Since you say you and Bob have been married twenty-four years and that your SIL’s behavior at the beach house didn’t used to bother you but now you find it disgusting and you suddenly can’t stand Bob’s flirting ways and “smirk thing,” — or at least, you’ve finally been driven to write to an advice columnist after all these years of marriage, I’m going to go out on a wild limb and presume that there have been some issues between you and Bob that have cropped up recently/gradually. And your being beautiful doesn’t preclude you and your husband from having these issues or his seeking attention from other women because he’s missing something from you or because he’s seeking an escape or distraction — even a momentary one — from the tension in your marriage. This isn’t about other women — not even about your SIL and her huge boobs. This is about you and your husband and whatever’s going on between you two that has made you suddenly feel threatened by other women. So do some soul-searching, communicate with Bob, let him know it hurts your feelings when he smirks at and flirts with other women, and discuss how the two of you can better connect. And consider forgoing the beach rental with your brother and sister-in-law until you and your husband are on better footing and can sustain the presence of another woman’s boobs in the same home for a week.
After that she would drop by every three months, eat dinner, and watch a little tv. It was still uncomfortable for me, but I decided to hang in since she is my sister. The problem is that no matter how much I say “no” she shoves money at me every time she leaves. I lost my job two years ago, but we are by no means struggling financially. The last time I called her a couple of days later and explained that we are family and her visit is not a business transaction and it made me uncomfortable for her to leave money around my house. Well, she came by last night, ate dinner, talked a couple of hours, and left $30.00 in my sewing room. I am still finding my way with how I feel about her ditching me for years and then showing back up, and so I am still a little uncomfortable around her. I want her to understand that she can’t leave money at my house. I don’t need the money and it makes me feel like a charity case. I am at my wit’s end! I have no idea what to do at this point. Any ideas? — Not a Charity Case
First, how about visiting with your sister somewhere else besides your house? What about having a regular lunch or dinner date where you can catch up and each take turns treating the other? Or, can you drop by her house instead of her always coming to your house? What about catching a movie together, or going for a walk, or asking if she’d like you to accompany her to visit her husband’s gravesite? Any of these ideas might help avoid her shoving money at you, but if you can’t avoid her coming to your house and/or giving you money, tell her that because you don’t need the money and because she can’t stop herself from giving it to you, you’ll be donating it to charity from now on. Maybe you can even donate the money in her late husband’s name to a charity that supports his memory. If you do that, be sure to have a receipt sent to her address so she knows where the money is going.
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