Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - by Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: My hus­band’s very re­li­gious fam­ily has se­ri­ous is­sues with him be­ing gay. His brother, “Steve,” outed him in high school. He was forced into ther­apy, cut off fi­nan­cially and put through hell.

In the past few years most of his fam­ily has started to in­clude both of us in their lives — ex­cept for Steve.

Steve and his wife live near us, and in the five years I have been with my hus­band we al­most never see them, de­spite re­peated at­tempts on our part. We live sev­eral hours away from other fam­ily.

Steve and his wife re­cently had a child. My hus­band loves this child and wants to be a part of his life. He was vis­it­ing them twice a week to see his nephew.

One day he men­tioned to his sis­ter-in-law that if they ever wanted a night out we would be happy to babysit. She said no, be­cause male fam­ily mem­bers were the most likely to mo­lest their child. The sis­terin-law is a li­censed fam­ily ther­a­pist with a de­gree from a good school.

We are furious and hurt. I de­cided to look up the statis­tics. Her as­ser­tion is just pure ho­mo­pho­bia.

I no longer feel com­fort­able even be­ing around them (or my nephew), be­cause I am wor­ried that at any mo­ment I could be ac­cused of some­thing. I don’t trust them.

This is tear­ing my hus­band apart. They know this has up­set us and have done noth­ing but say, “It’s not just you, but we wouldn’t let any male rel­a­tive babysit.”

My hus­band re­ally wants to be a part of his nephew’s life. What should we do? — Furious

Dear Furious: I’m not sure where you and your sis­ter-in-law got your in­for­ma­tion, but ac­cord­ing to statis­tics pub­lished by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice on the Na­tional Sex Of­fender Public Web­site ( “An es­ti­mated 60 per­cent of per­pe­tra­tors of sex­ual abuse are known to the child but are NOT fam­ily mem­bers, e.g., fam­ily friends, baby sit­ters, child care providers, neigh­bors.”

I guess it’s pos­si­ble that this woman is a good ther­a­pist, but she’s a pretty poor fam­ily mem­ber, and she ob­vi­ously doesn’t give a hoot about in­sult­ing both of you.

Given their at­ti­tude to­ward you two, you are cor­rect to be ex­tremely cau­tious and self-pro­tec­tive re­gard­ing the baby. Nei­ther of you should be alone with the child, to avoid ac­cu­sa­tions. Be­cause your sis­ter-in-law has been so hon­est with you re­gard­ing her mon­strous as­sump­tion, you should be hon­est with her about how this af­fects you, your re­la­tion­ship with them and with the child.

Be pre­pared, how­ever — they may not care.

It is a very tall or­der for you to re­main in this child’s life, but I do think you should try. Walk this road with your hus­band — don’t aban­don him to deal with this mess alone.

Dear Amy: I re­cently be­came sep­a­rated af­ter al­most 20 years of mar­riage. I be­came ac­tive on Face­book, started to com­mu­ni­cate with a beau­ti­ful lady and we liked each other.

We started a re­la­tion­ship and as we learned about each other, we dis­cov­ered that we are re­lated. Her mother was my grand­fa­ther’s sis­ter, so my friend is my fa­ther’s cousin.

Fam­ily mem­bers are not OK with this re­la­tion­ship. My mom found out and now she does not speak to me.

What are the rules when dat­ing some­one you are re­lated to? I’m not sure if I should keep see­ing her. — Won­der­ing

Dear Won­der­ing: The rules for dat­ing cousins are the same as the rules for dat­ing oth­ers: Be kind, re­spect­ful and don’t scare the horses.

Per­haps your mother has some sort of grudge against your fa­ther’s kin. Maybe she objects to you dat­ing be­fore your di­vorce is fi­nal. But she can’t ex­plain her ob­jec­tions if she isn’t speak­ing to you.

You are an adult. Your job is to lis­ten, weigh your op­tions and the im­pact on your (other) re­la­tion­ships and then make your choice and ac­cept the con­se­quences.

Dear Amy: I got shiv­ers down my spine when I read the let­ter from “Two Decades of Guilt,” who was won­der­ing if she should re­port the men who sex­u­ally as­saulted her 20 years ago. Thank you for en­cour­ag­ing her to go to the police. — Been There

Dear Been There: I have re­ceived dozens of re­sponses from oth­ers who say they have “Been There,” and all are cheer­ing her on.

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