Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
The Cell Phone Incident (warning, family drama ahead)
Old 03-04-2008, 10:52 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,020
The Cell Phone Incident (warning, family drama ahead)

Maybe someone could provide wisdom, feedback, slap upside the head, whatever.. or, you'll at least get to say "man, at least that's not my family"

Here's the backdrop for the story. It's convoluted, I know.

Executive summary: Disney World is not the happiest place on earth.

My sister-in-law (SIL) (wife's sister) and brother-in-law (BIL) got married right before he deployed to Iraq for a tour (reserve unit was mobilized). During that time, she decided she didn't want to be married any more. She ended up making out with a co-worker a few times (15 years older than her, married with 2 kids).

Flash forward to January. We had planned a family trip with everyone to Disney World. BIL still wants to go because, well, he had paid for his share and had never been on vacation before (besides, we like him). Before the trip we find out that SIL has conned her mom into signing up for a cell phone so she could sneak it down to Florida.

SIL hides said phone in my father-in-law's room (divorced, he's there with his girlfriend, we'll call her gFIL). gFIL decided to tell us exactly where the phone was.

So, here's my conundrum. I'm stuck in Florida in an odd situation. After weighing the situation, trying to decide what we'd do if BIL was trying to pull this stunt, or what I'd want to know if I was in his shoes, I decided to grab the phone and take it from there. Text messages on the phone pretty much confirmed that making out with said coworker wasn't a one-time offense and there's still something going on. After a very restless night, I pull BIL aside for a nice long walk and bring him up to speed on what I found out.

Turns out, he already knew a lot of it and has been trying to work things out. He wasn't aware of the extent of SIL's involvement with this co-worker, though, and getting to see the text messages really helped him see the light.

I then gave the phone back to FIL to do with as he saw fit.
So, that brings us to the present day. While My FIL and gFIL were the ones telling us how SIL was having an affair at the time, they've since decided that she wasn't. Further, they're upset at us for going through their stuff looking for this phone (even though, since gFIL told me where it was, there wasn't any rummaging going on). FIL is also upset that we're not talking SIL's side in this ("family comes first")... we're actually not taking anyone's side. SIL is upset that we broke her trust (although, there was no trust to break since she never told us anything.. apparently she implicitly trusted us to not tell her husband about her boyfriend). gFIL keeps meddling in the whole thing (she's also now upset that I hung up on her, different story).

Tough, or easy, question of the day. what would you have done at the time and what would you do now?
__________________

__________________
Marquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-04-2008, 11:00 AM   #2
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
You did the right thing, period.
But now you need to hide from all of them for a while.

People who do wrong things like to blame others so they don't feel quite so guilty.

Not this particular drama, but many like it happen in my family. You have my sympathy. The BIL is probably profoundly grateful to you and your wife.
__________________

__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 11:01 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Minded my own business until the BIL asked me if I knew anything, and then telling him only what I know, not what I heard that may or may not be true.

What I'd do now is say that I'm sorry for getting involved because it was really none of my business, and then provide any comfort or solace to anyone with hurt feelings about any of the process or underlying relationship issues.

There are times when you see something wrong and feel bad for the people involved, but its best to grit your teeth, force a smile, and let things take their course. Simply because about all you did was force issues to a head quicker, the issues probably would have come to light all by themselves, and now everyone is pissed at you for it.

Now if the SIL was overtly cheating right in front of you, it might be worthwhile to communicate to the BIL that 'something is wrong'.

A median course of action might have been to just tell the BIL that his FIL told you that his wife is hiding a cell phone in their room (for some reason) and let him work it out from there. A truly Columbo maneuver would have been "Hey...i'm a little confused about something...why is your wife keeping her cell phone in her parents room?"

As far as taking sides, well...some people figure anything their kids do is okay and if someone else gets hurt, thats okay too. Not the way I look at it, but...
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 11:18 AM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
I think Business Week's "Ethics Guy" would declare that it's unethical to go through a person's cell phone looking for that type of info.

Blood tests for everybody!

On the somber & gruesome side, I had a sailor in a somewhat similar situation after a deployment who felt that his personal honor was at stake. "Everybody" knew what was going on but no one spoke up. If neighbors & family had felt a little more comfortable discussing the problems then he might not have felt that he had no other choice than the murder/suicide option.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 11:23 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,020
I hear ya, guys. I guess the thing that really drove me to do it was that FIL and gFIL were constantly telling BIL that they'd let him know if they heard of anything suspicious and they'd be sure to tell him if she actually was doing something. My "that ain't right" detector was off the charts with everything going on.

