After my parents split up, my brother found out via Google search that my dad had been married before my mom. We talked to her about it and she explained that he hadn’t wanted to tell us because it was an impulsive youthful marriage, they had divorced quickly, and he had been ashamed of it. She had kept his secret out of respect for him. We all thought it was a bit dramatic but not that big a deal, and moved on with our lives.
Now my dad has been dating an amazing woman for over five years. I recently found out that he hasn’t told her about the first marriage. Everyone in Dad’s family knows except her. Dad doesn’t want to tell her for the same reason he didn’t want to tell me and my brother. Maybe it’s irrational, but this is freaking me out. Both he and this woman are divorced (him ostensibly from “just” my mom), so it just seems strange that he’s kept this a secret. Now it’s been so long, and I’m terrified that she’s going to be hurt if it comes out. Honestly, I think she’d be well within her rights to be angry. Since my brother found out through the sheer accident of googling our dad, and literally anyone could accidentally let it slip I don’t know what to do. Is there a good way for him to tell her? Am I out of my mind for thinking that he’s gonna be in trouble?
—Mystery First Marriage