My ex-wife's bombshell confession over secret love child has left me reeling

DEAR DEIDRE: MY ex-wife confessed she had a secret love child just before we met, and now I’m reeling.

I’m 72 and have been divorced for 25 years. My ex-wife, now 70, and I had two sons, who are in their mid-40s.

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She was a great mum to them while we were together and always said she had no regrets about only having sons.

We always kept in contact as our divorce was fairly amicable.

Recently, I’ve realised she needs increasing help as she’s forgetting things and becoming confused — so I check in on her at least once a week.

Last week, she called me and said she needed to talk to me about some financial issues — old investments and trusts.

I think she’s aware she needs to get her affairs organised. Deep down I think she knows she may have dementia.

I agreed to help and when I went around, she said something that took my breath away.

She said, “I need to think about my daughter too.” I replied, “But we only have two sons.”

She seemed surprised that I sounded so shocked, and then told me she’d had a daughter.

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Her parents made her give the child up so that she could ‘marry a nice boy and have a proper family.’

I felt sick and I still don’t know what to believe.

From the odd things she has been saying lately, it’s clear she’s not in her right mind so this might not even be true.

But if it is, I feel my sons have a right to know. Should I tell them?

I know her family’s neighbours still live next door to her childhood home, perhaps I should ask them what they know.

My world has been turned upside down, and our past rewritten.

DEIDRE SAYS: This is extremely upsetting, confusing and delicate and I can only imagine how shocked and hurt you must feel.

You’re questioning everything you thought you knew about your married life, and how well you knew your ex-wife.

Worse, you can’t even be sure if her information is reliable.

If you’d like to learn more about dementia symptoms, you can contact The Alzheimer’s Society (, helpline 0333 150 3456), who deal with all types of dementia.

Before saying anything to your sons, or her former neighbours, it would be best to talk to your ex-wife again first and try to make her understand you need more information.

If you get the indication your wife’s revelation is true, then it may be best to tell your sons they have a half sister.

After all, family secrets do have a way of working themselves out into the open.

You might also find it reassuring to talk this over with someone sympathetic and neutral.

Family Lives (, helpline 0808 800 2222), offer support on all aspects of family life.

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