My not-quite divorced brother already has a girlfriend.
August 21, 2007 9:25 AM   Subscribe

My brother's divorce is not quite finalized, but he has already started dating someone new. Should I be OK with this?

Things with the new girlfriend got off to a very quick start - it's only been a few weeks and he is already spending all of his time at her place. Outwardly, he seems to have forgotten all about the ex-wife.

I realize now that I should have given him the old, "what the hell do you think you are doing" line, but things happened so fast that I missed my window to do so. He's too deep into his new relationship now, and anything I tell him now will certainly fall on deaf ears.

I'm fairly close to my brother, so I'm willing to be supportive even though I don't totally agree with the way he's handling things. My wife, on the other hand, thinks the whole situation is disgusting. Why is this man dating someone new when he is technically still married? What kind of woman would date a married man?

So here's the problem. My brother keeps trying to get the four of us to hang out, presumably so we can meet his new girlfriend. Understandably, my wife is pretty opposed to this idea.

Do I continue to make excuses for why we can't hang out, or do I be straight with him and tell him how she feels? (My wife would not be thrilled if she were to find out that I told him how she felt).

Should I just say F* it and be happy that my brother has found someone so soon?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yes, fuck it and be happy for your brother. I mean, he's clearly separated and the divorce is just a matter of legalities. So long as the new girl knows this, what's the problem?

Meddling in other people's relationships never ends well.
posted by modernnomad at 9:31 AM on August 21, 2007


If they agreed to divorce and are going through the legalities, then whats the harm? Waiting for the judge to sign off on the papers thus making it 'moral' seems much crazier than just dating while waiting for the lawyers and the legal bureaucracy to do its job.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:31 AM on August 21, 2007


You don't go from happily married to divorced overnight. A marriage in the middle of finalizing the divorce was surely preceded by months or years of unhappiness. Just be happy he's happy now.
posted by smackfu at 9:32 AM on August 21, 2007 [8 favorites]


Should I just say F* it and be happy that my brother has found someone so soon?
I vote for that.

He's not cheating on his wife. His marriage is over in all but the technical sense. The new woman is clear about the situation, right? He's not deceiving anyone. I honestly don't think he's doing anything wrong. And maybe he's moving too fast and this is just a rebound thing and he and/or his new squeeze are going to get hurt, but they're grownups, and that's their risk to take.

I think your wife should maybe think a bit about why she finds this so upsetting.
posted by craichead at 9:34 AM on August 21, 2007


They might still be "technically" married, but they obviously don't want to be "real world" married, or they wouldn't be getting divorced. He's free to find someone new. So is she.

With regard to your wife, what's wrong with her explaining to your bro why she doesn't want to go out with the two of them? If she has the problem, then surely it's her responsibility to deal with it? Seeing as she has the problem, it's up to her to explain why/sort the problem out.
posted by Rabulah at 9:37 AM on August 21, 2007



Should I just say F* it and be happy that my brother has found someone so soon?

Absolutely.

Whatever you may think of the circumstances surrounding the breakup of his marriage, and his willingness to hop right into a new relationship - it's not really your business.

Now, it's a little premature for him to be involved before the divorce is finalized, and in some states and situations could cause him some headaches. Beyond that, it doesn't matter, and even as far as that goes, it's his problem - not yours.

In my experience, when this sort of thing happens, I think the family is upset that they have lost a friendship with someone - and it comes out as resentment for the new person. It's understandable, but still wrong. That said, depending on how strong your relationship is, it might be wise to stop being a passive-aggressive weenie and have a candid talk about it. If you approach it without judgement and with due regard for the fact that it is his life, you may come to appreciate his position better. If you don't, you'll create a rift that could last a lifetime.

I could go on, but others will chime in. You should be happy for your brother, and encourage him to start over. He has to at some point. Divorces suck and can be really emotionally trying.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:39 AM on August 21, 2007


Sounds to me like your brother is going through a rebound relationship.

At any rate, the timing of when a marriage legally ends by signing divorce papers is completely artificial and has no relationship to when the marriage actually ended.

Be a good friend and brother and don't judge him. He needs your support right now.
posted by mkultra at 9:40 AM on August 21, 2007


He's getting divorced. The fact that he is "technically married" is pretty meaningless. It'd be one thing if the divorce proceedings hadn't even begun, but from what you're saying it sounds like it's a legal formality at best, and one that will be resolved in due time.

