Some men have maintained secret "second" families. Any women ever do this?

Occasionally you’ll see a news story about man (often quite prosperous) who maintained a concurrent, ongoing secret "second’ family in addition to his main family. Often these second families were not discovered until after the man’s death, and the first wife starts going through his things to sort out his estate. In some cases the families have no knowledge of each other, but more often the second wife knows and cooperates with the deception.

Anyway, has there ever been a recorded instance of women with two concurrently maintained families like this?

If the the families included children as most do in the mens’ cases, wouldn’t the husband whose kid it wasn’t wonder about her weight gain at the very least? It seems a lot easier to have kids by a second spouse if you’re not of the gender to carry said kids. Are you thinking the women would be childless (in at least one family) or have adopted only?

This is kind of an obvious one, isn’t it?

OTOH, I’ve always wanted to steal John Travolta’s line when I’m out with my daughter some time, and tell people yes, this is my little girl but we’re not sure who the mother is.

Some women are heavy enough so that they don’t really “show” all that much. Also per your note she might adopt.

I think it would be much, much harder for a woman to do this. Men can explain absences by travel for business and so on, and father a second set of children and leave them with the second woman. I can’t quite figure out how a woman could have two families with children and travel between them. Could a woman have two relationships at the same time, neither aware of the other? Sure. But two families? That would be very, very difficult. How do you explain to Husband the pregnancy by Partner 2? How do you leave Partner 2 and new baby to return to Husband?

But I’ll bet somewhere, in some form, over the course of human history, this has probably happened, difficult as it seems to me to achieve.

You can’t stop believing in yourself. One day you will accomplish that goal!

Same way the men do. Breastfeeding hasn’t been mandatory for some generations now.

Oh, I have an idea: she could be in a hetero-marriage officially, and have a secret second same-sex family with the other woman acting as birthmother.

Well done! I like that out-of-the-box thinking.

Wouldn’t work. Why would they want to have to clean two houses?


Another less creative (good job Septima) idea is that Family 2 could be a family in that the kids are more of stepkids, maybe still raised from a young age, however. Though that’s pretty similar to the “adoption” idea.

But I thought that was women’s joy and purpose! Don’t they get a sense of fulfillment nothing else can bring them from that!? It’d be like, twice as awesome for them!

::d&rs even faster while donning a shield and full body armor::

Yeah, but have you considered that, for the first time in your life, you’ll have to wash your own asbestos underpants? :smiley:

I guess the female version is the old cuckoos-in-the-nest trick.

It’s completely possible, and I’m sure it has happened plenty. Now, it’s pretty hard in our culture, but we aren’t the only culture in the world.

In some cultures and economic situations men are away from the spouses for long periods of time. In other times (war, etc.) men are separated from their wives for long periods of time. Finally, there are migrant laborers who end up in other countries for years at a time, sending money to their families.

I’m sure now and then some illegitimate offspring happen unnoticed.

A cop I know once had to handle a call that led to the funniest thing he had ever seen. It seems a woman had a husband who worked two jobs to give them a great material life. She also had a boyfriend who people thought was her husband.

One day the husband came home from work sick and as he was walking up the stairs caught the boyfriend and his wife in bed. He snuck downstairs, got a rifle out of the closet, creeped back upstairs and across the bedroom floor, and suddenly pointed the gun at the boyfriend’s temple, screaming “Don’t you move!”

He then called the cops and his lawyer while holding the shot gun on the couple. My friend was the responding cop, walking in on a lovely scene. The guy took some Polaroids of the couple, then told them to get dress and leave.

You know, out of boredom this morning I Googled around a bit trying to find a case like the OP is looking for. No luck. There are plenty of female bigamists. Most of them seem to stem from paperwork problems rather than outright fraud; but there are a couple cases of con-women who marry men to get money from them. But I couldn’t find any specific case of a woman marrying two unsuspecting men and carrying on two separate family lives.

I do know of a completely anecdotal case that’s rather similar. I heard about this on an etiquette message board. A poster had recieved a ‘wedding’ invitation from a friend of her husband’s. The wedding in question was going to be a ceremony-only setup with no paperwork filed because the ‘bride’ was already married to someone else. The ‘bride’ had a child with her real husband, who didn’t know anything about her second life. The child lived with the husband and the ‘bride’ went back to see them once a month or so, and justified living away from them because her job was in this second city. The ‘bride’ didn’t want a legal marriage becasue she didn’t want to divorce her husband, or let him know about her relationship with the second guy. But she still wanted the second relationship to be justified to his friends and family, so they came up with the plan to have this ceremony-only wedding. They registered for gifts and everything… I have no idea if this was a true story, of course.

There’s Anaïs Nin, who was bigamously married to Hugh Guiler (in New York) and Rupert Cole (in California) and traveled between them for years. No children involved, but Guiler apparently knew nothing about his wife’s other husband until after Nin’s death.

Wow. Did the cops do anything to the guy for pointing his gun at the boyfriend and wife?

For some reason, this thread makes me think of a female comedian (comedienne?) – MAYBE Paula Poundstone – whom I once heard say: “I don’t have any children – that I know of.”

He got a fine and a suspended sentence. The wife got absolutely nothing in the divorce.