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My husband and his brother's wife had an affair. I feel his brother needs to know, but I don't want him to hurt as I do. Children are involved - what should I do??

Tagged as: Big Questions, Cheating, Family, Forbidden love, Marriage problems, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (26 June 2007) 12 Answers - (Newest, 26 January 2008)
A female United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I found out my husband had an affair with his brother's wife. I am now going through a divorce. Learning about the affair has almost destroyed me.

His brother knows nothing about the affair.

I know my soon-to-be ex-husband and his brother's wife are terrified about the truth coming out. I feel that his brother needs to know even though I don't want him to go through the same devastation and pain. If it were the other way around I would hope his brother would tell me.

I get advice from others telling me to be patient and eventually the truth will come out and that it is best if the news doesn't come from me. Sadly, there are innocent children involved on both sides.

If presented with a similar situation, how would you handle?

View related questions: affair, divorce

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (26 January 2008):

I have suspicions as well.About my wife and my brother there are many things 50% yes 50% no but if it was me he/she diserves to know the truth even if you get or do not get along because if he finds out that everyone around him/her knew there could be more problems especcially emotional for him/her that would affect everone even you. I wold love to Know the truth. if this personwho wrote this lives in southern california it just might be information about me. I will check back later.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (19 October 2007):

Anyone who tells you to let the truth come out on it's own is, has, or will be a cheat themselves. Seriously, what kind of slime ball would want to keep something like that from another person. If my brother was having an affair with my wife I wouldn't care who told me, I'd just want to know. I'd hate your guts for knowing and letting make a fool of myself for weeks, months or even years.

Rat them out!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (15 October 2007):

There is no easy answer and there are no winners in such a situation. My wife was sleeping with her sister's husband and they got caught in the act by my sister-in-law. She did not tell me but she put a plan in action. We live in a rural area and live close to each other. My sister in law has always beenendowed more than my wife ans he started wearing revealing clothes when we were all together at get togethers. My wife would be fuming mad and would raise sand at home about how her sister was dressing. I told her that I thought it was the brother-in-laws place to be the one concerned about the dress of his wife. My wife would get furious. In time it became apparent that the sister in law was doing this to irritate my wife. The sister in law then started "flaunting" new jewelry and clothes and even a new automobile that she kept saying her husband had given her. My wife would go totally ballistic over things that did not concern her or us. I will admit that I had gotten suspicious by her actions. One night my sister in law called my wife (her sister) and told her that her car had broken down in a town about 20 miles from where we lived and that she could not get her husband to wake up and answer the phone (he had worked night shift the night before) and asker her to come pick her up. Well, sister in law knew that my wife would ask me to make the 20 minute drive each way and she did. As I got in the car to go get her I got only a couple of miles from home when I saw my sister in law waving me down at the local convenience store. I stopped and she said "don't ask me what is going on, I want you to find out for yourself". She directed me to drive back to my house with lights off as we approached. We parked in my yard and she said walk with me to my house and I did. When we got there she told me to be very quiet because her husband was sleeping (she knew differently). We tip toed down the hall to some moanings in the bedroom and she flung the door open and allowed me to catch them in the act as well. She looked at her sister and said "I won't you to explain your way out of this one. It was at that point my sister in law told me she had caught them 4 months earlier and did not want to tell me but wanted me to find out. I am glad she did. I am now divorced and moved away and the sister in law is now divorcing her cheating husband and my ex is going to marry her sister's ex. Some people will do anybody and anything!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 October 2007):

If I were you, I would tell the truth to everybody who wanna hear it. In the case of the brother in-law i would tell him wether he likes it or not. Everybody should handle their own truth.It's up to him how to respond to the situation. Only the truth can set you all free. Sometimes people do cheat and disrespect other pple just because they think they can hide the truth forever or wives like you will stomach the pain and the embarrasment.I just hope you find your freedom and strenght that it wont be the end of the world if ever you leave your shitty husband. Goodluck!!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 July 2007):

