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To feel horrendously guilty but lie anyway?

(36 Posts)
SirBoobAlot Wed 31-Oct-12 13:35:08

ExP and I broke a good 18 months or so ago. His family were amazingly supportive, and completely on my side, knowing the reasons. We still get on very well, and I actually still get on okay with exP, for DSs sake.

ExPs grandmother is 99. She's quite deaf (well, she declares she's fine, and that everyone mumbles wink) but aside from that is entirely on the ball. She's in a care home, and we only see her a few times a year, as we live a few hours away. I send her letters and photos of DS.

ExPs step-sister broke off her engagement not long before we split up, and the grandmother was distraught. So when we split, we all decided that it was better not to tell her, because a) she didn't need the upset, and b) we only see her a few times a year face-to-face, exP doesn't always come up when DS and I go to his parents, so it was only a small lie.

However... We saw her yesterday, and she was as usual delighted to see us, gave DS lots of hugs etc. She then also gave me a big talk about how pleased she was we were still a family, and how sad she was about step-sister still. She looked at me and said, "You are happy, aren't you?". Also told me what a lovely girl I am, and how she is so pleased exP has someone like me. And that she prays for us.

I felt terrible! I told her I was very happy, and that DS is such a delight, how could I not be.

Today I still feel so bad for lying to her, but feel that at 99 she shouldn't have to worry about our relationship, when hers with DS (and with me for that matter, I contact her more than exP does!) won't change because his father and I are no longer together.

Am I doing the right thing here?

Ummofumbridge Wed 31-Oct-12 13:38:02

I think you are. It's not hurting anyone although I'd worry your DS might blurt something out. How old is he?

Oh that's awful, sorry sad

I can't decide between she's a grown adult who doesn't need shielding from the truth and keep up the pretence.

As you and your ex get on finr, is it a lie to say you're happy as a family, eben though that family no longer involves you two as a couple?

SpanglyGiraffe Wed 31-Oct-12 13:41:48

Hmm a hard one! I'm in a similar position in that I'm still very close with ExP's family & am in fact sat here looking after his grandma now as she can't be left on her own.
She knows ExP & I aren't together and often brings it up & i always hate talking to her about it because she gets quite sad about it.
I think as long as its not hurting anybody then carry on letting her think you're still together. Not a nice situation to be in tho! sad

SirBoobAlot Wed 31-Oct-12 13:44:08

DS is three, so was too young to remember us breaking up. He knows he lives with mummy, and that he sees daddy at the weekends. She does know that we don't live together as we never had.

scarevola Wed 31-Oct-12 13:46:31

My main worry would be someone else bubbling the real situation to her.

You might want to think about what you'll say if she does find out the lie from a third party. And what you'll need to do to keep up pretences at 100th birthday celebrations.

SirBoobAlot Wed 31-Oct-12 13:46:56

Well that's just it... We are all happy - just not as a unit. When exP does come with us, she always tells him that he has to take of me, and not let me go. She is still so upset from step-sisters break up. Don't think I could stand to do that to her again!

SirBoobAlot Wed 31-Oct-12 13:48:46

Scarevola - I get on very well with the whole family, and they all know that we haven't told her, and agree with us. She doesn't get many visitors, and everyone that does go and see her knows the situation.

DixieD Wed 31-Oct-12 13:49:24

I wouldn't do it if it was me. I don't like this patronising attitude to older people. She is a grown woman and should be told the truth. However I can understand if is a difficult position for you as she is not your grandmother, and telling her may annoy the family.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 31-Oct-12 13:51:22

Oh, how difficult!

You know, I wonder if she doesn't suspect something, given she asked if you were happy?

You obviously care about her and your relationship with her - if you can get that across to her, I honestly think from what you say, she will understand. But I can see it's hard to know if you would be able to get it across.

VirginiaDare Wed 31-Oct-12 13:54:21

do you mean half sister or stepsister?

And what was it about her breakup that bothered her so much?

frantic51 Wed 31-Oct-12 13:58:59

I would do it but then I did the same with my mother for 6 months before she died. She had cancer and enough on her plate without me burdening her with our marital problems on top of it all. Ex H worked abroad a lot and never came to visit her with me anyway so it wasn't hard. He left in June 2010 and she died in December, she was 84 and already had numerous health problems before the cancer struck anyway, so was very frail. sad

SirBoobAlot Wed 31-Oct-12 13:59:50

Step-sister - the grandmother is actually exPs stepdad's mother. But that's such a mouthful grin And exPs setpdad and mother have been together since he was three, he always called her Nanny - so that's who she is. She's very proud of having DS as a great-grandson.

I'm not sure what upset her so much. Think she wanted SS to be happy, and was upset that she wasn't. But also was sad that the family hadn't "worked". Both of which I understand. Think she now feels sorry for SS looking after her two children by herself.

