How do I treat my brother's mistress?


#1

My older brother recently kicked his wife out of his house, and his new girlfriend has moved in with him. Before this all happened, my brother came to me and told me what he was planning. It was really hard for me to do (because I've never in my life told my older brother what to do), but I told him to cut off his affair, get back in good with the Church (he hasn't been practicing in a long time), and to get his marriage into counseling. This had no effect. Since then, my wife and I have been on our own in opposition to my brother's choices. My parents never got along well with my brother's wife, and so they've basically been consenting to all of this. The day after my mother found out, she was investigating getting him an annulment (as if he even remotely cared about his standing in the Church).

Everyone else in my brother's life has met his new girlfriend, and everyone treats this as though there is nothing at all wrong with it - it's just the new normal. They go out to dinner with my parents, she joined his softball team, everyone is friends with her on facebook, etc. My brother hasn't tried to introduce us yet, but he's gotten clothing gifts for my kids which I know were made by her.

What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to be civil to her? Am I just supposed to be ok with taking my kids to family Christmas with her there? I've read a lot on these forums about people contemplating attending weddings for couples like this, but I'm nowhere near that point.


#2

I think you should be civil to her if you see her, but going out of your way to be friends with her is like your condoning your brother’s adulterous behavior.

That’s a difficult situation. On one hand, I wouldn’t want my kids around that example, but at the same time it’s family so you’re kind of stuck with your brother and his mistress. :frowning:

I would also try to warn your brother about his mistress’s intentions. I know of a family where the couple was married for 20-30 years (not sure the exact number). The mom worked her butt off for many years, working and raising their six children while the dad went to law school. Then the man decided to divorce his wife and marry a younger woman. The kids don’t want anything to do with him, but he still had to pay a huge amount of money in child support. Then after a few years, the new wife divorced him and took half his money.

Any woman who would knowingly date a married man is not a prize. They are usually after something, and even when they’re not they obviously don’t value marriage or relationships and will probably cheat on the man if the two ever do get married.


#3

You should do the right thing in each and any situation that is presented to you. Love for God comes first then love of neighbor. Love of neighbor comes directly from ones love for God otherwise it would be a love for neighbor in place of God. Any other recommendation devoid of knowledge of those involved would be wrong from a spiritual standpoint.


#4

I understand exactly what you’re going through, only instead of my brother having an affair, it was my dad.

They’ve been having an affair since 1995 and started living together in 1999.

Now, I know this sounds bad, but its not just hard for us to be civil to her because of her having a hand in destorying our family, but also because she’s just a nasty woman. Seriously. There are certain peopel in life who are just mean and arrogant. she’s one of them, though to be honest I class her behavioru as being caused by the spiritual mess (ie. demons) that are hanging on to her good and proper.

As hard as it is, I am civil. But I try to avoid going anywhere with her in public, if I know she’s with my dad when he’s visiting the city I’m living in, if we go out to dinner, I make it clear that it’s just dad coming and not her. Its a play on words like “Oh, it’ll be good for you and me to be hanging out again”. Or “I was hopign on some alone time at dinner so we can talk about something”.

My brother was really hurt by their affair, and also a devoute Catholic he didn’t want ot be seen to be committing scandal or to be seen as supporting the relationship, and us kids all sided with Mum since she was the victim. Anyway, when my bro got married he sent my dad an invitation with “to Dad” not “Too dad and guest”, just “too dad”. So it was implied she was not to come. Same with other celebrations.

My dad tries to force her and her family (who accept this adulterly) on us. He said to me and my bro “Oh, so and so’s son lives near you guys, you should catch up, he accepts me and so and so”. And my siblings and I have made it clear we dont’ want to have her in our lives.

I am civil. That is all. I view the situation as Jesus hanging out with whores and tax collectors, He was civil and talked of accepting God and not sinning any more. I do this. I do not go out of my way to be her “friend” or do anything that looks like I accept their relationship.

When we send Christmas/Easter/Birthday cards it is addressed to “dad” only. She once sent us a card for Christmas, we sent it back, unopened.

