Brother-in-law drinks ex­ces­sively

Santa Fe New Mexican - - TIME OUT - Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@creators.com. To find out more about An­nie Lane and read fea­tures by other Creators Syn­di­cate colum­nists and car­toon­ists, visit the Creators Syn­di­cate web­site at www. creators.com.

Dear An­nie: My wife’s broth­erin-law, “Mike,” is the fam­ily char­ac­ter, al­ways quick with a quip, just a fun-lov­ing guy, seem­ingly with­out a care in the world. He has a few flaws, which are mostly tied to his ex­ces­sive drink­ing, but they have al­ways been over­looked, be­cause, well, that’s just Mike.

Over the past few years, Mike has be­come a bit too clingy to my wife, shown by the longer-than-nor­mal hugs, un­re­quested shoul­der rubs, never miss­ing a kiss good­bye, etc. How­ever, his ac­tions of late have be­come more ex­ces­sive and ob­vi­ous. Ad­di­tion­ally, these dis­plays of af­fec­tion are uniquely be­stowed upon my wife and no one else in the fam­ily.

My wife is un­com­fort­able with the sit­u­a­tion but does not want to con­front Mike, both be­cause she is not con­fronta­tional by na­ture and out of re­spect for her sis­ter. She would pre­fer to grin and bear it and hope for the best. I be­lieve Mike needs to be pulled aside and con­fronted di­rectly, telling him ex­actly what he is do­ing that makes my wife un­com­fort­able, mak­ing sure he un­der­stands he is cross­ing the line with her and his phys­i­cal dis­plays of af­fec­tion need to stop. Your thoughts on how we should best try and ad­dress this sit­u­a­tion would be ap­pre­ci­ated. We look for­ward to your re­sponse. — At a Loss with the Love­able Lush

Dear At a Loss: Is it pos­si­ble that Mike’s in­ten­si­fy­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior to­ward your wife co­in­cides with an in­ten­si­fy­ing drink­ing prob­lem? Al­co­holism is a pro­gres­sive dis­ease, and you never know what might be go­ing on be­hind closed doors. Your wife could open a di­a­logue with her sis­ter: ask how things have been at home, gen­tly and non­judg­men­tally ex­press con­cern about Mike’s drink­ing. That’s one place to start.

Ad­di­tion­ally, see if your wife would be OK with you try­ing to stop his un­wanted ad­vances be­fore they start.

Dear An­nie: My boyfriend and I have been to­gether nine years. I’ve al­ways been the one to bring up mar­riage and kids. He never says much in those con­ver­sa­tions.

I’m also al­ways the one putting in the ef­fort and show­ing him af­fec­tion. The past year, we’ve hardly been in­ti­mate at all. When I ask him why, it’s al­ways some ex­cuse: “I’m ex­hausted,” or “I’m sore from work.” Yet I am the one who cleans the house on top of work­ing full time. When I ask him to help with some­thing around the house, he rarely does. I feel like I’ve done all I can and it’s not good enough. I’m 34, and he’s 40. — Girl­friend at a Cross­roads

Dear Girl­friend: All cou­ples go through ruts, and I think ev­ery­one in a long-term re­la­tion­ship has felt at some point as though their part­ner takes them for granted. With enough love, and the help of a cou­ples coun­selor, those types of is­sues can be worked through. But if get­ting mar­ried and hav­ing kids is im­por­tant to you, and if your boyfriend seems not at all in­ter­ested in those things, then it’s time to have a se­ri­ous con­ver­sa­tion.

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