I (36m) separated from my wife (35f) after finding out about her affair with my brother (27m). Unsure where to go from here.
My post on r/relationships got removed for some reason, but to sum it up, I found out around 2 weeks ago that my wife (35f) and my brother (27m) had an affair eight years ago. It happened while my brother was in college and living with us while I was at work. My SIL revealed the truth during dinner after she and my brother had an argument beforehand. If you want more details, I can send you the original post.
First and foremost, I DNA tested my children. The affair took place years before they were born, but I wanted to be sure. They are mine. My kids mean everything to me, and it’s difficult having to try to explain what’s going on and why their parents are suddenly splitting since they’re so young. I’ve been very depressed as of late, and besides work/taking care of them, it’s been hard to find the energy to do anything. I feel so numb, and it’s been so difficult adjusting to this new life.
As for my wife, it’s been hard talking to her. Every time I see her, I’m reminded of her and my brother’s betrayal. I imagine them in my own home, knowing that both of them knew they were hurting me. She’s currently living with a friend while I stay in the house. I’ve been very cold towards her, and every conversation has been mainly about our kids. Under our state’s guidelines, my wife and I are separated and undergoing a “cooling off” period for a couple of months. However, there is almost no question we are going to get divorced. My wife has been very bitter about this, and she’s gone from calling me an asshole to begging me to take her back. I’ve received texts/calls/emails from some of her family members asking me to reconsider. I don’t think that I could ever really trust her again knowing she hid this from me especially when she had constant contact with her affair partner, my brother. I love her, but I also resent her deeply.
A few days ago, I agreed to meet with my brother and SIL. It was a tough decision because I haven’t seen him since that night at dinner, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to meet face-to-face without punching him in the face. He again expressed remorse and guilt. He told me that he and my wife had always been close, and the following is basically a summary of his side. My wife and I met in college, and he was introduced to her when he was still a teen. He said their relationship at first was like having an older sister. Our dad left when he was young, and I think that I tried to fill the “fatherly” role which led to us frequently clashing. Meanwhile, my wife was someone that would listen to him. He said that whenever they saw each other, she was always friendly and warm, treating him like a best friend. He said that he developed feelings for her which she apparently was aware of, but nothing ever happened between them because she treated him like a friend. It wasn’t until he was in college and living with us that she reciprocated and the affair began. She was the one to break it off because she wanted to try rekindling our marriage. It was a secret that both of them agreed to keep, and he was terrified of telling me especially after our relationship improved in adulthood.
I’m still furious with my brother for lying to me over the last 8 years, but his story helped me understand the context of the affair a little better. It doesn’t make me feel any better, but I am at least aware of how it started. It makes me sick to think of my wife doing this. This woman, once the love of my life and mother of my children, is like a stranger to me now. My SIL only knew that my wife and brother had an affair, but she was unaware of their earlier relationship. She apologized to me for revealing it the way she did and humiliating both me and my brother over an argument they’d had earlier.
Thank you for reading this far. I’m unsure of where to go from here. I still feel so broken and lost after my wife’s revelation, and I know that I have to keep going for my kids, but I’m not sure when (or if) I can think about forgiveness or moving on to a new relationship. Where do I go from here? It feels like my life has been completely torn apart.
TLDR: I separated from my wife after finding out she and my brother had an affair, and I’ve never felt more lost.