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Ask Eleanor
Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
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hello my sister n law is having an affair that the whole entire family

Customer Question

hello
my sister n law is having an affair that the whole entire family knows about except my brother to whom she is married. Do I take him aside and tell him?? I know you are thinking that if everyone knows then he knows.
Trust me he does not i can refer to so many examples. My Sister n law has made it a point to rub her lovers name and presence in everyones face. I feel that she has made a fool out of him, once again I can give so many examples. I would want to know if this were me should I tell him??
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 2 years ago.

Ask Eleanor :

Hello, I am here for you and sorry you are in such a difficult position. There is really no "should" here, no right or wrong decision. You need to consider all aspects and all possible ramifications. How old is your brother and are the two of you close? How long has he been married to this woman and do you believe he loves her? Is he a private or an open person? Do you believe that telling him would hurt your relationship with him?

Ask Eleanor :

As you are offline, I am going to complete my answer for you. After answering the above questions and any others you feel are relevant to the situation, only you can decide if the benefits of telling him outweight the risks. It is also important that you feel you would want to be told if the situation were reversed and that it is very upsetting to see your brother being "made a fool of." And a huge question is what is going to happen when he finds out (and he will one way or another) and asks if you knew and then why you chose not to tell him.

Customer :

i am on line now

Ask Eleanor :

I see you are back. I will give you time to read over what I have written so far.

Customer :

I think we were afraid to tell him because of the ramifications but i said to my mom if it were I and you all knew and did not say anything and i found out I dont think I could ever speak to you again for not telling me

Customer :

like it was us doing something bad to him instead of he

Customer :

her

Customer :

But her whole family knows this guy has met him i have met him. Her two kids and mother knows him

Customer :

Her kids by my brother they have met him but the 3 children by my brother were told he is just a friend

Customer :

i want him to know for so many reason I may not always like my brother but I love him. If that makes sense

Customer :

my brother is 40 yrs old ....

Customer :

we are close in a weird way

Ask Eleanor :

Yes, it makes sense.

Customer :

he has been married for about 10years and with her longer

Customer :

I believe he loves her like a sister I know from her they dont have sex

Customer :

He would be surprised of all the details this i know

Customer :

he is a private person

Customer :

idk if telling him would hurt my relationship with him or not its not as if we talk everyday. but the family gets together for all occasions

Ask Eleanor :

And you are absolutely sure she is having this affair? How long has it been going on?

Customer :

about 8 yrs and yes I am very sure I have met him. As her and I have been close on and off throughout the years

Ask Eleanor :

How do you know they are having sex?

Customer :

She has told me the details

Ask Eleanor :

OMG, she told you?

Customer :

yes she has and i feel that she has not been fair by telling me !!

Customer :

she has put me in a difficult position

Ask Eleanor :

I understand your feeling that way. Knowing this, I truly believe you have no choice but to tell your brother. What do you think?

Customer :

i think if I tell him he will be shocked she will hate me even though it has been her doing and her 3 children will be affected but I believe they already are !! I think I should tell him

Customer :

he also may not believe me

Ask Eleanor :

Well, tell him in a gentle way, beginning with that you have really struggled with whether or not to tell him because you don't want to hurt him or hurt your relationship and that you realize this will be hard for him to hear and he may not even believe you, but you have to share what she told you because you love him and can't stand by and see him being made a fool of by her.

Ask Eleanor :

And tell him in private with no one else around.

Ask Eleanor :

Does this feel doable to you?

Customer :

thank you I believe i will take your advice. Your last paragraph was a good way for me to phrase things. One last thing why do YOU THINK i should tell him??

Ask Eleanor :

Because his wife was told you she was having an affair. This is very different than it being a rumor around town because someone saw them at a motel, etc. You have been given direct information from the horses mouth. And in my professional opinion, to not tell your brother puts you in the position of helping her cover up the affair, an accomplice in the crime so to speak. Does this make sense to you?

Ask Eleanor :

In other words, she has put you in the position of having to choose sides, hers or his.

Ask Eleanor :

Any further questions, dear?

Customer :

no I have no further questions and yes this makes sense if I need to contact you further how do i do that ?

Ask Eleanor :

You may request me for another question in the future and I would be happy to assist you. Please remember to click on the green accept button so that I will receive credit for my professional time with you and response. I know this will be difficult but I believe that deep down it is what you feel you must do, take care, Eleanor

Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience: Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
Ask Eleanor and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I need Eleanor she is the person who I consulted with the first time around so if she could contact me again we could go from there.
Expert:  Ask Eleanor replied 2 years ago.
Hello again, I see you are now offline. I will be on site throughout the day with some breaks of an hour or two. Reply and I will get back to you before the end of the day, Eleanor

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