Secret second families often seem to be nothing more than the drama’d-up subject of Lifetime movies. But for some people, they are a reality. And, according to a new r/AskReddit thread in which Redditors are discussing the moment they discovered that one of their parents had a second family — or that they were the second family, and what happened in the aftermath — it’s every bit as unsettling as you might imagine.
Responding to the thread, user u/TalmadgeReynolds said: “This happened to my wife’s grandmother. She’s still alive (in her 90s) and her father had a secret second family. They met at his funeral. When the secret wife saw the life this man had built and lived with his public wife, the secret wife said: ‘I always knew there was someone else, but I didn’t know that I was the someone else.’” Ouch.
The user who posted the thread — u/pumbplatypus14 — revealed: “My cousins’ dad had a secret family. He worked in Houston during the week and came home to the family in Harlingen, TX on the weekend. It was kind of always a family joke between my cousins and her siblings. You know, like ‘wouldn’t it be funny if dad actually had a secret family and that’s why he’s never here?’ Then they found out it was true. A wife and three kids, just like my cousin, very similar ages. The two families had almost identical lives. My uncle had been married the whole time to both my aunt and this other lady. Everyone thought it was some sick joke when they found out. But nope.’”
One user pointed out in response that the second marriage, whichever one it was, was illegal — and all tax deductions received under the guise of that marriage technically amount to tax fraud. So, that dad has more problems than two pissed off families.
In one of the more unsettling posts, one user, u/manbearbatman, mentioned that his high school friend started dating someone who had his same last name — “Turns out, she was his half sister and his dad was raising two families he kept secret from each other.”
Some responses involved secrets, but not of the family-ruining kind: “Not a second family, but a secret job. We thought my mom was a secretary at a school district 25 miles away. Turns out she was working as a lumberjack. She often came home smelling of pine or fir but we couldn’t figure out why. Then I found her 48″ chain saw extension, hidden in the attic of our garage. It was kind of a shock for us all,” wrote u/winkelschleifer.
And then, there’s the downright stupid, as this second-hand story from a poster’s friend: “Her sister married this guy who turned out to be having about three affairs. When she gave birth to their first son, the guy’s mistress also gave birth about two weeks after. The idiot decided to name both of his sons the same first name (they both shared his second name). So about 3 years later his wife goes to get the birth certificate for her son and the lady in the office gives her the one which belongs to the mistresses’ son, which is how she found out about the whole situation. They’re divorced now, and it turned out the guy has 11 children with 5 different women.”