Corrupt family tree

Joey Garcia

My husband is wonderful but comes from a corrupt family. His brothers have been incarcerated for drugs, weapons and assault. His parents are alcoholics. His sister is a slut; Child Protective Services took her kids away. When we were dating, he rarely saw his family because they refused to travel out of town and he could not afford to return home. After we bought a house, his brothers started dropping by unannounced, and his mother invites us over every week. These experiences are always chaotic and dangerous. We just celebrated his mother’s birthday, and the two older brothers got into a drunken fistfight. I started screaming and the neighbors called the police. Can I tell my husband that he has to choose me or them?

Please don’t. Instead, talk to your husband about feeling unsafe around his family. Don’t try to convince him that your opinion is right and his is wrong. Don’t use words to describe his family (like “slut”) that you wouldn’t accept as a label for yourself, your parents or siblings. Just tell him what you are afraid of, ask for what you want and tell him how he can help you. Create a true heart-to-heart: kind and simple so he can arrive at a healthy decision on his own.

Of course, before that conversation, you need to ask yourself why you waited until now to handle this concern. You knew his family history before you married him, right? So please don’t treat your man like he waited until he plunked a ring on your finger before opening the closet and showing you the scary skeletons. Give him the benefit of the doubt: Whatever he didn’t say, you could see. If there are things he failed to say and you failed to see, acknowledge his grief about who his family is and your fear about who your family would be, affected each of you.

The way you choose to handle this situation will reveal a lot about your maturity and the strength of your marriage. That’s because relationship challenges either deepen your love for, and commitment to, each other or strip each of you of your trust in each other and in love itself. It’s your choice: Which way do you want to live?

I met a woman online and we fell into a passionate relationship. After a month, she pulled away. Finally, she explained that her ex-husband was late with child support and she was scared. I loaned her money for two months’ rent, utilities and groceries and we were back on, hot and heavy. Another month and she needs a car. I loaned her one of my vehicles, but she pouted, so I gave her a down payment for a new car. A week later, she called because she was being evicted and confessed to spending her money at the casinos. I spent about $10,000 on her, so I refused to help. But I feel badly for her kids. I know where her ex-husband works. Do you think I should tell him what’s happening to his money?

It depends on your motivation. If your plan is to snitch so you can retaliate for being conned or to demand that he reimburse the money this woman owes you, then no way. If you want to tell him in an effort to ensure the kids are cared for, use a deadline. Tell your ex-girlfriend she must admit her gambling addiction to her ex-husband by a specific date or you will share the details with him for the sake of her children. Stick to the date no matter what sweet seduction she offers. And please, next time, get to know someone before dishing out the dollars. You’re gambling with your heart by playing bank to a babe.

Meditation of the week
“What the superior person seeks is within, what the small person seeks is within others,” said Confucius, the Chinese philosopher known as the Socrates of Eastern thought. Are you still distracted by stuff, or have you discovered the universe within you?

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