View Full Version : SIL has gone off the deep end
07-09-2005, 09:37 PM
I need some advice on how to help my brother "Bob". He has been married to "Sue" for almost six years, and has recently discovered that she has been having an affair with some guy at work. There are so many horrible details that he has discovered- I can't even believe them. I am torn because I love Sue like a sister- but I am so mad at her for the things she has done to him. Bob says that he wants to try to save their marriage, and I want to support him in that decision, but our mom is freaking out and she wants to call a lawyer ASAP. They have two kids and luckily they have no idea that anything bad has happened.
My brother is a very loving, loyal person. He is not perfect- he realizes the areas that he failed her in the marriage- but he loves her unconditionally!! She is such a fool to give up someone who loves her the way my brother does.
The biggest problem is that they live on the east coast where all of her family is, and all of my brother's family lives in the mid-west. I feel like I can't do anything for him, and I know he feels totally alone. I want to fly out there to help, but I know the last thing they need is a house guest.
What should I do? He asks me what he should do, and why is she acting this way- she's not even sorry for the things she's done. My mom thinks that it's over- but when I talk to Bob- that isn't what he wants.
Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.
07-09-2005, 11:07 PM
What does "Sue" want to do? It is a 2 sided decision. If she wants to save the marriage as well, I would support your brother in whatever decision he makes. If she is not interested in working things out, and he just can't seem to accept that, then I would try to help guide him...but ultimately this is his decision.
Zelda Von Yitz
07-10-2005, 08:17 AM
You can gently suggest they get counseling (nondenominational as well as clergy) and that he get tested for STDs. You have no idea where that guy she was having an affair with has been.
And suggest that he and Sue sit down and have a long talk -- have somebody take the kids for the night so there's no interruptions.
There is also something called a Marriage Encounter weekend -- nondenominational ones exist as do those that are faith-based. Maybe he'd be open to that idea and Sue would be receptive to it when she's ready to go to one with him.
I hope this works out for him. Good luck to all involved.
07-10-2005, 08:46 AM
He asks me what he should do, and why is she acting this way- she's not even sorry for the things she's done. My mom thinks that it's over- but when I talk to Bob- that isn't what he wants.I hate to say it, but is sounds to me as if she's not interested in saving the marriage. And if that's the case, you must tell your brother that under NO circumstances is he to move out of that house. There is no reason that he should become a non-custodial or semi-custodial parent to his children if his wife is the one who strayed. Moving out will make it much more difficult for him to attain custody, or keep the family home in a divorce settlement.
If your SIL wants to work things out, then sure ... support your brother in saving his marriage. But if not, then the best help you can give him is to figure out how he can be a good custodial single Dad, whether that's cutting back on his hours at work, finding childcare help at home, or whatever. Too many fathers miss out on raising their kids after their wives want to end the marriage.
I'm sorry if this all sounds harsh, but the next steps your brother takes will set the stage for what comes next if they split up. It's an emotional time, and it's hard to think clearly, but he must, and you can help by keeping him focused. There's a lot of information on father's rights on the 'net. Good luck to your brother, and keep us posted.
Zelda Von Yitz
07-10-2005, 08:57 AM
I hate to say it, but is sounds to me as if she's not interested in saving the marriage. And if that's the case, you must tell your brother that under NO circumstances is he to move out of that house. There is no reason that he should become a non-custodial or semi-custodial parent to his children if his wife is the one who strayed. Moving out will make it much more difficult for him to attain custody, or keep the family home in a divorce settlement.
Exactly. She can claim abandonment. He has to consult an attorney before he does anything at all.
07-10-2005, 04:50 PM
Thanks for your help. I agree that if she's not willing to save the marriage, then he needs to move on. The problem is that she keeps saying one thing and doing another. She says that she wants to work things out- but she also thinks that this guy is totally in love with her and that they have this amazing relationship. They have sex and that is all. He's living with his girlfriend and his 6 month old son- and since he wants to keep things under wraps I'm so sure that he is going to run away with Sue and her two kids.
I don't understand why she can't see that this guy is bad news. The more I think about it, the more I think that she's going through some kind of delayed rebellion stage. She got pregnant when she was 19 and married my brother soon after. Maybe she feels like she missed out on some part of her life because of that. Also, her mom died three years ago- maybe that has something to do with it as well.
