Tricky Family Situation! HELP PLEASE!


I need some advice on a tricky family situation.

What would you do if your aunt told you your cousins were divorcing and would NOT tell her own sister (my mom, the aunt of these two cousins.) My mother practically co-raised her nephew for the first years of his life. But, neither he nor my aunt will tell them about this divorce, however my aunt thought it great to tell me! That makes me monkey in the middle! GRRRR! :mad:

I am supposed to magically remain silent for four to six months (possibly up to a year) while this goes through. That includes holidays and get togethers! ALSO, I hate divorce, and I feel it’s wrong to remain silent about it, but don’t know what else to do. This divorce is predominately based upon selfishness and money (not even legitamate reasons for divorcing…in my opinion.)

My mother will be VERY mad if she finds out I have held it in for six months, but, my Aunt keeps calling and making sure I didn’t say anything. :mad: My, humble opinion is to just tell my mom and forget my aunt who did this to me in the first place! My mom MIGHT be able to still help her nephew…slap sense into him if necessary. :rolleyes:

I do not know what GOD wants me to do. Honor my “secrecy” to my aunt, preserving harmony with them. OR, honor my mother and break the silence causing huge family discord with my aunts uncles and cousins. THANKFULLY, grandma and grandpa died decades agao and don’t have to witness this awful mess. There will be discord either way, but, with the telling my mom, at least I can keep my strong relationship with her. Which I feel most important. :confused: HELP PLEASE!

Any advice, as well as prayers that my cousins GROW UP and don’t get a divorce would be most appreciated.

Thanks! God bless you and Mary keep you!


Call your aunt and tell her that you refuse to be put in the middle of this secrecy pickle. Since she chose to tell you about it, she chose to leave it up to your moral code what you do with that information. If she didn’t want this out, she shouldn’t have been spreading it!

Tell your aunt that she will tell your mother inside of 48 hours, or you will. It sounds to me like your mother is very close to this nephew, and besides, to leave her out of the loop when practically everyone else knows is to be disrespectful to her. It would make her an outsider in her own family.

Your aunt will probably blow up at you, but that’s what selfish, gossipy people do when they are about to be outed as such. Stick to your guns. REFUSE to be the “monkey in the middle.” And tell her to stop calling and badgering you constantly…how annoying.


Thank you “duskyjewel.” You and I think alike on this.

I am just SO nervous to tell anyone. I have already held it in this long, so I hope my mom isn’t mad for that. I just didn’t know what else to do. It’s SO frustrating. :mad:

Thanks again for your kind reply! :slight_smile:


Exactly. She has no right, no right at all to put you in such an agonizing situation, she has no right to make you commit violence on your conscience and go against your principles, common sense, and judgement. To give in to your aunt would be practically collaborating in this mess - you shoudl refuse to be drawn into this conspiracy and sneaky business.


DuskyJewel and Margita are both correct.

You aunt has made an unreasonable demand on you. This is not like keeping a birthday gift a secret, or staying mum about uncle so-and-so being in alcohol treatment.

Nope, we are talking about a life-altering course of action that cannot remain a secret indefinately.

Your aunt is laying the groundwork for an intra-family nuclear war. This is profoundly bad judgment on her part.

What is your aunt’s motive? Does she not like the marriage and is afraid your mother will convince them NOT to divorce. From what you said, that seems it may be a possibility.

Speculation aside, she cannot in truth expect you to keep this a secret. By telling your mother, you commit no sin. However, I would, like DuskyJewel suggested talk to your aunt and give her to opportunity to talk to your mother first.

You aunt may lay a load on you like “It will only make her upset.” Or “She does not have the right to know.” Or “She does not understand the situation.” Or similar things.

None of those things matter. Give your aunt to the chance to talk to your mother. But no matter what she says, tell her that you will talk to your mother tomorrow, either to break the news to her or discuss the situation. Which of those it is will be up to your aunt.


I would tell her, too. As someone who’s been on the side of “No one tell Beloved! Let her brother do it! It’s not our place!”, I can honestly say that it is very hurtful to be the only one not privy to family matters. As a result, everyone knows that if I have information, I will share it with relevant parties (like parents, siblings), because withholding family news is cruel.

I think giving your aunt the 48 Hour Ultimatum is a good idea. :thumbsup:


That first part is SO true. I feel that our family, which is already very small in numbers, is about to get even smaller! :frowning:

I do not know my aunt’s heart. I do know that I was the first convert to Catholicism in our family. My mom, followed my lead a few years later. We are the only Catholics in a sea of Protestants, many of them are OK with it (come to terms.) Some are even supportive of it! PRAISE GOD! However, my aunt has never been OK with it.:nope: I do not know if that is partly it or not, but I have my suspicions. :shrug:

I DO know that my cousin has made it a point NOT to tell my mother (his aunt.) I feel like I am butting in his business by telling her. Also…these cousins have been married for 12 years. I mean, come on! :rolleyes:

I feel like this :banghead: And I didn’t do anything. Normally its my own dumb decisions that make me feel like that. This time, I am innocent!

Thanks for your sweet replies everyone! God bless you and yours! :slight_smile:


The 48 hour idea is GOOD! However, it would be like igniting a nuclear bomb. I would most likely have to hang up, because I wouldn’t be able to take the heat of the conversation. I don’t know if I even have the courage. There are times when I really HATE being an adult! :rolleyes:


Having been on the receiving end not of ‘don’t tell Mirdath’ but of having my own secrets spilled, I somewhat disagree with the rest of the advice in this thread.

First: ask your cousin. If he says it’s fine to tell, go right ahead and do that. Your aunt isn’t even in the picture there.

