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This is a difficult one. Not sure how to handle it without setting off WW3

(239 Posts)
FuckOffAndWriteYourOwnArticles Tue 11-Dec-18 13:25:06

Bit of background: I am married to DH. We have two DCs who are 3 and 6. My SIL (DH’s sister) has a 2.5 year old DC by a married man who she is still having an affair with. To make it even worse, we very tenuously know the wife of the married man. One of the mums of a kid in my eldest DC’s class knows her. Oh, SIL and her DC live with MIL. MIL is widowed.

Okay, so the married man (MM) that SIL is having an affair with is going to be meeting SIL and her DC over at my MIL’s over Christmas for a secret ‘family’ get together. They’ve done this before but we’ve never had anything to do with it in the past. But this year SIL wants us to come over with our DCs so that the cousins can be together —and she can delude herself that she has a normal family—

I’d be uncomfortable about this anyway, because I find the whole thing a bit grubby. But what’s really pissed me off is that SIL said to DH that our DCs must be sworn to secrecy and can’t say anything about seeing MM at MIL’s house (because of the school mum connection).

I want to say a blanket ‘no way’ to the whole thing. My children are not going to be dragged into a dirty shagging lie. But DH is all ‘don’t be so judgemental’ and he and his mum are getting defensive of SIL and they think I’m implying his family are all Jeremy Kyle scum and I’m superior.

It’s all getting a bit political and I don’t know if I should just cave and agree to it because the DCs probably won’t even register MM and it’ll all be fine. AIBU to stick to my guns because of the principle? If I do, it’ll mean bad blood between me and MIL and also likely DH for a while.

kitkatsky Tue 11-Dec-18 13:27:35

Hm there are two issues here as far as I can see. You don't really want the kids around this situation and you don't like that they're being asked to lie. Kids that age are rubbish at keeping stuff to themselves, particularly when you tell them not to tell something, so if I were you I'd use that as an excuse

LoopyLou1981 Tue 11-Dec-18 13:28:50

I would suggest that you can tell a 6 year old not to say anything all you like...the likelihood of them not realising that they’ve got a secret (which any self respecting 6 year old will want to tell all of their friends!) is slim to none!
And yes, it is a bit scummy and I wouldn’t want part of it either!x

Youbloodywhaat Tue 11-Dec-18 13:29:05

God no. Think of yourselves. You turn up on the school run one day and everyone knows that you held secret family Christmases with her husband and his secret love child. Scorned wife furious. Atleast you can feign absolute ignorance at this point.

Personally I'd tell the wife. Anonymously.

Beebee8 Tue 11-Dec-18 13:31:39

I would tell your husband and family that you can reserve judgement and still not be a part of it. This is absolutely not an obligation and it would be unfair of your husband to guilt you in to it. They can have their 'family' Christmas without cousins plenty of people manage it

Unicornandbows Tue 11-Dec-18 13:33:35

Does the wife know?

MayFayner Tue 11-Dec-18 13:33:43

No. Keep my DC out of it thanks.

scaryteacher Tue 11-Dec-18 13:33:59

1: There is no way that you can enforce secrecy on kids of that age.
2: Your mil and sil are deliberately conniving at the secrecy and deceit and encouraging children to lie.
3: I couldn't go to such a 'get together' and play happy families as it is deceitful. I didn't attend my dad's second marriage as I couldn't sit there and smile sweetly and pretend I was happy he was marrying his OW when I just wanted to throttle the pair of them for the pain they'd caused my Mum.
4: You could go and be PA the whole time; ask how his wife and kids are doing, and where they think he is.
5: You need to consider what this says about the support your dh would get if he decided to play away. His Mum would obviously connive with him as she does with his sister.

I agree with you that it should be a blanket no from you and your dh. What example does it set to your kids? What does it say about your dh's views on fidelity?

EmUntitled Tue 11-Dec-18 13:35:50

Your children are too young to be trusted to keepa secret, and they shouldn't have to. I would refuse to go but on the basis that you are concerned your older child might not be able to keep the secret. I agree with you that having a second secret family is very shady and horrible but they're not going to change it because of your opinion and its not worth falling out with all your in laws over. Its their decision and when (inevitably) the secret is exposed, you haven't had a part in it.

Picklypickles Tue 11-Dec-18 13:37:21

What an awkward situation. How exactly are they realistically expecting 3 and 6 year olds to be able to keep a secret?!

I would probably go to be honest, it will be nice for the children to spend the day together, it isn't their fault your SIL is morally bankrupt. However I wouldn't be asking my children to lie or keep secrets for anyone, there would be no point even if I wanted to, they'd forget within 5 minutes!

