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Dad told me a secret

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 24, 2009 10:22 AM

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Sometimes dads (and moms) are very stupid. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.

Q: Dear Meredith,

My dad recently took me out to dinner to tell me that after 20 years of marriage, he has decided to leave my mom next weekend -- when I am away visiting friends. He doesn't plan on telling her until after a family wedding this weekend because he doesn't want to upset the rest of the family.

I knew my parents didn't have the most perfect relationship as they come from two completely different worlds (to put it simply: she is from the city and he is from the country), but I never thought in a million years that they would get a divorce, or that my dad would tell me before my mom.

How am I supposed to go to this wedding, knowing that I am expected to put on a happy face and be in like a million happy family photos knowing what I know, and how do I act with my mom? We are very close and she will know that something is up.

Angry and Sad, Boston

A: A&S, I am also A&S -- on your behalf.

The good thing about being older when your parents get divorced is that you’re mature enough to get your head around what’s happening. The bad thing about being older when your parents get divorced is that they can forget you’re their kid. Sometimes, if you’re over 20, parents want you to be their pal. That can be cool, but not in this case.

Obviously, Dad was in the wrong. He told you because he wanted early validation for his decision -- and because he's afraid of losing you when he tells Mom.

Tell Dad you are not his pal. You’re his kid, and he should treat you accordingly. Tell him that from now on, you can’t be involved in his decisions as they happen. Your parents can report to you when they have news to share.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to get through the weekend with a smile. You can’t do Dad’s dirty work for him -- I’m sure there’s some subconscious part of him that hopes you’ll tell Mom so he doesn’t have to. If Mom asks you what’s up during the wedding (moms are perceptive like that), tell her you’re OK, but that you’ll talk more soon. When Mom eventually hears the news, tell her you love her and that you’ll be there for her -- but give her the same warning. You can love her as her kid, but you can’t be her best friend. Both of your parents have to find peers to lean on during this process so you don’t shoulder the burden.

Set those boundaries now -- and seek out some friends of your own to talk to. It’s going to be a rough few weeks. No matter your age, you’re still a child coping with a family split. You’re allowed to care for yourself right now.

Readers? What was Dad’s motivation to tell this reader before Mom? If you’re older when your parents get divorced, do you become too involved? Should A&S tell Mom what she knows? Share here. Submit letter to the right. Twitter, etc.

-- Meredith

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79 comments so far...
  1. Put on a happy face, AaS, and just keep humming this tune during the reception:

    Green acres is the place for me.
    Farm livin' is the life for me.
    Land spreadin' out so far and wide
    Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

    New York is where I'd rather stay.
    I get allergic smelling hay.
    I just adore a penthouse view.
    Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

    ...The chores.
    ...The stores.
    ...Fresh air.
    ...Times Square

    You are my wife.
    Good bye, city life.
    Green Acres we are there.

    Posted by Sally July 24, 09 10:37 AM
  1. dad sounds like a selfish fool... why would he put that load on your shoulders? the decision to split up a marriage should be between the two parties involved. he should inform her of his decision BEFORE ANYONE ELSE, including the children involved. i understand his desire not to ruin a family event like a wedding, but his timing is horrible. he should have thought a little more about peoples feelings before opening up this can of worms. as a child of a parent who gave me too much information (like when the mortgage was due and there was no money, that she didnt want my dad anymore, etc etc) its harmful for kids to have stressful info to be kept a secret. now you have to try to keep the lid on this instead of being a kid. so unfair... im sorry. but yes, you do need to tell dad that he is in the wrong here, that he is the parent and should act as such. you may have a "friendly" relationship, but the parent/child relationship should come first. and to put you in a position where you have to hide something from your mother who you are close to is very unfair. good luck!

    Posted by nemo July 24, 09 10:39 AM
  1. Wow. I don't know what your dad's motivation was - in some way, he likely wanted validation and acceptance from you of his decision (strange that the decision seems to be unilateral on his part). Maybe he was worried about how you would take it and wanted to factor that into his process... who knows. But whatever the motivation, he's put you in an untenable and unbelievably bad position. If he has truly decided, mind made up, he should tell your mom now. Not after the wedding, not next week, but now. The rest of the family can deal with it - they will have to, going forward. Your mom has a right to know. You have a right not to be your dad's secret keeper and confidante; you are his child, not his golf buddy. I would try explaining, calmly, to your dad what you say here -- that faking it through the wedding is not truly an option, and encourage him to step up and deal with the situation head-on.

    Posted by StudioCity July 24, 09 10:44 AM
  1. I faced a similar situation, though my Mom was the one leaving, and she didnt tell me ahead of time, but i had figured it out. I never confronted her first, I actually tried to talk to my Dad about it first and tell him of my suspicions. Unfortunately, my dad only got upset with me (the messenger). So, Meredith is correct, let your parents work out their own adult relationship with each other. And be kind to yourself, Please remember that this will be hard for you too. I was actually surprised how badly I took my parents divorce, even though I was married and no longer living at home, It instantly feels like the rug has been ripped out from underneath you. I wish you all the best!!!
    underneath you

    Posted by Anonymous July 24, 09 10:48 AM
  1. Mere's advice to set boundaries now is spot on. I was ten when my parents divorced, and they hardly ever talked to me about what was going on. I was 23 when my mother and stepfather divorced, and my mother constantly talked to me about how lonely she was, how much she missed my stepfather, what a jerk he was, she wanted him to come back, etc. Any time he tried to communicate with me, she gave me the third degree about what was said and how he looked and did he mention his new girlfriend... This experience will be difficult enough, you should not have to referee between your parents. I'm sorry this is happening to you, and wish luck to you and your family.

    Posted by acp July 24, 09 10:49 AM
  1. I agree that your dad should have never put that burden on you. He may feel better he got the information off his chest but he basically put it on yours. Pretty selfish on his part. Take Meredith's advise to get through the wedding. Do not tell your Mom, it's his place and dirtywork not yours....

