Favorite son’s jabs at brother’s wife causing family friction

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I married "Darius" two years ago. I have had problems with my brother-in-law ever since Darius and I first began dating five years ago.

From my husband's perspective, his parents have always favored his younger brother, "Adonis." "Anything goes" is their attitude where he is concerned. Adonis takes things without asking, lies and constantly makes disrespectful comments toward us. He was never reprimanded as a child, and now he's an adult (24), the sniping continues.

A few months ago, he showed up unannounced at my home and insulted a guest who was visiting at the time. (She also doesn't care for him.) I asked him to leave to avoid making waves with her.

I think Adonis owes me an apology, but he refuses to give me a sincere one. My father-in-law thinks I should just "get over it" and says I am being ridiculous because I no longer want to attend family events if Adonis is present. Mostly the reason is I no longer want to tolerate his behavior while he's drinking and making constant "jokes" about me.

I feel bad for my husband because we have missed out on seeing family members and enjoying ourselves at events because I don't want to create a scene. Darius supports the way I feel, but says he can't demand an apology from his brother. I feel if I back down now, Adonis' behavior will continue for the rest of my life. I don't think I should be treated this way. How should I resolve this issue? -- FAMILY PROBLEM IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR FAMILY PROBLEM: I'm glad you wrote. Adonis is getting away with this because your in-laws are enabling it. Your husband should straighten his spine and inform his "little" brother he drinks too much, and he wants the sniping stopped. Your father-in-law is a mile off base. It isn't ridiculous to want to avoid verbal abuse from a drunk, and he, too, should have a talk with Adonis. Until that happens, you are right to keep your distance. Nobody likes pain, and your brother-in-law appears unwilling to stop being a large one in a southern portion of your anatomy.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 32-year-old woman, engaged to a wonderful man. We were supposed to start trying to get pregnant, but because of the virus, we decided to put it off. I know we are making the right choice.

I had already started a journal/planner and was so excited. But now I feel myself slipping into depression. We are both lucky enough to still be working, so I'm not just sitting around dwelling on it. But when I canceled my prenatal vitamin subscription the other day, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I know we are lucky to not have bigger woes than this right now, but I'm heartbroken. Any advice would be appreciated. -- HOLDING OFF ON MOTHERHOOD

DEAR HOLDING OFF: I am sorry for your heartache. I know this is painful. It's important that you not hold these sad feelings inside. Talk with your fiance about them and share with close friends and family. Pour your feelings into the journal you started.

Your road to motherhood may be longer than you initially thought, but it's going to be an interesting journey. I hope you will take comfort in the knowledge that postponing your pregnancy was a decision you and your fiance made for the right reasons and didn't take lightly.

DEAR ABBY: My 14-year-old daughter recently came out of the closet, and it has made my husband and me quite upset. She says she is "bicurious, pansexual and polyamorous." She now insists everyone call her by a gender-neutral name, gave herself a side shave and dyed her hair pink after we repeatedly told her not to. She wants us to refer to her as "they" and not "she."

Boys used to like her, and she used to have friends, but she threw it all away to be "unique." You may think we should let her be true to herself, but in the process, she is disrespecting us and ruining her image. She thinks she's all grown up and can do whatever she wants, and I just can't get through to her.

She is also letting herself go. She used to be in good shape, but she quit track and field because it was a "gender-conforming" sport. She is now getting chubby, looks horrible and is depressed. Help! -- DAD WITHOUT ANSWERS

DEAR DAD: Your daughter may, indeed, be depressed. She's at an age where she is trying to figure out who she is, and because she has lost her friends and her parents are mad at her, I can understand why.

It is very important that you not panic. Her hair will grow back; her gender identity and sexual orientation will be confirmed with time. The most important suggestion I can offer would be to love your daughter, stop criticizing her and make an appointment for you and your husband to talk with a psychologist with expertise in adolescents. Above all, she needs the support of her parents right now.

DEAR ABBY: I met this beautiful woman online three months ago. We haven't met in person yet, but plan to. We spend at least eight hours a day online together, and our relationship has really advanced. I know she's real and not a "catfish" because we talk about everything. We even tell each other the L word.

My dilemma is, she has a second Facebook account and absolutely refuses to accept my friend request. She says she needs her privacy, and it's none of my business. She also tells me her friends on that page are all male co-workers. She said she prefers to have mostly male friends in her life.

Am I wrong to be upset if she refuses to let me see that profile or be one of her friends there? Am I asking too much? I asked her what happened to transparency, but she won't answer that question either. What's going on here? -- STUCK ON HER IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR STUCK: Although you have spent a lot of time online with this woman, your relationship is still new. As your relationship proceeds, how will you feel about the fact that most of her friends are other men?

I do think there is something going on, which is the reason she doesn't want you to see that account. The most important question is: Do you trust her? You won't know the answer to that until your relationship has developed further. So stop using the L word until you know her much, much better.