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  #1  
Old Aug 12, '17, 4:47 pm
David Nacey David Nacey is offline
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Default Sister In Law's Troubles

My wife has a wonderful family whom I love dearly. Unfortunately, her older sister is married to a serial cheater. Every time she finds out about a new escapade, she is deeply hurt, and it greatly affects both my wife and I. We have decided to be supportive of her, no matter what she decides to do, and she has always chosen to remain with her husband and work things out, especially for the sake of their two adorable sons, my little nephews.

My problem is that it's getting difficult for me to keep being emotionally invested in their marriage. We always visit them when we come in from out of state, and it is getting harder and harder for me to look this guy in the eye and have him cry and tell us he's getting better, and they're in therapy, and he's grown so much in his faith; when each time, we know he's lying to everyone's face, and the evidence comes out eventually that he has always indeed been lying and cheating, even while doing the therapy.

I know we'll keep supporting her, praying for their marriage, and their children, but I could use some words of wisdom and encouragement. She absolutely WILL NOT leave him. I understand and accept that as her choice and her cross to bear, and I actually commend her living sacrifice of pain and anguish. So far, there has been no extreme "drama show" in front of the kids, or threats or acts of violence. It pains us to see her suffering, but that is her own offering.
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  #2  
Old Aug 12, '17, 5:57 pm
Monicad Monicad is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Nacey View Post
...We have decided to be supportive of her, no matter what she decides to do....
Thank you for taking the time to come here and share your story. Please be assured of my prayers for your family. Clearly you love her a great deal or you would not be here. My advice, since you asked it is to take this to prayer and deeply consider what exactly you mean by "support" of your sister-in-law.

Does this mean in home visits? Face-to-face visits with your brother-in-law where you have to listen to him cry? Frequent phone calls that bring stress to your wife impacting your own family peace?

I would suggest re-evaluating, because this is burdening your own family with much anxiety and there is no end in sight. Perhaps your idea of "support" could be calling once a month saying "I love you" and sending a card with $20 for ice cream for the children? This may sound difficult but it seems to me you are going to have to cut time out and back away. When you visit them stay in a hotel. You don't have to be rude, simply say that your children wanted to swim in a pool! This is going to require much prayer because I think probably especially your wife feels much obligation here but your family is going to have to do something.

I speak from experience. I had a relationship with family members that was TOXIC. It so consumed me that looking back I was not there 100% for my children I know I wasn't. I wasted so much time on the phone it was a joke! Then I was filled with anxiety it was awful. I look back at photos now of my children during that time and I am angry at myself because when they were cute and at the park on the swings and riding bikes I was barely there some days because I was filled with anxiety over this family member. That can happen temporarily when there is a tragedy of course but when it is LONG TERM you cannot let this happen! This situation is robbing you of family peace, believe me there is enough in your own life to rob you of family peace, don't let the lives of others do it.

Pray for them, this problem it too big for you to fix. Turn it over to God, He can handle big problems they are His specialty I promise.
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  #3  
Old Aug 12, '17, 6:17 pm
David Nacey David Nacey is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

Thank you for your reply. Though we have stayed over, sometimes for one night, at their home, we usually stay with my mother in law. We didn't stay over the last time. As I said, they don't ever air their problems out in front of their children. My sister in law sometimes says that my being there tends to bring out the best in him, and he behaves himself for sometime after I go, but it's always back to square one within a few weeks.

Perhaps all I really needed to do was vent. Our faith and prayer life is very strong. Maybe I'm just a soft-hearted guy who hates to see a loved one going through a very rough patch in her life. Thanks again for the encouragement.
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  #4  
Old Aug 12, '17, 8:25 pm
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egretps egretps is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

A book you may find helpful is Dr Henry Cloud's Boundaries.
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  #5  
Old Aug 12, '17, 8:41 pm
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ClearWater ClearWater is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

Praying for your sister-in-law.
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  #6  
Old Aug 12, '17, 9:11 pm
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acadiANNA acadiANNA is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

Praying for all concerned.
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  #7  
Old Aug 13, '17, 12:09 am
MaryT777 MaryT777 is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Nacey View Post
Thank you for your reply. Though we have stayed over, sometimes for one night, at their home, we usually stay with my mother in law. We didn't stay over the last time. As I said, they don't ever air their problems out in front of their children. My sister in law sometimes says that my being there tends to bring out the best in him, and he behaves himself for sometime after I go, but it's always back to square one within a few weeks.

Perhaps all I really needed to do was vent. Our faith and prayer life is very strong. Maybe I'm just a soft-hearted guy who hates to see a loved one going through a very rough patch in her life. Thanks again for the encouragement.
I think you found your own answer. You needed to vent. I am sure it is difficult to see your SIL in so much pain from his actions but she has made a decision to hang in there with her marriage and I pray that he will be given the tools necessary in therapy and strength to overcome repeated marital infidelity.

You are obviously a caring guy given your post here and it has to be difficult to see this enfold before your eyes.