    Posted by bgcomreader July 24, 09 10:54 AM
  1. That was a pretty crappy move on your dad's part. I have to agree with Meredith and say you have to draw boundaries in the upcoming weeks as this unravels. Having a mother who loves to overshare, I can sympathize and only wish you luck getting through this wedding and the subsequent fallout.

    Posted by Piccola July 24, 09 10:56 AM
  1. Like Sally said, just keep smiling and act as fake as possible while taking the family pictures. I suggest downing lots of champagne and interacting with your parents as little as possible. If your Mom asks why you are acting weird, just tell her that wedding is making you emotional. If you start crying, pretend they are happy tears for the bride and groom. DO NOT GIVE A TOAST. The wedding is only one day so just hold in your secret until it is over. I suggest telling your Mom the following morning.

    Posted by trueluv4eva July 24, 09 10:57 AM
  1. "Dad" is a friggin Creep. What kind of a Jackoff tells the kid first, and before a big family function to boot??? Regardless of the LW's age, she is still their "Kid". If he were anything resembling a Mensch, he would have waited until AFTER the wedding and then told your mother FIRST. Sounds like he is end-routing the wife, and trying to get the kids on his team in effort to deep-six the soon to be Ex. Did I mention that "Dad" is a puerile childish subhuman creep?...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 24, 09 10:58 AM
  1. Regardless of what his reasoning is...he was wrong.
    He has now put you in the middle of things.
    I'd talk to your dad, tell him that you don't want to be in the middle and that
    he was wrong doing so. I would tell him that he needs to tell your mom right after the family wedding, not the next weekend when you are away. Tell him if he isn't man enough to do it then you will. And I'd ask him isn't that what you really want? is that why you told me first?
    Tell him doing it on a weekend your away is also NOT The way to do it as you want to be tere for her.

    Posted by violet500 July 24, 09 11:03 AM
  1. Oh, and since the LW seems to be asking for advice about the wedding: Like the others have said, just "put on a happy face". Then get totally sh!tefaced drunk; whenever Dad is around, but mom isn't, start making innuendos about the discussion in front of other family members (but NOT the Bride & Groom). As the intoxication increases, so should the fervor of the insinuations; watch the sniveling worm get all sweaty and twitchy with paranoia, have fun with it (which is always great amusement for sociopaths such as myself!). For his transgressions, I would use this opportunity to humiliate him; that is, unless you stand to gain monetarily from him (then I would just keep my mouth shut!).

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 24, 09 11:04 AM
  1. Wow, I'm reeling from this one. Meredith, you nailed it perfectly. I am assuming that the letter writer is a daughter, not a son? I don't know why I think so, but it feels right. Are you an only child? If so then your family unit has always been a threesome and in that setup it's almost impossible not to be 2 to 1. My Mom, Dad and I are all close, but for some reason my Dad and I tend to sort of unite against Mom in any minor disagreements. It's probably just a Freudian thing. But your Dad's behavior is completely disrespectful to you and most importantly to your Mom! How dare he tell someone he is going to break up his marriage before he tells his spouse? That is just, just....disrespectful. I'm sure that many posters will ask what reason he gave for leaving your Mom but I actually don't think that is germane. What is important is that he is trying to get you to 1) break the news to dear old Mom, 2) side with him and 3) keep his little secret, making you complicit in his deception. What a creep! Please write back and tell us what your initial response to him was, at the dinner. I feel so badly for you - you will be grieving the loss of your most fundamental relationship without even being able to talk with your Mom. I'm really mad at your Dad. I hope the wedding comes soon so you can get this out into the open and be there to help your Mom. My only disagreement with Meredith's advice is that I wouldn't immediately tell your Mom that she can't count on you for support. She will be in a state of shock about losing one third of the family unit and she will see anything you say along those lines as more rejection. She will figure out that she needs a support group pretty quickly. Best of luck to you in this and like Meredith says, you are allowed to care for yourself. Do it.

    Posted by J Bar July 24, 09 11:08 AM
  1. WTF?! I'm pissed on your behalf too! That's super unfair and thoughtless of your dad to put you in that position!! Per usual, Meredith's advice seems dead on. Personally, I'd also be wary about going out to dinners with dad in the future...

    Posted by LuLuLemon July 24, 09 11:10 AM
  1. Wow. What a selfish move on Dad's part. I agree with Mer. He either wants you to tell Mom first, or just wants you on his side/validate the decision. Either way, immature and selfish.

    I am 20 and if my parents got divorced today, it would crush me. Follow Mer's advice 100%. Do not get in the middle, love them anyway, but tell Dad that was a sh!t-head move and you are upset he put you in this position. But don't tell your mom and get him off the hook.

    Talk to friends/ another close family member? An aunt, uncle, godmother, etc who you can trust and who will be supportive. Best of luck.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! July 24, 09 11:11 AM
  1. The Dad was wrong - agreed. What I would focus on is taking care of yourself during the wedding. Have a few drinks - I agree. I would also confide to a close friend what is going on - whether that friend is at the wedding or not - and ask for support. You shouldn't have to bear this on your own, even though your Dad laid it on you in that manner. A good friend will understand and be there for you.

    Having a close friend handy during the wedding to let off some steam/vent with and check in with - either by text/phonecall/being present at the wedding will help your cause as best as it can - in my eyes.

    Posted by spaceman July 24, 09 11:23 AM
  1. Hoss?! Hoss?! Hoss?! These people won't be able to function without you absolute guiding wisdom.

    Posted by John Stamos July 24, 09 11:32 AM
  1. About 6 or 7 years ago, my father did the same thing on the day before Christmas, telling me he was going to leave my mother after the new year. My parents have had a crappy relationship forever, and as a kid I used to pray they'd get divorced, so I thought it was a great idea overall. I think he'd wanted validation that my brother and I wouldn't disown him, which I gave him enthusiastically. That said, it was still painful to spend Christmas with the family knowing this would be the last time we'd be together. It was one of the few Christmases ever where they didn't fight the entire time, which made it worse in some ways. I didn't say a WORD to anyone about it until after Christmas, and I'm glad I didn't because fast forward a few months (and several years at this point) and if he ever had a talk with her, they didn't get divorced, or even separate. I told my brother about it right after Christmas, and my father never talked to him about it either.

