Dear Carolyn: I found out last night that my father-in-law has prostate cancer, when I overheard my husband telling my children. This caused a minor uproar, as my husband slipped it into a conversation about something else. The uproar got louder when our children found out my husband has known for a year or more but didn't share the information with them.

My reaction was a quieter version but basically the same uproar: My husband has known for over a YEAR??

When we were alone, I told my husband I was surprised and hurt he hadn't told me, and he got defensive. He justified his decision with, "It is slow-growing and not a big deal in older men." There is no indication my father- or mother-in-law asked that it be kept quiet.

I'm not sure what to do with this. My brain is spinning. Does my husband think I don't care about his father, or that I won't have his back? I can probably get an apology, but I don't think he really feels there is anything to apologize about. Maybe prostate cancer in older men isn't a big deal, but this seems like something that should be shared. Should I just let this go?

— Spinning

Spinning: There’s a lot here that just . . . depends. On his nature, on yours, on what his and your histories are, on what he was thinking, if at all, etc.

So here’s what I’ve got:

You’re right, of course, that he should have told you right away.

And it’s understandable that you’re framing it in terms of what his silence says about you. As in, “Does my husband think I don’t care?” Reasonable position.

But I suspect his reasons are about him, not you. He’s in denial, or out of sorts, or thinking he’ll get around to it eventually, or whatever.

You know your husband well, presumably? So there’s a lot of context here for sure. Look to that context to figure out what his motivation is most likely to be.

Readers’ thoughts:

●I’m your husband. I didn’t tell people I was moving or that I was pregnant or getting married or getting a new job. That’s just not who I am. I don’t like talking about feelings. If I’d gotten this news, I wouldn’t have shared it with my husband either.

In fact, I have gotten news like that and haven’t shared it. It’s partially because I think my husband doesn’t really like my family — and partially because I don’t want to talk about it. It is what it is, and talking won’t change that. (A not very typically feminine approach, I know.) There’s not anything anyone else can do, and I don’t need my husband to do anything for me anyway.

I deal with things the way I need to deal with them, and so does your husband. If you make a big deal out of this, he’s just going to feel bad because of what he’s “supposed” to do/feel.

●Perhaps he didn’t share because he knew you would freak out. He could deal with his dad’s illness but not your anxiety about it?

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