Can He Forgive His Brother For an Affair?

Dear Pink Lady,

My brother lied to me for over a year about cheating on his wife, to whom he had been married for almost 25 years and with whom he has a 12-year-old child. He's now recently divorced (just under six months) and living with his mistress, who was also married at the time of their affair but is also now divorced. He contacted me recently to let me know of his intention to get engaged to this woman and asked if I would come to their wedding.

This woman does not work, has two children from other marriages, collects child support, and is on food stamps. She has a track record of cheating with married men (it was how she got with her ex-husband also). She is 27, and my brother is 42. I am having a difficult time finding anything to be happy about with this engagement. How do I respond to my brother, when I have nothing positive to say about the situation?

—Oh Brother!

Dear Brother,

Your brother wants to marry a woman who has already been divorced more than once at the ripe old age of 27? It's understandable that you might be concerned, even if his soon-to-be fiancée had a job as a CEO. Still, if your brother has been with this woman for a year and a half—even if he was still married for most of that time—it does show some sort of commitment on both their parts, as many affairs flame out long before the divorce process ends.

You, as a sibling, are certainly justified in telling your brother you love him but you aren't exactly thrilled about his impending marriage—because if you can't talk openly to family, who can you talk to? But you'd be better served by making a batch of "Blackberry Acid" first. As it ages, ponder if you're just questioning your brother's choices or if you're still mad about him lying to you. Also consider that once they're married, the second wife won't likely qualify for food stamps, and there are worse things than a young mother staying home with her kids. (Presumably your brother is okay with her not working, or he wouldn't be asking her to marry him.)

Once you're able to separate your concerns from any anger, pour two ounces of the blackberry syrup in a glass. If you decide to support your brother, then top off the glass with sparkling wine and make a toast to his future. If you still feel like you can't in good conscience celebrate their union, add sparkling water and try not to let any acidity seep through your voice when you tell your brother you can't be his best man.


The Pink Lady

Blackberry Acid

3 gallons blackberries

1/2 gallon boiling water

4 oz. tartaric acid

Granulated sugar

Crush berries, add boiling water, and let stand 24 hours. Strain. Add tartaric acid, then add 1 1/2 c. sugar for each c. juice. Let stand 24 hours and bottle. Store two weeks in the refrigerator before using.

This week's recipe is from Giant Houseparty Cookbook (Philadelphia, Miss., 1981).

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