Dad acts like we hurt his feeligns when we dont’ accept his mistress. The reality is he is demanding we accept an immoral and sinful relationship. I am civil and polite. But I will not accept it.

Your brother will have to understand that his relationship is hurtful to you and others who adhere to teh faith, not to mention the damage it has done to his lawful wife, and the damage it has done to their souls.

There is no tactful way around it. You can be civil. But there will be times when things are not pleasant because you stand yoru ground on issues of morality, they will not like that, but tough.

I’m sorry that you’re in this situation. Its really hard. It hurts. Your brother and his mistress caused this situation though, so they have to accept not everyone is going to be welcoming of it.


#5

Like the previous poster I am in a situation wher my dad was the adulterer and I had to decide how to deal with the situation. It's not easy to cut off close familyeven when they do nasty things.
I agree that you should be civil for your brother's sake, but are not obliged for anything more. I wouldn't let him or the woman near my family. He made his choice and has to realise that there are consequences to it. He probably won't like it and be prepated for being guilt tripped by him and other family members who approve of his lifestyle. (I'm often called a nasty b*%&h for not wanting to be more closely involved with my father's new family. It hurts but I'm dealing with it.)


#6

Well I’d be careful in painting the new girlfriend as a horrible, scarlet wearing woman before you’ve even met her. I’m not condoning the situation, but you can only make it worse if you make her the target of all the ill feelings you have about the situation. You really can not predict the future, this girlfriend could very well end up as you future SIL. I know it happened to me. My brother too ended his marriage, moved his girlfriend in before divorce was final and they eventually did marry, and have been for almost 20 years.

You can hate how its all coming about, how your brother is acting, but I would advise against taking any hard stance against the girlfriend. At least until you’ve met her and have gotten to know her. I would refrain from making any judgements that she is just looking for his money, or will cheat on your brother, like a previous poster already suggested. If that proves to be true, then you give your brother all the support he needs.


#7

Thanks for all of the replies.

You're right, Patrice, that I should probably be thinking of this girl more charitably. Setting that aside, I just feel like being social with her somehow participates in the scandal, but I'm not sure when it won't feel like that anymore. I guess it will be better after the divorce is finalized, but even then, I don't want my kids mistaking friendly socializing as an endorsement of their living situation.

I keep thinking about Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, but I just don't know how to properly interact with them in this way.


#8

In every situation it's always a better bet to react with more love than you deem necessary. Love the sinner, hate the sin correct? This woman and your brother may be doing something wrong, but that is no reason to treat them any less charitably. Remember who Jesus went out of his way to make friends with, the tax collectors and the adulteress. I say be warm and welcoming and pray for them, while explaining to your children that even though you love both of them very much, sometimes adults make bad decisions too.


#9

I can understand about your worry with your kids. My ex lives in sin with is current gf. He used to have the previous one over when I was on night shift, and installed her pretty much as soon as I walked out.

It was hard trying to teach my kids about God's laws when their dad was clearly living in opposition to them. But I didn't try to tell my kids what their dad was doing was wrong. I simply pointed out God would not approve of living in sin, and have left it up to the kids to apply their own judgment on this situation.

I have a similar situation with my ex husbands brothers children. They are IVF kids, and so I simply explained to my kids IVF is not approved by the Church, but the kids still interact with their cousins as they love them and so they should.

My sister lives in sin, is getting married outside of the church and I've been in a delimna about whether to take the kids to the wedding as it might be viewed by the children I am condoning a marriage outside of the church, but in this present age I think we come up against and across many situations that are against church teachings and God's laws, but I use these as a teaching mechanism for my kids, in that I explain what is right with God and what isn't and what God would not approve of, but that we should pray for those family members to find God within their hearts so that they will hopefully one day come to know him and be willing to follow his laws.