Frankly, your wife sounds like she should mind her own damn business. It's "disgusting" that a man who has already, in effect, broken up with his S.O., but hasn't yet completed the legal proceedings required, is dating someone? Give me a break!

Would she feel any different had he not been married, but been involved with someone for just as long as the marriage, and "broke up" and then started dating in the same short time period? The only difference between the real situation and this fictional one is that he has to wait for some legal stuff to get worked out in the real situation.

In both cases, he's still not cheating on anyone, because his S.O. is fully aware that they are no longer together. The fact that some formalities haven't yet occurred doesn't mean you shouldn't support your brother, because he hasn't done anything wrong.
posted by tocts at 9:41 AM on August 21, 2007


Don't blame it on your wife, no matter what. You don't want to be signing divorce papers yourself.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:42 AM on August 21, 2007


Unless you are married to your brother, I would not worry about it.
posted by bluenausea at 9:44 AM on August 21, 2007


It seems like the person who needs the frank talking-to is your wife. She's being unreasonable.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:45 AM on August 21, 2007


My brother keeps trying to get the four of us to hang out, presumably so we can meet his new girlfriend. Understandably, my wife is pretty opposed to this idea.

Actually, I don't understand your wife's attitude at all. Your brother is doing nothing morally or ethically wrong: he's still married only in a legalistic sense. If you wife isn't a Fundamentalist of some sort or another I cannot understand her objection at all.

Which is not to say that there might not be reason to be concerned about the speed with which this relationship is progressing for your brother. I can certainly understand thinking that he is not ready or that he might end up getting hurt, but those are issues to discuss with him, not censure him over.
posted by OmieWise at 9:45 AM on August 21, 2007


Do I continue to make excuses for why we can't hang out, or do I be straight with him and tell him how she feels? (My wife would not be thrilled if she were to find out that I told him how she felt).

If you talk about it with your brother, you need to be willing to state it as how you both feel, and not blame the whole thing on your wife. Or soon you'll both be bachelors.

Your brother is allowed to date whoever he wants, and you'd be wasting your breath to try to talk him out of dating so soon. Time will catch up with him. That said, you don't have to go out of your way to spend lots of time with the new girlfriend. I don't think it would be out of line to tell your brother it's a little uncomfortable for you to meet his new girlfriend, since you liked his ex-wife, but you'll try to be there for him, etc. When you do get around to meeting the new woman, keep the first date short- lunch, coffee, etc. You'll get used to the situation in time.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:47 AM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Becoming involved with someone new while technically still married can be logistically, socially and emotionally awkward. Additionally, getting involved with someone new so soon is subject to the standard rebound effect -- he may very well find after a few months that the new relationship was more about escaping his marriage than about the creation of anything lasting or real.

Given the abrupt start, I'd guess that he was indeed emotionally involved with or at least interested in the new girl prior to officially initiating divorce proceedings. And that the involvement or interest was a factor in his decision to go through with the divorce.

All of that said... many people date others while they are separated but technically still married. And many people reach a point in a marriage or other relationship where the relationship is effectively dead, but it hasn't been buried yet. I can understand why people would be offended by his actions, particularly if they like his ex-wife. I'd guess it's painful for her, and it would be a kindness if he waited. I can understand why this might cause fear -> anger in women (or men, for that matter) who identify with his ex-wife. The idea that your partner might leave, regardless of whether that's the right thing for them, isn't pleasant.

In a solid, trusting, genuine relationship, he would have presumably avoided getting involved with someone new (or cleared it with his wife -- I don't mean to discount alternative relationship styles). He would probably have talked about any serious attraction or interest he felt (again, I suppose this depends on the relationship style). There would have been real communication, is the point I'm trying to make. But that solid, trusting, genuine relationship may have been over for some time now.

His failing as far as I'm concerned, if any, is in not ending his relationship earlier. I don't see what he's doing now as particularly transgressive. (The caveat is that I don't see many things as transgressive.)

On preview: wow that's a whole lot of comments. There weren't any when I started. I'll just go ahead and post this rather than entering an extended edit/preview/edit/preview cycle. The only thing I'll add (in agreement with other posters) is that you should really assume your brother is an adult and can make his own decisions -- I advocate support over judgement.
posted by coined at 9:50 AM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Be happy for him, and if your wife wants to be upset about it, let her, that's her prerogative. The truth of it has been said above, it doesn't take papers to make the end of a marriage.

