We’re all adults here, and we all have our own ideas about how a relationship should go.
We envision what a healthy relationship would look like and how significant others can support each other.
But what qualifies as a deal-breaker, that’s where we start to disagree. How far can a significant other go before the relationship is beyond salvageable?
This was the question one man struggled with on the “Relationship Advice” subReddit after he discovered his brother had been cheated on by his fiancée during her own bachelorette party.
But seeing as how it wasn’t his relationship on the line, Redditor ThrowRABrotherIsDumb turned to the subReddit, looking for suggestions on how he could remain faithful and supportive to his brother.
The Original Poster (OP) asked the sub:
“How do I (27[male]) support my brother (29[male]) and his marriage after his fiancée (27[female]) cheated during her bachelorette party?”
The OP was all for the engaged couple until the bachelorette party.
“I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible and for anonymity, I will refer to my brother as ‘Jack’ and his fiancée as ‘Jill’.”
“My brother Jack and his fiancée Jill have been together for about 4 years and engaged since early 2019. I really liked them together and felt that Jill was the first ‘marriage material’ girlfriend that my brother dated.”
“The wedding was planned for earlier this year but was canceled indefinitely after it was discovered that Jill cheated during her bachelorette trip 5 months before the wedding.”
“She had no intention of ever telling him but he found out when he saw a text from a friend of hers that was on the trip. The text basically said, ‘I don’t know how I can stand up in front of your families and give a toast after what happened.’ After a few days of trickle truths and arguing, it came out that Jill had sex with someone while drunk.”
With the news of what had happened, the OP’s brother broke off the wedding.
“Jack was devastated and called off the wedding immediately.”
“They broke up and about a month later Jack was in a new city with a new job. This seemed like the best possible scenario since he was away from her and had new things to keep his mind busy.”
That is, until a few weeks later.
“Well, that lasted all of a few weeks and slowly Jill was getting back into his life.”
“Now, a little over a year after ‘the incident’ she has moved in with him in his new city and just last week they became re-engaged.”
Since the couple reunited, the OP has struggled.
“I have absolutely no respect for Jill (or any cheater for that matter) and I don’t understand how Jack can see past what she did. There is no excuse for cheating and to do it during a bachelorette party shows you have no respect for your partner or potential marriage.”
“The first time I saw Jill after she cheated (which was at a family holiday only TWO months later), I was a little nasty and got scolded by Jack and my mother.”
“From that point forward I have basically given Jill the ‘grey rock’ treatment. I don’t engage with her unless she says something first and when I do talk to her, my answers are short.”
Now the OP isn’t sure what to do long-term to help his brother.
“I assumed that they were doomed to fail and I would just have to put up with her until Jack finally came to his senses.”
“Now that they are re-engaged, it looks like I am going to have to put up with Jill longer than I expected and I’m not sure I can keep up the grey rock routine. There are only so many ‘yeah, uh huh’s’ left in me before I snap and say ‘hey, remember when you f**ked that guy?!'”
“My question is how can I be supportive of my brother and his marriage when I have no respect for his partner whatsoever?”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, puzzling out how to navigate the OP’s brother’s fiancée’s recent infidelity.
Some reminded the OP that it’s the brother’s decision to forgive and forget, not the OP’s.
“I learned it through personal experience, you’re looking at it as an outsider, not invested in the person nor the relationship. Your brother forgave her. You can be mad til the sun stops shining but it still stands that he’s willing to spend his life with her, whatever his reasons.”
“You either make peace with it or say goodbye to your brother. I was the one who stopped supporting a relationship because the guy was living 2 lives with 2 gfs (girlfriends). I always made it very vocal. The girl who was with the guy eventually started hanging out with me less and less cause guess what, she had chosen to stay with the guy and I was effectively judgy towards her partner.”
“Rule of thumb in general, you can never win against a partner. Ever. I know no matter what people say about mine, I have my mindset on stuff even when I ask advice.”
“Don’t make yourself the enemy. It’s not your life. You’re not marrying her. Leave it.” – throw_ra_help_010
“Honestly….. you can’t stop stupid.”
“Your brother is making a huge, stupid mistake…. but you really can’t do much outside of handcuffing him in the basement until he comes to his senses (the Black Snake Moan method).”
“Just be ready for when he inevitably calls when she cheats again.” – SalsaRice
“I agree with this comment. OP is basically doing all [he] can do, and eventually [he’ll] just have to focus on [his] own life and move on from this (moving on doesn’t mean forgiving/forgetting – it means not letting it be a focal point in your brain).”
“[His] brother has made his choice, and either [he] supports him or she doesn’t. There’s not really anything more to it. OP isn’t obliged to forgive or be friends with [his] future sister-in-law, but being cordial in the future is probably the bare minimum if [he] wants [his] brother in [his] life.” – babylovesbaby
Others agreed and stressed that the OP could drive his brother away by holding a grudge.
“Infidelity can happen in any LTR (long-term relationship) or marriage. What couples do about it can either make them incompatible, break up, or learn how to repair their relationships and lead to a deeper bond.”
“It’s hard, you don’t want to see him hurt again. So you’re coming at this from a point of protecting your brother.”
“But your method of protecting him is going to backfire because he’s gonna have to put up boundaries with you around his relationship. You have a choice, you can either support him and let him know that you are worried, but you’ll get a handle on your own worries – and will be there for him if s**t hits the fan again.”
“Or you can make him run from you because you’re going to put him in the impossible space of having to choose between his chosen partner and you. So your choice is, do you want to be there for him, or do you want to push him away.”
“You don’t have to like her. But your open hostility is going to leave your brother without the support he needs from you.” – ProudPsychotic
“By being cold to his brother’s soon-to-be wife, OP is forcing his brother to choose between OP and his wife. Of course he’s going to choose his wife and distance himself from his brother. And then who does he go to when [and] if things go wrong with his wife?”
“My belief is, if you’re close to the bride or groom and have a legitimate concern, you should voice it once, clearly and kindly and supportively, and then drop it and carry on as normal. Don’t treat the spouse coldly, just do what you have to do to show you respect the bride or groom’s decision.” – Qwerky1928
“I think, for the most part, you’re totally in the right for how you feel about Jill and what she did. At a certain point though, I think you will need to examine where the line is where your hatred of Jill begins to hurt your brother.”
“You obviously despise her (I probably would too), and the pain she caused to your brother and family. However, life is messy and some couples sometimes reconcile, even after infidelity. If they stay together and their marriage is successful, at some point your hatred will be the thing hurting your brother as much as or more (if the pain fades over time) than Jill’s cheating.”
“Focus your energy on being there for your brother, rather than hating her. ‘Grey rock’ for now, but keep an eye out for your brother’s best interests, since he’s the one you want to support. If down the line, he decides he made a mistake getting back together with her, you can be the one to embolden him. However, if he really forgives her, it will be up to you to try to as well.”
“If you’re close with your brother, you may also want to talk to him honestly about what’s going through his head right now. I’m sure he’s confused, but there may also be layers to the story you don’t know. Nothing that would justify the cheating, but perhaps something that would justify the forgiveness.” – GeneralGuide
When we love someone, it’s hard to see them get hurt. It’s even harder when we have to watch them return to a situation we know in our hearts could hurt them again.
But we, like the OP, have to decide in those situations which is more important: convincing our loved one of the risks inherent to that situation and potentially driving them away, or showing our support and keeping our loved one close.