Post # 1
Its not really a divorce since they were never married but to call it a breakup would be an understatement.
My BIL has been with his Girlfriend for about 7 years and they have a 15 month old daughter. We lived with them pre-pregnancy for a couple of months and they seemed fine, the pregnancy was planned and they both seemed over the moon. The baby was born, both were very involved parents. When the daughter was about 6 months old he cheated on her and they briefly broke up. She forgave him and now at 15 months it looks like he has left her all together for this other girl though I don’t think the Girlfriend is aware that this girl is back in his life, she likely thinks he moved out to get some space or something.
On one hand, I have a brother and I know that I would support him no matter what he did so in the same sense I feel like I should stand by BIL. On the other, I think he is an asshole for what he did and I feel really bad for his Girlfriend. We’ve known each other for years and I haven’t seen her or spoke to her since this all went down about 6 weeks ago. I want to take her out for coffee and tell her I am there if she needs me but I’m not sure if I can given that I am now part of BIL’s family so my loyalty should lay with him. They’re starting to get into the difficult issues of custody, asset division and all of that and I’m not sure what I should do. Call her or no?
Post # 3
If you consider her a friend – I’d be there for her in a friend capacity. I’d make sure to let it be known that you won’t be a go-between or get involved in the breakup but that you’d love for your relationship with her to continue regardless of her relationship with your BIL… after all, your niece is still your niece!
Post # 4
@shaniqua: Go ahead and go to coffee with the girl, but remember that unfortunately, this BIL will be in your life forever, no matter what. Don’t “side” with the girl, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with comforting her right now. HE obviously doesn’t need comforting.
Post # 5
Stay out of it. Especially since they’re in the middle of the custody and asset splitting, don’t go NEAR that. Once the dust has settled and the lawyers are gone, then you can call her or reach out and let her know that you still care about her and hope things go well in the future. But there are appropriate times and places for everything, and this is not the right time to be in the middle of that war.
Post # 6
Only because there is a child involved I’d say yes, call her and tell her that you want to still be involved in their lives and you’re here for her should she need some support. It’s a tough spot to be in since the BIL is family so you don’t want to appear to be on her side. I think it’s ok to go to coffee and listen to her complain but don’t get in on it, just let her get it out and make sure she and the baby are taken care of. It’s fine to acknowledge that the BIL is a skeezeball but she should know you can’t cut ties with him, either.
Post # 7
I think you should probably stay out of it, at least for now. If they’re going to court, etc you don’t want to get in the middle of all that….you might even say something you shouldn’t, and that could unintentionally hurt your BIL in court.
Maybe send her a message and say that you’re sorry things didn’t work out between them, and once the dust has settled you would like to take her for coffee, but think it best to keep your distance until they figure things out between them.
Post # 8
Thank you all for your advice, I think I’m going to give it some time and reach out to her once the dust settles. As much as I’d like to help her now, I don’t think I can without making an even bigger mess of the situation.
Post # 9
@shaniqua: I’ve been in a similar situation with my brother cheating on then leaving his wife. I stayed out of it, and have met her only once since the breakup. I decided (1) she had her own support system anyway (a strong family), and (2) even if my intentions were noble, it would be in the back of her mind that I’m her ex’s sister and something she said might filter back to him.
So, even though there was no argument between the two of us, we both just let the friendship die. Or to put it another way, it’s not a matter of me being loyal to my brother, but just it would’ve been awkward (and unnecessary) to continue the friendship.
Post # 10
I can’t see the downside, he has acted abominably. You can be family and still acknowledge each other can make bad decisions.
I think having a coffee with her in a friendly way is completely ok and very thoughtful for you. 🙂 I do agree that waiting until the dust settles is probably a good idea – she would hopefully have her own support network to get her through the hard times.
Post # 11
When my ex husband left me for another woman, his parents sat me down and said to me “you and (daughter) will always be family. You can always come to us. We will always love our son, but what he did was wrong and he cannot cut you out of OUR lives” I loved them so much for that. We have a wonderful relationship to this day.
Post # 12
@shaniqua: In cases like this, I’d stick with family. No question. I love one of my SILs like an actual sister but if my brother left it, that would be it – I stick with him no matter what.
Post # 13
Her daughter is also your niece. Thus, your BIL’s ex will always be a part of your family. On top of that, she probably does need the support and isn’t sure how the family will percieve her. I think its important for the sake of the child and maybe a little for her (i mean he was an assssshole to her!) I would reach out.
Post # 14
When my parents split up after 20+ years dad’s family stood by my mom b/c dad moved to be with another woman and mom had been a part of their fmaily for so long. It also made it easier for us b/c mom was in the same hometown as them and dad was away so she was still included in family functions.
dad’s sisters have been expecially supportive of mom since the split and it’s been really great – that said, they’re A**holes to my now stepmom (and mother of my 6 year old half brother) which I don’t think is compeletely fair either. There is a line.
If you are friends with this girl, I see nothing wrong with taking her out for coffee and being her friend – I assume you also want to keep contact with your niece, being friendly with the mother makes it easier 🙂
Post # 15
do you need to take a side? Go out with the Girlfriend, I mean her child is gonna be fam forever. there is no reason why you 2 cannot be friends.
You can also be friends with BIL. If she has a problem with that then that is her problem not yours.
Post # 16
They have a child together- your niece. I’d reach out to her if at the very least to let her know that you still care about her and are there if she needs help with anything. My mom cheated on my dad which lead to a divorce. Her parents sat down my dad and basically apologized for the whole thing and said he was welcome in their home anytime and should not hesitate to call them for anything he needs. He’s their grandkids father no matter what happened in the marraige, no need to 100% cut him out when he wasn’t the one cheating. To this day all my parents have great relationships with those grandparents, and my dad and his wife and my mom and her hubby were all at said grandparents house for a BBQ last year. Eventually people will move on and past the hurt and remember & bless the considerate and kind people that offered help without reservation & judgment….. To this day my dad still calls my mom’s mom an Angel because she was pretty much the only person to not turn her back on him during the divorce out of some sense of familial obligation….