My brother thought it had to do with the fact that she had an abortion in April and he "didn't talk her out of it". She told him that she didn't want to keep the baby because she was going to go through management training and that they couln't afford another child blah blah blah... So he respected her decision, even though he felt very torn because he totally saw that as his child no matter how many weeks she was along. Anyway, he thought she was regreting her decision and blaming him for letting her go through with it.
Turns out- she'd been having an affair with a different guy at work and knew that the baby was not Bob's. Needless to say my brother was crushed, but still loves Sue and wants to try to win her back. So she's actually had two affairs since January and the big reason this is all coming out is that she's pregnant again. And there is no possibility that my brother is the father.
So Bob told her that he would respect her decision no matter what- he even said that they could raise the baby as their own if loser guy turned his back on her. (A**hole said he needed more time to think about it. :mad: ) But she said that she was torn because she thinks she might be in love with him. Yeah right, she wants to string my brother along until she knows whether or not the other guy will run off with her.
I am so frustrated because she has never acted like this before. Why is she screwing up her kids and her husband just to be the other woman? Why is that appealing to her? I know about the gushy excitement of thinking you're in love- but how can she possibly think that this other guy is so great? (I found out last night that he's a convicted felon and that he cheated on his girlfriend before when she was pregnant. Nice, huh?) What on earth is going on in her brain?
Sorry this is long. I called last night to talk to my brother and she answered the phone- and I had no idea what to say to her. She knows my brother has confided in me, but she just acted like everything was fine...
Would her infidelity help my brother if there was a custody hearing? They don't have enough money for either one of them to move out so they'd likely be getting a divorce while having to live in the same house unless she decides to go stay with her family.
07-10-2005, 05:13 PM
IMO, this woman has problems that pre-date her even knowing your brother. She is one of those women who won't leave a guy until she has another one lined up, and that's what she's doing now. I'm guessing she has no intention of working things out with your brother, but will stay with him until her next "knight in shining armor" arrives. I don't think she's going through a "delayed" rebellion – she's just a very immature 25 year-old.
Too bad your brother is still so attached to her. In my opinion, his best bet is to get a lawyer who would present her with two options: Leave the house quietly now and be rewarded with liberal visitation of her children and a token amount of child support to pay, or stay and fight at which point they'll bring out the big guns.
At the very least, your brother needs to stop taking the blame for her having stepped out on him; that will only come back to bite him later. It's very hard to get custody from mothers, and if he wants to remain a father to his children, he needs to start seeing that he and the kids are victims here.
Your brother should go to his bank, open a new account in his name only, and move a majority of their funds into that new account. He should do this before she gets the idea to do it.
He should also think about how this is impacting his children. How's it going to be when they're older and know their mother is sleeping around on their father? And having children by other men?
Have you asked your brother why he wants to stay with her? Is it because he loves her? Or for the kids? Or does he think she will change? Does he truly think he can raise another man's child or is he just saying that so he doesn't lose her?
07-10-2005, 06:59 PM
I have grilled him repeatedly on his reasons fro staying and he truly does love her. For some reason he thinks that she will come to her senses one day. I old him that he has to make a choice between being a doormat or standing up for his kids. I told him that it wasn't fair for him to basically be babysitting while she runs around with another man. If she is ever going to change then she has to do it on her own and he can't force it.
I don't think there is any money to transfer to an account in his name. Neither one of them makes enough money to raise the kids on their own- not to mention daycare.
07-10-2005, 07:41 PM
i just want to say that i agree 100 percent with the advice suzubeane is giving. i don't want to duplicate anything, but as she and others have mentioned contacting a lawyer before he does anything is probably the best advice... just so he can learn what his rights are.
also, i know you love your brother and want to help him, but beyond guiding him to talk to a lawyer or talk to a professional therapist (which i also would highly recommend right now) you need to stay out of it except to be there as a supportive sister for whatever he decides. the swirl of emotion he is experiencing is very overwhelming, and unfortunately he needs to figure everything out for himself (which is why a therapist would be great!) ...i can guarantee you this will take time nor will it be easy. Telling him what is "right" or "wrong" isn't going to change the way he feels. please trust me on this one (i recently went through a very similar situation not too long ago).
07-10-2005, 08:51 PM
I know that I should stay out of it. And believe me I am not looking to be in the middle of things- I am a newlywed- what advice could I possibly give him about saving his marriage?