    I guess he changed his mind...or chickened out...and their relationship is exactly the same as it always was. In retrospect, I consider it incredibly selfish of him to do that to me (I was in my early-30s) - they should have figured it out themselves for once and talked to me & my brother when it was all worked out. As far as I know, my mother has never found out...and I won't ever be the one to tell her.

    Posted by Cassandra July 24, 09 11:33 AM
  1. DO NOT tell your mother. Repeat, DO NOT tell your mother. It's not your place.

    Your father is secretly hoping you tell her -- so he'll be off the hook. He did not tell you for YOUR sake -- he did it for HIS sake to alleviate some of the guilt he's feeling.

    I echo a lot of what Meredith said. Do not ruin the wedding. As a child of parents who divorced with dignity (at least as far as I can see; if it was actually horrible, they hid it well from their teenage kids!), I can tell you that it is possible to distance yourself from the actual details of the divorce.

    Tell your dad to tell your mom as soon as the wedding ends -- or the day after. Then get out of the house. Go to the movies; go over a friend's house; stay away for awhile.

    After your mother finds out, tell them both firmly (and separately) that you love them very much and will be there for them, but you won't be speaking to either of them about the divorce itself. If they ignore you, just leave.

    Good luck...I wish you the best!!

    Posted by Kate July 24, 09 11:39 AM
  1. Well, I think we all agree that Dad should not have told you, but he did. I would talk to your father again and let him know in most emphatic terms that 1. he should not have told you and 2. he needs to tell your Mom now, today. If it were me, I would not be able to have this news and know that my mother did not know. What would she think when she found out that you knew for a week and a half and did not tell her?

    And, your Dad might not want to upset the rest of the family, but the upset is coming anyway. And I wonder which side of the family the wedding is on. If it is your mother’s side of the family, maybe Dad should not even go. Once your mom knows, they can decide TOGETHER what the most appropriate course of action for the wedding is.

    Long story short – I had to tell my Dad that my Mom left. It was not a pleasant experience. Don’t let your Dad make you go through that.

    Posted by EBNorwood July 24, 09 11:40 AM
  1. Is this really a love letter ? or a child's letter to Santa Clause ?

    Posted by Kiddish July 24, 09 11:46 AM
  1. 'Dith should be TEEN BLOG. do you advise them as well ?

    Posted by TinyTots July 24, 09 11:47 AM
  1. It's tough to put on a happy face- but you should. As much as it sucks that your dad told you this info, it isn't yours to tell your mom. I agree with other posts that he told you probably in the hopes that you break the news to her for him.

    I would suggest NOT drinking at the wedding. If you start drowning your sorrows, more than likely - you will end up announcing the divorce to the entire wedding. I would suggest trying to keep your distance from your parents at the wedding - go hang out with friends/other family members.

    Posted by singleinthecity July 24, 09 11:51 AM
  1. Words can not be written or spoken at this point that will properly describe what Rico wants to say...

    Rico is disgusted and has no comments for today other than to say he wishes you the best of luck and hopes you will get through this split as harmless as possible.

    Rico is a family man, a caring person that tries to do the right thing always. This behavior is uncomprehensible. The situation sucks and there is no answer.

    Rico is relying on Meredith being right here and Rico thinks she is.

    Rico is off to enjoy the clouds breaking open and bringing us a nice weekend.

    Everyone please enjoy and be safe.

    Love always,


    Bike lanes are for bikes, not additional parking for lazy people in cars.

    Posted by Rico July 24, 09 11:59 AM
  1. #20 and 21, if you don't like it, don't read it. and a LOVE letter could be about any type of love. parent-child love is still love. its still a matter of the heart.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! July 24, 09 12:10 PM
  1. Here's the thing... I agree with Meredith that the LWs dad overstepped in sharing this, but I get his perspective too... I tend to think that he told his daughter more because he is afraid that this split will cause her to be angry and not want him in her life anymore. That she would hear her mom's tears and sadness and think he was a cruel heartless man. Most people in relationships on the brink know that they're barely holding on. Sadness and tears are going to happen for both mom and dad, as well as for the kids. Dad overstepped and the LW does need to establish boundries with both mom and dad so that she doesn't get brought into the intimate details. But give Dad a break, he's probably just as afraid and sad and heartbroken about all of this as the mom will be, if not more. Most people do try to be loving and good and I'm sure that he never expected, 20 years ago, that he would need to leave the woman by his side.

    i am a woman, not a man and i have never divorced anyone, but i have seen how hard it can be for the dads in divorce situations...

    Posted by sibdee July 24, 09 12:13 PM
  1. Angry,
    Sorry to hear this about development. I suspect this isn't the first time Dad has been an insensitive tool. It's difficult, but don't get in the middle. I would NOT address this with your mother. That's Dad's job. He made his bed-let him lie in it. I'm not sure how close this family wedding is to you (sibling, cousin, Dad's side, Mom's side), but try to maintain composure and get through the event. Mere is right that mothers are usually perceptive. My guess is that she suspects that your father is about to pull a dixie. He doesn't sound like the discrete type.. You have every right to give Dad a piece of your mind on this one. I suggest you do it.

    Posted by Tool Shed July 24, 09 12:17 PM
  1. That was uncalled for on his part. He must be trying to relieve his guilt feelings about the upcoming divorce by getting your approval. I would keep it to myself and when the time is right let him know that this ws a classless move for him to make.

    Posted by techdood July 24, 09 12:20 PM
  1. It is totally, completely wrong for Dad to have put you in this position, and you need to tell him so.

    BOTH parents need to hear you say that while you love and support them, they each need to find other people to talk through conflicts with, now and in the future. Good luck and hang in there.

