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Would it be unreasonable to not tell partner that I was adopted?

(112 Posts)
Pastaforlunch Tue 20-Mar-18 22:34:32

I was put into foster care from birth, and adopted by my family when I was 18 months; they have always been open about this and I have always ‘known’, and have also always felt very loved and wanted by them. I have brother who was also adopted (from a different birth family than mine), and it’s fairly obvious as we look very different. I always used to be fairly open about being adopted too, and the majority of my friends know, but I’ve changed in the last couple of years and no longer like people to know. I think this is mostly due to hearing other people’s negative opinions about adoption in passing conversation, and being asked repetitive questions about my birth family (I have zero interest in tracing them).

There are some family members who see me differently because of being adopted – my dad’s sister has never really made an effort with me or my brother who was adopted, but does with my other brother who she is blood related to. I say I don’t really care because she’s a fairly unpleasant person anyway and I haven’t seen her for about ten years, but it does kinda hurt to be honest, and the feelings of rejection have probably affected me more than I’d like to admit. My mum died when I was 13, and I’ll never forgot my uncle saying “well, yeah you miss her, but she wasn’t your real mum anyway, was she?” to me when he was a bit drunk at a family meal. No one else heard him, and I was too shocked to say anything back. There are other examples, but that’s the worst one.

I’m in my late 20s now and have been with my boyfriend for just over a year, we have talked about having children one day, but not planning for a while yet. He doesn’t know I am adopted yet. He hasn’t met my brother who was also adopted (and looks very different) yet as he has been living abroad for the last year. When they finally do meet, I’m fairly sure my boyfriend will work it out for himself, and ask me. But in the meantime, I’m in no rush to bring it up tbh. My friends think this is strange, and that by not telling him I’m keeping a secret from him, or I’m ashamed of being adopted. My argument is that I’m sick of being “defined” by it; to me it’s not a big deal (apart from the whole feeling rejected by some family members issue). But deep down I am worried he’ll see me differently if that makes sense? ( i.e. batshit crazy with a load of unresolved issues!)

So my AIBU, would it be unreasonable to not tell a partner that you were adopted? Or alternatively, would you feel lied to if you found out years down the line that your partner was adopted, and they just never told you?

BrieAndChilli Tue 20-Mar-18 22:38:27

I think it’s a fairly significant thing not to tell a long term partner. The not telling makes it into a bigger thing than it is.

I’m adopted (was put into care age 4 and adopted about 18 mo this later) my sister is my real sister. So have always known. I don’t tell people in general unless it comes up on conversation. I can’t remember when I told DH. It was probably fairly early on

MyBrilliantDisguise Tue 20-Mar-18 22:38:42

I'd be upset as I'd think they hadn't been able to trust me. I can understand you not telling other people, but your partner? And others do know... I wouldn't want others to know something that he doesn't know, especially if he was in the same room as them.

I'm so glad you had such a fantastic family.

Mrsmadevans Tue 20-Mar-18 22:39:10

Honestly OP I really think you should tell him. This is the man you want to have children with and a future, l don't think you are being fair to him . Tell him everything , the uncle etc etc l think you may be surprised once you tell him how much relief and comfort you get from your DP .

SimonBridges Tue 20-Mar-18 22:42:45

You will need to tell him one day really.
I do understand why you don’t want to though, questions about stuff like that can get very annoying.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 20-Mar-18 22:44:33

Yes, I think you are being very unreasonable. Our history does define us to a large extent - not being adopted per se, but our family life and dynamics. I would be immensely hurt if I was left to 'figure this out myself' or not to be told at all. You are hiding a massive part of yourself from him and I would take this as a lack of trust and lack of interest in having a future together.

WantingMuchMore Tue 20-Mar-18 22:44:52

Unlike others so far, i don't see it as keeping a secret. It's not like it will have any impact on your partner either now or in the future. It is your history to share when you feel comfortable, just like we choose to share previous relationships or not, according to how we feel. It doesn't define you, but it is part of your story that has led you to be who and where you are today. I wouldn't lie if asked, but dont feel you have to share until you want to. flowers

UrgentScurryfunge Tue 20-Mar-18 22:45:31

It's quite a big piece of information to omit from someone who could become part of your family unit!

If it does naturally emerge say from meeting your brother it could create an uneccessary issue from not having told him, he may feel silly or distrusted.

I come from an unconventional family dynamic and DH has always been aware, probably from the frienship stage pre-children. It is a relevant part of my background but doesn't define who I am even if it does have some influence.

Feelings change. As you become an independent adult, that family background can lose some of its direct importance, however other life stages such as having your own family can bring it to the forefront again.

PuntCuffin Tue 20-Mar-18 22:45:42

There are so many reasons why he should know if you do decide to have children together. In terms of genetic health etc.

I would feel enormously betrayed if someone withheld such an important piece of information about themselves from me, while trusting me enough to have children with me.

