Should I tell my mother-in-law that her husband is cheating on her?

What you need to know:

I loved my father-in-law like my own father and the same for my mother-in-law. They have been a good example for my husband and I.

Since getting married, my in-laws and my husband have been a real gift to me. They have been my pillar and strength. I loved my father-in-law like my own father and the same for my mother-in-law. They have been a good example for my husband and I. However, I recently got to know that my father-in-law has been cheating on my mother-in-law for the past seven years. I feel so sad for my mother-in-law and my husband but I do not know what to do with this information. Should I let them know or keep my mouth shut? 


Visit a relationship counsellor who will help you make an informed decision

Dear Anonymous,

This is quite a sensitive matter. There is no direct solution to this and it still has a lot to do with what you decide to do when faced with such a sensitive issue. It is important to think about the decision carefully before you act upon it. Ideally, it is always good to give information that is helpful and binds people together rather than separate them.

 Think about the people involved. Apart from your father-in-law, it also involves your husband, your mother-in-law and many other people in the family such as your husband’s siblings and your own children. It is also important to verify the information you have heard before sharing it with another person.

 Your confidant in this relationship is your husband and he may know about his father’s behaviour. Whatever the case, it is important to first discuss this with him. Among most cultures Uganda, there is an emphasis on children not medaling in their parents’ private matters.

 Take time to understand how children relate with their parents in your husband’s culture. Is it a family that is free to discuss such intricate matters? You can only get such deeper information when you discuss this with your husband.

It is also important to care for others’ emotional well-being first; think about how this will affect your mother-in-law. She might have found out about the infidelity a long time ago but decided to just ignore it so that she maintains her sanity and peace. Bringing it up might just stir up old wounds, causing many problems including health issues such as hypertension. The information is indeed important but it is good to put most of these into consideration.

 Remember that this is not your problem and it is certain that your mother and father-in-law have found a way to continue with their marriage even in the face of such infidelity, if at all the information is accurate.

 Be ready for any repercussions. Anything can change in favour or against you and so thinking about this enables you to make an informed decision.

 Seek professional help if knowing this information is stressing you to an extent you are willing to risk your relationship with your husband and his family to divulge it.

Reader advice

Keep your mouth shut

Gladys Alaga. Keep your mouth shut. Do not use your mouth to destroy what your in-laws have been building for so many years. Mind your business and if she ever finds out on her own, then they will deal with the problem as a couple. Couples have a way of dealing with their own issues without a third party trying to meddle in their affairs.

Not your fight

Kenneth Poseidon Oneka. Your-father-in law is doing what almost every man will do, including your own husband. Wait for your husband to do it then you fight that battle. This one is not yours to fight.

Do not be ungrateful

Freddie Rukundo. You will be thrown out and you will regret it for the rest of your life. Know where to snoop my dear.  Do you really think your husband will be kind after you try to ruin his parent’s marriage?

Think of your in-law

Florence Achom. What exactly do you want your mother-in-law to do with this information? I guess your in-laws have been together for a while now and are at that stage in their marriage where they want to live in peace and enjoy each other’s company. What would you gain by disturbing this peace?

It is not worth it

Hajarah Namuddu. Trust me, your mother-in-law knows and has chosen peace. Imagine an old woman like her starting to be jealous or follow her husband’s every move. Do you know the problems that come with all this worrying? Let the woman be and let her enjoy the last years of her life.

Elders know better

Monica Akera. Leave issues of elders to the elders. What an elder can see, a child cannot see even if they climbed the tallest hill.

Silence is best answer

Richard Kalanda. He is not the first neither the last. It is also possible that your own husband is also cheating on you but those who know about it have done the correct thing and not told you. Sometimes, silence is the best answer.

Take care of your own

Martin Ssebyala. You married their son not his father. You have a limit and you better know where your rights stop. You will not be able to live with the guilt that you were the cause of their marital problems in old age, not forgetting how it could backfire on you and your family.

Talk to your husband

Victoria Mukisa. You must have an open and honest discussion with your husband. Tell him what you have discovered and together, decide the best course of action. However, even here, decide the best way or time to brooch the subject. You are dealing with a very sensitive family dynamic and so, you must be careful.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation