"Our Daughter Does Not Need To Know About That": 17 Real-Life Secrets About People's Relationships That They Refuse To Tell Their Children
Note: This post contains mentions of pregnancy loss.
It's completely normal for parents to keep things about their relationship — or their family — from their children for a number of reasons.
In an effort to encourage more open and honest conversations about this and to remind people it's okay to withhold information sometimes — I asked the BuzzFeed Community, "What secrets about your relationship will you never tell your kids?" The responses I received are extremely honest and vulnerable. Here are some of them.
1."My oldest is not my biological child; he is from my husband's previous marriage, and he lives with us now due to his mom passing in 2020. He is 10, and his dad and I have been together for 13 years. If you didn’t add that up right, I was the other woman! To go back, he was my hot older neighbor, and he almost hit me with his car while I was walking my dog. It was love at first sight, and honestly, I never felt that before. We were addicted to each other, and before the lovemaking, we were just like two inseparable kids — and still are. We ended up telling his ex-wife everything because I couldn't hide it any longer."
"I just don’t know how to tell our oldest this story, when he starts adding things up — do I just be honest or say they were separated!? He and I are REALLY close; he is my son basically, so I don't want to mess that relationship up with something from my past. I struggle with this."
2."I will never tell my son his dad and I met through an online dating site only because I was looking for a quick hookup. I want him to look for more in a relationship when he's older and know it's just not about sex."
3."We slept together on our first date. Our daughter does not need to know about that, but it’s a secret that my husband and I joke about all the time. We’ve been together for 14 years, so I guess it worked out okay."
4."I will never tell our kids that we were swingers around the time I got pregnant, and we have no idea which of the men is their father. The guy I had the most sex with filled the role for them, but I truly don’t know."
5."I lost one of the twins I was carrying very early on in the pregnancy, and I was relieved. I did not want two babies, and in fact, the one I did have was almost more than I could handle. I didn’t know I was even having twins until it was all done so I never bonded with it. Obviously, carrying a baby and loving it only to lose them would be entirely different, but I’ve always been glad I never had to go through any of it."
6."We are mothers to two beautiful children. We often tell a little white lie to get them to behave. We say if they don't behave, their Hogwarts letter won't come in the mail. We always feel very naughty afterward."
7."I am currently involved in two polyamorous relationships. I date two different men who are both married to other women. The wives know, and we all get along, but as far as my child knows — I am happily single."
8."I won't ever go into detail with my oldest child about how things went down in my relationship with their father (my ex-husband). I think when divorced parents talk about that stuff in front of their kids, it's awful. Even though he cheated, lied, manipulated me, and still plays it all off like he was the victim — I only say kind things about him around our kid. I mean really kind, not fake kind. I talk about good memories or mention how they look, act, and speak like their dad whenever I can. I want them to feel connected to him, especially since he moved 2,000 miles away when our kid was 5, to be with the person he cheated on me with, and hasn't returned to see his child since. Over 10 years, and they only video chat. It's so sad, and I wish sometimes I could tell them the whole story, to make ME feel better, but that's selfish."
9."My kids think their dad and I have a 'vanilla' sex life. To the outside, we are straight-laced pillars of the community. We live in a lovely split-level house with a couple of dogs. To them, we are boring. In reality, we are into very kinky, BDSM sex. We have toys and handcuffs and other things that you can only get from specialty stores. The Fifty Shades books and movies were kinda boring compared to what we have done. We experiment with anything and in every way. If we want to really get our freak on, we will go out of town for a couple of days and stay in an Airbnb without neighbors. Our sex life is freaking awesome and so hot! We've been married for 25 years and still love turning each other on in so many non-vanilla ways. Part of the turn-on is that only WE know what we are like."
10."I've been married for 35 years and have had multiple affairs for 18 years now. My husband doesn't know, and our kids think we have a great marriage. I will take this secret to my grave."
11."I would never tell my son that the day I married his dad (now my ex-husband), I knew in my heart I was making a mistake. None of my family really liked him, but I was pregnant with my son and thought it was 'the right thing to do.' The night of our marriage, I excused myself to the bathroom and sat on the floor and cried for almost an hour."
12."I was still married to my ex-wife for the first two years of my current relationship. When she left, we just never went through the process of legally divorcing. We just split up, separated everything ourselves, and went on with our lives. I told this to my now-fiancé so there were no secrets and she could make her decision before we even met for our first date. She understood it was a loose end I still needed to take care of, and we've been happy together since. My ex-wife and I have since finalized everything. My fiancé and I both have kids from our previous relationships, but this is a detail we'll leave out of stories."
13."I found out from my mom last year (I am 33) that my aunt has kept it a secret from my cousin his entire life: who his real father is. He is 47, and apparently, my aunt got pregnant by a guy right out of high school that left her, and a few months later, she met and then married my uncle. So, they just told him and all his siblings that was his real dad. All of my mom's siblings and grandparents know the truth, and now me. I have always stressed about him possibly taking an at-home DNA test because it would cause so much hurt if he found out at this point in life."
14."My secret is that I got together with my boyfriend while he was still married. We have one girl together, plus my own daughter from a previous marriage. My boyfriend never really moved in with us. He is still living with his wife. His wife knows about me and our daughter. She knows we're together. Whenever my daughter asks why we can't go to daddy's house, I just make up an excuse. He spends most of his time with us and does not have any kids with her. I never really pressured him to move in with us because I like how things are right now. I don't feel like sharing my space with him. I am comfortable. I know it's weird. We are actually talking about him moving in finally; part of me is okay with that for my daughter's sake, but part of me likes it the way it is now."
15."I will never tell our kids where my wife and I met. When I was single, I used to work out of town during the week and return home every Thursday night. Usually, on those nights, I would meet up with friends for some drinks. If I couldn't find anyone that could join me, I would usually go to a topless bar. Side note, this is in Dallas where topless bars are abundant. I had my favorite ones, but would sometimes just stop at one that was close to where I lived. The night I met my future wife, I went to a topless bar. She was a former dancer that was now working as a cocktail waitress and going to school. After being my waitress and serving me drinks that night, we exchanged numbers and started dating soon afterward. We have now been together for 23 years and have two adult kids."
16."The secret I’d never tell my child is the morning that I married their father, I found out he had been cheating on me the entirety of our dating history. I ended up going through with the marriage because I knew that he was better than that, and I did truly love him more than anyone. It made the first few months — even years — of our marriage pretty difficult, and attending weddings is still hard for me. It wasn’t how I would’ve expected my wedding to go, and I can’t imagine even how I would tell my child to make it make sense. It was my choice, and it felt right. This week, we’re celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary as a family, and I have never once regretted my decision as much as it hurt."
17."Me and my husband had a kid before our two kids now. I put that kid up for adoption because I was only 15, and I wasn’t able to take care of it. We never told my kids we had because I felt like they’d be sad that their almost sibling was put up for adoption."
Do you have a secret about your relationship that you and your partner or spouse are keeping from your child? If you feel comfortable, share it with me in the comments below or in this anonymous form.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.