Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Filling in the blanks


So far, 2010 has been a pretty good year, with just one exception.

My sister's marriage is crumbling. Listening to her, I'm pretty sure it's over. When I asked her a few days ago if she was decided on her next steps, or if she was still "trying" counseling (I put it in quotes because I'm not sure she ever really tried very hard; I think by the time they went to counseling she was checked out of the relationship), and she said, "well, I'm just not sure what to do with the baby, what to tell him, how to arrange for babysitting on my own..." I think she's just trying to figure out logistics at this point. Without getting into too much (searchable, identifiable) details, she is fed up with her marriage because her husband doesn't contribute anywhere near 50% to the house, the finances, or the child-raising. However, he is dealing with a medical condition. A medical condition that I never understood, or frankly even believed was for real, but that she knew about from day one. She always supported him, and, well, it seems now like she was covering up for him and making excuses for his behaviors.

I'll stop here and say that it's not drugs. It sounds like drugs or alcoholism, doesn't it? Not even close. I don't mean to be vague in an annoying way, I just don't want to share details that aren't mine, so I'm trying to be as anonymous as possible.

What is making it so hard for me to be supportive to my sister, is that I feel terrible for my brother-in-law. Truth be told, I never felt like he was the one for her. I told her my reservations about him when they first started to get serious, and so did our other sister, as well as a friend of hers. But she stood hard on the "It's not his fault, he's dealing with a serious medical condition, and I love him and want to support him" line. No matter that he managed to work full time before he met my (hard working) sister. He dropped to part time, then stopped working all together, to pursue his education. For the past few years, he's taken one class per semester (so he could take care of the baby), and a year ago stopped school all together. Oh, and he sends the baby to a babysitter every day of the week.

So why do I feel terrible for him? Since he clearly sounds like a deadbeat? Well, one because my sister is having an affair. Yeah. But mostly because I can't figure out what he did wrong. (Besides all of the above, you're asking?) Again, I would never be ok with a marriage like that, and I would never think that my workaholic sister would either. But she married the guy! Just like he is today. Nothing's changed, except his efforts, which she has been ok with all along. Supportive even. I can't figure out where her breaking point came, and why now. She said simply, "I just reached my limit - I can't take it anymore." I feel terrible for my brother in law, because all of his efforts (or lack thereof) have been my sister's idea or fully supported by her until now. How was he to know she had a problem, if her first mention of the problem is in the same breath as "I want a divorce," and "Oh by the way, I'm having an affair"?

Anyway. I have no idea what to do with all of this. (Except vent to my other sister, and be as supportive and thought-provoking as possible to this sister.)

Next time, I'll write about why this year has gotten off to an otherwise great start. Thanks for listening if you've made it this far.


  1. Family drama. It's a wonderful thing, isn't it? I've had my share over the years. Honestly, I am just grateful I am not part of the drama but an observer.

    Hope all else is well with you...

  2. That's really hard, wow. It sounds like although your BIL hasn't changed, she has, and in a major way. Maybe in ways for the better, but it's going to be difficult for all involved, forever.

  3. Wow. If I didn't know better I would think that your sister is my sister, but that's not possible so... All I can say is been there and it sucks and I'm sorry you are having to deal with this.

  4. Yikes...must be rough trying to be supportive for your sister, yet not agreeing with her choices.

    Regarding your previous post---LOVED reading about how your sweet Kiddo brightens your day. That is a goal of mine as well....focusing on Emma NOW. Gulp...she could be moving out in 13 years, I need to enjoy her while I can! :)