I assume this is not affecting your own life given you don't really state as such to the extreme of the distressing phone calls etc from the spouse being cheated on and that was the issue the other posters addressed. If it was, then time to back away and let the two of them work out their issue in counseling.

With God all things are possible and I will pray for all of you.

Mary.
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  #8  
Old Aug 13, '17, 6:56 am
Monicad Monicad is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

With all Christian charity I am confused by your situation, but will continue to pray. In your original post you stated that "your wife is deeply hurt and it greatly affects both my wife and I" Then you continued on to say how it was difficult to look this man in the face and was becoming difficult for you to be emotionally invested in their marriage.

Now in your second post you simply needed to vent, and are just a soft hearted guy.

It's not that I don't believe you but as you can imagine, the story is confusing. I am praying for you because I see concern that your sister in law is unintentionally making you feel somewhat obligated by mentioning how nice her husband it after your visits. However "nice" isn't enough, he needs to stop having sex with other women and you aren't able to stop that.

I would still consider curbing my visits and doing something healthy for your family instead. This family needs help that is beyond anything you can do personally. God bless you and please take care.
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  #9  
Old Aug 13, '17, 10:10 am
angell1 angell1 is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Nacey View Post
My wife has a wonderful family whom I love dearly. Unfortunately, her older sister is married to a serial cheater. Every time she finds out about a new escapade, she is deeply hurt, and it greatly affects both my wife and I. We have decided to be supportive of her, no matter what she decides to do, and she has always chosen to remain with her husband and work things out, especially for the sake of their two adorable sons, my little nephews.

My problem is that it's getting difficult for me to keep being emotionally invested in their marriage. We always visit them when we come in from out of state, and it is getting harder and harder for me to look this guy in the eye and have him cry and tell us he's getting better, and they're in therapy, and he's grown so much in his faith; when each time, we know he's lying to everyone's face, and the evidence comes out eventually that he has always indeed been lying and cheating, even while doing the therapy.

I know we'll keep supporting her, praying for their marriage, and their children, but I could use some words of wisdom and encouragement. She absolutely WILL NOT leave him. I understand and accept that as her choice and her cross to bear, and I actually commend her living sacrifice of pain and anguish. So far, there has been no extreme "drama show" in front of the kids, or threats or acts of violence. It pains us to see her suffering, but that is her own offering.
I am sorry that you have to witness such a thing. I have experience the pains of infidelity in family and it's one of the worst things people can do, to be honest.

there's not a whole lot you can do, except maybe talk to your sister-in-law, which may or may not be your place to do anyways. I admire her dedication to her marriage but it it looking like it's having the opposite effect as intended. her husband knows that she will pretty much take him back no matter what he does, for some people this ia a good insentive to just keep doing what he's doing.

again, just a generalization, I obviously don't know all the details of the situation. just be polite, be courteous, don't get too emotionally invested, because, after all, this is not your marriage. stay with other family members if it's just too awkward to stay with them. I think you are seeing things realistically that he is just pretending to change. it may be a struggle for him, but honestly, it's his own free will. He is choosing to do the things that he's doing and not treating his marriage with any kind of respect.

I really hope he is able to change so I will pray for your family
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  #10  
Old Aug 13, '17, 11:00 am
HCTC HCTC is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

I seriously doubt that there is anything that you do that will make this situation better. With little to no expectation for having a meaningful impact here's what I would do:

1. I would arrange to meet with my brother-in-law alone.
2. I would give him the opportunity to do what he has done so many times before, and I would listen one last time to his woeful account of his situation. I would listen with attention but without comment for however long. I would listen as if I were watching a TV drama that I found interesting.
3. Even if his story is that he is getting better, I would say:
"I feel really sorry for you. It must be terrible for you to be caught in this cycle of infidelity. You have a home with a faithful wife and beautiful sons, but you are routinely unhappy. Your wife maintains a positive loving home for her children. I'm so sad for you because you are unable to participate fully in their joyfulness."
....Or sometime to that effect.
4. I would respond to any further comments from him with. "Yes, I understand" or "I will pray for you"
5. I would not offer any solutions to him or indicate any expectations for his future. The point with this conversation is that he has a problem that he needs to own and that only his agency, his decisions, are going to improve his lot in life.

From a psychological standpoint, I think the payoff for your brother-in-law in this situation is the emotional response that he gets from his wife and the rest of the family. He feels safe knowing that his wife will not leave him, and he gets some gratification from having the ability to elicit all this emotion from your sister and your family.

When you visit, it would be nice if you could arrange fun activities for you and your nephews. You could just take them out for ice cream or go to a movie. Your sister-in-law might enjoy some alone time - with or without her husband. It might serve to demonstrate to your brother-in-law that the family is going to have happy times even if he has a problem.

So basically what I would do is sort out the good and grow it.
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  #11  
Old Aug 13, '17, 9:50 pm
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Norseman82 Norseman82 is offline
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Default Re: Sister In Law's Troubles

Old school therapy:

Who can bench more, you or your brother-in-law?

Is there a gym nearby with a boxing ring that people can use where you can have a "chat" with him?
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