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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dear Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
What do you do with a sibling who has been enabled all of his life when mom is no longer around to provide for him ?
My brother has had a house to live in, a car to drive, insurance, etc. for the past 25 years . He is an alcoholic and a drug user . He doesn't work because he doesn't want to . He has an all-expenses-paid life .
When my mother dies, how do we settle the estate ? If the house is given to my brother, he would lose it because he has no concept of paying bills . My sister thinks we should sell the place , give my brother his share and move on .
Help Me
Dear Help Me ,
It's difficult to make plans in advance if you don't know whether your mother has a will that leaves the house to your brother , in which case, he is free to let it collapse into ruin .
You should consider all the possibilities, including how much responsibility you will take for your brother when the gravy train stops . Unless he gets help for his addictions, his behavior is unlikely to change . Are you comfortable throwing him out of the house ? You can't force your mother to settle these questions, although please urge her to see a lawyer .
Dear Maxy ,
I live far away from my family, but still try to keep in touch . The problem is my sister "Diane," who always misinterprets what I say .
Last month for example, we were talking about Dr. Oz when I commented that we'd have to wait 20 years to see whether some of those suggestions work . That night, Diane told my brother that I said I wouldn't care if she died . I tried to call, email and text to smooth things over, but she wouldn't answer . My mom doesn't want us to fight . I had no idea we were fighting until my brother told me .
A week later , Diane allowed me to apologize, and things were fine, but it has happened again . I suggested that we limit our Thanksgiving guests to the immediate family (24) people . Again, I got a call from my brother saying Diane thinks I hate her in-laws . I tried to contact her to explain, but she is ignoring me ..
I am tired of being the bad guy . I can't help that she interprets my comments in the worst possible way . How can I end the cycle .
Not a Meanie

 Dear Not a Meanie,
Diane sounds as if she is hypersensitive and looking for excuses to be upset with you . One of the reasons she doesn't tell you directly is because she is mulling it over, and it's much more effective if she waits and then tells your brother her own version . Then she punishes you by staying out of contact until you are groveling . She has her technique down cold and you fall for it every time .
If you think you can discuss this with her rationally, then do so . Otherwise, keep conversations short and neutral . If she becomes upset  send a sweet email saying you are sorry she is unhappy . Then leave it alone .
Dear Maxy ,
I have been married to the love of my life for 30 years . About 10 years ago we moved to be closer to friends and family . It seemed to coincide with early menopause for my wife, which brought with it zero desire for intimacy . My wife asked me whether I thought it was OK to not have sex any longer and being an acquiescent idiot, I said "fine."
Now I'm frustrated and wondering what the future holds . I am in my mid-60s, and my wife is in her early 50s . Do I go the rest of my life without ? I need the other person to have some passion for me, or it's not worth having .
Lost and Needy

 Dear Lost and Needy ,
You need to revisit this issue . No matter what you agreed to at the time you have become increasingly resentful and your wife deserves to know . This affects your marriage in a critical way . Unfortunately your wife may not agree to more intimacy and even if she does you may not get the passion you desire . Ask if she would be willing to talk to her doctor about it , and then please seek counselling .

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