When Something Is Not Yours To Tell
Dear Margo: This is a tough one. My BFF, “Vera,” recently found out that her hubby of 12 years was having an affair with her own sister, who is married with two kids. Vera has no kids and was never really close to her sis. Hubby begged for forgiveness, but she is divorcing him anyway.
Now comes the hard part: Sis begged her not to disclose the reason she is divorcing to their family because that would mean divorce for her, too, and great suffering for her lovely, well-mannered little boys. Vera says sis has always been a loving, caring mother who now says she is deeply sorry and that she must have been mad during the whole mess. I am wary of giving my friend advice, but she clearly hopes for some. I have no sympathy for sis, whose behavior is responsible for the boys’ happiness being in jeopardy, but I think she may have a point. What is the right thing to do? — On the Fence
Dear On: I believe Vera should say nothing if she can control herself and her anger. People being people, you are not the only one who knows, so my hunch is that someone will blow the whistle on the husband-snatching sister. Encourage Vera to take the high road — and let someone else fall into the ditch. Considering the little boys is a valid — and admirable — guideline. I feel certain that, down the line, Vera will feel better about herself, and if the duplicitous sister behaves herself, maybe it will prove to be a one-time transgression. — Margo, decently
Relatives and Money
Dear Margo: My 23-year-old stepsister (10 years younger) recently married a 37-year-old man who is unemployed. As far as I know, he has never held a “real” job but takes temporary work. Since they eloped last year, she has been paying the bills. I am not sure when or how much money he has brought in since they married.
They recently wanted to move into a new house and asked me to be their guarantor because neither of them has a stable job. (Sister is a part-time waitress and sells stuff on eBay. She insists she earns enough to pay rent.) Conferring with my husband, I told her that she could use a paid service that will guarantee her payment.
When I first moved out of my parents’ house for college, they had just declared bankruptcy. I had no older sibling to call, and it never occurred to me to ask someone else to become liable should I fall back on payments. It meant I didn’t have the range of apartments to choose from, and I had to pay about 1 percent of my rent to the service. I paid my way through college and built a professional career, so now I have a comfortable life.
I believe that since they are adults and neither one has a steady job or an education (their choice), they should live within their means and within the range of choices available. Now my stepsister is not talking to me. — Elder Sister
Dear El: A silent sister is a small price to pay for not becoming financially responsible for a couple who, let us say, do not have their act together. I think you did the prudent thing and dodged a bullet. Alas, there are people who would not be overly upset if someone else got stuck. Carry on. — Margo, cautiously
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
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