That being said, if your wife wants to take it up with him, that's her job as it's her problem.
posted by oreonax at 9:50 AM on August 21, 2007


I, too, am confused as to why it would be a problem for your brother to be dating now. He is not really married, and hasn't been for some time. The fact that the machinery of law hasn't made this official is beside the point. Could there be some other reason your wife doesn't want to spend time with him? (Not trying to be provocative — genuinely curious.)
posted by jdroth at 9:51 AM on August 21, 2007


unless they have explicitly asked for your opinion, judging others relationships never ends well.

if you value your relationship with your brother, keep your mouth shut until asked.
posted by wayward vagabond at 9:55 AM on August 21, 2007


I meeting my brother's new girlfriend in 2 weeks and his divorce isn't final yet, but they live separately and the papers are filed, they're just waiting on the judge's signature.

My brother was unhappy for several years and tried to work things out, so I can safely say that the marriage has been dead for a while. He's happy now and wants us to meet this woman that he feels is amazing and we're all curious as to who could make him smile again.

I think your wife needs to examine exactly why she feels it's "disgusting". It's a pretty judgemental attitude. If she's willing to tell you that, then she needs to be able to tell your brother as well, instead of leaving you to make excuses since it's her problem.
posted by hollygoheavy at 9:58 AM on August 21, 2007


Married woman weighing in, offering some possible perspective on the wife:
"With regard to your wife, what's wrong with her explaining to your bro why she doesn't want to go out with the two of them? If she has the problem, then surely it's her responsibility to deal with it? Seeing as she has the problem, it's up to her to explain why/sort the problem out."
I sort of agree with the above statement. The issue here is not between you and your brother, or your brother and the new GF... it's between your wife and you, and your wife and your brother.

I wouldn't be surprised if your wife wants to see you stand up to your brother, championing her disgust -- because secretly, she wants you to be disgusted as well.

Because, I bet she's subconsciously (or consciously) projecting. "Why is Anon supporting his brother in shaming his wife, sweet Jane who we've known as family for X years? I know she's almost his ex but they are STILL MARRIED. Technically, he's cheating. Would Anon do this to me? What if I were the shamed embarrassed soon-to-be-ex, whose husband was already taking up with some rebound floozy and flaunting it all over town?" I bet she is partly upset over how your brother is treating a member of her family, but I bet a part of her reaction is also, "Whoa, that could be me and Anon one day, and would anyone do the right thing and stand up for me?"

The fact that your wife would be upset if you went to your brother and said, "Look, divorce isn't just about two people, the whole family is affected, and here's how the missus feels about this thing, so you need to just give us some time on this"... makes me wonder if she's not sort of aware that her reaction is emotional, and personal, instead of rational.

If she felt she had a true moral ground to stand on (for example, actual cheating, or harming the kids, or secret gambling, etc), she'd have no qualms with you telling your bro to cut it out. Yet, you say she'd be upset if you did that in this case.

So, I suggest that you first talk to your wife about this. Tell her how you truly feel -- you wish your brother wasn't taking up with this new girl already, but they are adults and it's not your business -- and ask her to tell you how she truly feels.

I believe that she might come around to realize that this is possibly more about her own feelings and fears than about what your brother is doing with his life.

Then, you can decide together how to handle it. You would be justified in putting your foot down to your wife and saying, "I won't keep fibbing and making excuses. But let's decide together how to handle it with Brother so that we're both okay with the outcome."
posted by pineapple at 10:07 AM on August 21, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'd also like to point out that you say "on the other hand" about how your wife is reacting to the situation, but you say you don't agree with the way he's handling it either. You understand how your wife would not like it, and there are several reasons she could be reacting so strongly. Was she close with the ex? Are there any kids involved?

It boils down to how you and your wife handle this. If she truly doesn't want to hang out with them in a group right now, then you should respect that.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:12 AM on August 21, 2007


Your wife needs a reality check (and so do you, though you seem to be getting yours here - *smile*).

Every single divorced man I know or know of met his next significant other while still working out the legal details of getting the divorce finalized. In many cases, these folks even moved in together before the legalities were over with.

My fiance and I (both divorced) met and dated for two years before his divorce was final.

As many other folks have pointed out above, a marriage dies over a long period of time, and is usually declared dead when one partner moves out, or when the couple decides not to reconcile. But the actual funeral can take years, depending on how complex they decide to make their divorce.

Divorce is never fun, or easy on anyone involved. I'd say that your brother is a lucky man to have found some happiness again. Will it last with this new lady? You never know. But are you two truly so sure you want to condemn him for getting on with his life?