    Posted by Ava July 24, 09 12:26 PM
  1. Nobody does anything perfectly the first time, especially divorce. I'm sorry your dad put you in the middle. While it sounds definitive, it's possible he may change his mind and not do anything and put you through this for naught--that happens as well in adult relationships.

    He's human, and I'm sorry his human-ness was visited upon you, based on whatever reason he had. Parents make mistakes, and this time he made a BIG one. It doesn't mean he's a bad person, he just made a bad decision while in a world of hurt and caused you deep confusion and anguish.

    I'm on board with Meredith on this one. Set the boundaries between parent/child and parent/pal, and get your support system in place to help you with this unwelcome burden.

    Posted by yupokay July 24, 09 12:28 PM
  1. A&S, your dad was totally out of line. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to have such a burden dropped on you -- before a big happy family function no less! Meredith was right on with this one -- you have to sit down with your dad and tell him that you are his kid and he shouldn't be including you in such personal decisions. What happens between his relationship with your mother is between him and her.
    Good luck!

    Posted by over the line! July 24, 09 12:35 PM
  1. “Baa-ram-ewe” Haiku

    Donnie and Marie
    He’s a little bit country
    She’s gonna be pissed

    Posted by valentino July 24, 09 12:44 PM
  1. Moving past this weekend....

    I think Meridith is right about setting the right boundaries with your parents. You also need to be prepared to face a big loss of your own. Chances are good that one or both of your parents won't be 'there' for you as they were in the past.

    Take a look at your own support system. Do you have people (your own age and also from your parents generation) that you can talk to when you are making those big life choices? If you don't, there are ways to develop that network. And find ways to keep your emotional resilience high (exercise works well, as does yoga/meditation)

    Posted by older and wiser July 24, 09 12:54 PM
  1. He made the choice to let it go until after the wedding in order to not interfere with the wedding and he probably felt guily, nervous, etc., and needed to talk to someone. He is making the decision to break up your family, which is big, and he has probably been contemplating it for a long time by himself. He chose the only other person in your immediate family (you) to share that decision with probably because your closest to the situation. I would also bet that he wanted to tell you first and have some alone time with you to explain before the S--t hit the fan. Clearly your dad made a mistake. He put you in the middle and saddled you with a big burden, which is a common mistake for parents in this situation, especially when they are new to it. Make sure he understands what he did to you and ask him not to do it again. Unfortunately, it wont be a fun wedding for you to attend but it will be over soon enough. This is a good way to look at it if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. If not, the rest of the readers will tell you bluntly how to handle it.

    Posted by Sexual Chocolate July 24, 09 12:59 PM
  1. Hello there..Meredith is spot on with her advice. Be there for mom but they have to figure out their own stuff and lean on their own peers. If your not @ the wedding,and he hasn't talked to mom yet then i'd tell him to grow a set of @#lls and attempt to figure things out & talk things out w/mom or friends b4 bailing. You may have already done that. Thats as far as I would go though. Anyway, thats where I might get into trouble...if it were me but...its a thought. Meredith's thought is MUCH BETTER! Seek out your friends & talk. Be a supportive & loving kid. This is between your parents. Your father put you in an unfair postion and used poor judgement. It was also selfish of him. This won't be easy for you. With the Exception of telling dad to grow a pair, i basically rewrote Mere's answer..I think...Take care! -JP

    Posted by JP July 24, 09 01:08 PM
  1. A&S, sorry about your parents. M's advice was spot on. Good luck and keep your chin up...

    Posted by Amazed July 24, 09 01:14 PM
  1. Ban Rico! Gas not Gears. get em' with the door! Bike lanes are for parking and squeezing by idiot drivers. A biker not into the Tour....revealed as a phony afterall.

    Now, I think Mer went a bit far. You need to talk to your dad yes, but you should tell him what an awkward situation he put you in. Tell him your sorry for him and for mom but you can be expected to lie to your mother or hide things from her. You're going to either have to tell her, and dad will be mad, or not tell her and its likely she will at some point now or in the future figure out you knew before her, in which case she will be mad. My choice is let dad be mad, he created the situation by telling you something he should not.

    Posted by byubba July 24, 09 01:14 PM
  1. I was in this exact situation when I was 17 (though living on my own). It was the first shock for me to realize that parents are human too. All these people calling your dad a selfish jerk - I never thought of my dad that way. He was depressed and confused, and didn't have the sort of supportive friendships that he could share his thoughts with someone else. My parents have been separated almost 10 years now and both have since established their own friendships (and with each other too, oddly enough). I never had the "I'm your kid, leave me out of it," conversation - I didn't need to because they were both much happier once separated and my mother didn't hold a grudge against me for having been my father's confidant in his time of need. I see it as part of growing up, for me and for my father. There will be some blow-outs and tough times ahead, propbably, but stay tough and love them both with all you've got.

    Posted by Anonymous July 24, 09 01:20 PM
  1. Oooh No He Didn't!!!!
    I cant believe your father would throw this into your lap like that. I know there may be issues and they need to split. However, he should not have told you behind your mothers back. If anything, he should have gone to her himself and then "BOTH" of them should have talked to you about it. This is so sad. I really feel for you. I wouldn't be able to bare looking at my mother with such a secret. I say follow Mere's advise and put it out of your mind the best way you can. Try to have a good time and deal with the drama later.
    Good Luck!

    Posted by Lil Shorty98 July 24, 09 01:23 PM
  1. I have a slightly different take on this, possibly because I am a divorced father. I separated when my youngest child was 16 1/2 and told her mother first. My guess is that if he is leaving, he is anxious about his relationship with his daughter. He may be trying to "protect" himself from blame that most likely will come from his wife, and by extension potentially from his daughter. Unfortunately, my ex-wife leaned on our daughter after I left, even making her sleep in her bed for emotional support until I found out about it. That was abusive! The ex has been trying to alienate her from me ever since and it has been effective as our relationship is chaotic when she is home from college.

    Telling his daughter about the separation before it has happened is disrespectful and abusive, but it is likely out of misplaced love and fear. Fathers lose any influence that they may have had in the outcome of their relationship when they separate from Mom and that can be very scary, particularly if they love their daughter deeply.