Then start taking your aunt to task over having made it your business. It wasn’t any of yours to start with, and it sounds like she’s trying to shuffle it off on you to avoid dealing with the fallout herself. The ‘you tell her, or I will’ idea is a good one in principle – but you should really talk to your cousin before letting it out.

If and when you do tell your mother, do it carefully; don’t just drop the bomb on her. Sit her down and warn her that there’s some bad news she needs to know, concerning family (but not yourself). Try to make it as easy for her as possible.

Good luck :slight_smile:


Yes, I can see where you are coming from too! That is why I am so confused as what to do. I am not close with this cousin, so it would seem out of place for me to call him. But, my mom is very close (he’s like the son she never had!) I am so torn. But, your advice is very true and needs to be considered as well.

Thanks! :slight_smile:


Just to throw another stick on the fire…

Is it possible that your aunt told you and swore you to secrecy in the hope that you wouldn’t be able to stand it and would tell your mother so she wouldn’t have to?

Just wondering, since I had relatives that would have done just that:rolleyes:


Sounds a lot like it, really.

And Convert, don’t let distance stop you! Your cousins have a lot to lose in this too, thanks to your aunt’s actions (and lack thereof) – and are really also the final determinants of who should know before the fact. It’s not out of place at all to talk to them when it’s their marriage and their business.


I know how you feel…but from ‘the other side’. We heard 6 weeks ago that my BIL had been having an affair for 2 years, is going through a divorce after 15 years and was expecting a baby with his mistress (she gave birth yesterday). We were not told because although the whole family is Catholic, we’re the only ones who are considered ‘devout’:rolleyes: (read: we’d be ‘judgmental’!). The shock was terrible as it was so sudden! And to be honest, if we could have ‘gotten used to the idea’ over the past 2 years it wouldn’t have been so bad…So…I imagine your mother will feel the same as we did if she hears it in 6 months…betrayed, left out, angry, disappointed…the whole lot. So, I think your cousin should tell her NOW. Not you, not your aunt, but HE HIMSELF! My BIL, the coward, left it up to my MIL to tell us in the end and she was in floods of tears the poor woman, she’d been agonising about how to tell us for MONTHS…It just isn’t fair! It should come from your cousin himself!

Anna x


I agree with Mirdath’s advice, and my prayers are with you.

This reminds me slightly of a situation in my own family - one of my aunts has a previous invalid marriage that occured when she was very young, lasted several years, and it was properly annulled. There were no children from that union. She later, when I was about 8, remarried. She went on to have two boys, who are now entering college. My cousins do not know about their mother’s first marriage. The family is forbidden to tell them. They moved down south, and I rarely see them anymore, but it was always so awkward and weird when I did spend time with them, knowing this secret about their mother they have no clue about.

My aunt is currently seeking an annullment for the second marriage, and seems to have very valid reasons (uncle #2 was a bigger liar and scumbucket from the beginning of the relationship than #1), and a couple times my mom has slipped and said something about her first, and been reprimanded. We’re not to speak of it, despite most of the family knowing (all adults and grandchildren over the age of her children) because it might get back to the boys!

There are other family secrets as well, and the whole thing bothers me. I hate when I find something out, directly or indirectly, because even though I wasn’t planning on telling anyone and spreading it around, it seems an undue burden to carry it around and face others involved who have no clue.


This is too easy, choices are:

  1. First and Optimal - Tell your Mother immediately. Then tell your aunt you don’t keep secrets from your mother and to swear you to secrecy will cause hurt and pain between you and your mother (I suspect she knows this and question why she would want to drive a wedge of pain between you both??? what’s her motive there??)

  2. tell your aunt she has 3 days to tell your mom or you will

  3. tell your cousin he has 3 days to tell your mom or you will

  4. tell your Mom to call her sister and badger her about what’s happening to her nephew without telling her what it is.

To keep such a secret from her doesn’t allow her the chance to give support, prayers, counsel, or the love so desperately needed at a time like this. Tell her and heck with the rest.


I know…join the club. But you can remember that you don’t need to have the courage…you can ask God for the grace to do the next right thing…and I think you have been given some great advice on this situation…have your patron saint and guardian angel stand with you and GO FOR IT…


Your aunt is way off base. Tell her that you are going to tell your mother and do it. I wouldn’t even give her the opportunity to do so since she made it quite clear that she was not going to inform your mom.

You and your mom are Catholic (praise God) others are not! Doesn’t change the fact that the 4th Commandment says to honor your mother and father. There is also the one about lying (some would consider silence a lie under certain circumstances). What this all comes down to is honoring your Mother not your aunt or cousin, neither of whom seem to be doing God’s will.
God bless you and remember with God as your friend you need fear no one.


Thanks everyone for your kind replies. :slight_smile:

I called my mother today and just told her. :smiley: She took it really well, sad of course about her darling nephew, but, not at all upset with me. NOW, my aunt is another story. I am sure she will be mad and upset, but, I probably won’t hear about that for a month or so. :frowning:

Thanks be to God it is out and I don’t have to deal with it anymore…until I next hear from my aunt. :rolleyes:

Thanks everyone…you gave me the support and courage I needed to do what needed to be done. Just thought I would let you all know how it went. Again, THANKS! :thumbsup:

God bless you and yours! :heaven:


Good for you!!! God’s courage is so wonderful and makes us feel so good and peaceful deep down inside when we use it. Don’t worry about how auntie reacts. She owns her reactions and her deeds NOT you. I am really proud of you. God bless.


Convert, this was a difficult decision and I think you did the right thing. It is unfortunate that your aunt may be angry, but in the end, you have helped keep a greater peace in the family. Also, as was pointed out by another poster, you were following 2 of the 10 commandments in this matter.

You did the right thing. May god bless you. May He grant peace and understanding to you, your mother, and your aunt. And, of course, may He grant peace and reconciliation to your cousin.

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