I constantly have to ponder 'love the sinner, hate the sin'. and it can be hard. I know it was hard on my former mother in law, not a Catholic, but it was still hard for her when my ex, her son, took up with his current gf, as her first husband had run off with another woman. When I married her son she was very upset we'd invited her ex and his current wife to the wedding. But although I didn't particularly like my father in law's wife and was appalled how he'd treated his first wife, my mother in law, I had to make some effort or the family would just split apart.

Your brother is still your brother and still your children's uncle. And as parents we can use these situations to teach our children about God's laws and about praying for these people's choices. We don't have to condone their behaviour and we can tell them we disapprove, but we can still choose to love them, and by loving them it doesn't necessarily mean we are condoing their sin. And we can point this out to our children that many have fallen away from God, but as practicing Catholics hopefully they will learn something from us and to pray for their conversion.


#10

I can remember being a kid and my parents talking about people who made bad choices behind their back and then being as sweet as pie to their face. And the only thing that came of it was me learning to gossip and to not pick good friends. I though it was normal to be around someone who mistreats you and just complain behind their back.

Depending on your kids age, I would be truthful about the situation (in an age appropriate manner). For example, if they ask 'is it a sin to divorce your wife and let your girlfriend move in' I would answer 'yes it is a sin but we must remember God has the final judgement'

I also would be honest with my brother and his girlfriend. 'I am raising my kids in the Catholic faith and I am teaching them divorce is wrong. I never want you to say there is nothing wrong with what you did. In return I will also teach my kids manners to not say anything to you and respect your free will'

I think the best is open communication with all people involved

CM


#11

Just for context, I have three kids with the oldest being 2 1/2. Obviously, the complexities of the situation are beyond them. The older two know (and really love) their aunt and uncle as a couple, but I don't know how they're going to understand seeing this other woman with their uncle. At such young ages, I don't want them getting the impression that this is an acceptable family model.


#12

[quote="Iowander, post:1, topic:203881"]
My older brother recently kicked his wife out of his house, and his new girlfriend has moved in with him. Before this all happened, my brother came to me and told me what he was planning. It was really hard for me to do (because I've never in my life told my older brother what to do), but I told him to cut off his affair, get back in good with the Church (he hasn't been practicing in a long time), and to get his marriage into counseling. This had no effect. Since then, my wife and I have been on our own in opposition to my brother's choices. My parents never got along well with my brother's wife, and so they've basically been consenting to all of this. The day after my mother found out, she was investigating getting him an annulment (as if he even remotely cared about his standing in the Church).

Everyone else in my brother's life has met his new girlfriend, and everyone treats this as though there is nothing at all wrong with it - it's just the new normal. They go out to dinner with my parents, she joined his softball team, everyone is friends with her on facebook, etc. My brother hasn't tried to introduce us yet, but he's gotten clothing gifts for my kids which I know were made by her.

What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to be civil to her? Am I just supposed to be ok with taking my kids to family Christmas with her there? I've read a lot on these forums about people contemplating attending weddings for couples like this, but I'm nowhere near that point.

[/quote]

I'd be civil but not overly "warm and welcoming" to either of them. How was your brother able to kick his lawful wife out and not face legal repercussions? Is she now homeless?

What is wrong with the world today, where people turn a blind eye to this kind of behavior? By making it seem no big deal, we are all complicit in devaluing marriage in society. I think people should be making a bigger deal of it, quite frankly.


#13

[quote="Iowander, post:7, topic:203881"]
Thanks for all of the replies.

You're right, Patrice, that I should probably be thinking of this girl more charitably. Setting that aside, I just feel like being social with her somehow participates in the scandal, but I'm not sure when it won't feel like that anymore. I guess it will be better after the divorce is finalized, but even then, I don't want my kids mistaking friendly socializing as an endorsement of their living situation.

I keep thinking about Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, but I just don't know how to properly interact with them in this way.

[/quote]

Well I'm certainly not suggesting that you have them over for a nice family meal regularly, or automatically include them in all the family get togethers. Just don't say or do anything that say a couple of years down the road this girlfriend is still around, you end up regretting your words or actions.

