Carolyn Hax: the wife wants to move on, but her relative is still talking about the adventure



(Adapted from a recent online discussion.)

Dear Carolyn:

Many years ago, my spouse had a brief badual relationship with a friend of ours, then he became clean and cut ties with the friend. We went to therapy and we solved the problems that led to the issue and we came out of this with what I think is a much stronger marriage. Since then, we have had a child, we have bought a house and we have adopted pets together. Our bond is strong and we are not planning to break.

However, a certain relative of mine, one we see very often, insists on treating my spouse as a flight risk. This relative was one of the only people I trusted after I discovered the matter because I thought that he could be trusted to help me retain objectivity when we decided what to do about it. Instead, it is making it difficult for me to actively move forward emotionally, and every time we surround ourselves, I have to suffer through the reminders of that difficult time.

How can I make another person believe what I now believe: that my marriage is stronger for the matter and that my spouse is not an evil person who can never be trusted again?

– remembered

The answer is never to "make" anyone "believe" in anything; keep it for your current and future use.

Also please accept my sympathies. Having your confidante carefully selected, basically turns you on, is an additional burden where you hardly need it.

But going back to the problem of "getting someone else to do it": I'm not saying it's never worthwhile explaining what you need, asking someone directly and then waiting for your message to arrive. In this case, I am sure that he has made the case to his relative that he has worked hard since the matter has strengthened his marriage, and that was a reasonable approach to try.

But when his relative was impbadive about this information, that was his signal to abandon the effort of persuasion and adopt a "think what he likes" approach, because only his opinion is important.

Launch this phase with the last definitive conversation about it: "You have expressed your opinion, dear relative, I have discussed it, you are willing to look me in the eyes and accept, right now, to leave this once and for all. you are not, then I need a Plan B. "

Plan B is a version of distancing from this relative, but he does not need to find out yet; You can think about where to draw the line and how to apply it, then update this relative as needed.

But as you discover it, absolutely, 100%, you can choose not to get involved with this relative again on that topic, and you must choose that to send an "abandonment" message effectively. Hang up, leave the room, respond without incursions, but stay firm.

Relative: "Let me remind you again of that difficult moment."

You: "[the weirder the better]. "

Once you have clearly stated your point – "No. Next topic" – feel free to use the non-answers as an opportunity to entertain yourself, especially if this person is an integral part (as in, difficult part to avoid). of your life.

Send an email to Carolyn at [email protected], follow it on Facebook in or chat with her online at 9 a.m. Pacific time every Friday at

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

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