DEAR ABBY: I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 24. Five years later we divorced. My current husband, “Gil,” had a similar short first marriage.
Although Gil and I have chosen not to divulge any information to our two children about our previous marriages, my sister thinks we should tell them everything because they may find out later in life and be disappointed they didn’t hear it from us. She has said on many occasions that we are being dishonest. That is certainly not our intention. We truly believe there’s no reason to bring up a past that has no benefit in their lives.
Your advice is badly needed because I see my relationship with my sister spiraling in a downward direction. I love her, but I don’t agree with her opinion. — LIVES IN THE PRESENT
DEAR LIVES IN THE PRESENT: I see no reason to make a “grand announcement” to your children, but with the rate at which marriages fail in this country, I also see no reason to keep this a deep, dark secret. If the subject of what makes a successful marriage comes up when your children are old enough, and you think it could be helpful to them, you might be able to impart some important life lessons if you mention the past. Having been married once previously isn’t a shameful secret, and it should not be treated like one.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.