Dear Annie: My brother is married to a woman who is having an affair. They both are on their second marriage and have three kids together. The woman has two other children. The problem is that this woman has given up all rights to her first two children. She did this for financial reasons, but it backfired because the court ordered her to pay child support.
She then became pregnant with twins and stopped working. She did nothing but lie on the couch all day. She thinks it is OK to be married to one man and to have another younger man, who is a little slow, on the side. This man is at her every beck and call. He will spend all his money on her and lose everything he has.
But my brother is so dumb and stupid; he is letting this go on so there will be no fighting. On weekends, she feels like she does not need to be a mother. She did have to get a job to pay back child support for her first two children or go to jail. She only works part time, while her husband works full time. Despite this, he does all the cooking. She won’t cook for the kids or anyone else. On weekends, she will leave her husband (my brother) and go to stay at the other man’s place so he can spend his money on her. This is not good for kids. How do we convince my brother he is better off without her, or get them some help?
— Concerned Sister
Dear Concerned Sister: Watching your brother and your nieces and nephews be neglected as their mother has an affair is sad for everyone involved. While you can’t “force” your brother to leave her, you can provide emotional support for your brother and his children. Remember that “love” can be blind, and right now it sounds like your brother does not want to take off the blindfold. Try to build up your brother’s self-esteem so that he will eventually have the courage to leave her or stand up for himself and not be treated like a doormat.