Dirty Secret

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’ve recently learned that my brother is having an affair on my sister-in-law – but it’s much worse than that. He’s got at least one child with this woman he’s having an affair with. My poor sister-in-law has been trying to have children with my brother…for 3 years and can’t.  If she finds out that he’s a father it will kill her. What do I do with this information?!


I wish I knew how you stumbled upon this information. To say that this is tricky is an understatement. I’m telling you right now: You’re not all walking away from this unscathed. The thing that you have to remember is that you are not responsible for the collateral damage that is going to result.  You didn’t make the decision to cheat on a spouse or to have a child out of wedlock. You’re brother’s a piece of work. I wish he were my patient.  But enough about my fantasies. Let’s extricate you from this mess.

Call your brother and meet him somewhere so that you can speak privately. Let him know what you know – don’t allow yourself to get distracted if he becomes defensive about how you know what you know. Keep the focus clear: You know what he’s been doing and now you want to be as uninvolved as possible.  And here’s how that’s going to happen…

Give him a week to come clean to his wife. Let him know that you expect your sister-in-law to call you in a week to confirm that she’s in the loop ~ otherwise you’ll be calling her that day to spill the beans. It’s that simple.

I’ve thought this through from every angle and as much as you want to protect his wife from the pain of the truth, it’s like putting a band-aid on a hemorrhage.  Her pain and your responsibility will be far greater if you don’t force full disclosure on this subject. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

Writer’s stats: Female, Straight.