Is loving my half-sister betraying my mother?
Your problems with your partner shouldn't affect your children's relationship with each other.
I met with a young lady; let’s call her Mel. She was feeling guilty about loving her half-sister. The child was conceived while her parents were married and when her mom discovered this, she was devastated. This caused havoc in her parent’s marriage but they didn’t get divorced. Her parents went for counselling to save their marriage and there were many meetings with family elders but things have never been the same since. 

She knows that it was hell for the family and that it also affected her mother’s health. Her mom was shattered and furious, and she didn't know whether she could stay with her husband after such a betrayal and so many secrets. She didn’t know how to rethink her own life in the wake of the news. 

Later in life Mel and her step-sister connected and they actually get on so well with each other BUT her mother is not aware of this. She feels that by embracing her step sister she is betraying her mother and would rather keep these meetings a secret. She realises that her father’s mistake has nothing to do with them as children but “this child” is never discussed in the family, she is not part of their family and doesn’t even attend family gatherings. She assumes that she meets her dad secretly as she is not welcome in the family. 

Mel also found out that life was not that great for her sister because she didn’t have a comfortable life like they did at home, so there is a sense of guilt as well. She welcomes her but would not dare tell her mother about this relationship and bond she is developing with her step-sister. 

Children in solidarity with our pain

This makes me wonder whether there is a way to solve this problem Mel is facing. As the wife, the woman hurt you but can we really put the burden on the child. Was it her fault? Every child needs an identity and deserves to be loved and when she is being rejected by her own blood, is that really fair? Do we expect our children to carry our pain too, be in solidarity in our pain? Mel really feels like she would be betraying her mother – what a load to carry for a child. This is a child looking for love but finds herself being a causality of her parent’s mistakes. 

My two cent’s worth to someone going through a similar situation is that I think they need to separate the father's lies from the half-sister. Meeting her is not going to validate any of his bad behaviour and invalidate how your mother feels. Meeting her is not going to mean you approve of his secrets, or are disloyal to your mom, or your siblings. I hope that as parents we can think before we act. Let’s let our children be children. 

How would you deal with this situation?

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