I think he's looking for more than that. I think he wants to help her whether or not they stay together. The other guy is bad news period. My brother is certainly not going to allow his children to hang out with that guy, but I know he wants to help his wife see the situation too.
I know that only she knows what is "best for her" but even her family sees that this is a mistake. My brother talked to her sister because she and Sue are really close. Sue hadn't told her sister anything, and she agrees with my brother and is going to try to talk some sense into her...
Have you ever had a loved one who fell into the wrong crowd? How do you get them out of it?
Thanks for all of your help. :) Keep it coming.
07-10-2005, 09:29 PM
Your SIL has issues that are beyond simple advice. If she truely feels that she is correct in her behavior there is nothing that anyone can do to convince her otherwise. She's in denial and losing everything may be the only answer that brings her into reality. (I know this view is harsh) I would advise my brother to take care of the people who really matter (children) and himself. Her behavior is selfish and destructive. It truely doesn't matter at this point if it will work out in the future, his concern must be for the children who never asked for this conflict.
07-12-2005, 04:14 PM
Just wanted to let you all know that my brother is moving out. He and the kids are going on "vacation" next week with SIL's family. During that time my brother plans to "slip away" and find a new place to live and find a lawyer. I'm going up the next week to take care of the kids and help move stuff. He's feeling pretty overwhelmed right now- especially since she's leaving for management training soon. He doesn't think it would be fair to move out while she's gone, but I told him that she made choices that forced this course of action. My question is when should he tell her about all of this? I don't think he should keep it from her- but I'm afraid that if he tells her before he does anything that she'll talk him out of it. (She's turned out to quite a manipulator)
What do you think? Should he tell her after he's gone? or while he's moving? Keep in mind that she's going to be gone for three weeks to this training- so not much she can do unless she quits her job.
07-12-2005, 05:07 PM
Huh? I don't understand ... is he planning to take the kids with him? Or leave them with her? Who is going on vacation? Just he and the kids? Where will she be?
I'm really confused by what you wrote, but one thing is for sure - he should NOT move out until he talks to a lawyer. He should definitely not take the kids if he has not talked to a lawyer, and he shouldn't be leaving them behind either. Given all this why is he moving out? Why is he doing it in secret?
Just because she has been dishonest and wrapped herself up in drama and deceit doesn't mean he has to proceed that way. He MUST behave honorably and above board, or later the family court will nail him to the wall. His record in all this has to be spotless, and he must be beyond reproach. Otherwise their divorce proceedings are going to dissolve into allegations of bad behavior back and forth. Things aren't always fair for fathers – he should not count the family courts seeing him as "the good guy" just because she stepped out on him. I doubt they'll look favorably on his skulking away with OR without the kids.
IMO, you shouldn't be helping him to sneak out of the house either. You should be urging him to go about this the right way, the ethical way, and they way that is best for the kids and his future relationship with them.
He needs to consult with a lawyer FIRST. NOW.
07-13-2005, 11:10 AM
Sorry Suzubeane, that was confusing...
The kids are going on an already scheduled family vacation with SIL's family. (Kinda like a family reunion). SIL isn't going because she's going to be in training. Since the kids will be with family for about a week, my brother is using the opportunity to get a new place for him and the kids. He hasn't contacted a lawyer because he's not ready to declare the marriage over yet. Somehow this is the best solution in his mind.
He told SIL last night and she totally flipped out- but he wasn't just going to stay there and let her continue to treat him and their children this way. She still can't "make up her mind" about what she whether she wants to end the other relationship and she won't move out- so he's going to.
Honestly, part of me thinks that he's bluffing because this kinda came on suddenly. Why would he want to move out, but still hang on to the marriage? I don't know- this whole situation is really a mess. My biggest concern is for my niece and nephew- so if nothing else I can be there for them.
07-13-2005, 11:23 AM
This is a mess. I definitly think they should separate and that the kids should be with him, but he is taking a huge risk by moving out with the kids.
I don't wasn't to say alarmist things like "he'll be charged with kidnapping" because honestly, I don't know that. I just can't imagine it's legal to remove kids from their own home, literally *stealing* them from their mother.
You're probably right about his bluffing. He may have been trying to get a reaction out of her. If he was serious about the separation, then he'd be going about this differently.
