Relationship expert Dr. Joyce Morley-Ball specializes in issues faced by Black women & men. Today she covers sibling relationships, crushes on younger men, and finding condoms in your wife’s purse. Want to fix your relationships? Want your questions answered by Dr. Joyce? Send questions to her at DrJoyce@FamilyDigest.com.
Mom Passed Away And Now My Brother Wants To Move Near Me
Q. My mom recently passed away and now my brother is thinking of selling his house and moving across the country to be near me and my family. I do not know if this is a good idea because he has never lived anyplace but Ohio. The only people he knows here are me and my family. I’m afraid he will want my family and me to entertain him every moment. Should I say anything to him before he comes or should I just wait and see what happens?
A. The problem doesn’t seem to be with your brother as much as it seems to be with your need to take care of your brother. Where are you in the grieving process of your mother’s journey home? Have you given your brother an indication that you need him to be near you—because you don’t seem to be able to “make it through” after your mother’s death?
I am assuming that your brother is an adult; he owns his own home. You seem to be codependent, taking it upon yourself to decide who your brother knows and doesn’t know. Have you had a conversation with your brother about what he needs and wants, or are you continuing the behavior of making decisions for him—as it seems that you and your mother have done in the past? Your brother is not your responsibility. He has not lived any other place other than Ohio, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take care of himself.
You seem to feel responsible for your brother, based on your mother’s passing. Remember, you are his sister, not his mother. What your mother didn’t prepare him for in life will not take place — she is now deceased and he is an adult. Whatever she didn’t give to your brother in order for him to become an independent man, you can’t and won’t be able to give to him. He has to step out, face life, and learn on his own.
Your brother’s not the one with the issue. You are!
Your brother will want you and your family to entertain him every moment only if you allow this to happen; evidently this is what you have done up to now. Begin to assess the reason you have tried to be responsible for your brother in the past. What is your reason now? You must begin to look at your own issues of insecurity, codependency, guilt, etc. Seek professional help from a psychotherapist. In the end, wherever your brother decides to move will be his call. He will determine his level of readiness or lack thereof. He will also decide what to do with the information he gains.
What? A Crush On A Younger Man?
Q. I have a crush on a young man in my office. I’ve been happily married for thirteen years and have four beautiful children. I would never do anything about my feelings, but I still feel guilty—like I’m cheating on my husband. How can I deal with this?
A. There is nothing wrong with you having a crush on a younger man in your office. The problem isn’t the crush as much as what you do with the feelings associated with the crush. You already know this. If you get to the point that no man (other than your husband) seems appealing, you and your husband both have a problem. To see another man as appealing, means that you are still alive and energetic. You recognize good taste and you will look, but you will not touch!
Because of the guilt you feel, it is time for you to begin to decide if there is something deeper within you that you have not resolved. Do you secretly desire to be with someone else? Do your four beautiful children remind you of the times that you could have had, should have had, or regret that you didn’t have? What’s the reason that you are attracted to a “younger man”?
You must begin to define what “happily married” truly means to you. Are you truly “happily married”? In a sense, you are cheating on your husband, because you are taking a journey inside yourself, with someone outside of the marriage. Begin to assess what characteristics your coworker possesses that excite you and might be lacking in your husband. Also, begin to determine if there is anything you and your husband can do to rekindle the fire in your relationship.
You must do something about your feelings — talk about them. Guilt is also a feeling. Either you talk about your feelings and their origin or you will continue to suffer within. When you suffer within, you cause others outside and around you to suffer also — your husband and your “four beautiful children.”
Be honest with yourself. Determine if this is your first “crush” or if this is an ongoing unresolved inner issue. If you cannot bring yourself to come to the reality and understanding of what is going on with you at this time and in your current space, seek professional help. At some point, it is also imperative that you share your feelings with your husband. Who knows, he might have also taken the same journey, if not currently, in the past. He just might understand.
I Found Condoms In My Wife’s Purse!
Q. I recently found condoms in my wife’s purse when she asked me to get something for her. She and I don’t use condoms! I don’t know how to handle this and so I’ve done nothing. Everything between us is fine — except for what I found. What should I do?
A. Although finding condoms in your wife’s purse was surprising, I am sure that it was also perplexing. There are two scenarios riding here. Your wife could be innocent. Either the condoms don’t belong to her and she forgot that they were in her purse and therefore she has nothing to hide; or the most devastating scenario is that she set you up to discover the condoms because they do belong to her, with intent to use.
The problem isn’t that you haven’t physically done anything as much as it is that you haven’t said anything about your findings. Not voicing your opinion and/or concern translates into you not doing anything. Your first question to yourself needs to be, “What do I want to do?” Communication is one of the most essential aspects of a healthy relationship and marriage.
You will not have answers if you don’t ask questions. What are you afraid of? To remain silent is not only dangerous to your own psyche; it will eventually cause problems between you and your wife. The two of you must have a discussion about the situation, allowing you to share your findings, your feelings, and your concerns. Your wife also deserves an opportunity to give an explanation for the condoms being in hr purse.
An even greater issue you must consider, once your wife has given an explanation, is whether or not you believe her, and whether or not you trust her. If everything between the two of you is truly fine, as you stated, the two of you should be able to work out the situation.
On the other hand if you are honest about how things between you and your wife have been and currently are, and they are not well, there will need to be a major intervention. That intervention is not best made by family and/or friends, but by a professional psychotherapist.
**Dr. Joyce Morley was born the youngest of fourteen children and is the mother of three daughters. She is the owner and CEO of Morley & Associates, Inc. and is affectionately known as “Dr. Joyce, the Luv Doctor”. Learn more at DoctorJoyce.com.**