There’s no other way to say this: I have feelings for my brother’s girlfriend.
They’re not married, but they have two wonderful boys whom I adore.
I’ve spent a lot of time with her. Recently, I fought with her over something stupid and fear I might’ve pushed her away.
My brother’s facing deportation, so I worry a lot about her. She’s one of a kind, and I don't want to get in their way.
I don't want my brother to get deported as I’ve seen their struggle and love.
But should I tell her that if things go downhill that I'm there for her and the boys? I might even be in love with her.
My brother only knows I care for them and am always there for them.
Should I take her out and tell her how I feel?
Lost in England
There’s only one way to answer you: NO. Do NOT speak of love for her when their life as a couple and family is nearing a crisis.
Your brother already knows you’ll help them. But if he thought you’re waiting impatiently to replace him, he’d be very upset at a time when he has huge troubles to handle, as well as personal despair if he can’t see his partner and their sons.
If the worst happens, do NOT leap in offering yourself as a lover and surrogate father.
Be a good uncle to the boys and helpful “brother” to his girlfriend. To help them adjust.
For now, wait for events to take their course – the deportation may not happen, your brother may have a chance to return.
Or, you may find your own partner in the next while.
The future’s unknown. But speaking up in the present could create more emotional damage for everyone.
My partner of 28 years and I have three sons, two of whom are stepsons.
The middle son’s currently living with us because of mental health issues.
Our youngest son moved out, didn’t give us his address or new phone number. He’s doing well, has a degree and good job.
However, he hates his brother and has made very hurtful comments to him and us. He exhibits a bad temper.
Recently, we had the locks changed as he would drop by unannounced and upset his brother.
He was extremely angry about the locks and I’m afraid we’ve lost him.
Communication is zero, though we’d previously been a close family. What should I do?
In the Middle
Get out of the middle by explaining that you’re the loving, caring, concerned mom to all, equally including him.
Your adult son stays home because of struggles with living in the outside world, not because you favour him.
You and your husband must keep seeking ways to help him find a meaningful life, not because you care about him more.
Your youngest son feels neglected or ignored, and resents his brother, who seems to get all the attention. He needs to hear and feel how proud you are of his doing so well.
But he needs to also know that his behaviour’s not helping himself or you.
He needs to stop punishing his brother. Mental illness isn’t something people choose.
Tell your youngest son that you love him dearly. You’ll gladly help him handle things better than through anger, by seeing a professional counselor about what his brother can change and what he can’t.
Don’t apologize, and don’t feel guilt. He’s an adult and lucky to have his own mental health intact… once he manages his anger.
I'm 16, actively involved with high-school student government and advisory board for state and district.
My single mother, 43, is a teacher in my district.
I’ve been working with school boards on topics that directly impact her work. But when I share what we discussed and our progress, she gets angry and doesn't want to hear it from me.
Also, when I share what I learned, she says she doesn’t want to talk about that.
I don't understand. She seemed initially proud of my getting elected onto these boards.
How do I make our conversations more positive?
Stop trying to impress her. You’re likely, unintentionally, coming across as if you already know more than she does, in her own field.
She wants to be proud of you, but may be put off if your approach sounds superior or competitive.
Ask about her ideas to improve things and discuss these together, while respecting her years of practical experience.
Tip of the day:
Don’t impose your own emotions on someone facing a personal crisis.