I suppose the thing to do now would be to apologize. The problem is, well, for one, I can't figure out how to get to a point of actually feeling sorry for what I did. I am out of the PI business, though, that's for sure.
__________________
Marquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 11:46 AM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
I'd say: Sorry everybody! I %^$ed up. You ^%&ed up. How about we all start minding our own $%*ing business and stop trying to fix each others' lives! I know I learned my ^&*%ing lesson!

(edit appropriately for your own family culture)
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 11:48 AM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Well lets see, your FIL and gFIL are suckballs, I'd be sorry about that. And everyone is mad at you mostly about something you didnt do and werent dishonest about, and I'd be sorry about that.

Family stuff sucks. We have plenty of it but theres courses of action to resolve it without too much drama. My wifes sisters husband took a couple of swipes at my SIL a little over a year ago. If my MIL found out it'd have been assured destruction of the planet. I just stopped by and gave him a little "its all between us, but if you do that again, you and I will take a little trip to the garage to look at your new quad and you're going to fall down a lot and need to go to the emergency room after that". Problem solved. My wifes brothers wife was cheating on him and everyone figured it out before my BIL did. Nobody lied to him about it but everyone minded their business. He found out shortly thereafter. She's sort of on everyones **** list now. Intervention would have sped things up but not much and with no real benefit other than to embarrass and humiliate people more than they already were.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:09 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,038
I personally think that family matters are complex enough as it is. These days, I don't want to get involved in a business that does not concern me at all. When I tried in the past, it always seemed to bite me in the rear end one way or the other (in your case YOU end up being the bad guy, not your SIL). So no more. Really in your case, it was a matter between your SIL and BIL and it should have remained just that. If I were your BIL I would actually feel embarassed to find out that everybody else in the family knew about the affair and I would feel angry to find out that some family members facilitated my wife's betrayal. It's already hard enough to deal with marital problems without having to deal with other people's interferences.

That being said Marquette, I still think that you are the one who acted in the most upstanding manner out of the all bunch. The others should be ashamed of themselves.
__________________
FIREd is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:27 PM   #9
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,860
I agree with CFB's take on this.

Personally, I really loathe dishonesty and I respect the institution of marriage enough that that sort of behavior is repugnant to me. Yet, we are stuck with the hand we are dealt when it comes to family. In all honesty, in some cases living thousands of miles away from other family members can be a good thing.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:44 PM   #10
Full time employment: Posting here.
Kronk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Philly 'burbs
Posts: 547
I'd be pretty pissed at the cell phone part. I place a high value on personal privacy, and it would piss me the heck off if someone went through my stuff, even if there was reasonable cause.

I can't say how I would have handled it myself. There really isn't a good solution when people, especially family, are acting like #$&*($.
__________________
Kronk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:56 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
lazygood4nothinbum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,895
my mother once found my brother's hash stash hidden in his room. so my brother went through her stuff, took it back and neither ever exchanged words about it until i brought it up about 30 years later. we had a strict--never spoken but always understood--privacy rule in the house. apparently you could go through someone else's things but you weren't allowed to say anything about what you found.

i never went through either of their things. you could have your most intimate paperwork out in the open and i won't bother to look at it. i'm either very respectful of your privacy or i'm too self-centered to bother.

as to the cheating, i'm totally against that. though i've nothing against open relationships as long as the nature of the relationship is understood by all concerned.
__________________
"off with their heads"~~dr. joseph-ignace guillotin

"life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages."~~mark twain - letter to edward kimmitt 1901
lazygood4nothinbum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 12:57 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
I'd say: Sorry everybody! I %^$ed up. You ^%&ed up. How about we all start minding our own $%*ing business and stop trying to fix each others' lives! I know I learned my ^&*%ing lesson!

(edit appropriately for your own family culture)
I think that works great as-is. Thanks Martha!
__________________
Marquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 01:04 PM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
Khan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pine Island, Florida
Posts: 6,868
Send a message via AIM to Khan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
I agree with CFB's take on this.

Personally, I really loathe dishonesty and I respect the institution of marriage enough that that sort of behavior is repugnant to me. Yet, we are stuck with the hand we are dealt when it comes to family. In all honesty, in some cases living thousands of miles away from other family members can be a good thing.
There are advantages to being a hermit.

