To my way of thinking, we are basically good friends now. He never kisses me, and there’s no affection. But we get along great. I asked whether we are roommates/best buds now, and he became angry and said, “Of course not.” I’m not bragging, but men flirt with me all the time, and it makes me so frustrated and sad that my own guy has zero interest in me, intimately. I asked him politely, numerous times in the last couple years, about talking to a doctor. Maybe he has testosterone issues or something else. He said he would, but he never does. I’m running out of patience. I’m communicating and trying to be understanding. Now I’m imagining us breaking up. A male friend whom I’m mutually attracted to is flirting more and more. I’m feeling weak and emotionally and physically starved for love. — Starved for Love
Leaving a relationship that no longer serves you – that hasn’t served you for years, after communication has failed to fix the problem, isn’t weak, and it sounds like that’s what you need to do at this point. There are a host of reasons your boyfriend isn’t showing interest in being intimate with you, and few of them are even related to you. This is a problem he needs to be willing to address, and he isn’t. Even after you’ve brought it to his attention numerous times, letting him know how important this is to you and how much you miss feeling close to him, he still just ignores the problem. He’d rather you continue feeling neglected, rejected, and frustrated than whatever negative thing – anxiety and embarrassment maybe – he’s afraid seeking help would make him feel. There’s not a happy future with someone like that. It’s time to move on.
After SIL failed to get my BIL to break up with my sister (literally she demanded he choose – and he chose my sister), SIL started drinking more and taking prescription pills. Eventually, she was fired from a job minding infants when she fell asleep on the job. Her parents were going to help her sue for wrongful termination until someone pulled her dad aside and told him it wasn’t a fight he wanted.
She has been fired or quit every other job she’s held – always within one year and usually a lot sooner. She lived in an apartment her parents owned. They bought her a car. They sent her to the rehab of her choice when she needed to get clean. And the next rehab and the next rehab and the next rehab. They let her move into their vacation/retirement home; then she moved in with her fiancé/eventual husband. They lived there for years. Then the parents bought an apartment so SIL could move out of their house. Her marriage fell apart and eventually she and her husband divorced. Her parents paid all costs.
She totaled her car (DUI) so they let her borrow theirs. She totaled their car (DUI) and so they got her a new car. Why? Well, she can’t get to work without a car. She has a breathalyzer thingy on the car.
She secretly married a man she had known for a few months, and he and his 16-year-old son moved in. He does not speak much English. She speaks almost no Spanish. He seems to be a good person, and likely he did not realize the extent of her problems. She OD’d a couple of months ago. Her stepson found her and called 911 while giving her CPR. Her excuse was that a friend gave her something for period cramps. They used Narcan to revive her.
Last week her husband filed a missing person report before he found she was in the hospital having OD’d again. This time on coke. The EMTs said she wasn’t breathing for at least four minutes – likely longer. She has been on a ventilator and unresponsive for over a week. The doctors do not believe she will wake up. They are removing her from the ventilator and have organ donation teams on standby. She could live for weeks or months.
So my question: What the fuck am I supposed to say to her family when I see them that will not cause any more grief and judgment? Her parents are good people, they tried their best and will spend the rest of their lives wondering if they had made different choices whether things would have been different. I didn’t often agree with their choices, but I also recognize that in the last several years they didn’t really have many options. — What to Say?
Despite all the drama around your sister’s SIL and her expected imminent death, you would say to her family what you’d say to anyone who has lost someone to a long illness and is grieving: “I’m so sorry for your loss;” “May happier memories of her be a comfort;” “I hope you can find some relief in knowing she’s no longer suffering;” “I admire how committed you were to her care;” “You were always such a strong advocate for her.” I would avoid mentioning her disease (addiction) or any specifics around past behavior, incidents, and choices made. Her parents have doubtlessly mentally replayed these a million times and likely have a host of mixed feelings around all of it. None of it even really matters right now. What matters is that their daughter is dying and they are in pain. Your brother-in-law is in pain. Even your sister may have some very sensitive feelings around the idea of losing this very complicated person in her extended family. Extend them all compassion.
Since you’re closest to your sister and you are someone who is more removed from the SIL than anyone in her husband’s family, you can be a safe space for your sister to vent in a way she likely isn’t able to with her husband and in-laws. She has to be the support system for them while you can be a support system for her. Let her know you’re there to listen without judgment, which is as simple as saying something like, “I can imagine the mixed feelings and stress you’re experiencing right now. Please know I’m here for you to listen any time, especially if you need to step away from your role as support person for a minute and just share your own feelings and thoughts.”
Once your SIL has passed away, do what you would for anyone you know who has lost a family member: send sympathy cards, attend a memorial if you’re invited, make a donation to an appropriate organization. In the interim, you can send a “thinking of you” card to her family if you feel moved to. The message here can be a simple: “You’ve been on my mind and I’m wishing you comfort through this hard time.” Again, the specifics aren’t as important as the big picture here: Loving parents are losing a daughter to a terrible disease they helped her fight for years. You are right to think of them and what you can say to offer some support.