Dear Annie: My husband’s sister “Kelsey” filed for divorce a few months ago. Her soon-to-be ex-husband kept in touch. He told me that Kelsey had been cheating on him with the guy she is currently seeing. I didn’t want to believe him, but in the past few weeks, I’ve discovered that Kelsey has been lying to her parents, her brother and me about nearly everything.
Her new guy has a DUI and lost his license. He has a child from another relationship, doesn’t work and rents a room from his brother. Kelsey has been paying for his plane tickets so he can visit her.
Kelsey told me she was filing for divorce because she couldn’t deal with her husband’s child from his first marriage. Now she is jumping into another relationship with the same set-up. She is convinced that “it’s different.” Her parents are unaware that Kelsey is planning to move two states away to be with him after she graduates.
I have spoken my piece. I told Kelsey what she did was wrong. If she were a friend, I would stop speaking to her. But this is my sister-in-law, and I don’t want to cut her off. However, neither my husband nor I want Kelsey and her new boyfriend coming to our house.
Should I tell Kelsey’s parents that she is planning to move away with this guy? Are we being too harsh by not inviting her into our home? This is my husband’s only sister, and I want to do the right thing.
Unsure of What To Do
Dear Unsure: Kelsey sounds immature and reckless, the type who will make a lot of mistakes before she learns anything. Unless Kelsey has sworn you to secrecy, we see no reason not to inform your in-laws of her plans. Welcoming her into your home is up to you. If you have young children, you might want to keep her at a distance. But the more you disapprove of the boyfriend the more she will defend him. It often can be more effective to overwhelm him with kindness. And you never know. He could turn out to be the right guy for her.
Dear Annie: What are your thoughts about the practice of notifying friends by email of the death of a loved one? This person also included instructions on how to offer condolences and provided recommendations for places to contribute in memory of the departed.
Dear Pennsylvania: Like it or not, email has become one way people now notify others of everything. And while it may be less appropriate than a phone call or handwritten note, it’s certainly more private than posting it on Facebook. Family members and close friends should still be told of a death with a personal call. Others can be informed in whichever way gets the news out in the most timely manner.
Suggestions for charitable donations and conveying condolences would be included in a newspaper death notice and are therefore acceptable in such an email.
Dear Annie: You suggested to “Roommate,” whose 13-year relationship was lacking intimacy, that her husband get his testosterone levels checked. Why is it that when men don’t want sex, it’s because their hormone levels are off, but when women don’t want intimacy, it’s because the relationship needs work?
You would think researchers would be all over finding a physiological reason for women’s lack of interest. Not once has any doctor recommended that I get my hormone levels checked.
Dear Ohio: You must not be a regular reader of this column. We’ve done countless letters on women and their hormone levels. The best advocate for your health care is you. If you think your hormone levels are off, don’t wait for your doctor to suggest it. Insist on being tested. And researchers are indeed “all over” finding a pill for women that equals Viagra for men. Not there yet.
Dear Annie: I greatly appreciate your column, but I am disheartened to see the many letters where children are used as instruments against other family members. It saddens me to read that grandchildren are not permitted to see their grandparents, or aunts and uncles can’t see nieces and nephews over things that seem so trivial. But your constant message to “take the high road” is refreshing in a world where that sentiment seems to be lost.
Your column reminds me daily of how blessed I am to live within a loving family, immediate and extended, and I count those blessings daily.
Grateful in Mercer, Penn.
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