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Brother's family torn apart...feeling hopeless for my niece and nephew.

stepuncle6's picture

This will take some explaining so bear with me.

My older brother has been married to his new wife for almost 1 1/2 years. She is 10 years younger than him. He has two kids from his previous marriage (D almost 20, S 13). His wife has a 10 year old D from previous marriage. Both met at work and known each other for sometime. The problem starts with brother got divorced because he was cheating. No one knew in my family however his ex-wife's mom told his oldest. His kids only knew her as "His Coworker", not girlfriend, fiance, etc. My niece only met her once or twice before this knowledge and from that point on...her relationship with her dad was been estranged at best and she will not have anything to do with his wife. A month before the wedding my niece and her dad had a one-on-one honest talk. She wanted to know if it is true that his soon to be new wife was the one he had an affair with. He was not only very defensive and refused to answer the question (which i felt was a legit one,) but turned around on her and called her to task for refusing to get to know his soon to be wife, and stepsister and being cold to her. It only made my niece even more angrier with him that it became a shouting match. In the end she told her dad that she wasn't going to the wedding and she is not allowed at her graduation or her life. It ended with my niece calling his soon to be wife a "Homewrecker!" Unfortunatly his now wife walked in with her daughter after an outing, the second she heard my niece calling her that word. She tried to get my niece to talk but my strong willed niece just stormed out of the house ignoring her. From that day niece rarely speaks to him and at family get together's if he comes with his new wife and niece would leave. Rather leave than feel uncomfortable with her dad's wife's existence and drama. To complicate matters is my nephew. He doesn't know anything about his stepmom being the mistress. My niece has told me that she will never tell him about it because she doesnt want that info to drive a wedge between my niece and nephew and he and his dad, which is understandable and very mature of my niece. So he goes there and bonds with his stepmom and stepsister and meets the stepfamily as well. For the most part he's happy and they blend well. But I know that the big hole is there with him and his kids.

The tip of the iceberg happened on Memorial Day, my niece was taking her brother to my house as she was on her way to her boyfriend's house. He tried to get her sister to come with us but she said no. Again tell him that she can't be with her dad and as my niece calls his wife ("Her", "She", "That Woman", "Dad's Wife" and a few other phrases that keeps my niece from even uttering my brother's wife's name) The next day my mom and dad got a hold of their granddaughter and they talked. She explained to them why she won't be around her dad. My parents were furious beyond belief. I also talked to my brother about this and his response was as evasive and defensive as he was when my niece confronted him before his wedding. Right now, my parents love my brother as I do. We won't turn our back on him but we are not happy with him about what he did and his behavior at times towards his daughter. He expects her to be happy for him, accept her and be part of his new family. My niece wont for the fact that she feels it is morally wrong how it all happened and for her to accept his wife and love her would be like the equivalent to saying all is forgiven and gives her blessing. Which she is right! It's not and my niece has every right not to associate with her. As far as me, my wife and my parents are with my brothers new wife, we are cordial to her but we keep our distance from her. Her daughter, we treat her like she's part of the family. It's not fair to her, she's innocent.

And to add one more wrinkle to this brother and his wife are now expecting a child at the end of the year. My niece knows nothing about this and if she does...i'm scared to even think about what would happen. I know this is tearing his family apart now and it could be beyond repair if my niece finds out about this baby. Also a wedge will be driven when my nephew knows about how his dad and stepmom got together. Eventually I know he will find out. Not by my family or his sister, but he will, i just know it.

I see my brother pained by his daughter's exclusion of him and his new family. She doesn't acknowledge his wife or stepsister's existence. I want to help out in someway to get the ball rolling for them to rebuild a relationship again but he insists that she must accept his wife and stepdaughter and bond with them. That will so NOT happen. So my question is after this long story...what should i do or turn to. Praying is a start but after that, what should they or I do?

Much thanks and love for your help!


oneoffour's picture

You cannot expect your kids to fall in line with your decisions. My ex got rid of his first post separation g/friend and moved the next woman in inside 6 weeks of meeting her (and her kids). Then they got engaged and everyone was supposed to be enthusiastic and accepting. My kids were still attached to his first girlfriend. Someone who had picked them up from school when they were sick, taken care of them after school when Ex got held up at work. They were very angry with the way ex treated his 1st girlfriend.

So maybe talk to your brother and tell him he has to give his kids time to mourn their parents divorce and learn to accept his new wife (if ever). The more he pushes it the more they will kick back. He has to spend time with them away from his new wife. He has to rebuild the relationship instead of pretending it is all perfectly OK. And the relationship is going to be different because your niece sees her father as not so perfect.

