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Should son of abusive father try to reconcile?

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

If I say nothing, they may never learn about his affair, and he can be remembered as a faithful and loving husband and father. Do I keep his secret?

-- Worried Son-in-law

Dear Son-in-law: When faced with a dilemma regarding divulging a secret, the questions to try to resolve are, "Who would benefit?" and "What good would it do?"

In many cases regarding family secrets, the "good" is simply "truth." If it is the truth, then those affected by the truth -- even if it is a tough truth -- should be led to the light.

In this case, your father-in-law has no opportunity to alter his behavior, and little opportunity to explain, apologize and make amends.

I think you should let this one lie.

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Dear Amy: You were too easy on "Fed up in Chicago," the vegetarian whose mother-in-law brought meat dishes to their home. Even Fed Up conceded that her MIL was probably just trying to be social. Her characterization of these dishes as "disgusting" was revealing. She's the rude one.

-- Fellow Vegetarian

Dear Fellow: I agree that this trashing was quite unnecessary.

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(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)


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