You are absolutely right that it shouldn't define you. But it is definitely a part of what makes you who you are.

greendale17 Tue 20-Mar-18 22:46:56

*I would feel enormously betrayed if someone withheld such an important piece of information about themselves from me, while trusting me enough to have children with me.*


DesignedForLife Tue 20-Mar-18 22:51:11

If you want to have kids with him it will come up when they ask you about any genetic conditions such as diabetes or heart problems. If you want to have kids with him really he has a right to know. It doesn't have to define you, it's just a fact: one that he will most likely say "oh ok" to and "why didn't you tell me sooner". If he's a decent bloke it won't change the way he views you (if it does then he's probably not a decent bloke and you deserve better than that).

clairedelalune Tue 20-Mar-18 22:51:19

I understand what you mean about not wanting to be defined by adoption. I am an adopter and would love to see adoption more 'normalised' rather than viewed as this weird and wonderful thing e.g not being called 'adoptive mum'.... I am my child's mum.
However I think you need to tell them; they need to know what other friends and family know... You don't want Christmas for example to turn into an Eastenders episode of the truth coming out!

Ginkypig Tue 20-Mar-18 22:51:38

I don't know a huge amount about adoption having never adopted or not being adopted myself so I'm not sure really how much worth my opinion has really.

My opinion is eventually you will probably need to tell him especially if you go on to have children and it might cause issues if he feels you were hiding a part of yourself while everyone else knew.

That being said though this is your history and your story and it's up to you if you want to share it in the same way as every other part of your history is yours to share as and when you want to.

It's no one else's business, this is your choice.

GreenTulips Tue 20-Mar-18 22:53:29

I'd be upset as I'd think they hadn't been able to trust me.

It's not about trust though .... she's not harming anyone and it's not as if it'll change anything.

How will it change anything if they have children? Well all have some genetic default that we could pass on to our children and most people are unaware until theyve actually given birth.

OP it's your choice and no one else's

Tatiannatomasina Tue 20-Mar-18 22:56:40

I think you should tell him, it sounds like you have had some dreadful experiences which have made you rightly wary.

poughkeepsiegirl Tue 20-Mar-18 22:57:19

I can totally understand why you're reticent due to your last experiences. And you're right that your past is your decision to disclose.

However, I'd find it really really odd if my partner of a year didn't disclose this to me. Id struggle to understand why they didn't think I was important enough to know such a huge detail of their life. If you have children together then i think you should tell him. I also think that if your brother looks markedly different to you (not sure if he's a different race) then your partner might find it a bit awkward and not want to ask...making it a bigger deal than it needs to be.

It's just rubbish that you've had some crap experiences with ignorant people sad

Somersetter Tue 20-Mar-18 22:59:26

I do think you need to tell him. Not because it will change anything, but because it's such a key event in your life history. I don't think there's a problem leaving it for a while until it feels like the right moment, but not years down the line.

Having said that... if you do end up leaving it a long time, just be honest about why.

Regressionconfession Tue 20-Mar-18 23:01:59

In an ideal world you'd tell him but I don't think it's a betrayal not too.

Doobigetta Tue 20-Mar-18 23:02:02

I think you risk him being very hurt if he finds out later that other people knew and he didn't. If you tell him, and his reaction bothers you, it could be a sign that you feel fundamentally differently from each other about family and relationships- and those things are important, so it might be better to find out now. Or it might tell you that he doesn't really listen to you, or take on board how you feel about things- which would be a bad sign.

ReanimatedSGB Tue 20-Mar-18 23:03:17

There's no reason to tell him unless/until you want to. I'm adopted, as well, and I know exactly what you mean about the stupid remarks and intrusive questions. Being adopted is actually no big deal, particularly once you're an adult. But some people are silly and wierd about the concept, hence the nosy questions and tedious obsession they have with the subject, to the extent that you often have to spend the entire evening being pestered about your adoption...

slothface Tue 20-Mar-18 23:10:21

Well I'm going to go against the grain here and say it wouldn't make one iota of difference to me if I had a partner who told me they were adopted after a week or a year. I certainly wouldn't feel hurt or betrayed - please don't take this the wrong way, but I don't see how it's a big deal for other people. Yes, of course it is a defining part of you, but I really don't see how it would have any impact on your relationship! It's not like disclosing to someone that you're (for example) carrier of a defective gene or HIV positive which is how some people seem to perceive it given the replies here!

NellMangel Tue 20-Mar-18 23:12:16

Won't it get to a point when someone else will mention it to him in passing? Then he'll think the not telling is a bigger deal than it is?

Or you'll have to tell your family not to mention it - which is more active "lying" than simply not wanting to go there.

I'd mention it just to avoid the above situation, and just say it's not a big deal and you don't have any desire to look into it.

Mybrows Tue 20-Mar-18 23:17:26

I think if it were my partner I'd feel very hurt that they hadn't felt close enough to me to be able to tell me something important about themselves.

WatchoutDSisdriving Tue 20-Mar-18 23:19:34

Yes i’d Feel very hurt and also lied to if my significant other withheld such a big piece of information from me.

MammaTJ Tue 20-Mar-18 23:20:26

I think it is not so much you haven't told him that would hurt but more that you have friends you have told and haven't told him!

Come on, you are making this into a bigger deal than it is. He is not going to define you by you having been adopted, not any more, now he knows you so well or thought he did. You will have one conversation where he will ask about your birth parents and you will shut him down and then, well it's done! The plaster has been ripped off!

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