My ex-husband has recently married my widowed sister-in-law. My brother passed away four years ago, from Lou Gehrig’s. It was a tough two years, but thankfully he didn’t suffer long. My husband and I were very involved in their lives during those years, as we were close couples, and the kids – both theirs and ours – are very close.
Then, during COVID, my marriage imploded. We weren’t perfect before the pandemic, and living on top of each other was the tipping point. I would seek refuge at my sister’s house, while unbeknownst to me, he was seeking refuge at my brother’s – with his widow.
Now they’re married and our kids are now cousins and stepsiblings. My kids’ aunt is now their stepmom; and my nieces and nephews, who once referred to my ex as “uncle,” now have a stepdad. It’s confusing but the kids are all young teens and tweens, and all the relationships have stabilized.
But my ex and I are now at every family function together, not just those related to our own children. It’s awkward. He seems to be handling it better because he has his wife, my sister-in-law, to lean on. But I’m becoming more and more anxious.
How do I move forward in all this mess?
Thankfully, it sounds as though you and your sister-in-law had a good relationship when she was married to your brother. And you love her children. So, now that she is step-parent to your children it’s less worrisome than if your husband married someone you don’t know or respect. It’s a win.
I strongly suggest you speak to a therapist who can help you work through the myriad of emotions you undoubtedly have surrounding these three enormous life changes. Losing a sibling is tough; going through a divorce is tough; and watching your ex find happiness is also tough, no matter who it is. The fact that it’s your widowed sister-in-law just adds yet another dimension.
A professional will be able to help you look at each piece separately and work through your pain.
FEEDBACK Regarding the boy who caught his friend’s mom cheating (July 18):
Reader – “The cheater needs to know that the son thinks what she did was not OK.
“This is a teaching moment for the boy’s mother, for him to know that this behaviour should never be condoned. What a horrible burden he’ll have to carry knowing that his friend’s mother is having an affair.
“She obviously didn’t care whether she was caught since she was ‘in relations’ in a very open area of the home. If I was his mother, I would remove him from that property and find him another place to live.
“The information should be shared with the husband and he and his wife can deal with it. I was the wife of a man who cheated, lied and treated me horribly for over five years while having an affair with another woman. We had two beautiful young girls and although there was lots of evidence leading me to believe that he was cheating, he denied it. Without hard evidence I was reluctant to break apart the family. I finally asked that he move out; that’s when I uncovered the truth about his affair, that resulted in a child who was almost five years old when we broke up.
“When it all came out, people who had seen him with this woman apologized for not telling me. I truly wish someone had come forward, this torturous relationship would have ended sooner and I wouldn’t have wasted years living with a man who didn’t deserve me, and caused me nothing but heartache.
“There is never anything wrong with telling the truth.”
Lisi – I am truly sorry that you had to endure such a horrible life experience. In your case, I wish for you that someone had had the courage to tell you the truth.
In this situation, I don’t fully agree with you. I don’t think the cheating woman needs to know that this young man doesn’t approve, nor do I think she would care. And the fact that she was in plain sight, in her own home, in the middle of the day when no one else is about means nothing other than she thought she was alone.
I agree that he probably shouldn’t stay there anymore. But I still don’t think that he should tell the husband. It will take courage and strength to tell his friend, and he’ll risk the friendship, but that’s probably the route he should take. It’s doubtful that the husband would take kindly to this young man’s information.