Dear Margo, I have two sons. My older son, "Randall," is unmarried. Last year, he had to give up his apartment when his lease ran out, so for several months, he lived with his younger brother, "Eddie," and his wife, "Gussie." I accidentally overheard a conversation and learned that Randall and Gussie were having an affair. I immediately told Eddie what was going on. He promptly confronted his wife and brother. They confessed everything. Now, all three of them are angry with me. Eddie finally has started to speak to me again after months of silence, but Gussie still won't talk to me. That doesn't bother me much because I never liked her. Meanwhile, Randall hasn't said one word to me since the affair. Was I wrong to tell Eddie about the affair? I couldn't bear to see my younger son being made a fool by his wife, and I didn't think it was right for Randall to be involved with her under any circumstances. It breaks my heart that my children are so upset with me. Is there any way to fix this? -- A Sorry Mom in Iowa
Dear Sorry Mom, While your moral stance was understandable, you created a great deal of animosity, and it will take time to repair the damage. You owe an apology to Randall, Eddie and Gussie (even though you don't like her). I suggest that you drop a note to each of them and ask for forgiveness. This should serve as a lesson to you. Vow to carry no more tales. Sometimes, they kill the messenger.
Dear Sorry Mom, Ah, this is complicated. In the Bible of Ideal Behavior Within Families it says, "Mind thine own business." There is a strong instinct, however, to inform the person being wronged - especially if it is one's child. I totally understand the reasons for what you did - and I probably would have done the same. Now that it is done, however, you might as well apologize (because what do you have to lose?) and see if you can return to your sons' good graces. If that doesn't happen, well, I suspect you would do it all over again. I think I would've. Which brings me to an interesting point: MYOB notwithstanding (one of my mother's oft used suggestions), there is a strong instinct to pass on information you believe another person ought to know. Example: After Oprah moved to Chicago, she and my mother became friendly. When Mother learned something she thought Oprah ought to know, she called and told her. Oprah never spoke to her again. In that case, the messenger got killed ... just as you did, Sorry Mom. So, chins up, and remember that what's done is done. Life is like that. - Margo
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!
Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!
Deming NM's Comment
One son abusing the other? Of course she had to stick her oar in! I would have told the two cheaters that I was going to the younger son if they didn't immediately do so.
I didn't agree with your answer. No apology should be given to Eddie and Gussie!!!!!
It's a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation.
You let the one son know that his wife and brother were cheating on him.
Yet all three are mad at you and, frankly, the daughter-in-law you never liked will never forgive you anyway.
As for your sons, well, what can you apologize to them for? Letting them know the truth about the situation?
Give it up, get a new hobby or activity and let them get on with the mess they created because it's never going to be one big happy family again.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:
Dear Readers, , My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.