Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mother struggles to disclose long-ago affair

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My late-husband had a significant indiscretion about 10 years into our 35-year marriage. We stayed together and in fact, I was his caregiver for over 10 years, until he died of ALS.

I never told anyone about his extramarital affair because I thought it would complicate a messy matter unnecessarily.

After his affair, I think I gained confidence, even though he became increasingly difficult to communicate with about daily activities, our children, and issues in our relationship.

I would like my grown children to better understand both their father and me. I am struggling with telling them about the affair since their father isn’t here to explain himself, and I’m wondering about the costs/benefits of revealing such a long-ago truth.

My children are now married with children of their own, and they do ask questions about their father that could be better answered if they knew about his affair.

I know they would be very disappointed to learn this about their dad. After many years of debating the pros/cons of telling my kids, I am tired of being conflicted about it. When I decided to “get over it” and stay in the marriage I would never have imagined the consequences would persist over a lifetime.


Any thoughts you have that might shift my thinking would be appreciated.

– Still Conflicted

Dear Conflicted: You state that your children “ask questions about their father that could be better answered if they knew about his affair.”

Unless you are leaving out important details, the broad strokes of your long marriage seem to paint a portrait of human frailty, forgiveness, and stalwart caregiving.


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