told more – e.g. what happened to the mother and child, who else knew about it, etc.
With more information, you can decide how to approach your husband.
I doubt you’ll be able to just let it go.
It doesn’t mean that he’s hiding other major secrets… this one could’ve been traumatic enough.
But you have a right to not be the only person in his family who doesn’t know this.
When you decide to raise it, start with that: You’re his partner and need to know a secret which could come back into both your lives.
This past July, I found out that I’m a grandmother. I’m estranged from my children, which is a long story.
As I learned of this from my oldest daughter, who did make contact with me, I was quite surprised.
I’ve never been on social media and felt this would be the time to sign on.
As I started looking at my youngest daughter’s Facebook and Instagram pages, I discovered that my sister, who’s two years younger than me, has had knowledge and contact with my youngest daughter.
She has met and held my grandchildren.
“Hurt” is an understatement of what I’m feeling. I’m now caught between a rock and hard place.
I want to tell her how I feel and that I don’t understand why she didn’t tell me.
Even if she’d made some promise to keep this a secret, how can she put it on social media and that’s okay, but she still can’t tell me?
My sister’s daughter is getting married this fall and I don’t want to start a fight, but I need to say something.
As you say, an estrangement between a parent and adult children is “a long story.” And a complicated one, too.
There are obviously hurts on all sides, which is why there are secrets and why some family members are ordered not to break the silence between others.
You have a new reality in your life and it’s come as something of an emotional shock.
It’s not about your sister. It’s about you and your daughter. It’s also about you wishing that you could have a relationship with your grandchildren.
Instead of berating your sister, ask for her help.
Ask her about the children, and about both your daughters’ well-being. Ask too if there’s anything she thinks you can do to ease the estrangement.
I suggest getting counselling, if needed, to find out how you can open a door and bravely let it be known that you wish to move forward from the past.
Think about it, for everyone’s sakes.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman with the critical, negative, and complaining mother (Jan. 30):
Reader – “I had a similar mother. I loved her but could no longer stand the way she was.
“I said that she’d not see me again until she changed her ways. I gave her six months and then I went to see her.
“Thankfully her outlook on life changed and she apologized and said that she was always proud of me.
“We ended up with a two-hour conversation about her feelings towards me and what she could’ve done better.
“We had a good relationship after that and she lived another 16 years before her death.
“The writer should confront her mother, then walk away. She needs to ensure care for her mother and then leave her to her own devices.
“I believe her mother will come around and realize that her treatment of her daughter was wrong.”
Tip of the day:
A partner must know any “secret” that can come back to you both, and derail trust.