Monday, August 5, 2013

Husband Is Falling In Love With The Wrong Wife

Dear Tazi:

I have a huge problem. I know you hear that a lot, but I am pretty sure mine is the worst. I am in love with my sister-in-law. The worst part is that I am a married man.

My mother has been sick for quite some time, and my brother’s wife “Sally” has been helping to care for her. My days off are during the week, so I have been stopping by to visit Mom on my days off while everyone else goes on the weekends; because of this, I have been able to spend a lot of time with Sally, just the two of us, since Mom sleeps a lot. Usually Sally takes this time to prepare and freeze meals for Mom, clean the house, do the laundry, and all the other things that Mom cannot do for herself and that other family members have not bothered to help doing.

At first, when I saw all that Sally did I asked my wife if she could pitch in and take a load off Sally but she simply replied that Sally does not have children to look after like we do, so Sally should take on the extra chores to assist with Mom’s care. I was really upset by my wife’s attitude – it’s not just about Sally, it’s about my MOM, too! Seeing how Sally was overworked, I offered to start helping her with the chores myself.

Watching Sally selflessly assist my mother, I could not help but compare her attitude with my wife’s. I know it’s wrong to do that, but I couldn’t help but think Sally the better person. I have gotten quite close to Sally over these past several months, and have learned that she and my brother never had children is because she had cancer as a child and the treatments left her sterile. She told me she has filled the void by volunteering with homeless children. Could this woman get any more selfless???

Through all of this my brother made a really boneheaded move and started looking through the online personal ads because he felt ‘lonely” and felt that Sally was giving all of her attention to Mom and not enough to him. Poor Sally was humiliated when one of her single friends saw her husband’s profile online and told her all about it. Sally told me this one afternoon while Mom was napping, and told me she was thinking of leaving my brother but she didn’t want to upset Mom in her fragile condition.

Tazi, I told Sally I would talk to my brother and asked her to give her marriage another chance. I know this sounds selfless, but I only did it because I couldn’t bear the thought of Sally disappearing from my life. So, to summarize: my wife is selfish and self-centered, my brother is looking to cheat on his wife while she is caring for our mother (who will probably pass away shortly), and I have fallen in love with my sister-in-law who I convinced to stay with my cheating brother because I was afraid I would never see her again if they divorced. Am I a horrible man?

In Love With The Wrong Woman

Dear In Love With The Wrong Woman:

You are not a horrible man. Since that is the only question you asked of me, I suppose I could end my answer here but the length of your missive tells me there is more on your mind than just this question. I think your feelings for your sister-in-law are perfectly natural, given the circumstances, and would probably not have developed – or developed so strongly – under normal circumstances.

Having an ill parent can put a lot of stress on anybody; being the one to care for that ill parent is an added dose of stress, so I can see why your wife is hesitant to want to assist with your mother’s care in addition to caring for your own household. She sounds bitter over the fact that Sally never had children. Considering that you only just discovered the reason why, could your wife be thinking that Sally is the selfish one who is not trying to compensate for it?

Hmmm...this joke won't work! I believe they sang "take a load off Annie..."

While it is nice that you are helping Sally with the house chores, I believe that an equal effort should be made by all family members. If your brother went over to assist Sally with his mother’s care he would not have time to peruse the personal ads and complain that he is “lonely”. If you talk to your brother – as you told Sally you would – you might want to point this out to him.

It is beautiful that you have a close relationship with your sister-in-law, so I suggest you re-examine your feelings for her. Ask yourself why you never felt this way before your mother got sick and if you will still feel this way once things return to normal. Remind yourself of all the things you love about your wife and what makes her a wonderful, selfless woman, too. If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to a counselor or your clergyperson about your conflicting emotions, and for now at least make sure you are never alone with Sally; it will make temptation easier to resist.


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


  1. I find it very interesting that when he realized that his mom needed more help his first thought was to volunteer his wife instead of stepping up to the plate himself. Makes me wonder whether he does the same at home and that is why his wife doesn't want to take on more work.

  2. Sigh...I know. I must be mellowing. In the past I would have paw-slapped him into next week for visiting his Mon but not bothering to help.

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