My older brother’s having an affair; it’s not his first, and I know about these flings because he confides in me as his younger brother.
At first I was flattered; we weren’t close growing up, and these last years he’s started telling me his “troubles” with his romances. I asked, the first time, if he and his wife were going to split up, and he said, “Don’t be stupid, I love her and the kids.” So after that, I just listened.
But this time he’s taking more risks, spending more money and even planning a trip with his girlfriend, who happens to be his assistant at work.
I feel sick hearing about it, especially as I like his wife, adore his kids and somehow feel like an accomplice.
Should I expose the truth?
- Had Enough
Find your backbone and speak up to Big Bad Brother – he may even have sub-consciously been waiting for someone close, with higher standards, to help him get control! It’s not too late to tell him you’ve been wrong yourself, for listening; that you find what he’s doing highly risky and also reprehensible, since he’s deceiving his wife, child and himself.
Explain that he will eventually be the loser… not only because he’s bound to slip up and be discovered cheating, but because all his energies are going into lies and time away from his family. He’s causing himself to miss the important times in family life when just hanging out brings a closer bond.
Tell him that he needs to grow up: If he’s got problems at home, he needs to address them. Otherwise, he’s been courting trouble and you no longer want to be part of it.
You’ve already lost respect for your brother, so taking a stand can’t make it worse, and may help.
I just moved in with my boyfriend whom I thought I loved, but I’ve discovered that he’s a covert slob! I guess he used to clean up when I was coming for a sleepover when he had his own place; now I find his dirty underwear and socks piled up in a drawer or on a chair or even under the bed, as if he’s expecting me to hunt it down to do his laundry. He knew I was a neat person; he was at my place a lot and I was finicky about too many shoes left in the hallway, coats hung up etc.
I feel he took advantage of me and now I have this big oaf to take care of like a child!
Do I just throw him out or is it possible he’ll change?
- Fed Up
Do NOT fall into the mothering role with him. Instead, if you want to continue living together, explain that you need to be equal partners. He doesn’t have to follow your neatnik pattern only, but you both have a right to certain expectations of each other that makes life mutually comfortable.
Seek solutions: e.g. a laundry basket, and a regular laundry day on which you both take care of your own stuff; a shoe rack near the door, plus a coat stand.
It’s always better to find such neutral answers to practical problems, rather than argue over who’s “house rules” or lack of them should win out.
It’s still early days in your move together. Have a calm review together of how it’s going and discuss what adjustments need to be made.
My wedding’s this fall and my divorced parents are upsetting me over “their” lists for guests and other demands.
Each wants the primary position, or at least equal, though I lived with my Mom and Step-Dad since age seven.
They’re both paying part of the costs so I have trouble knowing what to do with their requests. Help!
- Hassled bride
Decide what compromises you can handle. There are many options with divorced parents, e.g. your Dad can walk you part-way down the aisle, then Mom or Mom and Step-Dad meet you and walk you the rest of the way.
Mom deserves more guests if her friends and family were closer to you. Dad can make a welcome-guests speech, and Step-Dad can toast the bride, etc.
It’s your day, but they do have an investment – emotionally and financially.
Be diplomatic and caring of their sensitivities, but firm about your limits of acceptance.
Tip of the day:
When people confide things of which you thoroughly disapprove, speak up early or you’ll risk the bond between you.