Tell his brother. I believe the truth will come out one day. The same thing has happened to me. My husband was sleeping with his brothers wife for at least 6 years before my husband started dating me. My husband's brother had suspicions even before I came on the scene. They have 3 kids (who's?) and now we have a 3 year old daughter. My husbands and his brothers wife's relationship never made sense. He was alot more careful before we got married. After we got married it seemed to get more and more inappropriate between them. People would make comments. Of course he was hiding it more before we got married. I would ask him to cut back on their interaction but eventually he just started telling me that he would spend time with her whether I liked it or not. When I suggested it was inappropriate he just turned it back on me and made it sound like I was sick to suggest that he would be messing around with his brothers wife.

My husband kept lying when I asked all the why's? By the time we married I am now aware that his brother was pretty sure there was something going on because she got so jealous that she was having to share him with me and her behavior got pretty quesionable looking to her husband/my husbands brother. But my brother-in-law still didn't let on to me. Supposedly his brother thought it ended when we started dating. But it didn't. She kept waiting for us to breakup and trying to do everything she could to undermine it. Now I finally know for sure because he had finally broke it off at least for awhile 3 years into our relationship, I guess he finally realized it was damaging our chances to succeed and he wanted a home and his own wife. But he still kept communicating with her and keeping her on the back burner. She wanted him back so she got desperate and started spreading the word to family and friends that she was going to call me and tell me about them. She said "then I would leave him and he would come running back to her".

She didn't call me but people paniced and eventually my husband had to admit some of it. You begin to remember back to all those times they were alone when they really shouldn't have needed to be and it all falls into place. Now that I know about it, he has completely been treating me like crap. I was hanging in there before even though he treated me very direspectfully because of our daughter. What a waste of time. Now itt is all being taken out on me. We bought a house and started remodeling it from top to bottom 1 1/2 years ago, by the time this all came out it was completely torn apart and we had spent alot of money on the remodeling products.

If his brother had warned me about his suspicions 5 or 4 or 3 or even 2 years ago I would not be in such a difficult position right now. We will lose all our equity and all the time we have spent because the housing market is not good and it is too soon to absorb a real estate commission plus you wouldn't put top quality products in a home you were planning to sell right away. I sure wish someone would have told me along time ago. His brother did not do me and my children (I have kids from a previous marriage) any favor by keeping his suspicions to himself. I feel like this situation was just a ticking bomb and nobody that knew about it did me any favors. People that do this to their spouses/siblings aren't worth staying with if you ask me. Now I have to continue to live with a man I can barely stand to look at until this house is ready for sale. It has already been 9 months and some days it is hard to go to work and cope with day to day life knowing I have to go home and see him each night. He acts like he is such a hottie! Neither one of us can afford the house on our own. And he treats me worse than ever. Like I did something wrong to him because I got mad at what he did to all of us. I even offered to try conseling, but he wouldn't, he says he doesn't need anyone telling him that he did something wrong. He says I just need to forgive and forget and we can continue our marriage.

I don't think people that treat others like this are capable of being good relationship partners. He puts bruises on me everytime I bring this up now. I say tell his brother! I sure wish my brother-in-law had told me! From what I have been told - their oldest son has seen things between Tracy and Terry again and again that didn't make sense to a growing child. Those types of "catches" become inevitable as the cheaters become more and more sure of themselves and what kid needs to see his Mom making out with his uncle or worse yet - in bed with his dad's brother. Pretty ugly stuff for anyone, especially a child. I can tell you, I'm living the aftermath of a spouses indecretions and they sure did "rub our noses in it"!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (5 July 2007):

Please, understand that telling your husbands brother about this is NOT going to save him any PAIN! It's going to cause a MAJOR HEART ACHE....'Well then,' you're probably saying, what to do? Do NOTHING, b/c you shouldn't EVER make it your responsibility to present a BURDEN to ANYONE(especially your B-I-L, regardless of your desire to tell, that's going to cause A PAIN.

