Wife grows anxious as man grows closer to her sister

Published 8:15 am Thursday, February 27, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been married to my husband for 21 years. We’ve had our ups and downs, but our relationship is solid.

For the last year, I have watched as my husband has become closer to my sister. It started with phone calls every once in a while to check on how she’s doing. (She lives in our second home in a different state.) Then it turned into hours-long conversations a few times a week. When I told him it made me very uncomfortable, he said they are just “very, very good friends.”

About six months ago, he started calling me by her name at inappropriate times. I told him he has been murmuring her name in my ear while we’re in bed. He said he was sorry, and he would make some changes to the relationship with my sister. The changes he made were to talk to her every night for hours at a time. Then he needed to go to our other house “to get it ready for winter.” He was alone with her for two weeks and then extended his stay by another week because she is “having health issues.”

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I told him I think he’s having an emotional affair with my sister, but he disagreed. I’m in constant panic mode and don’t know what to do. Any advice? — SUSPICIOUS IN THE NORTHWEST

DEAR SUSPICIOUS: I don’t blame you for being as upset as you are because, to say the least, what your husband has been doing is inappropriate. Have you talked to your sister about this? If you haven’t, you should.

I am surprised that you didn’t go with him when he went to visit “Sissy” and help her with her “health issues.” That he extended his stay with her makes me wonder if there may be more going on than an emotional affair.

You need more support than a newspaper column can provide. Make an appointment with a licensed marriage and family therapist, if only to calm your panic and gain an ally. If you can convince your husband to go, it might allay your fears. But if he isn’t interested — go alone.


DEAR ABBY: I have a dream job and enjoy every part of it, except for the lunch hour. The time for my break isn’t debatable, nor is the area. We have a specific area for eating, and we aren’t supposed to bring food to our work station.

During lunch time, seven to 10 people talk politics every day. It doesn’t help that we are on opposite sides of the fence, but even if we weren’t, I’m tired of all the nastiness on both sides.

I have politely asked them to discuss topics other than politics. I even talked to my boss about it, but he said it’s not up to him what people talk about on their down time. Sometimes he joins us in the lunchroom and contributes to the topic. One of my co-workers is eight months pregnant, and she gets so worked up, I worry she’ll go into premature labor. What should my next step, short of quitting, be? — LOSING MY APPETITE

DEAR LOSING: Unless there is a rule specifying that you must eat your lunch inside the office, consider taking your lunch break outside. When the weather is mild, it could be a nice, quiet break. If it’s too cold to eat outside, you could do it in your car and listen to music. However, if that’s not possible, the solution to your problem might be as simple as noise-canceling headphones.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.