(For example, if he instead wallowed in his own failed marriage for the next three years, would that be preferable? 'Cause I've seen it go both ways...)
posted by twiki at 10:19 AM on August 21, 2007


Another possibility (besides encouraging your wife to tell your brother she disapproves of him...?? and besides either you or at least your wife being "busy" for the next month) would be the not-untrue statement "I don't think [Beth] is quite ready to hang out with your new girlfriend -- I think she's still getting used to the idea of the divorce." He might think "that's weird!" but it's still milder than "my wife thinks what you're doing is wrong." Otherwise, just make excuses about how busy she is and how her other friends needed her company. People don't need to know everything, and this phase will be behind all of you in the next few months.
posted by salvia at 10:25 AM on August 21, 2007


If your wife is not okay with you telling your brother that she has some dipshit moral hang up with him dating before the government says his marriage is officially over, then she has to put up with biting her tongue and faking congeniality while hanging out with him and his new girlfriend or else start coming up with her own excuses for never being able to make these social engagements. It is 100 percent not your job to make your wife okay with your brother's relationship choices.
posted by nanojath at 10:28 AM on August 21, 2007


hard to know who's being unreasonable without the circumstances, but why not tell him that your wife is uncomfortable hanging out with the new lady until the divorce is final. if your brother has eight brain cells, he'll respect that.

as for his rapid rebound--it's obvious. the marriage has been dead for quite some time and he's impatient. perhaps he is immature. or perhaps he is mourning the loss of his wife and jumping into something way too soon (you see this a lot with new widowers, too). just be patient. he'll sort himself out.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2007


If your brother is happy, be happy for him.

My first wife and I were getting divorced when I fell for a grad school colleague. It seemed like a crazy idea given that I was still legally married. Clearly, as a commenter pointed out, I was "on the rebound" and the two of us talked openly about what a bad idea it was for us to start a relationship under those conditions.

That was 15 years ago. Yesterday we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.

Your brother's mileage may vary, but if your brother is happy, be happy for him.
posted by donovan at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It took 1.5 years after my ex filed for divorce before it was finalized. Six months after the filing I was ready to forget the psycho bitch and move on.

Your brothers experiences may vary.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2007


"It is 100 percent not your job to make your wife okay with your brother's relationship choices"... as long as you don't care about the well-being of your wife or your relationship with your brother.

Fixed that for you.

That the wife might be off-base in her feelings about the brother's relationship doesn't erase Anon's responsibility as a husband to participate in helping her find a workable solution. She's upset over what is not small potatoes -- it's a divorce in the family... his family, to be exact. Advising Anon to tell her to "just get over it, not my problem" ignores the fact that he obviously cares about his wife, her feelings, and making this right for all parties involved.
posted by pineapple at 10:44 AM on August 21, 2007


I really agree with others who have pointed out that with respect to at least what I think of as majority, centrist, moderate norms it is an extremely obselete viewpoint to be personally "disgusted" that one who has taken all formal steps to achieve divorce is engaged in a new relationship. I am extremely sensitive about honesty and loyalty in a relationship, but I think the faithfulness and chastity aspects of the marital vow cease once you have served or been served with divorce papers (if not sooner in the divorce process, but thats a close point to argue).

One exception: are you or your wife (or your brother) willing members of any relgious or moral group that strongly feels differently? For example, I could understand some of my EXTREMELY Roman Catholic relatives being more conservative than the norm, and that context would help me understand the "disgust".

Notwithstanding, I can understand why your wife might feel creeped out, threatened or upset at the relationship, its timing, and how quickly its moving. I would try to be supportive and understanding that her feelings are OKAY, but that together as a couple you might decide to understand the feelings but act differently in the hopes of retaining a strong, trusting, healthy relationship with the brother. Despite your disagreement with his choices, your brother is probably in need of some love and support from family right now, and don't you (and your wife) think that showing him compassion is the better moral and ethical choice?
posted by bunnycup at 10:54 AM on August 21, 2007


I do not understand the logic behind your wife's reasoning. More information is needed. If you and your wife slept together before marriage, that should prove to her that the paper is not what determines love, a relationship or anything else other than some legalities. If your wife was a virgin on your wedding night, she has a point.

