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Sister Blister

By Mink Stole | Posted 4/13/2005

This summer, my sister plans to marry a guy she’s only known for a few months. She’s fresh from a divorce, and everyone who knows her can see that she’s rebounding like crazy, but she’s convinced herself she’s in love with him. The problem is, he’s awful. He’s a successful businessman, with tons of dough, but he’s nearly 20 years older than her 32, and he’s always bragging about how great he is, how much money he has, and how expensive his cars and clothes are. My sister and I have always spent a lot of time together, but my husband can’t bear to be in the same room with this guy, so we’ve been avoiding them. Our other sister and I have tried to tell her that we think she’s rushing into things, but she doesn’t want to hear it and gets mad whenever we start to say anything negative about her “dream man.” She wants us to be in her wedding, but we can’t decide. Is it hypocritical to be in a wedding you don’t approve of? Do you think if we refuse it might help her come to her senses?

Solicitous Sis

If by “come to her senses” you mean cancel the wedding, SS, probably not. She already has a damn good idea how you feel, and not only is she going forward with her plans anyway, but she still wants you with her. You may think it’s hypocritical to participate, and on some level you’d be right, but is taking a stand against her marriage worth the bad feeling it would generate? Refusing to be in the wedding is like making a public declaration that you do not wish her and her fiancé well and you hope the marriage fails. It may be an effective way of expressing your disapproval, but it’s mean-spirited and hurtful, and whether the marriage succeeds or fails, she’ll never forget it.

Maybe this guy is the toad you think he is. Maybe marrying him is a mistake your sister will regret soon and for a long time. But maybe not. Maybe she’s not in such a rebounding daze as you think and this man actually makes her happy. Maybe, despite his posturing and pretension, he’s actually a great guy. Whatever. As long as your sister is determined to marry the man, it would be kinder to give him the benefit of the doubt and let your sister enjoy her happiness. Be in the wedding. Keep your mouth shut except to smile and drink a toast to their future. That way, regardless of what happens with her marriage, you and she can keep your relationship strong and healthy.

 

I’ve been married 30 years, and until recently I thought our marriage was fine. It wasn’t perfect, but my husband and I got along better than most couples I knew, we still had an active and (I thought) satisfying love life, and there was always plenty to talk about. But a few weeks ago he told me he’s been in a serious relationship with another woman for the last three years. He said he’s deeply in love with her and after all this time it wouldn’t be fair to her to leave her. Then he said he still loves me just as much as ever and wants to stay married. He said he can’t help loving us both. He said he understands why I might be initially confused and upset, but that since he only sees her in the daytime and he’s with me every night, and since she’s not asking him to leave me, he hopes I’ll be reasonable and accept the situation. I’m in such a state of shock I don’t know what to do. I’ve told him to leave, but he keeps saying he doesn’t want to throw our marriage away and is confident that in time I’ll realize nothing has changed. Should I wait this out? Should I throw him out? I feel like I’m going nuts.

Unhappy With Sharin’ Sharon

It doesn’t sound like there’s much to wait for, UWSS, unless it’s for him to decide that what would really be swell would be to have the girlfriend move in with you so you two gals could divvy up the keeping-him-happy chores in one convenient location, thereby saving him the time and trouble of a commute.

Since your husband refuses to move out voluntarily, and you can’t hit him on the head with a frying pan, although it could be mighty gratifying to knock some serious sense into his self-satisfied little brain, consult an attorney to determine what exactly your rights and options are regarding your home. Even if you don’t want to file for a divorce, get an idea of how the property might be split between you if it came to that. In the meantime, you’ve got to take a stand for yourself. If you can’t or don’t want to move out, at least move his stuff into a spare bedroom and lock him out of yours. Regardless of how much sense his planned new lifestyle makes to him, if you won’t play along, he’ll have to rethink it. How it will play out is impossible to know, but unless you’re willing to let him have it his way, you don’t have much choice but to just say no. Good luck.

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Pick and Choose (4/12/2006)
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Territorial Rites (4/5/2006)

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