Dear Chump Lady,
I just came across your blog while googling for help in our situation.
We have a very close family. My SIL is my very, very best friend. Our husbands work together and are also best friends. A mutual work friend made my husband aware recently that our BIL is having an affair. With a woman we also know well from work (and she grew up with my husband and SIL). The affair has been going on for well over a year. Through the horrible miscarriage my SIL suffered and has continued even while she’s pregnant again. My husband had a suspicion all this was going on, but the mutual friend had a lot more info and really confirmed it. My husband then saw both BIL and OW vehicles parked together at a hotel and saw them both together in the OW vehicle. He got pictures (although far away and blurry).
I’ve read all over the internet about how to tell SIL about all of this. We want to wait until she’s far enough along in her pregnancy as she’s already filled with so much fear over losing the baby. But we are unsure of how to go about approaching the whole thing. Being so intertwined as a family, and with work, and with the OW and her family makes things so hard. OW is someone who SIL and I actually cannot stand and often talk about protecting our husbands from her. The OW being who it is will make an already tough situation even harder. We are shocked, as BIL is clearly a master manipulator and had us all fooled for a very long time. We are worried how he may possibly spin everything. SIL adores him and is a SAHM with their 2 year old and with being pregnant, I know she’ll want to cling to any lies he tells her rather than accept the hard truth. We know my SIL needs to know, deserves to know, but we also want to make sure it’s done in the best way to minimize drama for everyone and to not risk BIL somehow spinning things and potentially ruining our relationship with SIL either.
The mutual friend does not want to approach anyone (they did approach OW who denied it) and doesn’t want to be involved. We looked into a private investigator but can’t possibly afford it. Should we keep trying to catch them in the act for evidence? Husband thinks an anonymous letter may be the best way to go? Explain everything mutual friend told us as well as include photos of cars together? Are the photos we have enough evidence? Should my husband approach SIL directly since she’s his little sister?
I know you have seen and heard it all and that our situation is probably more common than we realize. Any insight would be so helpful. I am so sick over all of this and in such shock that our BIL is not the sweet wonderful guy we thought he was.
Thank you so much in advance.
~ Worried SIL
The health of your very, very best friend in the world — and that of her unborn child — is at stake. You and your husband need to find your guts, chuck the anonymous letter approach and TELL THIS WOMAN NOW what you know and how you know it. Complete with blurry photo, and complete with your husband confessing to his sister that he saw the cheaters’ cars at at a hotel and the two of them in the same car.
BIL asshole is having sex — most likely unprotected sex — with the OW. The risk of STDs is some very serious shit when you’re pregnant. I know you worry the stress might make her miscarry, but also consider the very real risks of unknown STD exposure. This is information your SIL needs to share with her Ob-Gyn immediately. I’m sure several chumps here who lost pregnancies from STDs, or whose children had resulting complications, or who discovered their husbands cheating while pregnant will chime in on how devastating this is.
And here’s some cheery news for women chumps — new research came out this week that cervical cancer is far more deadly than previously supposed, especially for black women. Let’s not minimize the health dangers of being chumped. This creep is playing Russian roulette with your SIL’s health, fertility, and her ability to carry this pregnancy to term.
Just to hammer home my message on the health risks here, I asked my college friend Leyla, an Ob-Gyn, to weigh in on this, about whether you should tell your doctor that your partner has been unfaithful. She had this to share:
Yes. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are checked at first prenatal visit. But if there is ‘contact’ afterwards and we don’t check, the baby can be affected by chlamydia. Miscarriage can happen, but also pneumonia from chlamydia along with the usual infected baby/preterm birth. I just had a girl test positive for Chlamydia then negative after treatment. Then baby had chlamydia pneumonia after birth.
Don’t downplay the risk, as if surely the cheater would know! Or would take precautions? Note — 7 out of 10 people who get Chlamydia have no symptoms. Leyla also warns that partners lie about being treated for STDs. So chumps? TELL YOUR DOCTOR.
The bottom line here Worried is that you are a person who purports to love your SIL. I’m sorry your loyalties are being tested and I’m sorry it’s awkward, but you are called upon to make a choice. Neutrality, anonymous copping out is a choice too — a choice that favors the cheater. It’s not fair that the cheater has put you in the dreadful position of delivering painful news to someone you love, but telling her is the loving thing to do. It means you respect her. You are giving her agency that her husband is denying her. Right now you are all carrying a huge secret — and the longer you keep it, the longer she will feel conspired against and betrayed.
Need a script? CN can help here too, but here’s a stab at it. First, get her ALONE and away from the cheater when you lay this on her.
SIL, I have some really difficult news to share with you. Douchebag has been cheating on you with OW. I’m sorry, I know this comes as a shock at a time when you are very vulnerable, but I’m worried that his infidelity could have health risks for you and your pregnancy. This isn’t speculation — your brother saw them at a hotel together and in a car and took pictures. The affair is also well-known by Co-worker, who told us more about it and confirmed certain things.
I know you love your husband and your family, but please take care of yourself and your baby. He can go rot. We’re furious and heartbroken too.
Then Worried, I would tell her about this community, Chump Nation, and our forum, and how she can talk to other people 24/7 who have lived this and survived it and who are on the other side.
Also, Worried, after you do the very difficult, painful thing of telling her, you must let go of the consequences. She might leave him. She may take him back. She may go into deep chump mode. She’ll be cycling through a lot of stages of grief — just be there for her.
You’re not the bad guy for telling. He’s the bad guy for cheating on her. The way to stop bad guys from doing bad things is to expose them. Good luck.