Ask Alma: My Unfaithful Brother-in-Law

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    Alma Gill

    Dear Alma,

    My BIL has been unfaithful to his wife for years. Everybody knows, and I’m sure she did, too but she never said anything to me about it. I told my BIL that if she ever asked me, I was gonna tell her everything I knew. Well, she did, and I told her everything. When she confronted him, she told him I told her. That caught me off guard, especially when he called and asked me if I did. I told him no. Later, I guess he said something to my husband, and my husband confirmed that I did tell his wife. I was so mad. I didn’t want to be in the middle of this mess. Now we don’t have the same type of relationship. They don’t come over, and we don’t do things we use to do. My husband said it’s because I snitched. I say he snitched. He shouldn’t have told his brother anything. He should have been committed to me and had my back. Right?

    L.B, Philly

    Well L.B., yes and no.  Yes, I think he has your back, and no, he didn’t have to lie for you. Tell the truth and shame the devil, when your SIL called to find out what was going on with her husband, you couldn’t wait to carry those tales, could you? How long had you been holding all that in? I imagine you told her everything you knew (had heard) and everything you didn’t know (didn’t hear). Now you say you were caught off guard when your BIL called and asked if you had delivered that news hot off the presses.

    You’ve got to be kidding me? I think we all can agree that adultery is wrong. But what goes on between a man and his wife is their business. You have to be careful when you nominate yourself to be the bearer of bad news. If you find joy navigating that position, you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.  Step back and stop feeding this weed. Your husband didn’t take sides. He simply conveyed the truth.

    Slip on your big-girl panties, own what you did and suffer the consequences. Make some apologies and admit you should have handled the situation differently. Start with your husband, and when you’re done, kiss him, sincerely, on the cheek.

    Alma

    Husband Still Hits the Clubs – without me

    Dear Alma,

    I recently got married to a man I dated for six years. We have a wonderful relationship – open and trusting – and I couldn’t ask for anything more. However, he likes to go quite often (about once a week) to the club. I’m never invited. He acts as if it would be a sin if I were to go with him. Sometimes he doesn’t get home until after midnight. I will trust him until he gives me a reason not to. If I were to go out in the same way with my girlfriends, he would get irate, wondering what I’m doing, who we’re with, etc. When he tells me he’s going out, I never get mad (I definitely don’t want him going to a club mad at me!). I just don’t know if I should start “putting my foot down,” so to speak. How can I get him to see things from my perspective? For all I know, he could be in another woman’s bed! All I have to go on is trust. What do you think?

    Left at home, Washington, D.C.

    Hey Now Lefty, I think is the same thing you think. You just want me to say it. You aren’t doing yourself or your husband any favors by not telling the truth about how you feel. If an issue doesn’t sit well with you, you should be straightforward. Honesty helps to build a genuine and trustworthy commitment. If simply loving somebody could make a person do or be better, we’d all be doing the right thing, ‘cause we all got somebody who loves us.

    You asked if you should put your foot down? Hello-o-o, you’re still standing on your tippy toes right now, so you’re not in a position to put your foot down.You lead him to believe that his clubbing is fine with you. To make matter worse, you even send him off with a kiss on the cheek and a smile. Because, like you said, you don’t want to send him to the club mad. Don’t be angry with him for doing what he’s doing when you’ve told him it’s alright to do it.  Don’t get me wrong; I understand what you’re saying, and I agree with you. I wouldn’t want my husband at the club either. But this should have been discussed and clarified early on.  First things first: Start telling the truth. I’d suggest you take the time to tell him how you really feel. There’s no need to be hostile. Part of this is your fault, so you need to come clean with patience in one hand and understanding in the other. An old Chaka Khan song comes to mind – Once you get started, snap, snap, Ooooh, it’s hard to stoppppp, yea, you just can’t stop now!!! (Sorry, I lost my train of thought.) Maybe he can go to the club every other week, or maybe you can go with him. The two of you need to decide what’s best. I don’t think he’ll stop right away, but I’m sure there’s a place in the middle that will satisfy both of you.

    Alma

    Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: alwaysaskalma@yahoo.com.  Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.

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