AIBU to think MIL should leave it to SIL to decide

(79 Posts)
numbum Tue 13-Aug-13 23:15:09

Posting on behalf of SIL!

SIL has a 16 year old DS. The man he thinks is his father isn't in fact his father.

She had an affair, got pregnant at 15 but the man didn't want to know and went back to his pregnant wife!

So DNephew has a half sister he doesn't know about and the person he thinks is his dad actually isn't.

The real father got in touch when DN was 6 months old and said he wanted to be involved but SIL told him she wasn't interested and that DN would never know anything about him.

However, MIL is now pushing for SIL to tell DN about his real dad and has threatened to contact the real dad (via FB where she's found him)

I know it's none of my business and I wont get involved or give my own opinion but SIL has asked me to post on here. Does anyone have experience of this?

EldritchCleavage Tue 20-Aug-13 09:53:25

Actually, I agree with differentname.

The 'reasons' for delaying (16 not a good age?) are flimsy. It is just pushing it endlessly into the future. Let's face it, there will never be a good or convenient time for SIL to tell him because the shit will probably hit the fan and she doesn't want to face that.

MidniteScribbler Tue 20-Aug-13 04:33:59

He needs to be told, and at his age, I would also think that access to counselling is important for him to be able to process the new information. It's incredibly cruel to not allow a person to know their own background and genetic information, and you only have to listen to how many people have found out accidently later in life and it has caused a major rift and permanently affected their relationships.

differentnameforthis Tue 20-Aug-13 03:20:11

I had only read a few posts before I left my first message, and having had a chance to read the rest of the thread I would say, let MIL do it.

Only because it seems to me that SIL had NO intention what so ever of telling him. She wants to leave it until he is 18, then there will be a reason that she wants to leave it until he is 20, then 30, then 490. At this rate the kid will never know & your SIL is hiding her head in the sand.

It's beyond selfish of her.

differentnameforthis Tue 20-Aug-13 03:13:39

He should have been told long before now. For this exact reason, even though I am of the mind that it is up to no one to tell your DN except his parents.

And I don't think she had any right to keep him from his father all these years.

If this doesn't cause untold damage, I will be surprised.

Vijac Mon 19-Aug-13 17:12:06

The boy should have been told at the time bit as he hasn't been, I'm not totally sure that 16 is the best time to find out. I think maybe 18. Before he is told you should really get in touch with some kind of post adoption counselling service to advise you. Also, the genetic father is not his 'dad' as he has effectively been adopted IMO. Does he get on well with his dad (as in the not genetic one)? If not, then there may be more reason to tell him now as he may be more interested in building a relationship with the gen father. Likewise, if he questions anything then he should also be told.

maddy68 Mon 19-Aug-13 17:02:23

He is going to find out when he needs to use his birth certificate ie passport, job, uni etc

Better to come from mum than find out in another way.

DropYourSword Mon 19-Aug-13 16:37:48

I think MIL is being really unreasonable. It's up to SIL to tell DS if and when she wants to.
I also think it's unfair for people to say he has a right to know who his 'real' father is. The man he thinks is his father has (presumably) loved and cared for DS for many years and acted like a 'real' father. The other guy is really just a genetics dispenser. Why does being in effect a sperm donor make him more of a real dad than the guy who had looked after him all these years. Maybe his feelings should be considered in this also.

I'm not sure that there are really many circumstances where it is so vital to have a full family medical history.

EldritchCleavage Mon 19-Aug-13 10:30:51

I can quite understand the 15 year old SIL not wanting that exploitative arse in her life, but she should have told her son the truth long before now. He deserves the truth, whether he goes on to have a relationship with his birth father or not.

This has happened in my family. Woman had a child with a man, they broke up very quickly and he moved away. She married again not long afterwards, the husband happily accepted her son and they had two more children. Mother simply WOULD NOT tell her first born that husband was not his father, despite everyone urging her to. She and husband divorced and she even threatened to prevent access to first born if husband told him.

The stupid thing is, it was bloody obvious. First born looks nothing like the rest of the family (I mean, really dramatically nothing like). He only had to look in a mirror to suspect. It was one of those horrible unspoken secrets that corrodes families. First born found out when he watched their wedding video and father of the bride thanked husband for accepting and being such a good step father to the boy.

As a result, his relationship with step father has been strengthened, and that with mother weakened. He lives with step father and sees mother a lot less.

freddiesmybaby Sun 18-Aug-13 11:48:02

I think maybe sil is scared of what she's got to do. She was hurt and betrayed when she had the baby, she's still angry about it all. I've got a friend who is in a similar position, and she doesn't know what to do for the best.

MrsHoarder Sun 18-Aug-13 11:20:11

Laptopgirl the problem with that is that another person know, and this person has no reason to protect the SIL. So might well just tell the DS "You're my son" and let the fallout start.

Laptopgirl Sun 18-Aug-13 09:10:50

If it was me in this situation I would open a new fb account with no connections and email the real dad. Find out if he is interested in getting to know his son. Ask him to write and email to be given to the child.

If he does want to do this - it could help the child rather than he straight away having to try and source his own information.