    Posted by sanity123 July 24, 09 01:41 PM
  1. Is it possible your father told you this, not as some sneaky way to get you to tell your mom, but in a misguided attempt to make sure YOU'D be OK?

    I see it from this perspective: your mother clearly is no longer your father's top priority (if she were, there wouldn't be an impending divorce!) - YOU are. He's concerned about YOUR feelings and wanted you to be the first to know.

    Does that make what he did advisable or even remotely positive? No. He shouldn't have told you, and you are now in a crappy position.

    However, I'm just not sure all the dad-bashing comments are entirely necessary. Most of us can do some pretty foolish things under the over-emotional delusions of sincerity.

    Posted by Alice July 24, 09 01:45 PM
  1. What a terrible thing to do. The father put his daughter in an unbearable and impossible situation, one that will not be resolved even after dad breaks the news to mom. What is mom going to think when she finds out that daughter knew in advance and said nothing? But of course daughter can't talk. She's in a real bind. I hope the mother's anger is directed where it belongs: towards the father. Shame on him for putting his daughter in the middle.

    Posted by Slash July 24, 09 01:46 PM
  1. I'm not sure what this has to do with the topic of this blog. Are we branching out to any and all problems? I am confident Meredith is up to the task. Maybe ask the Globe if you can do a general advice column.

    Posted by JC July 24, 09 01:50 PM
  1. Is it possible your father told you this, not as some sneaky way to get you to tell your mom, but in a misguided attempt to make sure YOU'D be OK?

    I see it from this perspective: your mother clearly is no longer your father's top priority (if she were, there wouldn't be an impending divorce!) - YOU are. He's concerned about YOUR feelings and wanted you to be the first to know.

    Does that make what he did advisable or even remotely positive? No. He shouldn't have told you, and you are now in a crappy position.

    However, I'm just not sure all the dad-bashing comments are entirely necessary. Most of us can do some pretty foolish things under the over-emotional delusions of sincerity.

    Posted by Alice July 24, 09 01:51 PM
  1. Rico has a message for byubba...Rico says you should probably go out and see how the public feels after you go run over a pedestrian or knock over a biker. Rico hopes people like you are well known by the law enforcement agencies so we good people aren't unneccesarily hurt by pathetic losers angry at the world like you seem to be. After all, this is a BLOG for anyone to comment. Throwing your hate and threats towards other people does no use for the good of this society. Rico has been a biker since he was a kid. Not caring about a "professional" bike race does not make a person phony. What would be phony is buying an expensive bike because you watched Lance ride to victory and got so excited you paid $5k for a fancy bike only to use it twice and have it collecting dust in the basement. That is PHONY...You sir are an IDIOT. If you have any further comments please do us a favor and go to your hate sites on the internet and be angry there, this is not a place for your nonsense.

    Rico is all for a $5 gas tax per gallon, and while at it throw in $5 more per pack of cigarette and sales tax on all Alcoholic beverages. Use those proceeds to fund Cancer research, Alcoholism, repairing the public transit etc...And maybe a new prison cell for yoru type of people.

    Rico is not afraid of people like you and stands up for himself, it is too bad people like you usually hide behind a keyboard or the darkness of the night to distribute your hate. You are not just an IDIOT but a COWARD as well.

    Good luck to the letter writer, Rico hopes you are getting some help today and is sorry he had nothing to add.

    Love always,

    Gears not Gas!!! Take the 2 mile challenge...Rico did, and even goes further...


    Posted by Rico July 24, 09 01:59 PM
  1. i don't understand the questioning of why this letter is in the blog. it's about a divorce. the blog is called love letters. if people are going to get worked up about which letters are in the blog, maybe meredith needs to hire an independent panel of LL readers to determine which and how....oh wait, no. how about we just read what's posted. if you don't want to comment or read others' comments, just take your little mouse, and click on something else. brilliant!

    Posted by ugh July 24, 09 02:02 PM
  1. Rico says sorry about the high $$ on the taxes...just trying to prove a point. $5 may be a littl ehigh, maybe $0.25 per gallon is more reasonable? And $5 for cigarettes can stay along with sales tax on alcohol.

    Bikes not Bombs...Be cool everyone and have a great weekend.

    Rico is done for the day...

    Posted by Rico July 24, 09 02:04 PM
  1. OK, since the forum is really boring today, I just gotta throw this one out there: since the title was "Dad Told Me a Secret", am I the only one who was disappointed that the story wasn't a heckuva lot "Spicier"??? This was a bout as tepid as Lime Jello IMHO. Anyone? Anyone?...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 24, 09 02:35 PM
  1. Meredith,
    I was hoping for something much more surface to read and laugh at on a Friday. I am disappointed in you. I can't even read the 44 or so comments so far.

    Except #1 inappropriately funny, maybe A&S should befriend this blogger!!

    I feel for A&S, real tough spot and I don't know if it has been said yet or not. But that poor kiddo is in a no win situation....

    As for the wedding, let it go 1 of 2 ways...1. call in sick or 2.get drunk and bang a member of the waitstaff in the coat room. Good luck! If you get caught (and you will) just BlameMe!!

    Posted by BlameMe July 24, 09 02:44 PM
  1. I have to disagree with Meredith. If you keep it to yourself, just think about what will happen when your mother finds out that you knew and kept this awful secret from her. It's possible she will understand your predicament, but there's also a very good chance that she'll feel betrayed by your silence. She may even feel that this indicates you're on his side. Her pain will be compounded by the fact that she's the last to know and that her own child couldn't be counted on for the cold, hard truth.

    I would go to your father immediately and tell him that you absolutely refuse to be set up as his partner in crime on this and anything else in the future. Tell him what you've told us - that you can't imagine pretending everything's just fine and you refuse to lie to your mother when she inevitably picks up on your misery. Insist that he tell her immediately, today, not after the wedding. If he refuses, it's time for some really tough love - tell him he has behaved cowardly, that you're disgusted by his treatment of your mother, and if he expects to retain your respect going forward, he'll do what needs to be done as soon as possible.

