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Should I Confront My Dad About His Secret Marriage?

I don't really like her

Q: One of your writers, Navja, wrote a piece on dealing with her dad’s remarriage. I think I might be in that situation right now, and I’m a bit confused.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure if my father even got remarried. All I know is that I was blow drying my dog and found a new wedding ring on the counter, one of the athletic type ones. I don’t know if I should confront him or leave it be? My brother and I are not huge fans of the woman he is currently with. She and my father started dating when they were both married to other people, resulting in a messy and ugly divorce.

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I’m just super confused and don’t know how to approach the situation.


A: Dear Anonymous,

What’s your goal here, and where’s that conversation going to go? Sure! Definitely ask your dad, “Did you secretly get married without telling me?” because how do you not ask him, really?

But you mention that you don’t like this woman. Are you planning to get into that? It’s hurtful that your dad cheated on your mom. Those actions affect far more than just the three people involved, and as the adult child in the situation, it all can feel very personal. But now that this already happened and is in the past, you don’t really get a say in who the man chooses to marry. You can dislike these choices that they made at the outset of their relationship, and you can choose not to build your own relationship with her, even (for better or worse). But you can’t tell him who to marry.

And if your first instinct is to yell at him for marrying someone you don’t like, it’s pretty clear why he’s keeping it a secret (as terrible an idea as that is).

—Liz Moorhead


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