What would you do?
A dad has opened up about having to keep a painful secret from his children for three decade to protect his wife.
Writing to US-based advice column Ask Prudence, the anonymous man explained that his wife of 30 years had been married before and that she had had a daughter.
His wife’s last marriage was an abusive one and she managed to get away but had to leave their daughter behind – and has never tried to trace her since.
“She finds the whole subject very painful, so much so that she waited to tell me until just before our wedding when she could no longer keep the secret,” he wrote.
“I have respected her pain and kept the secret through over 30 years of marriage. In particular, our kids have no clue their mom was married before or that they have a sister.”
The woman kept a single, sealed box of documents and photos relating to her daughter, he continued, and hid them in her wardrobe.
“Recently, we realised that it would be bad for that box to be discovered by our children, with no explanation, after we were gone.
“She asked me to dispose of the box, and I did… but I hedged and scanned some of the photos of her and her daughter and secured them so that no one but me can access them.”
The man wrote that he is torn over what to do – should he respect his wife’s wishes or should he convince his wife to tell their children that they have another sibling?
It’s a dilemma that anyone would find difficult to resolve, but columnist Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s advice was clear.
“Tell your wife that you lied about disposing the box, show her the files, and delete them immediately if she instructs you to,” he said.
“This is not a decision you should make on your wife’s behalf and against her stated wishes.”