I met my ex-wife through my twin brother, her friend of six months. She was 17; I was 21.
We dated for several months before I ended it. She and my twin kept close contact.
Several months later, she was pregnant and said the baby was most likely mine. I had doubts.
However, we were both already involved in other relationships.
Two years later, we re-connected and moved in together. Soon, we fought over my lack of affection towards her being too dependent and clingy.
I moved us closer to both our families. She and my twin then started a secret two-year sexual affair while I was at work.
We moved into a house after our second child’s birth. Our relationship was still stressed.
There was anger, resentment, all forms of abuse, and the kids were used against me.
My twin had moved in with us.
He and my ex argued, and he confessed to me about the affair. My ex punched him; he hit back. I didn’t come to either one’s defense but ordered my brother to leave.
Their affair’s been a stone block for me throughout our relationship. They eventually started talking but there was still animosity between them and towards me.
We later married. However my ex still blames me for the affair for not giving her the affection she craved.
She also had a sexual affair with one of my other brothers and a co-worker.
I've tried counseling and mediation but my ex felt she was being picked on so refused to continue. I was made to look like the bad guy in front of both our families and mostly our kids.
I’m not proud that they’ve witnessed all the abuse.
I’ve had three major depressions and no support group. I became abusive myself.
My kids disowned me as their father, without any contact. My daughter’s now 28 and married; my son’s 19, living with his mother.
Our divorce is going to trial. She was arrested for domestic violence, and that case is also still pending.
But I’m held responsible for all the financial obligations of my former home while she lives there for free. I don't have money for a permanent address.
Is it wrong of me to cut ties with my twin? Do I tell him the effects that his affair with my ex has caused me, and my relationship with my kids?
Do I write to my kids even though they've disowned me? I miss them deeply and love them.
Ever since Cain slew Abel out of jealousy; these first two brothers of Biblical history became the metaphor for destructive behavior between brothers, siblings, and throughout humankind.
Your twin’s betrayal of you was terribly wrong. But what followed was not all his doing.
Your marriage was stressed before the affair, your wife cheated with others, you responded to abuse by becoming abusive.
Get legal advice to fully understand how you can move forward personally. Both you and your wife must be entitled to a share of marital assets.
Focus at work on doing well and progressing… leave your “story” behind. Find somewhere you can call home, at least for now.
Write to your children, without pressuring them for contact. Simply say you love and miss them.
Cut ties with your twin while you concentrate on moving forward. He knows what he did.
Instead, get therapy on your own, to grasp what your part was in all this, and get past it.
FEEDBACK Regarding your previous column on abusive relationships (March 20):
Reader – “As a survivor of domestic abuse, I highly recommend the book Crazy Love by Leslie Morgan Steiner, to anyone in an abusive relationship or even a potentially abusive one.
“It effectively lays out the patterns of abusive behaviour - the slow, insidious way that abuse creeps up on its target.
“And how small issues morph into larger, darker issues until you find yourself trying to get out of the relationship alive.
“This author is a successful, educated woman, and she got caught in the trap.”
Ellie – Getting “caught” in an abusive relationship happens to both men and women, the well-educated and those less educated, and crosses ethnic, cultural, sexual preference, and financial lines.
Though I haven’t yet read this book, the author is an outspoken advocate for victims of domestic abuse and has been a speaker for the highly regarded TED presentation and video.
Tip of the day:
No matter your past “story,” moving forward requires you to do the work, not just cut ties.