Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jealous Brother-In-Law Sows Trouble Where There Is None

Dear Tazi:

I am a happily married woman, a full-time Mom, and a part-time worker outside my home. My husband works very hard at his job so I can stay at home with the children and work part-time while they are in school. He handles all of the yard work while I do the inside cleaning; he washes dishes and I do the laundry; and for the most part we split all of the house chores 50/50. I have a very satisfying life that I would not trade for anything. What is my problem? My brother-in-law “Julian”.

Julian never misses a chance to criticize his brother “Joseph”, suggesting that he does not work hard enough; that he doesn’t help out enough around the house; and that he doesn’t spend enough time with the children. Julian – who is twice divorces – says he is only trying to “help” my marriage so Joseph and I do not end up traveling the road he did – twice. Julian does not have children, and both his wives made more money than him, which is another reason they continued to work full-time after they got married. I see absolutely no comparison between our marriages.

My husband and I recently had a HUGE fight about a man I work with who refuses to respect the boundaries set between us. My husband is not usually the jealous type, but this one guy sets him off. Apparently, he made mention of it to Julian during their weekly golf game because Julian rushed right in to “comfort” me “on the impending failure of my marriage” and told me he understood my desire to be unfaithful. Tazi, I have no such desire! Thankfully, my husband believes me when I tell him that.

Should I just ignore Julian’s “help” even though it bothers me? Or should I tell him to mind his own business once and for all? My husband suggests that I consider the source and let sleeping dogs lie, but for some reason this is renting space in my head.

Happily Married

Dear Happily Married:

I think the question you need to be asking yourself is WHY Julian’s behavior bothers you so much. Do you feel like he is coming on to you when he tries to “comfort” you? Are you upset because you feel he is putting down your husband? Is it something else entirely? Once you figure out why Julian’s behavior is so bothersome you will be able to figure out how to react and respond to it.

If you think Julian is just jealous of all that his brother has – loving wife, children, happy marriage – I suggest that you let his comments slide; responding to them will only serve to further stoke Julian’s jealousy and his search for reasons why your husband does not deserve a wife like you.

Make this your mantra

Most importantly, you need to talk to your husband, since he seems to think that Julian’s behavior is no big deal. While he may not be upset by it, it is upsetting to you which makes it your husband’s concern. Ask him to keep your marital issues between the two of you and out of Julian’s earshot, explaining to him that Julian has been taking things several steps too far and that you are not comfortable being around him when he reacts as he does.

In the end, the next time Julian expresses his concerns, simply smile and let him know that you appreciate his concern but that you like the way your marriage is just fine, and that you like to keep the inner workings of it between the two people directly involved in it – yourself and your husband. Repeat as necessary.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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