My sister is the other woman, why am I supposed to be happy?


#1

My sister has been involved in an affair as the other woman for about a year. She told me about this a few months ago. Now the affair is out in the open. He’s leaving his wife and son. They are making plans to “move on with life” together. My sister, by the way, was divorced from her first husband because he cheated on her and walked out. I stood by her through all the tears and hurt.

I am the ONLY one in the family who has expressed any kind of concern or worry about this. I have tried my very best to not be angry with her. I haven’t even had to work at letting people know that I believe this to be objectively wrong. As the only practicing Catholic left in the family I guess I didn’t have to. It seems that because I am not offering words of encouragement and support and best wishes on her new found happiness that that makes me judgmental. What I have mostly told my sister is that I think she is choosing to go down a difficult road, that I love her very much, and I will always be here. But I am very worried for her. I know it is very hard to respond with speaking truth in love, but I do believe I’ve tried as best I know how.

My mother and I have gotten into it several times because to her I will be more blunt and point out that this whole situation is terribly wrong. The idea that they are happy together is rather irrelevant. But it always turns into one of those relativistic things where I shouldn’t be imposing my idea of right and wrong on other people…he’s such a solid and great guy…she deserves to be happy…I shouldn’t see things so black and white…

How do you navigate situations like this? I have two boys ages 9 and 6. The oldest remembers his first uncle. I have been informed that I am expected to welcome the new guy with open arms when we all get to meet him at Christmas time. Apparently I should be “happy to know” that the separation from the wife is underway. I think the entire family has lost their collective mind. If I am angry at anyone it is my parents. For my sister, my heart is aching.

I need some advice from some wise Catholics. Anyone?


#2

***I’m so sorry to hear this. My sister had an affair with a married man, he left his wife and kids…“for” her. They moved in together…then he ended up cheating on her. If someone cheats with you, that someone will cheat on you–that’s the old adage. I remember my sister stopped talking to me back then, because I kept telling her that it wasn’t God’s will…God will never tell us to do something that deliberately goes against His Word…against His Commandments. I remember my sister telling me that she thought he was her soulmate. I said, God wouldn’t ask you to commit adultery to find true love.

Eventually, she didn’t want to hear it anymore, and stopped speaking to me for a few months…then, one day, she called me…crying. He was treating her badly…he was cheating. To this day, she won’t tell me how she knows that…he never told her he was cheating. I think she probably followed him one night, when he said he was working late. It was a tough scene, but she got out…and eventually came back to the faith. She’s still healing from this, after over two years of being broken up with this man.

But, what I did was just kept praying for her…relentlessly, I lifted her up in prayer. I would send her little religious notes by email, when she stopped talking to me. God was always watching, and He will watch over your sister, also. He will give you the right words to say. Be brave, and say the tough things that your sister needs to hear…if she stops talking to you, so be it. BUT BE GENTLE. I never preached, or made my sister feel bad…I knew she was in a vulnerable bad place in her own mind, and that is why she permitted such an affair to happen. To this day, she kicks herself over it…cries in sorrow.

I will keep you and your sister in my prayers. I pray she ends this farce of a relationship…affairs are nothing but sinful fantasies and usually die in the light of reality. It’s sad that people have to go through that, but hopefully, your sister will stop things before they go too far. Please tell your sister to do the right thing…let this married man go back to his family. He may not want his family anymore, but she shouldn’t be the one to pull him away. I pray you are enlightened with the right words to say.

But, know that if she doesn’t want to listen, that you did the right thing by talking to her. Then, let it go…and let God do the rest. Praying things work out for the best!! ***


#3

Sorry to hear you’re in this situation.

My two cents would be to tell your family that while you’re happy that your sister is happy, you’re not happy with HOW she’s happy. She is now doing the exact same thing that her husband did to her, which makes her the bad guy in this current situation. And since you have two children to raise you want to make sure that they understand that having an affair is not a good thing and not something that you will support. At this point the guy’s divorce isn’t final and until it is you see no point in supporting the couple in their moral wrongness. If, come Christmas, he really is divorced then you’ll reasses and see how the lay of the land is then. But until his divorce is final you see no reason to support them in their adultry.


#4

If he will do it with her, he will do it to her.

Make sure she has a soft place to land with this falls apart.


#5

***As far as ‘welcoming him with open arms,’ remember Jesus ate with sinners, also. And we are all sinners. I actually met my sister’s lover, for dinner, during a business trip I made to Florida a few years ago. He was pleasant enough, but I didn’t like him, naturally…knowing the background of how they met. That said, I was cordial…and just kept praying that their relationship would end. I actually prayed that. NOTHING GOOD can come from an affair. Nothing. I know, there are people who have affairs and ‘make it work.’ No, they really don’t. Their relationship will always be cloaked with a past of deceit, and secrets…nothing good can ever come from that…it’s like wrapping garbage up in a pretty package, with a fancy bow. There’s still garbage in the box. Same with affairs…no matter how many justifications people tell themselves about it…no matter how pretty they make it look…it will always be a relationship founded on lies. I am a firm believer that such ‘relationships’ are doomed.

I pray for your sister…gosh, it sounds so much like my own. Praying that she wakes up and ends this thing. In the meantime, love her…be there for her. Don’t shut her out. But, you don’t have to pretend to be happy. I wasn’t happy for my sister…happy that she was sleeping with a married man? What’s to be happy over? But, you can be cordial, and you can keep praying. God bless!***


#6

Thank you everyone so far.

On a practical level, do I let the kids be introduced to this guy around Christmas? There is no way a divorce can be final that quickly, and I’m not really sure it matters. I think my two choices are:

  1. Don’t bring the kids. What’s the point? It’s not like they are married yet. When a marriage is looking real then we’ll deal with it… and make sure we have a conversation about what a valid Catholic marriage is. My 9 year old can get it.

