I'm 46, with two grown children; I also have two married sisters, and our parents are both living.
We love getting together for birthdays, Easter, etc.
Unfortunately, my one sister has been married for seven years to a mean and unfriendly guy with two teenage children from his first marriage. He's offended everyone in our family; I just can't handle being around him any more.
He started projects at my parents' cottage, never finished them and made the place so unsafe that my Dad gave it to my sister and him. I'd called, asking him to not start any more projects and he swore at me and hung up. He later had a huge argument with my other sister, and told her that he would've "shot me with a gun" if I'd been present in person.
He never shows up at any of our family gatherings, my sister has to come on her own, even for weddings.
His children have stolen from my daughter's purse.
He comes from a dysfunctional family and when his parents both died recently, he never even went to see them or to the funeral... we were all shocked.
My sister is very passive and has low self esteem. I've encouraged her to get help or leave him, but she says she loves him and wants to stay.
They want to have us visit at their home soon; we want to get together but I don't really want to see him again. Yet I also want to turn the other cheek because "life is short."
My kids don't want to go because they don't feel safe after his comment about shooting me.
What should I do?
Weigh your "pro" and "con" options.
Only YOU can determine which feels like the better pathway through your conflicted feelings. Example: You want to support your sister emotionally… but this can be done through frequent phone contact, e-mail, and having her visit you.
Visiting her home, on the other hand, might just lead to another confrontation with her husband, which would worsen the situation.
You're uncomfortable around this guy and your children fear his temper.
For your stay at his home to be successful, everyone would have to be on best behaviour, including him.
Think ahead whether that's truly possible or even likely.
Life IS short, and you need to be realistic about what you can or cannot achieve in this relationship.
My husband of 10 years and I are both mid-30s. I love him, and am very attracted to him, yet I wonder if he's still attracted to me.
I'm 5-10 pounds more than my weight when we married. He said he's even more in love with me, and very attracted to me but, let's face it, he could get whomever he wanted, as he's very handsome, slim but built, and I'm overweight.
He never wants to make love anymore unless it's a quick wham-bam, or only when he's in the mood. I've tried to talk to him before, but nothing changes.
I want what we used to have: long yummy kisses, foreplay, and over the top sex - at least once in awhile.
- Hungry for the past
You're letting low self-esteem get you down, and Handsome Hubby isn't helping.
He married you close to that weight, yet you compare yourself to him as if you're unworthy of his love.
Instead, you need to start boosting your self-image, and being more assertive about your needs for intimacy.
Start doing things that give you a feeling of well-being - a new hairdo, spa-treatment, more exercise like walking outdoors.
Insist on having a weekly date-night with your husband.
In the bedroom, say what you want with confidence - that you deserve equal pleasure from love-making.
If he persists in his self-centered ways, marriage counselling is needed to air out what's behind his behaviour.
I found an instant message conversation which my boyfriend was having with another woman. He says he left the box open to catch me "snooping." He admits he's chatted with women online, but never meets them.
I was most hurt by the manner with which he was talking to this girl. He swears he'll never do it again.
Is this all harmless?
It's only harmless if it stops.
If you feel the need to snoop again and find evidence, it's him, not you, that's risking the relationship.
Tip of the day:
When a family relationship is toxic, weigh the benefits you wanted against the troubles you're experiencing