In­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour might in­di­cate med­i­cal is­sues

Cape Breton Post - - ADVICE / LIFESTYLES / IN MEMORIAM - An­nie's Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­, or write to: An­nie's Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 737 3rd Street, Her­mosa Beach, CA

Dear An­nie: I am gay. Two years ago, my part­ner of 34 years told me that my brother-in-law had touched her breasts in­ap­pro­pri­ately. I didn't be­lieve her and we had a huge fight over it. She never con­fronted him or told my sis­ter, and she has con­tin­ued to so­cial­ize with my fam­ily.

Last week­end, we at­tended my niece's grad­u­a­tion, and much to my hor­ror, my broth­erin-law rubbed his hand across my butt. Worse, I then had to get into the same car with him. I was shocked and said noth­ing, even though I was ter­ri­bly up­set. I avoided him the rest of the week­end, but things haven't been quite right since.

A year ago, I moved to another state and spend va­ca­tions with my sis­ter and her fam­ily, ei­ther in her home or mine. Now I'm not sure I should con­tinue.

I do not un­der­stand why he did this or what to do. Was it an act of power or hate or some kind of midlife cri­sis? This is my sis­ter's hus­band, whom I have re­spected through the years. I now doubt ev­ery­thing about him, in­clud­ing his fi­delity to my sis­ter, his mo­rals and whether he has touched other fe­males in the fam­ily.

I am close to my sis­ter and don't want to hurt her. We are not young any­more and don't have a tremen­dous amount of time left to be near each other. But I am not com­fort­able with the idea of stay­ing in the same house with him. How do I ex­plain that to my sis­ter with­out caus­ing more harm? – Con­fused and An­gry

Dear Con­fused: There is another pos­si­bil­ity. Some­times, sud­den and pe­cu­liar changes in be­hav­iour or a loss of in­hi­bi­tion can in­di­cate a med­i­cal prob­lem, in­clud­ing a small stroke or early signs of de­men­tia. In all the years you have known him, your brother-in-law has never be­haved this way to­ward you.

Please talk to your sis­ter. Say that you've no­ticed some dis­turb­ing changes in your broth­erin-law's re­cent be­hav­ior and that you worry he may have some phys­i­cal or neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems. You will have to tell her what you mean, but do so with con­cern and car­ing, in­stead of ac­cu­sa­tions and con­dem­na­tion. Sug­gest to her that she get him to a doc­tor for a com­plete workup and eval­u­a­tion.

Dear An­nie: This is for "Had Enough, Thanks," the 68-yearold woman whose hus­band still wants to have sex, but she isn't in­ter­ested. I have the op­po­site prob­lem.

My hus­band is in his late 60s, and I am 10 years younger. We have only been mar­ried for five years, and he has had no in­ter­est in sex or any other type of phys­i­cal in­ti­macy. He even told me that he has no need for this any­more and could easily live the rest of his life with­out it. This has caused ex­treme prob­lems, as I still have a strong need and de­sire for mar­i­tal in­ti­macy.

Though I truly love him, it is al­most more than I can bear to face the rest of my life with vir­tu­ally no hu­man touch. – Mar­ried, Liv­ing Alone

Dear Mar­ried: We're cer­tain a lot of women will tell you that in a few years, you may feel the same way your hus­band does, but that's not nec­es­sar­ily true. And in the mean­time, you are mis­er­able. Is your hus­band will­ing to dis­cuss this with his doc­tor or a coun­selor? If not, coun­sel­ing might help you make some de­ci­sions.

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