Two years ago, my older sister confided in me and our younger sister, that her husband of 16 years has been cheating since before they were married. They have a child, ten.
She found pictures on his phone of lingerie and pictures of women wearing the lingerie.
One woman she recognized as our parents' neighbour. He claims that he didn't have sex with any of these women and doesn't think he’s done anything wrong.
She’d love to get a divorce, but is scared that he’ll take her to the cleaners moneywise and take full custody of their child, for spite.
He portrays the image of great guy and family man, but would make a divorce very ugly for everyone.
She’s decided to stay for another seven years, until their child goes to college, but she’s been very clear that she hates him.
Their marriage counseling recommended that she seek individual therapy, as it was clear that her husband’s a master manipulator.
Our younger sister stopped visiting her, as she’s angry and doesn’t want to be around him.
Last night, she broke down crying and told us that 15 years ago when she was a teenager, our brother-in-law (then 35) agreed to be a co-signer on her car loan. She went to their house to sign the papers; he was alone. He gave her some lingerie and asked her to put it on or he wouldn’t co-sign. She did it – she said it was weird, but he didn't touch her at all.
This happened another few times over that year under his threat that if she refused, he’d tell his wife what he’d done, and she’d be very angry, causing a divorce.
He also offered her alcohol during these incidents. She finally refused and said he could tell his wife.
Now the guilt and shame came back hearing what he was doing with those other girls. She’s disgusted with him and with herself.
I suggested that she see a therapist soon in order to realize that this wasn't her fault, and that she shouldn't feel guilty or ashamed.
I think that my older sister needs to know what happened. He’s a predator who was taking advantage of his wife's younger sister who looked then, and had the emotional maturity level, of an early teen. Yet doesn't want us to reveal it.
She’s scared that something will happen to our sister and/or their child, and also scared that our brother-in-law’ll confront her.
Should his wife be told? How do we tell her? What steps should she take to protect herself and her child?
Outing A Predator
There’s no choice, not with another child growing up with this man. Whether a boy or girl, there’s risk to the child’s well being, growing up with a manipulative father with a lingerie fetish, and a mother who hates him.
It’s now evident that it could be disastrous for your sister to wait out this marriage for seven years.
Urge your younger sister to get therapy soon. Tell her it’s understandable that she thought she was saving the marriage by keeping quiet. She was too young and ashamed to know otherwise.
When she tells the story, help your older sister absorb what happened and recognize the implications.
Urge her to see a lawyer before she confronts her husband further. His exploitation of a young relative will diminish any claims he has for sole custody. The financial split will be worked out equitably, if she gets practical advice, fast.
FEEDBACK Regarding potential "stalker danger” from a date's ex-girlfriend (May 13):
Reader – “Two years after I broke up with someone, he was still trying to be in my life.
“We’d only dated for a few months, and our relationship wasn’t working at all. So I ended it.
“I realize now that he felt much more towards me than I did for him. Our mutual friends pressured me to stay friends.
“We talked, and he agreed that breaking up had been for the best. These same friends then pressured me to move in with them and my ex, as I needed a place to stay.
“He started planning ways to get back together. I moved out immediately and said I’m no longer interested in any contact.
“I’ve learned to always be direct with people. That woman’s date must be clear that his “stalker” not contact him again or he’ll seek a restraining order.”
Tip of the day:
A secret predatory act towards a young relative must be revealed, to protect others.