TO THE READERS: We regret to inform you that The Dear Barb column will be on hiatus for an indefinate period as Barb is on leave, but we look forward to resuming publication of this column in the future. If you have a question that you would like answered in this column, feel free to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will be kept on file until Barb’s return.
Dear Barb: My sister-in-law is driving me crazy! My brother got married last year and his new wife is so bossy and controlling. She wants to have all our family get-togethers at her house. We used to take turns having special occasions, like birthdays, Christmas, etc. at each other’s homes. Part of the problem is that my brother goes along with whatever his wife says. I’m not sure how to handle this. I don’t want to hurt my brother, but I don’t want my sister-in-law running our family either. Do you have any suggestions on how I can keep everyone happy in this situation?
Julia – Tilbury
Hi Julia, excellent question. I’m sure there are many people experiencing the exact same scenario that you describe. I think you and your other family members need to sit down with your brother and his wife to discuss this issue. It’s important that you are careful in how you approach your brother and his wife. If you come on too strong, they will get their backs up. This will definitely put an additional strain on your relationship with them. Try to approach it from the aspect that your purpose in getting together is to choose which occasion will be celebrated at whose house. Initially your sister-in-law may not know what to say, but carry on with your intention. Be the first one to choose which celebration will be at your home. She will have no choice but to follow along. Perhaps your sister-in-law does not realize what she is doing. She probably is just anxious to become part of the family and thought this was the way to accomplish this.
Dear Barb: I’m in my early twenties and I have recently met a girl that I really care about. I hate to say this, but this my first relationship. During high school, I dated, but nothing beyond a few dates. My main interest then was sports. Now, I find myself feeling very jealous if my girlfriend talks to other males. I know I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I don’t want this feeling to interfere with the relationship. Is there any way I can stop this behaviour before it ruins my first relationship?
Gary – Anywhere
Hi Gary, good to hear from you. It’s very insightful of you to realize that jealousy will put your relationship at risk. Initially your girlfriend may have been flattered by your jealousy, but over time she will feel as if you do not trust her. This will lead to problems and possibly the end of the relationship. Try to put this into perspective. Do you have a valid reason for your jealousy? Does your girlfriend act inappropriately with members of the opposite sex? If you do not have a reason for your behaviour, then you need to find a way to change it. Be open with your girlfriend. Tell her you are trying to control this behaviour. Ask her to be patient. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Perhaps some of your feelings are generated by your insecurities and inexperience being in a relationship. Give yourself time. The first step in being able to change is recognizing that you need to change. If you cannot change this behaviour then you may need to discuss this with a counselor.