  2. Bring the kids. Explain beforehand in an age appropriate way what the reality of the situation is. Discuss our family values which includes loving our family even though they make mistakes. When family objects and suggests we leave out the details of his other family I say “hey if there is nothing wrong with it then why shouldn’t we be open about it all” right?


#7

I’d just introduce the man as “this is Mr. Smith, aunt Sally’s friend”.


#8

*I would let the kids be introduced…but I’d tell my sister beforehand that he is to be introduced ‘as a friend.’ There’s no reason to introduce him as more yet. Your kids don’t need to know more than that right now…they are still young. Now, if she marries this man someday, I’d deal with it then. I think that right now, if you tell your kids too much about the reality of things, and let’s say she breaks it off with him soon…they might always view their aunt in a less than stellar light. So, get together, and hopefully your sister will respect your views on how he will be introduced.

I am sorry you’re in the middle. It hopefully will end. And like kage says, when it does…be that soft landing for your sister. God bless you–you sound like a very dear sister. *


#9

This is a good comment Whatevergirl but it can be “twisted” easily so I would like (if that’s okay) to add to what you have said.

Yes, Jesus ate with sinners and walked with sinners and welcomed sinners…HOWEVER HE ALWAYS CALLED GENTLE ATTENTION TO THEIR SIN AND TOLD THEM THEY NEEDED TO REPENT.

This is important. Is it possible to be polite to sinners? Yes, of course. Is it necessary to sit down to dinner with them and their adulterous lover and treat them as if everything is fine and wonderful? No. Are we supposed to hold people’s sins against them? No. However are we supposed to act as if sin does not have a consequence? No.

Trying to not admonish someone’s sin and continuing a relationship are not one in the same thing. For example: a woman could be the victim of rape, she could forgive the rapist however that does not mean she needs to invite him to dinner and into her life. In this situation, this family could try and overlook/forgive or be tolerant of the sister’s sin as the “other woman”. However that does not mean they have to invite them to dinner and have them involved in their families life…does this make any sense?

I would not bring my children to an event (even Christmas) where my sibling and her adulterous boyfriend were chatting and enjoying the day…that is a bad example. However I would try and keep my sibling in my life and tell them I love them and am hopeful their life turns out for the best.

Just my two cents. This is an awful situation, Prayers for you and your family and everyone involved. God bless.


#10

*I don’t believe eating dinner with someone, is condoning someone’s sin. I think if the man is introduced as a friend, it should be fine. And I did say that she should not be afraid to gently admonish her sister…(in my own words). *


#11

What do people think is going to happen to the first wife and her children? Chances are good that they are going to become homeless. Chances are excellent that in attempting to avoid homelessness, her kids are going to be left to fend for themselves a great deal of the time, with Dad gone and Mom having to work outside the home to pay the bills.


#12

I’m really sorry that you and your family are going through this.

I don’t really know what to suggest, I do agree that your children should only be introduced to him as your sisters “friend” if they are introduced at all.

What have your family said about his wife and children? Maybe you should ask them why he is not spending Christmas with his children rather than his mistress (sorry to use such a word to describe your sister, I mean no offence) Surely it makes more sense for him to try and see his children on what is arguabley one of the most important days of the year for children! And if he showed remorse at hurting his wife and children maybe you could see some good in him, but nowhere have you mentioned that he has so I am assuming he hasn’t or you don’t know.

I guess all you can do is point out that you feel it is wrong and express your concern for your sister, his wife, his children and the effect it will have on both families.

Keep strong
x


#13

My guess is that after 14 years or so of marriage that he is going to have a heck of an alimony/child support bill to pay. He can do it. Not sure he’s aware of that yet, but that’s his problem.


#14

Sorry, but I wouldn’t let my kids anywhere near this. It’s pretty much as simple at that. If you wanted to stop over or meet them for lunch or something, ok, but I wouldn’t bring my kids around them at all.


#15

They are not coming for Christmas day but earlier so that our side of the family can have a time of celebrating together. They are on the other side of the country. I don’t know what is going on on the actual holiday itself.


#16

The concern I have with introducing him as her “friend” is that they are in the throws of their infatuation and won’t look like they are just friends. Plus, I am sure my 9 year old will see through it in a heartbeat. He’s not dumb.


#17

If you are having doubts about introducing your children to this man then don’t do it.
explain to your sister and family how uncomfortable it feels and/or say that you do not want your children to get confused and attatched to a man who may or may not be in their lives for very long.

Sorry if I’m not being very helpful, I’ve never had to deal with a situation like this
x


#18

*I hadn’t thought of that…my sister and her ex-lover didn’t carry on like that though…when they met me. But, if that is the case, you know your sister better than we do…maybe it’s best to not have your kids around them then. :o *


#19

For two years, my husband had a mistress. It started around the time we separated. The mistress was not invited to Thanksgiving, etc. with my husband’s parents. After about a year, they decided to go out to dinner with my husband and the mistress. I was angry. Marriage is for life. People who don’t acknowledge this are liars and cowards. He made plans to marry her, they lived together right from the start. Then they broke up, as these sinful relationships tend to. My husband and I were separated for 3 years and we reconciled. I wonder if those who accepted this adulterous relationship now feel foolish.


#20

Having the bill to pay, and actually paying it, are two entirely different things, as any divorced mother will tell you. In fact, a lot of these guys use their “new family” as the reason why they can’t pay, and complain that they can’t be expected to support two families on one income. (Which is a good reason why he should not have attempted to start a second family, right … ? :shrug: )


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