The Big Family Secret That Ruined My Chances of Marrying a Rich Older Man


My older fiancé, Patrick, had three kids, and out of all of them, it was Michael I saw the most. Because he worked so closely with his father at the fam­ily busi­ness and lived down­town, his dad fre­quently wanted to social­ize with him after work, usu­ally at a sports bar. Patrick always wanted me there, too, so I fre­quently joined them. His son was no longer rude to me, like he was the first time we met. He tol­er­ated me, and out of respect for his father, he treated me like a lady.

We would hang out with him for an hour or two and then leave him to be with his friends. One late after­noon, while we were all gath­ered at the bar with tele­vi­sions blar­ing all around us, Michael made a ref­er­ence to his sister’s wed­ding. I hadn’t heard a word about it and was shocked. I couldn’t even fake indif­fer­ence because, nat­u­rally, I was very curi­ous, espe­cially because Patrick was appar­ently keep­ing it a secret from me.

Try­ing to be casual, I said, “Oh, is Isabel get­ting mar­ried?” Patrick looked guilty and so did his son, prob­a­bly for let­ting the news slip out when he wasn’t sup­posed to. I looked at Patrick in the eye and asked when the wed­ding was.

Oh, not for sev­eral months,” replied Patrick. There was a long, uncom­fort­able silence before I then asked if it was a small, pri­vate wed­ding or a large wedding.

It turned out that it was going to be a very large wed­ding. You could have cut the ten­sion in the air, and I was clearly get­ting upset. I had come to trust Patrick and he had always acted as if it were impor­tant to him that I even­tu­ally became accepted by his fam­ily. We both knew that took time and trust, but I felt like some big, dark secret was being kept from me.

We fin­ished our drinks and ended the con­ver­sa­tion with super­fi­cial talk. I wasn’t going to probe any fur­ther about Isabel’s wed­ding in front of Patrick’s son. Patrick and I left the bar and drove north along the lake for a light din­ner at a cozy Ital­ian trat­to­ria. I could tell he was ner­vous and he kept chat­ting about all kinds of things—everything but the wedding.

We sat at a small table and placed our order. I then looked at him and said, “When were you going to tell me about Isabel’s wedding?”

He stut­tered on and on about how Isabel and her mother were doing all the plan­ning and he really hadn’t been all that involved. I knew that sim­ply couldn’t be true. He was the father of the bride and was most likely pay­ing for this wed­ding; that much I knew for sure. I asked him why he was hid­ing some­thing that big from me and if he under­stood how hurt I was.

He briefly apol­o­gized, but it was clear that he didn’t want to dis­cuss it. So, I finally just blurted out the mil­lion dol­lar ques­tion. “Are you plan­ning on tak­ing me to the wed­ding?” I asked.

My world fell apart when he cast his eyes down and clearly said, “No.” And that was the end of the con­ver­sa­tion. It was in that moment that I real­ized that if you’re a younger woman mar­ry­ing an older man who had a fam­ily before you, there are some parts of his life that he’ll never let you in on, no mat­ter how much he promises you otherwise.