    There is absolutely no good resolution to this situation. Whatever happens, my advice to you is to think long and hard about how this will all look to your mother when the truth comes out.

    Posted by Rae July 24, 09 02:53 PM
  1. When is Rico getting his own blog on INeedAttention.com?

    Posted by Alvin July 24, 09 02:53 PM
  1. You say tha ' for some reason my Dad and I tend to sort of unite against Mom in any minor disagreement' so probably next to mom, he has special bond with you.
    Sometimes it so happens that in the family, if you lose one of the parents,
    other gets closer to thier daughter than they were before.
    So it is not weird that he confides in you than a bartender.
    He probably could not console himself of a divorce.I think taking a week's time
    on how to say it to others is pityful , still OK. Rather being spiteful,
    if you are a person who can keep secrets , go ahead. or tell DAD right way
    that you are not a kind of person who can do so and warn him
    that anyone who is close to you asks you, you may blurt out,
    and that Don't Blame you for it. Everyone does not have the guts as you do,
    so as long as you are moving in the direction you want to be,

    Posted by Hope July 24, 09 02:58 PM
  1. #24 CALM down and read #42 !

    Posted by 24 or 42 ? July 24, 09 03:00 PM
  1. Aww Poor Rico Suave. I think he's crying.

    Gas not gears. Get em with the door. ( oh that's only for Rico, everyone else can ride right on by)

    Oh, Rico, don't you spend everyday thinking you are accomplishing something here with your keyboard?? Ha.

    Back to the real issue, again I hope the LW has a heart to heart with Dad. Perhaps ask dad to talk to mom before the wedding. Take the LW problems off the table that way..

    Posted by byubba July 24, 09 03:08 PM
  1. It was so unbelievably wrong for your dad to do this to you and I hope he finds a way to defend you when your mom gets pissed that you already knew. Your dad is a selfish jerk. I'm sorry. Tell him you are mad!!

    Posted by move on July 24, 09 03:14 PM
  1. I do agree that dad was wrong for telling you before he told mom but I think that every one is being too hard on him. Maybe this has been bothering him and he just needed someone to talk to about it. Give the poor guy a break, we have no idea why they are getting divorced.

    Posted by Angelina27 July 24, 09 03:29 PM
  1. #55, your parents are obviously not divorced. No child should ever have to be the counselor to his/her own parents.

    Stay strong and don't be afraid to go to counseling yourself. Divorces are hard and if this is how this one is to start, it may be a long, ugly road. But stay strong, because you'll get through it.

    Also, Meredith is right. Remind your parents that this is between them and that neither of them should place any kind of burden on you, even if it is just spilling out their heart.

    Posted by mc July 24, 09 03:42 PM
  1. grudge match on LL. byubba vs rico? My money is on Rico, byubba sounds like an angry bully and rico will probably teach him a hard lesson when he drops byubba to the ground. then again, rico seems too nice to waste his time on a fight, he'd probably just go for a bike ride. Either way I think byubba should just stop with his angry comments about rico. like him or not (I like him) some of his opinioins are pretty good.

    Hey Rico, I got your back and your side. Keep up the riding.

    What is byubba? code for Bisexual bubba?

    Posted by Rico vs byubba July 24, 09 03:45 PM
  1. This would work out soooooo much better if the LW was a teenager. First a minor could extort dad as much as possible up until he "Drops the Bomb"; whether you gain something lucrative, or simply force him to "Man Up" to mom quicker, I always see that as a win-win (Benjamin Linus style yo!). Secondly a minor could then play each parent off each other for several years, really having the upper hand over Dad since he really "screwed the pooch" on this one, reaping many material and psychological assets as needed (Ben Linus x10!!!). When life gives you Lemons...

    Posted by DudeGuyKidDudeGuy666 July 24, 09 03:46 PM
  1. My dad did the same thing to me!!!

    He told me he was leaving my Mother after 36 years of marriage. I suspect he did it because he wanted to see what my reaction would be. He wanted to make sure I understood why he was leaving her, and he wanted to make sure I was going to be ok with handling it. Although I felt awful for knowing before she did - it was not my business to tell her - it was my fathers. I have always felt a twinge of guilt for knowing before her, but I did not ask for that burden, and I refuse to let it upset me. Listen to Mer on the boundaries advice. Don't get in the middle - it's not fair to you - trust me on that one! It's so draining to hear it from both sides.

    As for your fathers timing - he sure messed up - he never should have told you before you have to go to a family wedding. You have to find the strength to act normal. It would devistate your mother if she found out you knew before she did. Act appropriately, don't drink too much, and try to keep the conversation light. Whatever you do - DON'T EVER TELL HER that you knew before she did. Let her leave the marriage with her head held high and with the feeling of being respected (if that is possible). Don't upset her even more with divulging your secret.

    I know everyone is beating up on your Dad in their responses - but just because he will be the one asking for the divorce doesn't mean he will have an easy go of things. I am sure he has an immense feeling of guilt. You don't know what goes on in anyones marriage behind closed doors - including your parents marriage. Try not to be judgemental and realize life is too short to stay in an unhappy relationship. I am sure this didn't happen overnight.

    Good luck to you and your family.

    Posted by T July 24, 09 03:51 PM
  1. As for fault in this situation, I'll leave that to the other writers to fight over. The thing which catches my attention here is the high potential for emotional trauma in the near future for A&S. I too am an only child, close to both parents. With a mother who tends to 'over-share', I have had to learn to be a broken record when talking with her. Any time either parent starts to complain about the other, or to pull you into the divorce details, repeat after me: 'I love you, but I am not your marriage counselor'. Keep saying it over and over again. It won't protect you from everything, but it will help you keep some healthy boundaries. And it may give you useful skill for when your parents eventually become old and incapable of any boundaries at all.

    Posted by Danskat July 24, 09 03:56 PM
  1. #55 -- You are probably right that dad just needed someone to talk to about it but that someone is NOT his daughter. Get a buddy or get a therapist or (how about this??) talking to the wife that he's about to leave??

    Yeah, I think people are being hard on the dad but he deserves it. I have no doubt he thought he was doing the right thing and probably sought to shore up his relationship with his daughter, but instead he put her in the middle of his marriage and that is ALWAYS inappropriate. She is his daughter, not his friend.

    #60 is right on -- for her own protection, LW needs to learn to say "I am not the right person for you to talk to about this" and shut dad (and mom, too) up.

    Posted by suz July 24, 09 04:08 PM
  1. #52, I am completely calm. Just pointing out love is love either way. This technically still fits under the topic. Sorry if you were looking for a fight and I am not providing it. And I am just sick in general of stupid comments that do not pertain to the actual letter and just complain....kinda like your comment. ok. I am done with this aimless comment.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! July 24, 09 04:10 PM
  1. guess,which one could be TRUE for LW?
    #33 ,#39 #40 #41 #54 , #59, #60

    Posted by few atleast July 24, 09 04:17 PM
  1. #62 thanks, love is love on the money !
    sorry for lw, take care. Avoid getting in the middle. If your parent starts bashing the other in front of you, walk away. Defending might get you an argument, or make your parent think you're a brat to contradict them. walking away teaches them that you won't take it.If it starts to get violent stay as far away as you can and call someone you trust imidiately for ex., neighbor, attorney, manager, police, etc, NEVER stand between them, that will only get you hurt.
    It is NEVER your fault. Do not blame yourself for the divorce. That will just make things worse for you.

    Posted by Not your fault July 24, 09 04:24 PM
  1. If your parents are divorcing, you may experience a lots of feelings. Your emotions may change frequently, too. You may feel angry, frustrated, upset, or sad. You might feel protective of one parent or blame one for the situation. You may feel abandoned, afraid, worried, or guilty. You may also feel relieved, especially if there has been a lot of tension at home. These feelings are normal and talking about them with a friend, family member or trusted adult can really help.

    Posted by why are my parents divorcing July 24, 09 04:26 PM
  1. reindeergirl would like to know why Rico does not bike in the rain. reindeergirl would like to know why Rico wants people to ride for only 2 miles.

    Now the L/W. Emotional incest really bothers me, but I don't feel this is a case of EI. You were going to hear it from someone, and I agree it's best not to tell before a big family event. My family has one this weekend (a wedding, actually) and I'd hate for the news to break then. Ask your father why he chose to tell you before he told your mom. I think there's nothing suspicious here, just a father who needed to speak with his daughter, and not in an emotionally incestuous kind of way. The timing could be better, is all. You are free to tell your mom any time you want, that is not up to your dad to decide. But you are mature, and you will do the right think.

    Think of val's haiku all weekend, and you'll be smiling until that time that the s*it hits the family family. Good luck to you, and to your mom - and your dad, too.

    Posted by reindeergirl aka Mrs. Smidgens July 24, 09 04:31 PM
  1. My parents were married for 23 years and recently got a divorce. Like others, I echo not to get in the middle if you can avoid it. There is a difference between providing support for a "grieving" parent than doing the dirty work for an angry parent or being manipulated into keeping secrets or thinking poorly of a parent. I was in that position for about 2 years because I was afraid of being a bad daughter. Finally one day my anger and frustration came out, and once we talked about it- she completely stopped and we have a great relationship. It will be hard, but I think you need to speak with both of your parents openly (especially your dad), and continously point out when they are being out of line.

    Posted by ACG July 24, 09 04:33 PM
  1. Oh the Reverend is back and he's got a big one to fry...

    This is for the parent of the LW...

    You know - when parents treat their kids as if they are equals - it upsets me because they're NOT. Parents are parents always until the bitter end. Kids are still impressionable at any age because of the fact that they're the offspring of the adults - and to go ahead and tell your kid that you're LEAVING your spouse for greener pastures BEFORE you even tell your spouse? UNACCEPTABLE!!! No excuse in the world is good enough here. You have no SACK and I hope the maggots eat your carcass leaving only your ears so you can hear your descendants talk about what kind of LOWLIFE you really are. You have nothing else to say besides "I ruined my family" before a major family function like a WEDDING! What's the point of going if you're getting divorced? You're no longer family - you're STUPID and you will forever have the duncecap on your head.

    You are the best of the worst. Everforward in your backward life.

    Now, to the LW: I'm really really sorry about what happened. You weren't ready to handle what kind of news your inconsiderate father had to say. I can empathize and say that you will be stronger in the end - be there for your mom and I wish the very best for you and the rest of your family, save for your father.

    Can someone pass the offering plate back to the usher??
    -the Good Rev

    Posted by TheRevHortonHeat July 24, 09 04:35 PM
  1. If I were you, I'd come down with a case of the runs right before the wedding and give my profound apologies to the groom and bride. Or you could tell your dad that he has to tell your mom before the wedding or you'll excuse yourself on some fake illness. Let your dad step up to the plate with your mom. He's behaving like a jerk and does not deserve your protection by keeping his secret. Whatever his false reasoning was to tell you first before he tells your mother is totally immature and selfish.
    Good luck to you after the s*it hits the fan.

    Posted by exvermonter July 24, 09 04:55 PM
  1. Alice (#40) had a good alternative thought...that perhaps the father had this discussion to ease LW into knowing what's coming down the pike and to see what LW's thoughts on it are.

    I disagree with many who have said to "put on a happy face" at the wedding and act like everything is fine. Since when do we have to totally lie about our feelings? If anyone asks why this person looks sad/worried/stressed, why not just be honest and say, "I have a lot on my mind right now, but not in a place to talk about it...eventually, I'll be able to share, but in meantime, I'll take a hug instead to help me feel better?" See...there are ways to keep things to ourselves when necessary, but to be honest about it and respect the other person who would pick up that something was actually amiss and wonder why they have to be saying an outright lie (ie "everthing's fine" when it isn't). Just because they're at a wedding doesn't mean an exchange like that couldn't happen. Honesty is always better than fakeness.

