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Direct Answers – Taking on Water

I have been married 23 years to someone who is controlling. His brother has been my best friend for 18 of those 23 years. I know this is totally wrong, but our relationship has become intense.

In fact, we have been intense for some time. He’s always told me he wants to find someone like me, and he gets annoyed when his brother treats me the way he does. My husband controls where I go, when I go and how long I go.

I work full-time and my money goes to the bills, but only part of my husband’s paycheck goes to the bills. Lately, though, I’m starting to become independent, where I do my own thing. My one big problem now is that I’m not sure I am in a relationship with my brother-in-law anymore.

He hasn’t contacted me in six weeks. I truly feel I was being used. When I try to get in touch, he doesn’t respond back. He still lives at home with his mother, which I know makes it difficult for him. But I’m sure if he wanted to contact me, he would find a way to do it.

I am having great difficulty getting over him. He was everything I needed.

I guess I was also using him. I’m not totally sure. He made me feel extremely good when we were together. I miss so much from my husband, which is probably why I reached out to my brother-in-law.

I need to find myself and know exactly what I want with my life. I just don’t know how to do it.

~ Judith

Judith, you are bailing water instead of plugging the hole.

You’ve spent 18 years in an endless loop. Being with your brother-in-law allowed you to tolerate your husband, and living with your husband made you want to pursue a relationship with his brother.

Two things are wrong with that. First, if you succeed, your husband is still not out of your life. The men have the same mother. Second, if you go after a man who still lives with his mom, you are likely to find yourself in the same boat or even worse, still paying all the bills.

Most people won’t deal with an underlying problem because there is something there they still want from it. Is your something, that you don’t want a divorce? Or you don’t want to lose the house or your standard of living?

There is something you are staying for. What is it? It can’t be love, because if it were love, you wouldn’t be fooling around with your husband’s brother. Why are you writing about him? He is absolutely no solution. Getting involved with him did not get you out of the marriage, it kept you in your marriage.

Our advice is simple. Take your cue from The Cars and Shake It Up. Shake up your life.

Get a mentor, coach or counselor. Go on a silent retreat. Journal your thoughts. Write a letter of advice to your 13-year-old self and then follow your own advice. Meditate. Face your greatest fear. Believe you are ready for change now.

Shake it up. What would it mean for your marriage, your relationship to your brother-in-law and to your life, if you challenge yourself and explore? You won’t know until you try.

You think you have a problem: your brother-in-law cut you out of his life. We think you have an opportunity, an opportunity to stop bailing, plug the hole and row your life in the right direction.

~ Wayne & Tamara

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Direct Answers – Column for the week of July 3, 2017

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