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to ask for some objective advice?

(22 Posts)
JaneFonda Sat 13-Aug-11 00:13:16

I'm really, really panicking right now - I would love for someone to tell me that things will all work out. Apologies if this is long, but I would really appreciate some help.

I found out earlier today that my sister has been having an affair - her and her DH have been together for 11 years. I found out when my niece rang me in hysterics; apparently there had been a family discussion where the news was broken that my sister will be leaving the family home to live with the man she had an affair with.

I just got off the phone to my BIL (sister's DH), he wanted her to stay.

I am finding it really difficult to stay neutral - I understand my sister needs support, but I am feeling so angry that she could just leave her family - she has 3 DCs who are all fantastic, and she had never given any indication that she was unhappy, even though we are close and speak nearly every other day.

I would appreciate advice on what I should do to support everyone involved in this situation, without taking sides, which I find myself doing. I am just so, so upset for everyone. sad

squeakytoy Sat 13-Aug-11 00:20:55

Aw sad that is really hard. It is horrible when part of your family falls apart like this and you feel so powerless to help.

Speak to your sister, dont go in guns blazing or this could mean her feeling she cant open up to you. Hear her side of it first. But dont necessarily take it. It will be hard for you to not want to take sides I know, but sometimes things can be going on behind closed doors that even our closest family dont know about.

AgentZigzag Sat 13-Aug-11 00:21:48

That's such a difficult situation for you.

If it were me in it I would probably just try to focus on my niece.

It's easy to think you don't want to take sides, but when you're (kind of) in the middle with complicated relationships with the people involved, it's easier said than done.

How close are you to your sister?

rhondajean Sat 13-Aug-11 00:22:09

Dont think you will get much obhective advice at this time of night tbh.

Best I can do is tell you that its too raw, you cant think about what to do cos you will still be in shock, so go try to get some sleep. Tomorrow you can work out best thing to do.

These things do happen, and Im sure there is lots of good advice out there tomorrow.

JaneFonda Sat 13-Aug-11 00:22:55

I tried calling her throughout the day - all missed calls.

I suppose she's afraid of what I'm going to say, but I don't want to just leave her and make it seem as though I would alienate her altogether.

BIL took the kids out today while she moved her stuff. sad

rhondajean Sat 13-Aug-11 00:24:13

Apologies to those who are still awake!! thought it had gone quiet. oops.

Valpollicella Sat 13-Aug-11 00:25:26

Can you send your sister a text to say that while you appreciate she needs time and space to sort things out, you are around for your DN's?

squeakytoy Sat 13-Aug-11 00:25:35

Text her, maybe along the lines of "please talk to me, I will listen, not judge, but you are my sister and I am worried"

AgentZigzag Sat 13-Aug-11 00:25:59

Is there anything specific that's making you panic about it Jane?

JaneFonda Sat 13-Aug-11 00:31:24

I think texting her is a good idea, I just didn't want to write anything that could have been taken in the wrong way.

I suppose I'm panicking because I do feel very caught in the middle - my niece is a teenager and we are very close, my DP and and my sister's DH are very good friends; I don't want my sister to feel as though she's been excluded because of what she's done.

ImperialBlether Sat 13-Aug-11 00:35:40

Is your teenage niece your BIL's daughter? You say that they've been together 11 years.

What a terrible shock for you. I can't believe she hadn't told you. It must be so frustrating for you not being able to talk to her.

Valpollicella Sat 13-Aug-11 00:36:12

Well, tbh, she's probably not expecting a whole shed load of sympathy right now....so anything you text her is telling her you care (as long as it's not anything harsh!)

Send her a text. Tell her you're thinking of her andyou are there for her. And DN's if they need to be looked after etc

JaneFonda Sat 13-Aug-11 00:43:22

Yes, my niece is BIL's daughter - she was six when they had saved up enough to get married!

Have just sent a text basically saying I'm neutral in all this, have suggested we meet up for coffee and a chat.

I can't help but feel like a bit of a fraud saying I'm neutral, when I really just don't know. confused

Whatmeworry Sat 13-Aug-11 00:44:17

In my experience you will now find a whole lot of stuff coming out about their marriage that you just don't want to hear, and half it is probably false as each of them constructs a "story" they can live with - but a mother leaving her kids usually is not a good sign, your Sis may be very screwed up right now. Just let her know you are there ( ditto for BIL)

The kids are the ones you want to make sure don't suffer, but it's too early to work out how best to do it.

squeakytoy Sat 13-Aug-11 00:45:16

I think until you do know her side of it, you have to be neutral. So have they actually been together 17 years then?

JaneFonda Sat 13-Aug-11 00:47:44

They've been together for nearly 18 years, my sister fell pregnant with my niece fairly early on in their relationship, but it always seemed like one where you just knew they were meant to be together, if that makes sense.

JaneFonda Sat 13-Aug-11 00:48:36

Sorry, just realised my mistake in OP - they've been married for 11 years, not together.

squeakytoy Sat 13-Aug-11 01:01:14

Where they very young when they got together? Or was it her first serious relationship? If so, perhaps they have simply outgrown each other. "grass is greener" etc...

She is mad to rush out of marriage straight into living with another man, and that is bound to cause a lot of fallout, and be very painful for her family, and possibly the other mans too if he was married himself.

I do feel for you, it must be incredibly difficult and a huge shock for all of you.

Birdsgottafly Sat 13-Aug-11 01:27:51

Wait to hear what she has to say and try to listen with an open mind. This might be some sort of crisis and it may not be about the OM.

When a marriage ends, someone has to leave the family home, it is unusual for it to be the mother but if she is the one that cannot continue, it might be fair if it is her and not him, that leaves. The DC's are better off in their home.

Sort out in your mind whether you think couples should stay together for the DC's, if not, then you have no reason to judge, except for the affair, but affairs do happen.

It should now be about making decisions in the DC's best interests and making their DM feel any worse, will not be helpful.

natandjacob Sat 13-Aug-11 13:26:48

If it was my sister I would do anything to support her no matter what she's done. I would, however, tell her exactly what I think of her behaviour so that she would be under no illusions that you agree with what she has done. I would also be supporting BIL and niece aswell though and would make sister aware of this.
You sound like a rock in a hard place sad
I'm sure your sister will understand what a difficult position this is for you if you explain.

FakePlasticTrees Sat 13-Aug-11 13:41:07

Could you offer to have the DCs for a few days so they can have some space to sort their lives out without the extra pressure of the DCs hearing?

ImperialBlether Sat 13-Aug-11 13:58:45

That's a really good idea, FakePlasticTrees. It would be difficult, given they're upset, but if you could keep them occupied it would give your sister and your BIL time to sort things out.

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