Dad left, and my aunt told me a secret about him | Mariella Frostrup

Mariella Frostrup says the information may not be news to her mother – and warns against aportioning blame as her parents’ marriage is picked over

The dilemma My father left my mum, abruptly and with no warning, after 38 years of marriage. My mother’s sister, my aunt, recently confided in me that she never liked my dad after he, for lack of better words, made a pass at her many years ago on a family trip when I was a toddler. This has shattered me. Apart from my own sadness at having my dad’s sins confirmed, I’m extremely close to my mother and we keep no secrets. I know my aunt will never tell her the truth, but I wish she hadn’t brought me into it. I feel like I’m holding Mum back from truly moving on by keeping this from her, but I don’t want to expose her to yet more grief, and I also don’t want to deceive her.

Mariella replies It may not be news to her. As LP Hartley famously said: “The past is a foreign country,” and it’s surprising how alien it can be. It’s very unlikely that the history of your parents’ relationship since they first embraced is clearly divided into right and wrong, or the guilty and the blameless.

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