My brother, 48, hasn't had a real job in ten years. Since he was a teenager, he’d work for about a year, then move back in with our mother.
When my step-father was alive, he didn't talk much to my brother, and didn't respect him.
After he passed, my brother moved in permanently.
He gets occasional work from a home-computer job that doesn't pay much more than $100.
My mother claims that he has a mental problem but he’s never appeared that way to me or my husband.
He comes across as a moody, lazy, dirty slob. He snaps at her frequently.
She brushes it off. She says she doesn't mind his being there because he does odd jobs for her.
It drives me crazy that he’s so lazy, irresponsible, and is mooching off her.
I’ve told her I’m uncomfortable in his presence because he snaps at everyone, so that I no longer wish to visit her.
My brother’s always been rude, mean, and moody, and has put me down my whole life.
My husband supports me and my mother says I overreact. Do I just stay silent? Is it my business or not?
Sister of Lazy Slob
The only real “business” of yours is whether your mother’s in any danger living with him, and whether you’ve been ignoring signs of mental illness when you could’ve helped your brother get a diagnosis and treatment.
It seems that you and your husband have a lot of interest in his “mooching,” but no interest in the quality of your sibling’s life.
You’ve given no indication that he’s a danger to anyone.
Your mother has a gut instinct about his mental state. Encourage her to talk to her doctor about him and try to get him checked, and if need be, treated.
He still has years ahead for a chance at a more meaningful life.
COMMENTARY Few women (or men) know what to expect when menopause comes.
Some of us, unluckily, lose almost all sexual desire or sexual response after menopause, though we may still feel passionate about our partners.
It takes much effort to get “in the mood,” to be even slightly physically responsive.
It's as though a switch in both body and mind has been turned off, even if the feelings for one's partner haven't changed in the slightest.
It’s difficult to enjoy sex when it's become physically uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, due to some of the other physical changes that occur (thinning tissue, loss of vaginal lubrication, among others).
If your body’s not responsive, sex may also not be as enjoyable for the partner. A woman may be declining sex because she knows it’d not be much pleasure for either of them.
For myself, this problem of reduced sex desire and response has obsessed me ever since it came up in my life, because sex and intimacy plays a large role in maintaining most relationships.
Post-menopausal women who enjoyed sex in the past probably want very much to enjoy it again and would like to continue to have sex, even if it's not as enjoyable and sometimes somewhat painful.
But not at the cost of taking drugs which could be linked to a much elevated risk of breast cancer.
Ellie – Natural alternative therapies have worked for many women. The risk of breast cancer from hormone replacement therapy can be determined and monitored by a doctor who checks your risk factors and family history.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who refuses to clean up after himself (January 20):
Reader – “He sounds totally disrespectful of his partner. He doesn't care to help her keep the house clean.
“This problem goes back to his mother - "(she) did almost everything."
“So what happens when a child comes along? She’ll then have two “babies” to look after.
“He likely won’t be helping her look after the baby and her resentment will be even greater than it is now.
“This a long-term situation where I think she’d disrespect herself to compromise on this issue. He needs to grow up.”
Ellie – In her own words, he leaves a mess, she explodes. They need a solution. If they can’t find a compromise, they have a bigger problem, and are equally wrong to let this fester into a huge issue. That’s why I recommend counselling so long as they’re looking for a workable plan, not just to win.
Tip of the day:
Focus interest in a sibling’s dependent behaviour on what can be helped, not just on criticism.