Dear Coleen: I have a problem with my brother's wife and I don't know what to do

Woman looking annoyed while a man is using his phone in the background
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Dear Coleen

I have a problem with my ­brother’s wife and I don’t know what to do about it. I think my sister-in-law has always resented me, although I have no idea why she’d feel that way because I’ve been nothing but polite and friendly towards her.

She married my brother two years ago and they’ve since moved to Ireland for his work, so I don’t get to see them much any more. However, he and I are close, so we call, text and email a lot, which I think really annoys her. If I’m talking to him on the phone, he often cuts me off when she walks into the room or he’ll put me on speaker, so I have to talk to her, too.

It’s like he needs her ­permission to speak to me or has to include her in everything.

She’s quite young and ­immature, so that may be part of the problem, but she’s doing a good job of driving a wedge between us. I’ve spoken to my mum and she just says I must be imagining it and to make an effort for my brother’s sake.

The latest thing is, I bought my brother a concert ticket for his birthday, so he and I could go together and he’s now saying he’s trying to get a ticket for his wife, too.

Why can’t we just spend some (rare) time together without her being around to spoil the fun? Please advise.

Coleen says

Ooh, I hear two jealous women vying for your brother’s ­attention! Look, she probably
is jealous of your relationship and because she’s young, she’s perhaps not handling those feelings in the right way.

However, I’m kind of in her camp as far as the concert ticket goes. For me, that’s sending out the message: “You’re not invited.”

Even if you’d asked her, hoping she’d say no, maybe that would have set a different tone.

There’s an element of competition around all this but, the fact is, she’s now his wife and you can’t compete with that.

Yes, it’s great that you’re close to your brother but you can’t be as close as you were before he met his wife. You say she doesn’t like you but I also get the impression that you don’t like her, so I think she’s probably picked up on that and maybe feels a bit pushed out.

So, I think your mum is right (not that you’re imagining things), but if want to keep a good relationship with your brother, then you have to fully accept that this woman is who he’s chosen to be with.

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