SchnitzelVonKrumm Tue 11-Dec-18 13:39:15

I'd keep the children out of it - they can't be relied on not to tell anyway and what would you be teaching them about morals and behaviour by asking them to keep this secret? But then I'd have told the wife years ago instead of indulging this disgusting pair.

FuckOffAndWriteYourOwnArticles Tue 11-Dec-18 13:39:41

I would refuse to go but on the basis that you are concerned your older child might not be able to keep the secret

I knew I could rely on you lot. This is great, this gives me the ‘out’ I need without sounding like a holier than though judgemental old cow.

Letshopeitsallok Tue 11-Dec-18 13:42:10

Maybe SIL is hoping the children won’t keep the secret and so he’ll leave his wife but look it’s out of her hands, it wasn’t her that told. She told everyone not to tell.

I agree, who wants to be dragged with their children into coluding with someone’s grubby ongoing affair. Don’t we tell children not to tell lies? How confusing for them to see adults doing otherwise.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Tue 11-Dec-18 13:43:14

It needn't cause WW3 if you keep it clear and simple without passing any comment.

You either say a blanket No, not possible, or if you decide to go for the children's sake you make it clear it's with the proviso that you can't guarantee their discretion or silence and won't be held responsible for any possible fallout.

Should any of the adults balk at that remind them you've passed no comment, only stated simple facts and stick to that line until they seem like the unreasonable ones.

HellenaHandbasket Tue 11-Dec-18 13:44:31

Well, personally I would duck out, but say that the kids are welcome to go but that I would not be telling them to lie and nor would I allow anyone else to. So on their head be it type thing.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Tue 11-Dec-18 13:44:48

I should've added that I absolutely wouldn't tell my children that they had to keep a 'secret' like that.

HowlsMovingBungalow Tue 11-Dec-18 13:44:54

Why shouldn't you judge? So your husband thinks it is ok to father a secret child and to have a relationship with another woman while married and your children should be hushed if they mention anything?

Fuck that.

DeadButDelicious Tue 11-Dec-18 13:45:33

More than anything else I wouldn't put my kids in that position. They shouldn't be asked to keep secrets like that. It's not on.

And lets face it, kids forget, they blurt stuff out, having them involved could potentially really put the cat amongst the pigeons if they accidentally let slip. Unless, thinking unkindly for a moment that's what SIL wants? An opportunity for this all to come out?

No, I would say that I was reserving judgement but I won't be putting my kids in the middle of it.

MyHeartIsBrokeButIHaveSomeGlue Tue 11-Dec-18 13:46:10

I would just be a judgemental old cow! There is no way I could support something like this primarily because I wouldn't be able to condone this level of deceit and the potential hurt it could cause. I'd have anonymously tipped off the wife by now.

But definitely agree with other that asking children to lie is ridiculous; a) because of the mixed messages it sends and b) because they are unlikely to keep it a secret anyway!

Hidingtonothing Tue 11-Dec-18 13:46:17

I would run with that OP but I wouldn't be able to resist adding 'not that children should be asked/expected to lie/keep secrets'. Tbh I think they (mil and sil) deserve a bit of judgement, what a shitty thing to ask of you/DC.

mbosnz Tue 11-Dec-18 13:49:04

I'm lucky. I'm well known for being absolutely awful at keeping secrets - so I'd have an out on the basis that there's no way I'd not let the cat out of the bag at the worst possible moment to the worst possible person. . .

ladybee28 Tue 11-Dec-18 13:51:02

DH is all ‘don’t be so judgemental’ and he and his mum are getting defensive of SIL and they think I’m implying his family are all Jeremy Kyle scum and I’m superior.

So your DH would be fine with you having a secret baby on the side and everyone pretending it was normal? Bollocks to that... Echoing PPs at full volume - no thanks.

FuckOffAndWriteYourOwnArticles Tue 11-Dec-18 13:51:47

The thing is, I do judge. Very much. Whenever the subject comes up, my judge pants become wedged so far up my bum I can taste them.

Until now, for the sake of family peace I’ve kept my opinions to myself. But now that my DCs are being dragged into it, my knee jerk response is to go nuclear. So your calmer, more rational suggestions are really helpful.

tickingthebox Tue 11-Dec-18 13:54:11


Children are told these days to "tell" a trusted adult if someone asks them to keep a secret. It's a way of ensuring safeguarding.....preventing abuse "It's our little secret". I would be frightening your DH with thoughts of being called into school to explain the kids being asked to keep a meeting with a strange man secret grin ....

masterandmargarita Tue 11-Dec-18 13:54:21

'Don't be so judgemental'?! Blimey try telling that to the wife. Yanbu

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