My husband has been living a double life with a second family

DEAR DEIDRE: MY husband has kept a devastating secret from me. He is leading a double life with a second family.

He works in France a lot and on his return last week I decided to help him by unpacking his suitcase.

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I don’t know what made me look, but I put my hand in a side pocket and found a small photo frame.

As I saw the picture I had an awful feeling. It was of a woman and two young boys.

I’m 39 and my husband is 41. We’ve been together for 18 years and have two boys, aged 15 and 13.

I was struck with how similar to me this woman looked — only a little younger. Her sons could have been my boys’ younger brothers.

It was love at first sight for my husband and I.

He is very romantic and always buys me flowers and gifts. But he has always had a tendency to be secretive.

Ten years ago he told me he had debts he needed to pay off and this was why he was working away more.

He never tells me more than he thinks I need to know, so when I asked him how much debt he had to pay off, he was dismissive.

Getting information out of him is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

I was confused when I saw the photo and I asked him about it that night. I could see the colour draining from his face and his mind whizzing round.

Then he broke down and confessed that when he goes away it isn’t strictly work.
In fact he sees his two other sons and their mother.

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It was such a shock I couldn’t take it in.

He apologised and explained that he couldn’t tell me because he was scared I would leave him. I don’t know what to do.

DEIDRE SAYS: It’s been a devastating discovery but relationships can come back from a crisis like this and be stronger than ever, as long as you are both prepared to work at it.

Tell your husband you’re in shock and need to talk frankly. Don’t waste huge amounts of energy trying to find out all the details of his secret life, but instead focus on asking him whether he wants your marriage to last.

Even teenagers can be badly damaged by their parents’ relationship break-up so for their sakes, you both ought to try.

Your husband’s other sons are your sons’ half-siblings and in time you may feel they should know one another.

I’m sending you my support pack Cheating – Can You Get Over It to help you. You can also find support through counselling at

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