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Health & Spirit

When to tell niece about her husband's inappropriate behavior

Carolyn Hax on

He has professed "feelings" many times for my older daughter and it made her so sick. She is very close to my niece. We told him to never talk about that again. He stopped for about a year but started up again. And now I've found out that he twice asked my younger one to play strip poker with him. My girls didn't know how to handle it other than to tell him to stop. Should I tell my niece? She might leave him for something like this.

-- Broken Heart again

Perhaps she should.

It's a pattern; your daughters said no and he's still pursuing them; and your niece is apparently oblivious. If presented with those facts myself, I'd tell my niece. No -- I'd monitor closely, but urge my daughters to tell their cousin themselves, even the 17-year-old. She is, presumably, out on her own more than she's with you and therefore needs big bad world advocacy skills. They tell him no, they walk away, they tell their cousin. Empower them to empower each other.

To: Broken Heart:

Take care to support your daughters. Tell them the husband is crossing a line. E.g., "It's not your fault. It's a power play by people who think they can get away with it. Do not be shamed, bullied, gaslighted or intimidated into tolerating it, not even for fear of upsetting your cousin. Do not make excuses for it. Do not stay for more. Say, Stop. Knock it off. Slap handsy hands. Don't fear making a scene."

 

-- Anonymous

Amen, thanks.

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Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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