Doctor Love: Sister in Law

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

Readers, email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
My sister and her husband are finally separated and getting divorced after four years in a very unhappy marriage.
I mostly blame my sister. She has always been difficult and demanding, always wanting her own way and never meeting half-way. Even as a little girl she was a bully and was mean to anyone who didn’t do what she told them to do.
Almost from the beginning my sister seemed to fall out of love. By six months she was saying she never should have married him. It didn’t matter how hard he tried, she talked bad about him—like if he worked on a Saturday then she was vexed because he didn’t do something at home. If he didn’t work on a Saturday she complained because he made noise doing something at home. Last month she told him she wanted a divorce and moved out of the house.
I have always admired my brother-in-law. He is patient and hardworking and he tried very hard to give my sister everything he could to make her happy. He never hurt her or cheated on her and when she fought with him and said very terrible things, he didn’t get nasty to her.
In the last couple of years, he and I became good friends but I am also very attracted to him. He’s not really handsome and he’s not someone who the ladies would run after but I love him very much and I want to tell him.
I am the opposite to my sister. I know him and me could have a great life together but it is scary to ask if he has feelings for me.
How should I try to see if he thinks about me the way I think about him?

Dear SIL,
Telling him is the easy part—it’s what happens if he does return your feelings that can make your dream future with him less rosy in reality.
If the divorce is nasty, your sister may not be very amused if the two of you get together. Are you prepared for the battles ahead should you partner with your bother-in-law and your sister becomes your adversary? How will family gatherings be approached?
Let them divorce and give it a few months to see how the dust settles. He may distance himself from you and that would be that. He may continue to seek your friendship and then you can make your feelings known. Go gently and cautiously into a relationship with him and don’t expect your sister to be as happy as you might be.


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