    Also, did I miss something in the letter that identifed this person's gender? Many people keep commenting about "her", but it was signed A&S...so where did it say the writer was a daughter. Strangely, I pictured a son...but I guess that was just me.

    To the letter writer...you got excellent advice here on turning to your friends, talking it out with them, and also knowing you will be in for a roller coaster of feelings as things proceed. Whatever happens, know that they love you and that the marriage produced a fantastic child who is apparently quite thoughtful.

    Posted by bklynmom July 24, 09 09:20 PM
  1. Did you guys (all the commenters) ever think that dad was hurting as well? Maybe he was looking for support from his friend/ daughter in a very difficult time for him. He's breaking his own heart, too after all - maybe he wanted someone to be there for him


    Yes it's going to be tough for you to pretend in front of your mom - just tell her yes something is up, and you will talk to her later. She wont assume it's about her

    Posted by Anonymous July 25, 09 06:58 AM
  1. I'm sorry, I just have to laugh at this. Rico's post number 44 is hysterical! I'm pasting it in below:

    Rico is not afraid of people like you and stands up for himself, it is too bad people like you usually hide behind a keyboard or the darkness of the night to distribute your hate. You are not just an IDIOT but a COWARD as well.

    What's this about standing up for yourself and not hiding behind a keyboard Rico? Isn't that EXACTLY what you are doing here? Hell, we all are! None of us uses their real first and last name and Meredith probably won't post us if we did! Unless of course your real name IS Rico which I highly doubt. You call Byubba a coward and present yourself as a brave warrior but honestly I don't see the distinction since you, Byubba, Hoss (love you man!), Valentino (killer haiku man!), Sally (hysterical!), and the rest of us ALL hide behind our keyboards. Now, what I WOULD like to see on this blog is more focus on the LW and less on each other's posts. Okay?


    Posted by J Bar July 25, 09 01:01 PM
  1. #71 -- Of course the dad is heartbroken and looking for someone to talk to. But guess what? That person should not be his daughter. Very, very simple. The people posting here who can't see that drive me crazy. It is not the child's job (grown or not) to "be there" to help a parent through marital troubles. It is immature and selfish of a parent to put his or her child in that position. My job as a parent is to *not put my child in the middle of my marital troubles*!

    Posted by jlen July 25, 09 06:33 PM
  1. such is life... obla de obla da.... if he's miserable more power to him. I give the guy all the credit in the world for sticking it out for 20 years.... 20 painful years too I bet.

    Posted by run like hell July 26, 09 12:06 AM
  1. Probably the best thing to have done in the circumstances was to say that you're shocked and also uncomfortable, because you feel like Mom should be the first to know about this.

    However, you didn't do that, so make your piece with it and fill your social role in the wedding. After all, that is something that is important and joyous.

    Whatever the impropriety of your dad "pre-sharing" or confiding in you about his decision, clearly he has made up his mind about it (or he certainly wouldn't have told you about it!) and he is also cognizant of the effect it might have on the tenor of the upcoming wedding.

    Actually, although I don't htink it was right of him to stress you out by confideing in you, tdelaying the announcement until after the wedding seems like it is well-motivated--also selfishly, he probably he is more comfortable having it be more private by not having it be a public topic of discussion at a large social event.

    who knows, he might change his mind in a couple of weeks or have a revelation while attending the wedding.

    I don't think you have to do anything but keep it to yourself or to a very close firiend who understands what it means to keep tight lips, and wait. It's really not your job to warn your mom--that's your dad's job. And while it may be upsetting to you, I'm sure you can hold it in for a couple fo weeks. Your parents definitely have some majmajor business to transact--and you can deal with it when it actually happens, and if it actaully happens, rather than being concerned about it ahead of time.

    Posted by steve in W MA July 26, 09 12:41 AM
  1. Oh geez, I feel for you girl!

    My parents got divorced a couple of years ago (I am 27) , and my dad actually got remarried this weekend. Although I am happy for him and I want him to be happy, I am still very sad that my parents' relationship didn't work out.

    Meredith's advice is RIGHT ON. You are their kid. They can't lean on you.

    Your dad sounds like an idiot. Mine was too. So was my mom. Its amazing how "grown ups" can act like children when life changes occur.

    Eventually, they will snap out of it. In the meantime, take care of yourself, and get into therapy. Its going to be a rough road ahead and you need to put yourself first.

    Posted by Tricia July 27, 09 09:21 AM
  1. "Rico is done for the day..."


    Posted by Truman July 27, 09 10:19 AM
  1. For all the folks yelping about poor daddy wanting to make sure his girl won't disown him, here's a ticket to the clue train: He put her in the middle when he confided in her he was going to leave her mother. That right there would be enough for me to back away.

    She loves her mother too, for God's sake. And THAT'S why it was inappropriate for him to confide in her. We aren't talking about a casual girlfriend he's breaking up with, or changing a job, or buying a car. He's talking about divorcing her mother to her before he even tells her mother. It puts her in the middle and it's pretty damn hurtful.

    A&S, your father sounds like a royal narcissist.

    Posted by PM July 28, 09 08:44 AM
  1. Just wanted to say to LW - don't underestimate how much grieving you are going to have to do. There is not a lot of talk out there about how painful a parents' divorce can be even for ADULT children. There are a few good books out there that really helped me get through it - The Way They Were, and Between Two Worlds. Be sure to get some counseling so that this doesn't wind up dooming your own future love life - extreme fear of being left or fear of commitment are common among children of divorce, even if their parents divorced when they were adults. But also know that in the long run, this will give you a lot of strength and insight that you wouldn't have had otherwise. Living in two mental worlds, as you have to do when your parents divorce and you are trying to maintain a relationship with both, teaches you how to deal with complexity and nuance in life - very important. Too many people get to go through life assuming everything is very simple and black and white - now you will know better, in a deep way.

    Posted by ACOD August 15, 09 04:43 PM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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