I don't know what I would have done in that situation; but I'm sure whatever I did, it would have been the wrong thing and everyone would tell me I was wrong (for the rest of my life).
__________________
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
Khan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 01:17 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,384
A long deployment is a long time to be alone. No sex, no intimate sharing, no one ot lean on. So it shouldn't be surprising that is doesn't always go by the book.

If the soldier in this case had been my brother I am not sure what I would have done. No sleuthing, but probably tell him of the rumors and let him take it from there.

I think I might stay out of it otherwise, and just enjoy the drama.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 02:21 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
my mother once found my brother's hash stash hidden in his room. so my brother went through her stuff, took it back and neither ever exchanged words about it until i brought it up about 30 years later. we had a strict--never spoken but always understood--privacy rule in the house. apparently you could go through someone else's things but you weren't allowed to say anything about what you found.

i never went through either of their things. you could have your most intimate paperwork out in the open and i won't bother to look at it. i'm either very respectful of your privacy or i'm too self-centered to bother.

as to the cheating, i'm totally against that. though i've nothing against open relationships as long as the nature of the relationship is understood by all concerned.
Nicely said. I agree.
__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 02:40 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,271
My take.....

It was not your family and you should have stayed out of it no matter what any of your meters said...

It is your wife's family... SHE should do something IF someone wants to... but even then I would have suggested to stay out of it...

The only time I would have said a word is if asked.... but as someone said, only what I know... no rumors...
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 02:47 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marquette View Post
SIL hides said phone in my father-in-law's room (divorced, he's there with his girlfriend, we'll call her gFIL). gFIL decided to tell us exactly where the phone was......

I decided to grab the phone and take it from there. Text messages on the phone pretty much confirmed that making out with said coworker wasn't a one-time offense and there's still something going on.......

I then gave the phone back to FIL to do with as he saw fit.......

Further, they're upset at us for going through their stuff looking for this phone
I would be much, much more than just upset with you for going through my stuff looking for the phone. You really went looking for trouble for yourself. Boring day at Disneyworld?

You really exposed yourself to trouble when you did this. What if you had also discovered other confidential information on the phone? Passwords, information about finances, another romantic liaison, some personal notes or a very personal text message from another party........

I know you have to deeply regret chosing to put yourself in this position. And I do appreciate you sharing as it's a good reminder.

I agree with what Martha and LGFNB said. And you need to let the couple with the unfaithfulness issues work things out themselves and to lay low until others feel comfortable you aren't plotting to sneak off with their phones or lap tops to read their email, text messages, personal records, etc.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 03:01 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 2,402
Marquette,

"Two wrongs don't make a right" my mother always said, so even though I understand why you did what you did, I'd say snooping through the cell phone was wrong. Were I in your shoes, I'd apologize to SIL for that, and possibly gFIL and FIL depending on how I got access to their room.

I'm also trying to learn, though, to take responsibility for *my* stuff and *only* my stuff. So while I would apologize for the snooping, I wouldn't take responsibility for SIL cheating or any of the gFIL or FIL garbage. I'd also feel bad for BIL's situation, of course, but I would also recognize that was not my fault either.

Also, as CFB rightly pointed out, the marital issues between SIL and BIL would have come out sooner or later anyway. You shifting the timetable earlier won't make a lick of difference five years from now. Eventually BIL may even appreciate the turn of events if he manages to move on (or less likely, heal his marriage).

2Cor521
__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 03:24 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,032
We've had a few family dramas that could be Lifetime movies. I found the best way to handle them is zip it . You end up alienating everybody and the couple gets back together and you are the bad guy .
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2008, 03:33 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
classic case of "damned if you do and damned if you don't."

i faced this "do i say anything or do i not?" situation a few times. the one time i did say something, the recipient got mad at me for meddling. the other time i said nothing and it turned out they were both running around on each other.

so do a Switzerland (neutral) and pull out. or discontinue and leave the battling elements (&$@^*) behind.
__________________

__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cell Phone Help.......... FinanceDude Other topics 4 10-22-2007 01:38 PM
Warning to Boomers: Difficult Questions Ahead Dog FIRE and Money 2 04-06-2007 10:25 PM
Who has the best cell phone family plan ? frayne Other topics 4 10-14-2006 08:49 PM
Replacing The Landbased Phone With a Cell Phone Danny Other topics 12 11-04-2005 07:12 PM
Do you have a cell phone? Leslie Other topics 30 05-18-2005 06:55 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:44 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.