His daughter may never come around. She lost the family she knew. And yes, this woman knew he was married and still pursued or encouraged him. Anything else would have been sexual harassment in the workplace. Maybe remind your niece that no one is perfect and at some stage in life she may hurt someone beyond belief. But your brother has to accept he has hurt his children with his behaviour and instead of fudging over it and being all wishy washy he needs to be honest.

Niece may be being dramatic but your brother is still being less than honest. Lying to his parents or not telling the truth? How can they look their new DIL in the eye knowing sh lied to them for 18 months? It would piss me off beyond belief.

Anon2009's picture

I think you continue to love and support them each but separately. Don't pressure your niece to call him or vice versa. Let her get her anger out of her system. Let her develop a relationship with her dad and let them work it out.

If and when she decides to get in touch with her dad again, see how things play out. See if she's rude to his wife and sd. If she is, maybe you could have a heartfelt talk with her about the importance and power of forgiveness. That certainly doesn't mean she has to be friends with her sm or sm's daughter. It does mean being civil and not letting those people take up so much head space.

As for your brother, he has a lot of nerve to even think about trying to get his daughter to accept the SM and her dd in these circumstances. Do you know what sm said to your niece when she walked in with her dd?

stepuncle6's picture


She said "i'm not a homewrecker." Niece repsonse was "Yes you are." and stormed out.

Many times afterward at family functions she has tried to approach her to talk and no surprise my niece leaves. She'll say a few things to her dad but just in passing as she's walking out the door. My brother tries to talk to her and "reason" with her to no avail.

Anon2009's picture

Boy, his wife is as dumb as a bag of rocks. Or she has brass balls the size of Texas. She should hope that your niece doesn't just blow up on her one day. Most people leave people who are angry with them alone.

Like Rags said, it's the people who are closest to the cheating pos that suffer.

Anon2009's picture

"and I think his daughter handled it way better than most."

I agree with that. 110%.

stepuncle6's picture


My niece leaves when she is around because she feels uncomfortable with her there. Also my brothers wife tries to approach her to talk and say hi. My niece is too smart for that and has a firey temper to want to start stuff.

Also she has let her dad have it a few times about this as well. Her relationship with him at best is strained. So yeah he faults her as much as his new wife. Also I've let him have it too! I love him but he got an earful from me to say the least.

Finally yes I've suggested she needs to talk to someone. She was going to a counselor at her college but will be finding someone locally for summer break.

Anon2009's picture

"Also my brothers wife tries to approach her to talk and say hi"

Not only does your brother have his head in the sand, his wife does too. Both of them are lucky your niece's response to that isn't "hi ho" or "fu!k you! My father sure likes to!"

I think both of them just need to give her space- that's the least of what they owe her.

Justme54's picture

Your brother has his head in the sand. If he tell the truth, his daughter might be more open to let go of her anger in a shorter time frame. Example...You mother and I had problems long before the affair. As a dad and husband, I should have been stronger as not to get involved until I put closer on a dying marriage with your mother. I know I hurt you dearly. And so on and so on.

He wants to keep his baggage in the closet. That never works. I think your brother is being childish. I think this plays a factor with his daughter anger.

Anon2009's picture

I agree. This sd also seems to have been much more mature than many sks, and than many of us would've been at her age and in her shoes.

IDGAF what the cheater's excuses are. We've all heard them before. If they are so unhappy they should pack their $hit up and get out.

Rags's picture

Rather than keep the facts from the 13yo boy, he needs to hear it all and hear it now. Sure, it will cause issues but not nearly the issues that learning about it later and ultimately finding out that everyone else knew the whole time will cause. IMHO your niece is handling this all very well all things considered.

Your brother needs to put a hand between his legs, grab a big old handful of man sack and man up. So does his new womb donor. They would be far better served to sit your niece and nephew down, admit it all, beg forgiveness, outline how they would like for the blended family relationships to proceed, and start the healing process and working through the issues rather than attempting to either ignore them or mandate that they disappear. This is critical considering there is a spawn of an originally adulterous relationship on the way.

