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Should I tell my future daughter in law?

(31 Posts)
babcha Mon 11-Feb-19 16:24:24

My son has had various mental health issues in the past and refuses to reveal these to his fiancee. I think she should know his full background but obviously my son would be very angry if I had such a chat with her.
Should I stay quiet?

agnurse Mon 11-Feb-19 16:56:19


That's your son's private information. I understand your concern. But it's his life. That's his information to share. If they're old enough to get married, they're both adults. It's up to them to disclose their personal health information to each other.

B9exchange Mon 11-Feb-19 16:58:55

What a ghastly position to be in. I don't think you can say anything, unless she asks you direct, in which case you cannot lie.

Telly Mon 11-Feb-19 17:06:31

This something he needs to discuss with her. Should he ask your advice feel free to advise him as you think fit. However no, I would not say anything to your future DiL. Perhaps she knows more than you think anyway?

janeainsworth Mon 11-Feb-19 17:07:32

Presumably (from what you’ve written in your post) you have discussed this with your son and he has asked you not to say anything to his fiancée.
It would be a betrayal of trust if you did.
It’s an interesting question though.
If your son had a history of cancer, or a genetic condition like haemophilia, would he disclose that to his fiancée? And should he?

Day6 Mon 11-Feb-19 17:15:52

Our mental health can vary and you say in the past your son had mental health issues. Lots of people do.

Presumably, he has conducted a courtship and found someone he loves and wants to marry without his 'past' problems causing his girl to question the state of his mental health.

Is their any certainty that his MH is likely to falter and cause him problems in the future? Perhaps he feels better, stronger, more confident and sure these days so for him, it IS in the past.

Without knowing his history it's hard to say if he is concealing problems, or has moved on from the MH episodes he had before, and is going forward from a much stronger place.

It is his duty to tell his fiancee if there are likely to be problems ahead though. I understand your worries however.

babcha Mon 11-Feb-19 17:23:44

Thank you all so much for this wise and thoughtful advice.
It is the advice I had been given before but I still worry as I would like to know if I was marrying someone and might blame my mother in law in keeping quiet.

Riverwalk Mon 11-Feb-19 17:27:15

What sort of MH problems - is the girl in any potential danger?

Bridgeit Mon 11-Feb-19 17:27:18

Perhaps if it ever comes to light & she asks you why you hadn’t told her, you can reply that you assumed that he had told her.

BlueBelle Mon 11-Feb-19 17:28:50

No it’s not your place to divulge any past information
You also say ‘in the past’ so hopefully it’s all behind him and he’s on a path of happiness with his fiancée
And Jane no it’s not the mothers place to disclose anything mental or physical with girlfriends in my opinion

Nonnie Mon 11-Feb-19 17:29:40

Is his MH condition hereditary? Would it affect any children they had?

janeainsworth Mon 11-Feb-19 17:37:02

I didn’t mean it was the mother’s duty to disclose the information about the mental health issues, bluebelle. In fact I said it would be a betrayal of trust, whatever the nature of the condition.

I was questioning whether the son had a duty to, in general terms. Just broadening the discussion really.
I think with any condition that might impact on any future children, ideally there should be disclosure before marriage.

EllanVannin Mon 11-Feb-19 19:50:05

It would depend what his issues are.

Urmstongran Mon 11-Feb-19 20:06:10

It would be better if the son told his partner himself especially as there were ‘various’ MH issues.
Mum is concerned enough to feel they ought to be mentioned even though they were in the past.
Poor girl.
I’m glad it’s not my daughter involved.

Bibbity Mon 11-Feb-19 20:16:51

What are his problems?
If this is something that could affect her or even enadanger her then I think you have a duty to either inform her or tell him he must.

If it’s something along the lines of past depression etc then I don’t see that it’s relevent now.

teifi Mon 11-Feb-19 20:20:33

You are in a difficult position... is there a third party who could tell her? A good friend of mine married someone with previous MH problems. Nobody had told him. He felt angry and betrayed afterwards when he realised. It is up to your son to tell her. But if he doesn't, make sure she is told by someone before she marries him.

Beau Mon 11-Feb-19 20:22:43

I'm not so sure Bibbity - a close family member is tormented by depression despite years of treatment and their father commited suicide - who's to say what's genetic?

PECS Mon 11-Feb-19 20:24:49

No I do not think it is a parent's place to impart personal information to ACs friends/fiancée .

If I thought that the partner was likely to be in any real danger I would be in a big dilemma but you do not suggest that. If your son suffers from depression or bi-polar disorder these can be very well managed if the person is aware of the triggers and signs uses medication/ treatment. If it is past addiction then people do make good recoveries.

I would be gently encouraging my AC to discuss their health history with their potential life partner. Not a good start to be economical with the truth!

BradfordLass72 Mon 11-Feb-19 20:28:14

I wish my mil had warned me about her son's mental health issues. It would not have prevented me marrying him but I may have been able to manage the subsequent trauma and plan for it.

However, that's the way I see things and this case, and these people, are obviously different.

Lily65 Mon 11-Feb-19 20:30:45

How are you party to all the conversations that go on between your son and his partner? How do you know what he has told her?

nie trać czasu

Tangerine Mon 11-Feb-19 20:35:23

Say nothing.

You haven't suggested that he is dangerous in any way.

You implied these issues are in the past.

Urmstongran Mon 11-Feb-19 20:38:55

But the mother has concerns. Why is this then?

Urmstongran Mon 11-Feb-19 20:40:58

Polish Lily65 ??

luluaugust Tue 12-Feb-19 09:49:39

babcha says he has had various mental health problems, I wonder if she thinks/knows one of them could cause a lot of problems in a marriage? I think she should tell her son he should mention it to his future wife as BradfordLass says it wouldn't have stopped her marrying him.

Nannarose Tue 12-Feb-19 10:20:56

So much depends on your relationship with your son, and it sounds good. Also on the nature of his illness and the likelihood of recurrence.
As others have said, if she, or anyone connected (especially a child) is likely to be affected, then you should tell him that you have these grave concerns. If not, then tell him you will not lie, but will say nothing unless asked.
I am assuming he is no longer being actively treated.

I had a very good friend, who, out of the blue, in her 20s, had a spectacular mental breakdown, which took her a year to recover from, during which time she stayed with me. She found a place to move out, gradually resumed work, and recovered.
She found a lovely new boyfriend and we talked about her telling him, and she asked me to say nothing (and yes, a friend is in a very different position to a mother). I agreed, but I found her gradually distancing herself from me, and when they married they moved away.
We stayed in touch, but not as close as we were (especially as I was by then busy with a young family). She had a child, and then had a puerperal psychosis. Her husband felt 'let down' by everyone. He understood our position but wished somehow that he could have known. It wouldn't have stopped it of course, but he would have felt prepared. He felt so angry at being kept in the dark, he would have walked away, if it wasn't for the care of the child falling to him.
She recovered quite quickly and was able to mend her marriage. Also, we remain good friends.
I do understand that puerperal psychosis is a very specific thing, but share this in the hope that you may be able to present another point of view to your son.
He may be worried now about putting the relationship under strain, but I would hope he sees her as 'on his team'. the MIND website has useful information about talking to friends and relatives.
Having said all of that, if he really feels a recurrence is unlikely, he may just find it unhelpful to go over it all again.