His mother can then have some
Control in breaking the news to the lad.

As tbh he needs to know. You never know what might happen. I know a situation similar to this IRL and sadly the mother was killed suddenly now the child doesn't know and has no real connections.

Hope this makes a bit of sense (bad night with baby so sleep deprived!)

NutcrackerFairy Sun 18-Aug-13 09:02:03

I agree with all the posters who say SIL must take control of the situation and look at telling her son the truth about his conception. Otherwise it is likely that someone else will, whether that be MIL or not.

I also agree that leaving it till he was 16 years old means your SIL will have repercussions to deal with, no doubt a lot of confusion and distress from her son, also potentially his anger at having been lied to by the people he trusts the most in the world [Mum and 'Dad']

Therefore I would suggest she seeks the support of a family therapist/psychologist before she makes the disclosure. It is not going to be the case that she tells him and job done. There will be on-going issues and recriminations, perhaps for years to come. No doubt son will have a lot of questions and will need time and space to process this information and work out how he feels about it. He may have thoughts and feelings about his birth father and any half siblings he has through him... would he want to meet with them or not, what fantasies might he have about them, etc.

And of course, he needs to come to terms with his shifting sense of identity and his new role within his family, his feelings about his 'Father' not being his real father and what relationship can he have with him now, does he want a relationship with his birth father, how can he reconcile his relationship with Mum and his now known to be half siblings...

This is all big stuff for anyone to deal with, let alone a 16 year old. He will need professional help to begin to process this, particularly any feelings of rage and betrayal which he may struggle to explore with his family and which they might in turn might find very difficult to hear.

I wish your SIL all the best and hope she is able to access support in working through this difficult stage in both her son's and family's lives.

NotYoMomma Sun 18-Aug-13 08:50:26

im adopted and currently pregnant and not knowing my potential medical history is so annoying!

I have known the truth all my life though and the truth will win.

I was more annoyed that my mum blocked an attempt to contact me when I was older (doing GCSEs) so I wouldnt have too muxh on my plate - it was that she never told me til later that annoyed me

anyway I still decided not to contact but I would be foaming at sil that I had my choices taken away from me

HarryTheHungryHippo Sun 18-Aug-13 07:38:32

Personal that's horrible sad

HarryTheHungryHippo Sun 18-Aug-13 07:35:27

*But SIL needs to explain what happened and also admit that she prevented her son from having contact with his father.
Perhaps it's that bit she's dreading telling him*

This
She's not thinking about this now because she's pregnant again it's because someone has had enough of the lies and is threatening to put an end to it. She is being selfish, she knows that when this comes out her ds is understandably going to be mad as hell he was denied contact with his father all these years. Yes she made a mistake, repeatedly but now she needs to behave like an adult and make it right.
It always seems so hypocritical to me that we raise out kids telling them honestly is the best policy and not to keep secrets then do it ourselves.
Believe me as someone who has a mother that had lied through her teeth for what appears to have been the majority of my life and still won't admit it it makes you see them in a whole new light. I would have thought more favourably of her had she come to me herself and been honest. As it stands we have gone from being close to me resenting her and barely speaking

DumSpiroSpero Sun 18-Aug-13 00:28:03

It's not up to your MIL to make that decision, but I would urge your SIL to give some very careful consideration as to how she's going to handle this when it inevitably comes out.

A friend of mine discovered at the age of 18 that she had a half sister from her mum's first marriage. As a result of her mum leaving first DH for her dad, she (the mum) became estranged from not only her first DH and DD but also her own mum, brother and his family.

My friend decided she wanted a relationship with the family members she hadn't met, as did they with her. Her mum went batshit as she didn't want the past dug up. Friend saw them in secret for a few months before her mum discovered and threatened to throw her out so she broke off contact.

Several years later, when my friend had her own young child, the situation raised it's head again - my friend had a breakdown caused by the emotional stress and pressure, particularly from her mum.

She severed all ties with her parents and has had nothing to do with them for about seven years now.

What I'm trying to say is that I think your SIL should be aware of the possibility that this will explode whether she wants it to or not (i.e. DN's half sister may decide to contact him - this is how my friend found out about hers) and if she is not willing to be open and honest she may lose her son altogether.

I found out that my Dad isn't my biological father at 16.
A neighbour told me when we were moving house that she remembered me and my mum moving in and my dad joining a few years later.

I went and found my birth certificate and there was Unknown in the fathers details box.

I asked my mum and she told me that she never intended to tell me. I am now 34 and I still don't know who my father is as DM will not tell me. She blames me for him leaving. Tells me I have no right to know who my own fucking father is.

I have serious trust issues. I am not close to any of my family. If I didn't have DS, I would have nothing to do with any of them.

KoalaFace Sat 17-Aug-13 19:02:27

Poor SIL. [Sad]

15 is very, very young. We don't know anything about this man apart from he was married, with a pregnant wife and had sex with and got pregnant a 15 year old child. And told her that he didn't want to know. She then meets a man who loves her and raises her DS with her. Of course she made the decision to allow her DS to believe it was his real father. And quite rightly ignored the biological father's wishes.

But if other people know it's going to come out. It needs to come from her. Damage limitation. I feel so sorry for her DS. Obviously in hindsight telling him earlier would have made it easier. But I can 100% see why she hasn't.

The truth will out. Unfortunately.

GhostsInSnow Sat 17-Aug-13 18:49:26

This happened to DH's best friend. He reached 17 before he knew. He actually never forgave either of them for the deceit and moved out shortly after. He's in his early 40's now and his relationship with his Mum and step Father is still very strained indeed.

My DS isn't DH's son. We met when DS was 9 months. His natural Father was a criminal, drug addict and liar and when DS was born I didn't even put his name to the birth certificate. DS has always known DH as Dad. He's raised him, adopted him and loved him. DH though was mindful of the situation with his best friend so we never kept it a secret from DS that he did have another 'Father'. DS is a sensible lad, he's proud to call DH Dad and loves him as such, as he says 'a Dad is the one who raises you and is there for you'. DS is 21 now, he has zero interest in his natural Father..

Its a shame SIL wasn't as open and honest from the start because this has potential to blow up.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sat 17-Aug-13 18:42:10

I think the SIL is getting a right pasting here for attempting to protect her son from the dodgy bloke who fathered him and instead encouraging him to see the man bringing him up as his only dad. Not saying the son shouldn't now be told but think the criticisms of her are harsh.

DontmindifIdo Sat 17-Aug-13 18:34:47

Realistically, i don't see she's got much of a choice anymore, not to keep it a secret anyway. Too many people know, and while some people might have been more prepared to let it be her choice if she told her child, as he's now 16, more and more views will harden that a man has a right to know. The longer she leaves it, the more likely it is that it will come out - and anyway he finds out that doesn't involve his Mum sitting him down and explaining firstly that she was already a single Mum when she met the man who he calls dad, will be damaging to his relationship with his mum. Then she can take it from there if he's interested in knowing about his birth father (don't assuke he will, I konw several adopted people who know tey could track their birth families if they wanted too but haven't wanted too - they aren't the majority, but some people don't)

Then the next thing your SIL needs to talk to MIL about being a bit more careful with this man. Lets face it, he has sex with a child while his wife was pregnant, than buggered off when his girlfriend/victim was pregnant. Yes, there was a half hearted attempt when DN was 6 months old at contact, but nothing since - it's not a given his DW knows about this affair, or that DN exists. If it only took MIL a couple of facebook searches to find him, it would be just as easy for him to get in contact with SIL - yet he's not shown any interest for 15.5years. Be very carefuk about setting DN up for contacting this man unless its been established first he might be welcoming, to show so little interest for so long is not positive.

Nearlygran1 Sat 17-Aug-13 18:03:56

Been watching here for days. Have been reluctant to post. But here goes - My dearest, most longstanding friend found out her much loved Dad wasn't actually her biological Dad on her 60th! birthday. It was never the right time apparently. Her aunts and cousins knew about her biological Dad all the time. DF felt like ground been pulled out from under her feet and became ill. These family "secrets" cause untold grief. Please get it all out in the open soon OP. Know there's never going to be a right time but seek professional help to " break news " if you feel unable to tell all. Once it's done you will feel so much less anxious. Oh by the way - tell MIL to butt out completely too. Bloody FB should be banned.

movingonandup Wed 14-Aug-13 09:13:29

Agree with everyone else.
It isn't for MIL to tell him but SIL must.
There is no way this will stay a secret as he approaches adulthood and if he finds out from somebody else his whole world will come crashing down.
As it is, it will be a massive shock but at least if SIL is the one to break the news she can gently answer questions, reassure him and help him come to terms with it.

The worst possible outcome would be he finds out elsewhere then finds out all of you know as well (and therefore in his mind also lied) - it could throw into doubt his relationship with everyone he trusts. She really does have to tell him and as soon as possible.

WhenToGo Wed 14-Aug-13 09:06:07

She has to tell him soon. There will be no easy time, the opportunity for that is long gone. He has a right to know and he ought to be told by his mother.

Mil is right to raise and press the issue, but would be wrong to tell him herself.

LouiseAderyn Wed 14-Aug-13 08:15:49

I agree with sockreturningpixie 100% too.

I think she is going to have to tell him, just in case he hears about it from someone else, but I think mil is way over the line with threatening to tell him against sil's wishes and of this was my mother, it would threaten our future relationship.

This man was an abuser and I wouldn't have allowed him anywhere near my son either.

When sil does tell him, she should include the fact that they did discuss it when he was younger, but he wasn't ready to hear it and she didn't want to cause distress to him by raising it again at the wrong time. Also she needs to stress that being a dad is being the person who loves and brings you up and this other man wasn't that. It will be easy for other man to say he would have done all that, but this is a man who cheated on a pg wife with an underage girl - not the best person to believe.

Your sil made the very best decision that she could at the time - who knew Facebook would come along and fuck everything up for a lot of people.

If she handles it carefully, it will be okay, I think. But I wouldn't forgive my mother for forcing this.

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