Hi Ginger, so glad you re-posted.
It was irresponsible of your aunt to dump your stepfather’s perpetrations in your space. Obviously your stepfather's cheating reflects on your aunt's character to have this stuff going on in the family. Specifically, it reveals that this is the best her leadership-communication skills can produce, that she doesn’t inspire integrity among those around her. It’s quite invalidating.
It could be said that your aunt set you up, turning you against your stepfather. A person of integrity would have told your stepfather, the very first time she knew about the cheating, “I know about the cheating. Please tell your wife or you'll leave me no choice but to tell her myself.” The way your aunt handled it is called badmouthing. She pretends to be your friend yet in truth she is being both a thwarter and a divider.
Re: “my aunt stated she wouldn't tell not to be involved in the middle.” Your aunt is lying to herself and you. There’s so much more as to why she dumped it in your space. She has every intention of being in the middle (we know this true because she is—that’s the result she has produced) and, her part will continue to come out even more as the drama unfolds. Notice how she gets to look like the good person when in truth she could have nipped it in the bud at the first sign of cheating. At some level she knows your integrity could not let this slide, that you would do her dirty work for her.
The situation also reveals that your aunt doesn’t respect your Mom, (I’m assuming that she’s her sister). Not that your aunt would use these words but it goes something like this, “How can you be so unconscious as to not see what’s happening? How can you be so unconscious as to drive your husband into the arms of others?” And possibly, “I told you not to marry him, I could tell he was dragging around lots of perpetrations.”
The situation also reveals, and this could be hard to get/recreate, your Mom doesn’t respect you or her sister. Such behavior is simply unthinkable among relationships in which everyone is experiencing love and respect. To non verbally support cheating such as your Mom is doing reveals that she’s intent on hurting herself and everyone around her (we know this to be true based upon the results, no matter what she says), especially her parents. It goes something this: “See what you two did? If you had done a good job of parenting I would be more conscious, I'd inspire others to keep agreements. I want to make sure you two don’t think you did a great job of raising me. I know that this reflects poorly on your character and reputation.”
Re: “…they also told me that he was looking for a secure future!!” Unless your Mom’s friends shared these thoughts with both your step-dad and your Mom then they are not friends. Unless your Mom’s friends first told your stepfather that they think he’s running some kind of financial security con on your Mom then they are unethical badmouthers, pretending to be open and honest but in truth are sabotaging your Mom’s marriage with their silence.
Your part in this is: A conscious person would have, when your aunt began to dump her gossip, stopped her and said, “Have you told my stepfather what you're telling me? It doesn't work for me to hear this badmouthing gossip unless you are going to tell him and the others what you’re saying behind their backs.” In other words, you Ginger have become a badmouther by listening to another badmouther. That is to say, it’s virtually impossible for you to not communicate (verbally, nonverbally and psychically) something about this to both your step-dad and your Mom, if only your confusion and disrespect (it shows on your face).
For you to handle this responsibly you'll first have to be clear about responsibility. Although it looks like your stepfather is the sneaky one what's also true is that he mirrors the integrity of your mother. She is equally sneaky. If I were your mother, I'd have to be willing to describe the cheatings from how I caused (intended) him to cheat —that I cleverly used my leadership-communication skills to manipulate him into cheating and to turning others against him. As it is now, she's conned everyone, especially your aunt, into thinking that she's the poor victim. Turning others against others verges on evil. If we were to get into communication with your Mom she'd reveal that she knew all along, and, that's she's been using him equally as much as he's been using her.
Now, how do you handle this? What would work is to go back to the source of your problem, your aunt.
Present to your aunt the following ultimatum:
1) You (auntie) must first tell my stepfather what you have already told me.
2) You (auntie) must tell my stepfather that he must come clean with Mom about the cheating.
If she refuses 1 and 2 then:
3) You (auntie) must tell my stepfather that unless he does the above that you (Ginger) will tell your stepfather to tell Mom.
4) If you (auntie refuse to deliver those communications then I (Ginger) will tell everyone that you have badmouthed everyone behind their backs.
As you can see, this will require incredible courage on your part. If you don’t deliver these communications to your aunt you will be dealing with cheating (broken agreements) and badmouthing (gossiping) in your own relationships, for life.
I recommend that you deliver the above communications to your aunt first and if the truth doesn’t get revealed to everyone then show our posts to your Aunt, your stepfather, and your mother.
You are to be congratulated. Few adults who know about cheating amongst/between friends have the integrity to reach out for support.
Please check back for minor edits (last edited 1/7/10)