07-13-2005, 11:30 AM
Exactly. I hope that he's just trying to send some kind of wake up call. I don't honestly believe that she's a bad mom, she's just not making good decisions right now.
If he did decide that it was over (still not convinced that he decided this overnight but whatever...) I think he'd call a lawyer before he did anything rash. Although I must say that it's kind of a double standard. I know lots of women who packed up the kids and left without saying anything when they discovered an affair and it seems to be acceptable. Why is it so horrible for a man to do the same thing?
07-13-2005, 11:46 AM
Although I must say that it's kind of a double standard. I know lots of women who packed up the kids and left without saying anything when they discovered an affair and it seems to be acceptable. Why is it so horrible for a man to do the same thing? I agree with you. And I do have the impression that things are changing, but not very quickly.
FWIW, I do not agree with you that she is a good mother. Good mothers don't engage in selfish behavior that puts their children at risk. While their safety here isn't in question, their emotional well-being sure is.
For the record, I'm not talking about divorce. I'm divorced. Divorce alone isn't always excessively traumatic for children; it's the circumstances around it that contribute to their distress.
07-13-2005, 12:00 PM
Yes, it's double standard b/c the courts tend to side with the mother. By moving out and taking the kids while she is on vacation it looks like he is trying to go behind her back. It sucks, but he has to above reproach when he goes into court to get custody. Two rights don't make a wrong.
Besides, if he is going to have custody of the kids, he should stay in the house so it's less trumatic for the kids. Too much change won't make it any easeir for the kids.
The problem with bluffs is that when the other party calls him on it and he doesn't leave he loses all credibility and she iwll continue to walk over him.
07-13-2005, 12:07 PM
If he wants to separate, what he should do is try to get her to move out. Why should he skulk around and do all this dishonest stuff with moving the kids out behind her back? He didn't do anything wrong and he should act like it. The others are right when they say he has to be without reproach. The best way to accomplish this is to ask for a separation, keep the kids in the house with him, and have her move out.
07-13-2005, 12:28 PM
Besides, if he is going to have custody of the kids, he should stay in the house so it's less traumatic for the kids. I agree. If he were my brother, I would help him approach her family and ask them to help her. They should help her get out of the house, and they should all be made to see that - given the fact that they will no longer be together - that this is the best course of action for the kids.
She can go live with a family member, have a healthy pregnancy, and get back on her feet. She can have visits from her kids while in the safe environment of her family home, and just get her head together.
If her family cares at all about her and the kids, they will comply with this.
But if she refuses, he'll have to stay and fight. That's why he has to behave spotlessly now.
07-13-2005, 01:06 PM
Thanks everyone, I think I'm getting a better picture now. I think if she calls his bluff then his next call has to be to a lawyer. Perhaps this is his way of giving her an ultimatum.
Her whole family knows what's going on and they all think that he should have kicked her out of the house already. Her dad tried to talk to her and he basically said that she knows exactly what she's doing and that she just wants to screw up her life. Unfortunately, they're so upset I'm not so sure they would be willing to take SIL in. She basically has no where to go- even her lover is living with his girlfriend so it's not like she can just stay with him.
But if he can't move out and she won't leave, that means that they have to live together during the divorce. Umm... I don't see how that could possibly be good for the kids. I called him and encouraged him to get a lawyer now just so he knows what his options are.
07-14-2005, 05:12 AM
But if he can't move out and she won't leave, that means that they have to live together during the divorce. Umm... I don't see how that could possibly be good for the kids. It's better for the kids than a protracted legal battle which will be tripped off by him doing something sneaky and/or against her wishes. That will be messy and costly - both of which will directly affect the kids.
He has to keep his eyes on the prize, which might mean enduring a period of discomfort while they live together.
But if her family is on HIS side, I would definitely help him approach them about taking her in. Maybe if they're made to see that they'd be doing this for the KIDS - not her - they'd be more amenable. The goal needs to be that the kids have as "normal" a relationship with both parents as possible in the future. Decisions made now will lay the groundwork for that.
And by the way, even couples who split up amicably sometimes have a period of living together after that decision is made. I lived with my ex 6 weeks after I asked him to leave. Like many couples, we enjoyed a honeymoon period during that time, being more aware and gentle about each others feelings. If your brother goes through a phase like that with his wife, try to assure him it's normal, and encourage him to not let it change his plans.
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