Keeping secrets from your parents is a natural part of being a kid. Siblings bond over keeping those secrets.
But what if your parent got half the information on the secret and assumed something both incorrect and characteristically damaging of you?
That’s the situation Reddit user ThrowRA-brotherprob found herself in when her mom accidentally caught a glimpse of something that clued her into a secret she and her brother were keeping.
Confused about how to handle the situation, she went to the popular subReddit “Relationship Advice” for help.
“My brother is living with me in secret and my mom thinks I’m cheating on my husband.”
Our original poster, or OP, set the scene for this secret between her and her sibling.
“About two weeks ago, my (F[emale]25) sister-in-law (F32) dropped a bombshell on my brother (M[ale]29) that their youngest (5F) might not be his child because she had been sleeping with her ex-boyfriend around the time they got pregnant.”
“He showed up on my doorstep and asked if he could stay with me while he figured this stuff out. I of course said yes and made up the guest room for him.”
“My brother asked if I could keep his situation private while he figures out his next moves and especially not tell our parents.”
OP’s mom would likely be unsympathetic to the situation.
“My mom has an incredibly close relationship my sister-in-law and with how she treated her older sister who divorced her husband after he cheated on her, she doesn’t view cheating as something worth divorcing over.”
The misunderstanding began when OP’s mom glimpsed brother in the background.
“Basically the other day, my mom and I were on Facetime and I was showing her how my quarantine garden was coming along.”
“My back was facing the house and during the call, she briefly saw my brother pass by a window without his shirt on.”
“She ended up cutting the call short and left me confused until she called back last night and lectured me on how I was betraying my husband and that marriage is a promise for a lifetime.”
“She said she understood I was lonely but this was not the way to handle things.”
OP explained her husband was fully aware of her brother being there.
“My husband has been in Canada (we live in the States) since April with his father who is in kidney failure and struggling with other illnesses and is looking like he won’t make it past Christmas at this point.”
“He is aware of the situation and aware of not telling my parents anything.”
OP doesn’t know when her brother will be ready to discuss any of this.
“I couldn’t explain to my mom and tried playing it off that she was just seeing things but she didn’t buy it.”
“I told my brother what happened and he’s frustrated about it. He asked for a few more days to get his head straight and then he will talk to our parents about it but knowing him, those few days could turn into weeks.”
“I don’t want to spill to my parents but this situation is incredibly uncomfortable.”
“What do I do?”
Reddit, called upon to give advice, showed up with bells on.
“This might end up being a waiting game.”
“It’s uncomfortable but if your brother doesn’t want your mom to know about his situation yet, and you can’t tell her out of respect for your brother, there’s not much you can say other than telling your mom that you’re not cheating and to trust you.”
“It’s not worth coming up with a lie about this.”
“And as long as (like you said) your husband knows what’s up, that’s all that matters in the end (that way if your mom pulls a sneaky and tells your husband, he will not tell her about your brother and he’ll know you’re not actually cheating).”~pancakebirdpowder74
“I mean… it sucks that she thinks so but does what she thinks really matters?”
“Your brother knows, your husband knows, and honestly you kinda lucked out having a mom who for some reason thinks cheating is not a dealbreaker.”
“Cause at least you know she won’t go nuclear even if she is convinced you’re cheating.”~imabowlofs0up
“I get the feeling from your mother’s difference in reaction that she only has an issue with women cheating, not men.”
“Some people have the twisted idea it’s ‘normal’ for men to cheat but so wrong if women do.”
“So, your mom might surprise you and actually side with your brother if he divorced his wife.”~Leohond15
Overall, Reddit is just saying, yes, it is uncomfortable—but all will be explained in time.
“Leave it as is.”
“Your mom is too in your guys’ business because you keep her there for some reason. Your husband knows the truth. So do you. Oh well on the rest.”
“Your brother is going through enough; let’s not add this to the plate.”~more_than_a_feelin
“Easiest solution is tell her the exact story, but instead of your brother substitute in a friend’s or work colleagues name.”
“So like ‘oh that was John, husband’s friend. He’s having marital issues and needed to get away for a few days. You can ask husband if you’re worried, he’s the one who suggested it.'”
“As long as you give your husband a heads up, you should be fine.”~Navarog07
“Why couldn’t you just say your brother spent the night or his shower wasn’t working so he came to use yours or SOMETHING?”
“Instead of making yourself look guilty trying to gaslight her when she CLEARLY saw him why not just say it was your brother?”
“His personal business didn’t even need to come up. I’m genuinely confused.”~Dogfoodsmy_DOC
“I’m sorry but…. why couldn’t you just say that your brother was over for a visit or a friend was there?”
“Telling her she’s seeing things is the main excuse cheaters go with. Of course she’s not going to buy it.”
“Just say a friend was over.”
“Anyways there’s nothing really to do. Just tell her this isn’t her business and ignore her.”~CoronaFunTime
And people are also reiterating it isn’t really mom’s business, anyway—so any explanation should be enough for her.
“‘Not talking about this with you, Mom. End of discussion. Stop talking about this or I will hang up.'”
“Just skip past it. It’s not like she can come around to check.”
“I’d be more into getting DNA tests for yourself, your dad and your brother, since your mom is so gung-ho about cheating.”~s-mores
“You told her you were not having an affair. For now, let her believe what she wants. Everything will eventually come out and she’ll know you’re not cheating on your husband.”
“Although, her views on cheating seem to vary from person to person.”
“That might be something worth pointing out as the topic will certainly come up when the state of your brother’s marriage becomes common knowledge.”~Jen5872
“Why does anyone in your family give a f**k what your mom thinks? You are all adults.”
“She doesn’t think cheating is a reason for divorce? Good for her, she doesn’t get to dictate what you think or do though.”
“Same for your brother, which honestly I would have a paternity test being done and speaking with a divorce lawyer.”~WheresMyCrown
“Don’t pressure your bro. Give him space and time. Tell your mom to mind her business if she raises the topic again.”
“You change it to whatever you want to talk about. Essentially telling her that this is off the table and she is not being asked for her input, opinion or thoughts.”
“The other thing to consider with your bro. Did your SIL tell the ex her suspicions as well?”
“If so, what are her thoughts on the relationship this guy might want to have with your niece? How/what is your bro thinking in regards to this?”
“It might help to get his head out of his own space if he knows he needs to take steps to ensure the well being of this little girl he thinks of as his…focusing on just that for the immediate moment might help him to take action.”~spyddarnaut
Though it might be uncomfortable, OP hasn’t done anything wrong.
The only thing left to do is soldier through.