These comments have made me uncomfortable and I sent him a message telling him so. I know he has seen it, but he hasn’t responded. It has been at least ten days. Also, he is 27 years older than I am and I have never told him I wanted anything other than friendship. It’s hard to avoid him as there are activities we are both involved in at church. What should I do? — Had Enough
Bypass him and go straight to your church board and report this behavior as harassment. What this dude is doing is sexually harassing you, and it has to stop. Your telling him his comments make you uncomfortable is not going to stop him. He gets off on making you uncomfortable. It’s a power play. It’s why he makes the comments he does — he enjoys seeing you squirm. So quit trying to get anywhere with him, and go to the board. Tell them his behavior is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Tell them that this is not a case of misunderstanding or misinterpretation. You understand completely what his intentions are, you will not engage in this inappropriate and unwanted behavior, and until he is removed from his volunteer position, you will cease your volunteer efforts. And if he is not removed from his volunteer position and if he remains in a role in which he can continue harassing other women like he has harassed you and likely countless women before you, I would recommend looking for another church to attend — one that values and respects the voices of women.
My BIL told his mother that I had mistreated him from day one and that I had it out for him. He also told her how I wouldn’t let my husband take the place of man of the house. Prior to his moving in with us, I had no problem with my BIL. Well, after I told him to move out, my MIL told me I was a very mean person and that I had split her family. She asked how I, as a mother, could mistreat someone else’s child. She also told me not to forget that, before I met my husband, they were his family first. She also mentioned that almost everyone in her family hates me for what I did and they want nothing to do with me.
My husband admits that he has talked to his mom and told her that I NEVER mistreated his brother and that he should have been the one to tell him to move out and it was his mistake that he didn’t. Since his brother moved out a month ago, my husband goes to family gatherings without me and he takes our youngest daughter. My oldest daughter is from my first marriage. I told him that she is not allowed to be around his family since they no longer accept me. Blood family is more important to them anyway.
It hurts me that my husband let me become the bad person in this whole thing. He wants to be seen as the good guy to his family, like he can do no wrong. Even though he tells me that the girls and I are HIS family and priority, I don’t believe him. His family of origin will come first and I will be sitting in the backseat. All this has proved to me that my daughter and I come second and he will NEVER defend me. — Undefended
If you truly feel that way, you need to have some serious discussions with your husband about it. Tell him it’s not enough to be told you are a priority in his life — his actions need to reflect that and they don’t right now. Tell him you want him to defend you more to his family.
And… do you want to go to family get-togethers with these people? If not, maybe it’s not such a bad thing that you aren’t invited. You can do your own thing and not mingle with people who aren’t nice to you. If this is about wanting your husband to skip family get-togethers, or to bring your older daughter (whom you said couldn’t go with him), then you need to tell him that. If this is about his spending too much time with his family of origin and not you, be clear about that.
Neither of you is going to change his family’s behavior, but you can change the way you react to it, and he can change the way he reacts to it. If what you want from him is to take more of a stand against their ill treatment of you, tell him that and tell him what that would look like. Right now it sounds like you are really mad at him, but he doesn’t know that and he doesn’t know why you are. So tell him. Give him a chance to modify his behavior. And if he doesn’t, and if you’re still feeling like you aren’t a priority for him and that other people come before you, you should move into discussing the state of your marriage and whether it makes sense for it to continue.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.