VirginiaDare Wed 31-Oct-12 14:03:01

I wouldn't tell her now, because not only will she be upset about the split, she will also be upset at having been lied to, by everyone. She will be embarassed I would think.
Since you've been lying for this long, I think you have to carry on.

Gubbins Wed 31-Oct-12 14:04:39

Tell her the truth. My in-laws didn't tell any of their parents when they split up as they didn't want to upset them. Once the lie had started it was very difficult to find a time to admit to the real situation and my husband's grandfather died never knowing the truth, or the existence of his new daughter-in-law or two grandchildren.

What will happen if you or your ex get a new partner? Dump it all on her at once? Just because she's 99 doesn't mean she hasn't got a good few years yet so don't spend them all tying yourselves in knots to keep the deception going.

Sassybeast Wed 31-Oct-12 14:08:23

I think Gubbins has raised a valid point - what happens when ExP wants to introduce a new partner to her and they go on to have a baby ? That's the only reason I'd consider telling her now though ?

Cahoots Wed 31-Oct-12 14:10:50

I would do the same thing.

SirBoobAlot Wed 31-Oct-12 14:13:28

I have got a new partner. ExP knows about him, and has met him, and exPs parents are very happy for me. I just don't mention him when I go to see her.

I don't like lying, but feel that for what probably works out as a few hours in person since the break up, its not worth adding to her upset. She's very deaf as well, so part of it is a practical thing, I would hate to be explaining to her and for her not to get the whole picture.

Really, for her, nothing has changed. She always saw us infrequently with letters in the post every few weeks - and that is still the same, I haven't changed that. I update her with what is happening in all ours, and like I say, she knew exP and I weren't living together at any point anyway. ExP didn't always come up with us when we went to see his parents, so she's fine about that, it doesn't seem unusual.

If she asked me outright, I would tell her the truth. But like all grandparents she's more interested in DS anyway. Asks how my health is (which I also lie about, but again, she doesn't need to know its getting worse), asks how exP is getting on at work, asks how DS is doing at playschool... Then asks me if I'm happy. Telling her I am isn't a lie. I think she wants me to know that she cares about me, which is very touching, and I am so very fond of her. Which is why I've gone along with things because I don't want to disappoint or upset her.

aldiwhore Wed 31-Oct-12 14:16:55

There's a time to tell her, it shouldn't have to be you who breaks her heart, YANBU.

Regarding future spouses etc., well, sometimes telling someone bad news and following it up with good news is an alright way to do things... so when your exp meets someone else (hopefully it won't be within Granny's lifetime) then its for HIM to tell her.

She is a grown adult, fully grown and some, at 99 she won't have many of her peers left, the world is a sad place, and you have to ask, does she really need to know? It's dishonest BUT even though a well intentioned lie is sometimes as bad as going out of your way to hurt someone, in this case I think you've done the right thing.

It's good that you feel guilty though, you do have moral fibre! If she does find out, and she is angry with you for lying, then you can apologise and explain why, if she's as on the ball as you say, she will forgive you.

FantasticMax Wed 31-Oct-12 14:57:19

Tough situation, I feel for you. I think the time to tell has passed personally. If exP's family are happy with the current arrangement then I think that's their call. If she does find out, you can explain that although you wanted to say something, you felt your hands were tied. Hopefully she would understand. Alternatively, someone could tell her you have split up, but more recently than is the truth, so she isn't upset at not being told sooner.

In any case, I think you are lovely for going to see her and keeping in touch.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 31-Oct-12 15:05:23

I'm an absolute stickler for the truth as a general rule, but I have to say if you don't have to tell the truth in this scenario, it's best not to. (You're not precisely lying anyway, just... not mentioning some stuff.) As for your health, "I'm fine" is just one of those things you say when people ask how you are, they don't really want a catalogue of your problems, and worrying her wouldn't make anything better.

Mrsjay Wed 31-Oct-12 15:13:21

that is sad for you but she is an old lady I wouldnt say anything to her you are not lying just not telling her all what is going on,

thebody Wed 31-Oct-12 15:19:20

I would do exactly as you have done.

If situation changes drastically in the future then you may need to think again but as everyone is happy with this ' not telling the whole truth' then great.

People are always banging on about the beauty of truth when in actual fact the truth can be very upsetting,damaging and downright cruel..

iknowwho Wed 31-Oct-12 15:29:17

This lie is mild to what is going on in my family right now..and has been for nearly a decade and will continue as far as I can see!!

TalkinPeace2 Wed 31-Oct-12 15:33:30

my cousin chose not to tell our grandmother that she had terminal cancer
as what was the point of causing more pain
grandmother noticed the hair loss but was told it was trendy
cousin outlived grandmother by six months
right thing to do

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