Sounds like your wife never really liked your brother to begin with or thinks more of your soon to be ex-sister in law.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:08 AM on August 21, 2007


You should say f* it, but not be happy that your brother has found someone so soon.
posted by The World Famous at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2007


This might sound kind of old-school, but I think it's your responsibility to be straight with your brother and tell him how you feel. I think the relevence of your wife's opinion on the matter is nil until your brother tries to get the four of you together. Then, again, it's your responsibility to tell him what's up.

You don't sound very confident in your own opinion here, though, and I wonder at your willingness to keep your feelings from your brother ('window of opportunity' not withstanding). Certianly your brother can do whatever he wants; but I'd argue that as a brother/friend you are obliged to let him know how you feel about his behavior. Just be ready to have him tell you to shove it, and be aware that he has every right to do so.

Be happy for your brother unless you're not, and stop making excuses for your wife. She's entitled to her opinion as much as you are.
posted by Pecinpah at 11:28 AM on August 21, 2007


Why would you not be okay with it?

But of course, that's not what you're REALLY asking, is it?

Your real question comes later. YOUR wife is the one unhappy with the situation, and pressuring you to be unhappy with it as well. You're really asking what you can do to support your brother and not piss off your wife.

Pineapple's post above is dead on, and should be marked best answer with permanent marker. It is a rare and valuable insight into the mind of (most/many/some) women.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:29 AM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


When I got divorced, it took about a year and a half for a us to get everything finalized. Both my now-ex and I dated others during that time, me more actively than her. I was perfectly honest with everyone I went out with, about how the divorce proceedings were pending, but definitely moving forward, and none of the women, not one, expressed any concern about it. From my personal, admittedly anecdotal evidence, I'd say it's your wife with the problem, not your brother.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:36 AM on August 21, 2007


This happened in my family, except that my sister was engaged before her divorce was final. And honestly, it was weird. My family was still dealing with the fact that things were changing, and here my sister was already living with a new guy. Her divorce only took five months (not all divorces are long, people!) and it was a lot for everyone to deal with.

What you feel is what you feel. Confused, disgusted, worried, happy, whatever, those are your emotions and you have a right to them. But your emotions don't dictate your actions. If I were you I'd leave it be. You'll get nowhere by criticizing your brother's relationship, and you'll just piss your wife off if you tell your brother that she's bothered.

Why can't you go out and meet your brother and his girlfriend? Just go out for dinner. It's not so bad.
posted by christinetheslp at 12:36 PM on August 21, 2007


I stayed "married" to my first wife for almost three years after our separation so that I could stay on her medical and tuition benefits while I finished my degree. As far as either of us were concerned, we were no longer married during that time and both of us went on with our personal lives. As long as both parties agree that the marriage is over, then it's over.
posted by octothorpe at 12:40 PM on August 21, 2007


Is your wife very close with the ex? That's the only reason I can imagine that she thinks this is any of her business. If that's the case, your wife might feel like she's losing a friend and a member of her family. I think you're right to be concerned about her feelings, but she will need to accept eventually that your brother's going to have other women in his life. Maybe encourage your wife to stay in touch with the ex, if that relationship is important to her?
posted by 912 Greens at 12:52 PM on August 21, 2007


Well... it depends. Does the new girlfriend know his divorce isn't quite finalized? This makes a huge difference, this coming from a girl who's been in a similar situation.

I dated a guy for a total of two months. Everything was pretty good; I knew he had an ex-wife--he would occasionally refer to her during conversations. However, I didn't know that they weren't officially divorced (he had trouble getting the money together for a lawyer, I found out later). When I found that out, which he just casually dropped into conversation, I was pretty pissed. If he would have been up front with me, everything would have been fine, but since he hid it from me, it made me think he had some reason to hide it.

Personal anecdotes aside, if your brother's new GF knows he's still "technically" married, I say fuck it, be happy for him. Go with your wife meet his new girlfriend. If she has an issue with it still, tell her to at least act okay with it, just for a night. Compromise and tell her you'll owe her the best back rub she's ever gotten (or bribe her with something else she loves).
posted by Verdandi at 3:20 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It seems like the person who needs the frank talking-to is your wife. She's being unreasonable.

Seconded. And stand by your brother, for god's sake. He needs you.
posted by languagehat at 5:47 PM on August 21, 2007


Late to the party, but just chiming in to agree that for many (most?) people, a marriage can be over in all but name only long before the actual divorce is finalized on paper in front of a judge. Seriously, I started dating about six or seven months after my husband and I decided to split up and I moved 2000 miles away -- how much more over could our marriage have been? Do you really think that it's disgusting that we didn't wait another 12 months before the divorce happened to be finalized legally to start dating other people?