I would certainly make it known to my brother where you are coming from and be consistent in message, but wouldn't deliver it in a manner that could potentially harm my relationship with said brother, OR with any other family members that have taken a different stance with this situation.

My dad took a very hard Catholic stance when it came to my brother's divorce and then girlfriend/future wife. He didn't go to their wedding and I think my dad regretted some of the words he used to convey that stance until the day he passed away.


#14

[quote="Ailina, post:12, topic:203881"]
How was your brother able to kick his lawful wife out and not face legal repercussions? Is she now homeless?

[/quote]

The law is on his side. They bought the house in his name only right before their wedding, so it is considered a pre-marital asset, and she has no claim to it. He left her pretty broke. She lived with a friend for a little while, but that wasn't working out, so she just got an apartment.

[quote="Ailina, post:12, topic:203881"]
What is wrong with the world today, where people turn a blind eye to this kind of behavior? By making it seem no big deal, we are all complicit in devaluing marriage in society. I think people should be making a bigger deal of it, quite frankly.

[/quote]

I agree. As I'm learning how this process works, it makes me sick how easy it is for someone to unilaterally divorce a spouse with little consequence in terms of property or otherwise.


#15

[quote="Iowander, post:1, topic:203881"]
My older brother recently kicked his wife out of his house, and his new girlfriend has moved in with him. Before this all happened, my brother came to me and told me what he was planning. It was really hard for me to do (because I've never in my life told my older brother what to do), but I told him to cut off his affair, get back in good with the Church (he hasn't been practicing in a long time), and to get his marriage into counseling. This had no effect. Since then, my wife and I have been on our own in opposition to my brother's choices. My parents never got along well with my brother's wife, and so they've basically been consenting to all of this. The day after my mother found out, she was investigating getting him an annulment (as if he even remotely cared about his standing in the Church).

Everyone else in my brother's life has met his new girlfriend, and everyone treats this as though there is nothing at all wrong with it - it's just the new normal. They go out to dinner with my parents, she joined his softball team, everyone is friends with her on facebook, etc. My brother hasn't tried to introduce us yet, but he's gotten clothing gifts for my kids which I know were made by her.

What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to be civil to her? Am I just supposed to be ok with taking my kids to family Christmas with her there? I've read a lot on these forums about people contemplating attending weddings for couples like this, but I'm nowhere near that point.

[/quote]

There was a time in the past when such a woman would be called a "homewrecker".

Forgive me if I missed this, but do they have any children, and if so, how old are they?


#16

No, they don't have any children.


#17

Man, some of you folks dealing with this stuff are way, way more polite and civil than I would be in this situation. If a family member pulled this sort of thing and then asked me to accept it, I’d flat out tell him or her to go to hell (I’d actually likely say “get …” with that second word being the most vulgar reference to sexual relations possible in the past tense) and then never speak to that family member again. Seriously.


#18

[quote="The_Bucket, post:17, topic:203881"]
Man, some of you folks dealing with this stuff are way, way more polite and civil than I would be in this situation. If a family member pulled this sort of thing and then asked me to accept it, I'd flat out tell him or her to go to hell (I'd actually likely say "get ......" with that second word being the most vulgar reference to sexual relations possible in the past tense) and then never speak to that family member again. Seriously.

[/quote]

It must be magic being related to you.


#19

Tough position. I would have zero respect for a woman who would knowingly pursue antoher woman's husband.

Homewrecker is right.

I'm the older brother to 4 siblings. If one of them did this I would definitely let them know how I felt. I would not have the woman in my home or around my children.


#20

[quote="iamrefreshed, post:19, topic:203881"]
Tough position. I would have zero respect for a woman who would knowingly pursue antoher woman's husband.

Homewrecker is right.

I'm the older brother to 4 siblings. If one of them did this I would definitely let them know how I felt. I would not have the woman in my home or around my children.

[/quote]

Hmmmm, it takes two to wreck the home. It's not just her fault. The philandering husband too is responsible for hooking up with her in the first place. He too is just as guilty, if not more so. He discarded his wife like a piece of garbage. What does that say about him?


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