My sister thinks her husband is cheating, but he denies it. My
brother-in-law pays the bills, but drinks himself to sleep. In the last
six months, he has stayed out all night several times. My sister has
seen inappropriate text messages and semi-naked photos from a woman on
her husband’s cell phone, but she is afraid to mention this
because she knows that she should not have spied. My sister is afraid
to be alone and does not believe she can make it on her own. How can I
Encourage your sister to see and accept reality: Her husband lies,
cheats and is addicted to alcohol. He bid the marriage adios
months ago, and that means your sister has plenty of experience
“making it on her own.” After all, she has been a single
parent since her husband checked out of the relationship and into an
affair with alcohol and another woman. But your sister is blinded by
denial about her marriage, so she can’t admit that she is already
on her own. Why is she so scared? She is afraid of being lonely.
Loneliness is a normal human response to isolation, but it’s also
a choice. If we are uncomfortable being alone, we need more
solitude—the experience of contentment while alone. A person who
truly likes himself or herself, or wants to, schedules periods of
solitude. A day hiking in the mountains, a weekend stay at a retreat
center or an afternoon at the beach can provide the silence we require
to be aware of the self-corrections we need to live healthy, honest
One last issue: Tell your sister to stop worrying about the cell
phone check. No, it was not the right thing to do. Yes, it reveals her
desperation. She knew intuitively that something was wrong and she
wanted proof. Evidence arrived and she is ignoring it. It’s time
for her to understand that this crisis is an opportunity to build her
self-esteem by making choices that show her worth, instead of clinging
to a man who is already gone.
My 16-year-old niece informed me she is pregnant and asked me not
to tell her mother. We have always been close, and though I am grateful
that she confided in me, I am not certain whether I ought to keep this
situation confidential. I am concerned about my sister’s reaction
when she discovers that I knew but did not tell her. Plus, my niece
plans to give the baby up for adoption. I would like to adopt the baby.
I am a 40-year-old gay man, single, financially secure and longing for
a family of my own. I am just not certain how to break this news to my
niece and her mother. Any ideas?
Your niece trusts the established confidentiality of your
relationship with her. That’s says a lot about the kind of uncle
you have been. But confidentiality should always be broken when the
person with the secret might be harmed or might harm someone else.
Pregnancy is a health issue: physically, mentally, emotionally,
spiritually and financially. Your niece needs to see a doctor and,
perhaps, a psychotherapist. So give her a 14-day deadline. Offer to
stand with her as she tells her mother. If she fails to fess up, you
must inform your sister.
It’s wonderful that you are willing to adopt the baby. As the
situation unfolds, you will know the right moment to share the good
news. In the meantime, chat with other single dads. It’s
difficult raising a child alone and a major lifestyle change for
someone who has lived solo. Be certain that you understand and accept
the lifelong responsibility.
another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of
those who have lighted the flame within us,” wrote Albert
Schweitzer, medical doctor and theologian. Who lights your fire?