I am sorry that your husband bad actions didn't teach him a lesson to better his life and marriage back to fulfillment-and joy. This may not be the case with your BIL's wife. She may find a way within guilt to grow beyond this terrible experience and become a better wife that she failed to do at some point of weakness/ confusion/ and perspective lacking.

You can tell the BIL and the wife that you know their secret , which could make your BIL marriage better by 'stearing' the 'adulturous' wife back to her senses, but don't tell the BIL, b/c he didn't create this burden, and it's unfair he has to experience this burden at the expense of your selfishness and someone elses foolishness.

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A female reader, Sweet-thing United Kingdom +, writes (27 June 2007):

Sweet-thing agony auntYou are in a place right now where you're probaby longing for others to feel your pain and share your pain. But since there are children involved, and you know how devastating this news has been for you, I'd say keep mum for now. It may come out eventually without your help. If they continue to see each other after the divorce is final, you may want to spill the beans. You can do it personally, or send him an anonymous tip then let him sniff it out on his own. I wish you the best.

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A male reader, Frank B Kermit Canada +, writes (27 June 2007):

Frank B Kermit agony auntWhen you said: "If it were the other way around I would hope his brother would tell me."

I think that says it all.

Firstly, talk to your lawyer...there may be legal reasons for you NOT to say something...your husband could accuse you of lying and sue you for slander (see what I mean).

Do you have proof, or just what people have said to you?

After you talk to the lawyer, then tell the brother if you can. Depending on the family situation, this may not be the first time it has happened, and maybe his brother already suspects.

If there are legal concerns, then wait until things are finalized, and then tell the brother.

Personally, if it were me, I would have told BEFORE I filed for divorce.

-Frank B Kermit

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A female reader, stina United States +, writes (26 June 2007):

stina agony auntHi Anonymous,

Personally, if my spouse had an affair with a family member of mine I would want to know and I wouldn't care who told me. But everyone is different. Do you think the brother would want to know? If you do, then I would probably just tell him myself.

While telling the wife could be a good idea, you'll never know what her reaction could be. You could actually end up being the person blamed for their marriage failing. People say and think all sorts of crap when emotions run high - sa they will when he finds out about the affair.

I guess, though, the best piece of advice is do what you feel is right and take into consideration what you think the brother would want. Situations like these are always so incredibly tricky and stressful. There really is no right or wrong answer here. But get ready for some tense and extremely emotional times from everyone.

Take care.

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A female reader, flower girl United Kingdom +, writes (26 June 2007):

flower girl agony auntI think he deserves to know the truth, but i think it should come from his wife as i think as painful as it will be it would be worse hearing it from someone else be it family or not.

Maybe if you still have a way of contacting his wife you could tell her that unless she tells him you will do it as he should know the truth.

Take care.xx.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 June 2007):

well i can feel why people are sayin not to tell him but the truth is that you do know and as long as you know you know that there marriage isnt about truth and honesty and if it were me i would probably tell him the truth and let him figure out for his self if he wants to stay in the marriage or not yes i understand kids are involved but when you really think about it there going to have to be together forever and if he never finds out what if she keeps doing this with his brother or even other men he has the right to know even if they dont want him to know you had the descision to make if you wanted to try and make it work and i think that he has that same right. it may hurt him and everything but at least hell know the truth and hell have a chance to get over it or get under it instead of finding out later and it just makin things completely worse. good luck....

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A female reader, YummyMummy United Kingdom +, writes (26 June 2007):

YummyMummy agony auntMaybe what the others are saying maybe true. That the truth will come out one day. Especially if they continue the affair. I really don't know what I would do to be honest. I would make sure I wasn't doing it out of spite or revenge.

I probably would say something, as I would want to be told and not feel like the last person to find out. Just be careful how you tell him.


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