Look, depending on a whole host of factors (division of property, custody arrangements, etc.), some divorces can take a few months to finalize, some can take a few years. There's no logical reason that people who happen to have their divorces finalized in six months should automatically be morally "allowed" to date before people whose divorces take six years.

Unless your brother actually left his about-to-be-ex-wife for the new girlfriend, I think your wife's got her nose out of joint for no good reason, and she wants to enjoin you in the process. Don't fall for it. Support your brother (and if it's "just" a rebound relationship that goes sour, he'll appreciate you not crowing "I told you so" down the road), and ask your wife what's really behind this "disgust" of hers. You can support your brother and respect your wife's feelings, but don't be manipulated into the middle of the situation like this, as your wife so far seems intent on doing.
posted by scody at 5:59 PM on August 21, 2007


MiffyCLB now approaching the firing squad...

Divorce affects all concerned - to a lesser degree of course, but it's something that requires a shift in perspective, affections, alliances... for everyone involved with the couple. Divorce is a break within the circle and people may have a harder time with it than they like. Your wife may not want to feel what she does, but there it is. You are her husband, she's confiding in you. Don't force her to go against her feelings or her wishes, she's completely entitled to them.

Why ever would your brother be entitled to your support in difficult times but your wife not be allowed to share her perspective with you? I know you're a good husband because you're seeking input and want to do right by everyone. Give her time. Time is amazing for gaining perspective. Being forced into things before you're ready just flatout sucks, especially if it's your husband who is denying you your processing time.

Chances are, in a year everything will seem different, with or without the GF.
posted by MiffyCLB at 6:26 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ooops... never answered your question!

You should feel however you feel and not how your wife feels or your brother feels. If you want to smooth things over for your wife, you could just aske your brother to give her time, tell him she's trying to make sense of it all and hopes he and his ex-wife will be happy in the end.

For yourself, you should meet the GF when you want to. Your wife should understand that as a brother your relationship with him is different from hers.
posted by MiffyCLB at 7:11 PM on August 21, 2007


This happened with my brother last year. I thought he was crazy, avoiding his grief, and jumping into a serious relationship on the rebound. We had a few frank talks, and it soon became clear that the marriage was over long before the official separation. I think that everyone can take it as read that they don't know everything about anyone else's relationship. For what it's worth, my brother's new girlfriends is great, and moved here (Australia) for six months, and they now both live in London. My brother's divorce came through in March.

It seems really soon to you, your wife, whomever, but the important thing is that your brother is happy and gets over his previous relationship. If you're close enough to gently offer support and a sympathetic ear about the previous relationship, then do. Otherwise, just be happy that he is so well-adjusted.

If your wife has an opinion, she should either let him know (and be prepared to be slapped back into place) or not let it impact on your relationship with your brother.
posted by Lucie at 10:31 PM on August 21, 2007


Speaking as someone who has been in this situation (as the divorcee)...

The only thing that's important here is if your brother is being honest and kind. In all likelihood, the marriage was over long before they formally separated. Lucie is absolutely right: nobody knows what goes on in a marriage. He doesn't have an obligation to anyone (you, his ex, his new partner) regarding his happiness, but the polite thing for him to do is simply to be honest about it.

Warning signs that he shouldn't be involved so soon:
--if he hasn't started divorce proceedings already
--if he has kids
--if the divorce/separation is particularly messy or public
--if the ex still has a lot of stuff at his place, or vice versa
--if he still sees the ex frequently in social situations

Ways in which he can make the situation transparent:
--he is honest from the start about his status with both his new partner and others he encounters (he doesn't have to announce it frequently, but he should be prepared for questions and not get defensive)
--he doesn't expect his family and friends to jump in immediately and put his new partner into the old partner's spot (yeah, sounds like your brother's moving pretty fast, but you and your wife can be respectfully honest with him about this too)
--he is kind and respectful towards the old partner when they have to interact
--he keeps the divorce proceedings on a steady and efficient pace

If he is open about it, holding no expectations about anything, everything should run relatively smoothly. Who cares if it's a rebound or not; his relief is probably sky-high. It's probably been a while since he's had such a good thing in his life.
posted by Madamina at 11:23 AM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Madamina speaks the truth, most beautifully here: "It's probably been a while since he's had such a good thing in his life." Repeat that to yourself whenever you're undecided about what to do or say, and you'll be fine.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:01 AM on August 23, 2007


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