There are certain discussions that might be worth having before tying the knot with someone you love. Although the ultimate decision on whether to share anything major lies with the person with the secrets.
But nondisclosure is a huge risk as one gentleman learned.
Redditor AshamedProject is a husband who went the don’t tell route. Unfortunately, the truth has a sneaky way of revealing itself.
When his wife found out about his familial factoid, she was appalled. But he refused to apologize.
He turned to seek validation on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for never telling my wife that my parents were cousins?”
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“My (26 M[ale]) parents have been happily married for thirty years, neither of them had known they were cousins and found out two years into their relationship.”
“Their mothers (who are sisters) had lost contact after each of them ran away (at different times) from their strict super religious household. The day they met it was almost in an instant that both of them knew they were each others siblings.”
“That day was filled with a lot of chaos, and ended up with the breakup of my parents. However five months into the breakup, they both realized they couldn’t do it and they got back together.”
“My mother’s mom supported them, whereas my fathers had not and disowned my father. A year after that my parents got married, and had my sister and I.”
“Just a month ago my father had passed away from heart complications, it hit my mother really hard and she was absolutely broken. This week we had a tiny funeral (only ten people) for him and everything was going smooth, until his mother showed up (my aunt had brought her along).”
“This created a huge shouting match with my mother, aunt, and grandmother. In this they disclosed the fact my parents were cousins. My wife looked at me in shock and asked me if that was true. I told her yeah and she said to wait for a conversation about this when we got home.”
“Well we got home and she just started crying saying that, it was disgusting that I was a product of incest and how I couldn’t have told her and why I didn’t trust her.”
“I truly don’t believe that my parents relationship defines me as a person, I’ve tried to ignore that fact for my whole life, and it was a really uncomfortable topic.”
“I told her that I had the right to keep it to myself, but she just screamed that I didn’t and that what if we had a child and it could have complications because of me (although the chances of that are extremely low).”
“I still stood my ground that it was my right, but my wife just continued to cry as she told me that we were going to take a break. I’m heartbroken because I didn’t think that part of me defined me, and to know she was taking a break from me because of that reason really hurt.”
“I talked to my sister about this and she said that I was the a**hole and should’ve told my wife, as she told her husband. She said it’s not something I should’ve hidden, because it was a deal breaker for many.”
“I’m really tired of having my parents relationship define me as a person and I don’t think I’m the a**hole for not telling my wife. I haven’t had contact with my wife but I know that if she were to forgive me I’d have to apologize, and even though it may sound so petty that I’m putting our relationship on the line, I don’t I need to give any apology.”
“I’d like another view on this because my minds racing, also throwaway because my wife knows my reddit.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors had various responses to the post—the first of which comprised of statistical information.
“First cousins are also allowed to marry without restriction in 19 states in the US.” – Plondon0
“Incest laws in Canada only extend to parents, siblings, and grandparents.” – SiameseCats3
“I actually did a whole research paper about incest taboos across the world (sociology), and you would be surprised what is considered incest in some places.”
“I’m not super knowledgeable about the biology of it (my research focus was on the existence of the taboo itself and it’s impact on the culture) but OPs parents could have been siblings and the health risks are still relatively low, which is why it’s legal to marry first cousins (also it’s legal to marry your second cousin in most US states, iirc) because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal.”
“Which is why I’m a little shocked at the wife’s reaction? Or am I just desensitized bc I went and spent hours researching how some cultures encourage boys to have sex for the first time with female cousins?” – Relevant_Lime
Others weighed in with their respective judgments.
“I imagine the bigger problem is that he didn’t tell her something that had his father disowned, split his parents up, and been a problem for OP in the past. He chose not to trust her to know and marry him.”
“So, can she trust him? Is there more OP is hiding? In the future will OP arbitrarily decide his wife doesn’t deserve certain information because it is a problem for him?” – Dachshundmom5
“I think this is above Reddit’s paygrade and I know this get suggested way too often in here but you and your wife need counseling.” – HowardProject
“I wanted to say no a**holes because I can see why you don’t want to bring it up, and I’m the UK I believe first cousins are actually allowed to marry. But I absolutely get why she would want to know upfront, so she can decide for herself if it was a problem.”
“I think, softly, YTA because it should have come up before the wedding.” – annshine
“Well… Your parents relationship does define you if you think you have to keep it a secret.”
“And incest being a huge, huge taboo (and with health ramifications) one would think it is ought to be mentioned to the person you are getting married to. So, yeah, YTA.” – Roatie
“There are technically potential health ramifications from cousin marriage, but they’re low to begin with, and OP marrying outside of the family means any of his (hypothetical) children have basically the same odds of conplications/illness/disability as anybody else.”
“That said – if he didn’t tell her because he didn’t think it mattered, that’d be one thing. Intentionally hiding it because he knows it would bother her is another, and does make him an a**hole. His wife’s response seems totally disproportionate, though. ESH.” – redmax7156
In an edit, the OP admitted his guilt but explained that the years of torment he endured since high school took a toll on his emotional well-being.
“I fully understand that I was in the wrong, this was my wife I should told her, keeping this away from her was betrayal of trust. However my parents being a product of incest was always a sore spot for me.”
“I wrote this in the post but I exceeded the word limit therefore I took it off. But when I was high school this information of my parents leaked.”
“My sister told it to a friend and in the small town i lived in, it spread like wildfire. I’d get bullied constantly for it on top of already getting bullied for being small and skinny, the bulling was horrible, and I was hospitalized once from it (broken ribs).”
“That instance emotionally scarred me, and I went through therapy to overcome it. While in therapy my therapist wanted me to know that my parents didn’t define me, their relationship had nothing to do with me.”
“My parents were their own people and I was my own person. After those years of therapy I left with that mentality, why should my parents affect me?”
“So you guys were right although I was saying my parents didn’t define me, if that was true I shouldn’t have kept it a secret. I knew they defined me and I was scared of my girlfriend (now wife) leaving me.”
“Perhaps I made it worse withholding this information. I’ve contacted my wife but her sister said to give her a couple more days to gather her thoughts, when she does I will apologize. Thank you for showing me I was in the wrong.”
Sadly, the outcome was not in the OP’s favor.
“Turns out a couple days means minutes, we’re getting divorced. She can’t live with the fact her children would be disgusting freaks.”
While divorce is a difficult thing for this soon to be ex-husband to face, had he shared his secret early in their relationship he could have dodged this bullet. He could have worked it out or never gotten married to someone who couldn’t accept him.