I would be hard pressed for me to retain much of a relationship with a sib who had no character, was a cheating POS, who lied to his own children, and continued to abandon any semblance of character as your brother continues to do. I have no more use for the adultery partner whether that partner becomes a new IL or not or whether that partner is a parent to a new niece or nephew of mine or not. Zero use. None at all. Sure, over time I would adjust but never would I forget and never would I allow my sib or their new spouse forget or portray that they are anything but despicable cheating P’sOS. If they want to play a game of self delusion they can do it far away from my presence or face a big old face full of fact and truth. Particularly when I have nieces or nephews involved.
I would accept a new niece/nephew or a Step niece/nephew unconditionally but their parents would forever be tainted to me and I would be hard pressed to ever let the cheaters forget it.

Others have suggested that the best thing is to support your niece and nephew through this. I think that suggestion is absolutely right. I would set up counseling for both of them and be there for them. You may want to add your Step niece to the counseling list. That poor kid has to be just as screwed up if not more screwed up over this than the 20yo is now and the lied to 13yo will be when he finds out how many people have been lying to him. Add the baby to the counseling list eventually. That kid will be cursed with two parents devoid of character.

Your brother and his “bride” are a non priority in this picture and never should be IMHO. Once the baby is born then the adults can be addressed to establish some reasonable relationship with the baby so all the sibs can have a chance of a relationship in spite of how shallow and polluted their shared gene pool may be.

I am extremely sensitive to adultery. My XW was an adulterous whore for nearly our entire blessedly short marriage. She ran off with her geriatric Fortune 500 executive sugar/baby daddy after we had been married for 2.5 years. Much like your brother, she ended up spawning with him. Though in my XWs case it was twice (out of wedlock) before he finally married her and much like your current SIL is likely to experience my XW cheated on Grandpa Sugar Daddy husband #2 and had an out of wedlock spawn by eventual DH #3. People like my XW, your brother and his new bride rarely change. They remain POS people with no character. Fortunately I never spawned with my XW so I am not forced to have anything to do with her and blissfully have had nothing to do with her in nearly 25 years.

Sadly it is those who love the POS people of no character who suffer. It is the brothers, children, parents, etc…. who suffer.

It is your brother’s kids that need the help.

IMHO of course.

SecondGeneration's picture

Like others have said I think you need to be giving your niece some space and some time.

Now I was alot younger, but I knew that my step father was the man that my mother was having an affair with and for a long time I hated him for it. It also damaged my relationship with my mother, as others have said, cheating is not something that is often forgiven.
She is 20, so she may well come around because shes that much older and has that level of maturity. Then again she may not, because she may well be wondering how long all this went on for.

Your brother needs to decide what hes going to do about his son, yeah its great that daughter has said shes not going to tell him, but really? Father is there again reinforcing this basis of lies, thats only going to continue to build a rift and does he really want his daughter to be able to drop that bombshell on his son at any moment?

Its a tricky situation but it is what it is.

Anon2009's picture

The ones who should be told to "get the hell over it" are the cheaters and their f!ck buddies who complain of the "mistreatment" they receive.

Aeron's picture

Why would the expected baby make this anymore beyond repair? I'm sorry, I just don't understand that.

Rags's picture

No doubt you are right. For this young woman her father's newest spawn is a physical mannifestation of the complete lack of character of the man she grew up thinking was beyond reproach.

Not the new baby's fault and hopefully the eldest and youngest sibs, all of the sibs for that matter, can have a relationship that is not tainted by the lack of character of the father and his mistress/wife#2. That is not likely of course but one can hope.

All else remaining equal the two cheating/pregnant adults in this situation have given none of their children (his, hers, or theirs) anything to admire in either member of the new couple.

herewegoagain's picture

Nothing you can do. I do NOT believe in cheating, however, I feel it is 100% wrong of ANY parent to tell their child that the reason for a divorce was cheating. Why? Because just like it's wrong to tell your child that the reason you divorced is because your wife is a bitch, or was a whore or is a whore, or is lazy, or is crazy jealous, or a gold digger, etc…because IT IS NOT the child's issue, but the PARENT's issue, it is just as wrong to tell them the reason is because of cheating. People who do so only do this to hurt their ex without ANY REGARD for the pain it causes their child. A man cannot tell his child that his mom is a loser, a moron, a lazy witch, a gold digger, etc…but somehow, women are perfectly allowed to say whatever they want. It is wrong and while I do not condone what your brother and his WIFE (not NEW wife) did, the issue was made worse by his loser ex. It was NOT her right to do such a thing. I hope she's happy that she caused her child greater pain by telling her such things than that which her father did. Simple.

PS I say stay out of it and don't judge either…

Anon2009's picture

I don't think the ex said anything about this...the ex's mom did. The sd in question is 20.