Q My sister-in-law has always been stubborn. She was an only child and liked to lay down the law in her family. She and my older brother were in love at school, but she never liked me and made my school years a misery. She also got me into trouble with my parents and I was happy to leave home at 17.
My three brothers and I are now all in our 60s and 60s. She’s still married to my older brother – and still causing trouble. When my father passed away recently, the administration of his will fell to my older brother.
Although my sister-in-law said she was going to leave us to take care of the arrangements, she got involved because my brother lacked computer skills. Then she fell out with my mother before the funeral, I think because she expected to win financially for her help.
An anonymous woman says she has a difficult relationship with her sister-in-law. She says her family has struggled with her controlling nature for years, but she has had too much since her father died and now her mother is struggling with her stepdaughter.
I’m used to this discord, so it’s like water off a duck’s back for me, but my mom is very upset. It seems that everything revolves around my sister-in-law. She causes a scene for attention and is rude, which my family is not. My brother is like her puppet, so talking to her is useless, while my other brothers don’t like to upset her.
She causes a scene to get attention and is rude
A It looks like your sister-in-law has overshadowed a lot of your life, which is hard. It’s also very upsetting for your mother, who mourns the loss of your father and doesn’t need the added stress.
Your sister-in-law is in control and it seems no one wants to stand up to her. I wonder if your older brother is bullied and bullied by his wife? You and your brothers may be insecure, which is understandable because it’s not easy in the face of a sticky situation. But you must intervene.
While they may say they don’t want to upset your sister-in-law, doing nothing may upset your mother even more – and she needs protection.
You might make your mother more upset. She needs protection
Being assertive doesn’t mean getting angry or yelling – it’s about firmly but calmly asserting your position. No one should get angry or make accusations. The three of you need to collectively tell your older brother that you don’t want your sister-in-law involved and that you will help with the administration if needed.
You may also need to tell him directly because he may feel unable to tell him himself. If she rages and storms, ignore her and don’t let her intimidate you.
I suggest contacting an attorney to resolve any disputes. You can find one who specializes in family law via resolution.org.uk. Please also contact cruse.org.uk or mariecurie.org.uk for assistance. You seem to have low self-esteem, you may want to seek advice to help you resolve this issue. Consult your GP for a recommendation.
Why did he flirt with my best friend?
Q After a painful divorce a few years ago, I met a nice guy. We have been together for six months and recently went out with some of my closest friends who wanted to meet him.
But I was left speechless when during the evening one of them, extremely attractive, began to flirt outrageously with my boyfriend.
To make matters worse, he seemed to reciprocate. Her husband didn’t care, but I was really upset – even though I didn’t say anything at the time and laughed. I had a huge fight with my boyfriend when we got home, but he insists he felt embarrassed and made fun of her for being my friend.
I’m really mad at her but now I don’t know if I can trust my new partner.
A At such an early stage of a relationship, most couples might expect to still be wrapped up in each other, so for him openly flirting with someone else will feel like he is not so engaged.
It could be, but it could also be that he is telling you the truth. To understand this better, you need to examine both of your relationship histories.
Did your marriage end because your ex-husband had an affair, so now you have a hard time trusting and harmless flirting is misinterpreted? Has your boyfriend ever had a long term relationship or marriage that shows he is willing to commit? Did he treat his former partners well?
This might give some insight into how he will treat you. Keep talking to him about what happened and, if your fears are unfounded, he should be willing to reassure you.
- If you have a problem, write to Caroline West-Meads at: YOU, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS, or email email@example.com. Caroline reads all your letters but regrets not being able to answer each one personally