Love all your great no-nonsense advice. Here’s my dilemma!
I have a secret crush on my husband’s brother, Sam.
Sam lives on the West Coast and we’re here in New York, so we hardly ever see each other – but every time he comes to visit (with his wife and kids) there’s a real spark between us.
We both flirt with each other and once we even kissed – but we don’t want to hurt anyone so that’s as far as it’s gone.
I know it’s silly but I can’t help thinking about Sam and comparing him to my husband, Tom. And I’ll be honest, my feelings for Sam are getting stronger – not weaker – over time.
What do you think I should do Will?
The first thing I think you should do is put away your crayons and coloring book and line up to go to recess. Wait… Scratch that: I forgot you were a grown-up, and apparently, so did you.
Do you have any idea how dangerous this game is you’re playing? It’s only a matter of time before this school yard crush you have blows up in your face. When it does, there’s a very real chance that you will not only destroy your own marriage, but also hurt Sam’s marriage, his wife, and his children. And what about its effect on the relationship Sam has with his brother; your husband. You do remember your husband, Tom, don’t you? That guy in the tux that you promised to love, honor, and cherish, keeping only unto him ‘til death do you part? Yeah, that Tom. So, unless you’re shooting for a guest spot on Jerry Springer, it’s time to get real. Here’s what I think you need to do… and stop doing:
What are you thinking?… For the sake of argument, let’s say you and Sam finally confess your love to the world. Then you leave your spouses and children behind and run away together. OK, now what? How long do you think it will be before you both figure out that it was a mistake?
I’m no shrink, but there’s obviously something broken that you think Sam can fix. Maybe you’re unhappy with your husband. Maybe you’re unhappy with yourself. Maybe you’re looking for an escape. Maybe you’re looking for a new start to your life. Well, regardless of what you’re looking for, SAM’S NOT IT. Think about it: if he was doing any better than you in the relationship department, he wouldn’t be playing footsy with another woman behind his wife’s back.
Sam can’t fix you. He can’t save you. He can’t make you happy. And here’s a news flash: neither can your husband or anyone else for that matter. While other folks may make you unhappy, nobody but YOU can make you happy, and that’s something you have to understand before you take another step or make another decision. Otherwise, you’ll be right back on this roller coaster with your husband’s other brother next year.
STOP!!!… I’m betting old Sam’s been giving you the “the look”, and it’s got you all hot and bothered. Maybe Tom hasn’t looked at you that way in a long time, and this little tryst with his brother is stoking your fire. Well you need to understand that those feelings are a symptom of the problem, not the cure for one. So, in a word, STOP. No more flirting. Definitely no more kissing. No more anything. Sam is your brother-in-law with the emphasis on brother, so stop doing anything with him that you wouldn’t do with your actual brother (that mental image alone should throw a little water on your fire.) Let Sam know in no uncertain terms that you’ve realized that you were both wrong to act the way you have and that it all ends NOW.
Go talk it out… Whether you realize it or not, there’s definitely a problem, and you have to figure out what it is before you can fix it. As I said, no one can make you happy, but a good psychologist can help you figure out why you’re unhappy and what you can do about it. Maybe you’re in a rut and just need some excitement. If so, your doc can help you find a better purpose for your life than this game of Russian Roulette that you’re playing. Maybe your marriage is sick. If so, your therapist will probably refer you to a marriage counselor. Maybe your marriage is dead. Hopefully not, but it happens. If it is dead, then it’s a lot better to let go than to stick around hurting each other until you and your husband feel dead too.
No matter what, your solution starts with someone who’s trained to help you find the best path, not a brother-in-law whose path is as screwed up as yours.
To tell, or not to tell… So should you and Sam come clean, tell the truth, and clear your consciences?
GoodEnoughGuy says, “Not just no… but hell no!
If this secret comes out, it’s going to hurt a lot more people than it will help. If your husband and Sam’s wife find out about this, even if they don’t leave, your relationships will never be the same. The trust will be broken or at least badly dented. You may lose your husband, Sam may lose his wife and kids, and if Tom and Sam are anything like my brothers, someone’s going to the hospital and/or jail. No one wins; everyone loses.
I say talk to a doctor to figure out what’s wrong and how best to fix it. At least for now, keep this between you, Sam, God, and your therapist. If you and Tom do split, then none of it matters anyway. If you don’t, then keep quiet, start fresh and NEVER do anything even close to this again. Your secret is safe with me.
Whatever you decide, I hope it works out for the best.
William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing.