Me- BH (b. 1978)
She - WW (b. 1978)
Together since 1993 (high school), married in 1999
LT-EA - 20 years - Double Betrayal
PA-started 1 month before DDay
DDay - 9/26/2017
Family therapy with extended family 6 years after brother had an affair with my wife
Mods- Let me know if this should be in another area.
I rarely post, but am just not sure what to do with this thing that I have agreed to do.
Short version of story- 6 years ago discovered Brother/OM (50yo) and my (44M) and WW (44F) had a 1 month LTA- (5hrs in car no flights/other transportation options) mostly EA with PA on 2 occasions, they had both had feeling for each other for the 17 years of our marriage (wife said during MC she was in love with him before she married me). WW and I are in R and overall is going well though it has been hard and MC has been spotty since the first year. I believe that she wants R, but made it clear in a letter to him right after D-Day that she only chose me because she had made a promise but said she would love him forever no matter what. Since then she has not been clear what her feeling are about him (but says "everything is different" with her feelings for him now), feels the affair was all her fault (she actually initiated and told him she loved him first), and has not kept NC with him (mostly contacting only through extended family text threads and holiday/family event visits (about 1-2 a year). There has been no evidence of covert communication since the first year and she has been open in sharing devices when asked or if she finds me checking them.
This affair blew up the family, (3 sisters 1 brother both parents passed away brother lives in my parents old home, 2 sisters live near him in the same town and one sister lives near my wife and I 5 hours away). Initially there was significant gaslighting from several family members (though one sister seemed to understand) in part because my WW minimized the extent of the affair when she told them and denied the existence of a PA. I was forced to go to Christmas 3 mo after D-day when R was still very tenuous and told not to "ruin Christmas for everyone". 3 months later we were back over near the family because my WW grandmother was dying and one of the sisters "stole" my kids- (took them to be with her kids at the local YMCA) and refused to bring them back unless I "talked with him (my brother)". Of course, I didn't but I did try to talk her down and just get her to understand (which she said she did) that she did not have the full picture and did not have any right to ask me to do that unless she was willing to talk to him first (WHICH NO ONE IN MY FAMILY EVER HAS!!) These are just the instances in the first year. Since then these kind of instances have been much fewer, but, I have had multiple smaller arguments with mainly that sister since then. These mainly focused on her telling me I'm not being "forgiving" enough to just sweep everything under the rug because it was just a "single slip up".
2 years after D-Day I had a long talk with him(OM) and the sister that had been most understanding (not the one stealing my kids!). He(OM) gave me his version of the timeline of the affair which mostly matched my ww's (It resulted in some additional PA info that he didn't realize my wife had't told me). He has never really seemed contrite, though he has half heartedly apologized (over text at the beginning when he was still breaking NC with her, once on the phone and once during this meeting with his arms crossed leaning back in his chair).
I saw the crazy sister this last weekend and it blew up with her misunderstanding something my wife and I were arguing about and the sister and I got into a huge argument that ended with tears and apologies and then discussed why things can't be the same. I have stated that he(OM) needs IC either at a church with a pastor or with a licensed therapist. He has refused to because talking to others "makes him uncomfortable". I will never be able to reconnect with him(OM) or trust him(OM) until I am more certain that he (OM) is trying to address whatever it is in him that made him(OM) have an A with his sister in law. We unfortunately have and uncle that when we were kids had an A with another uncle's wife and she ended up divorcing and marrying the uncle she had an affair with. He had seen close up how that tore apart that whole side of the family. There was no way he could have just been following this "love" or making "just a single mistake". So, she asked if we could try "family counseling", I said I wasn't sure we could fine a therapist that would do counseling for 5 adult siblings (my WW will not be there and neither will any BILs). She begged to try just all talking together and I (I think stupidly) agreed. It is scheduled on Saturday over Zoom. I do not know what to do. I think it will descend into a pity party for him(OM) and in the end nothing will be accomplished. I want to just say no, to walk away from the rest of the family and this stupid idea. But I do love my family, a part of me still very much wants to love my brother. I do not want the family to be broken but I do not see how this is going to help.
So here is my question-
I will probably force myself to attend baring some catastrophe, what do I say? do I write down questions, do I share the whole story? Do I just stay quiet and see what they say? Is there anything I can say to my brother that will make him see that he needs to talk with IC, own up to issues and find out why the only woman he ever slept with is my wife? Any help is welcome.
16 comments posted: Friday, April 7th, 2023