Dear Annie: I recently found out that my sister and my husband were engaged in an emotional affair that lasted nearly two years.
I am in remission after having been diagnosed with breast cancer. On the day of my diagnosis, my 38-year-old son died. As a consequence of chemotherapy, I developed osteoporosis and sustained two broken femurs that required months of inpatient rehab.
My sister, “Louise,” who is married and lives in another state, began asking my husband whether he would remarry when I die. He said he didn’t think so. She then told him that she had received a vision from our departed sister, who said Louise and my husband were meant to be together. Louise’s visits to our home became more frequent and lasted longer. She engaged him in outings and activities that I am completely incapable of pursuing. She flirted with and fawned over him.
After she left, I found an email my husband had written to her, saying that he adored her in every way. He said he wouldn’t betray me, but that he would definitely marry Louise after I died. All of this in secret, behind my back.
I confronted both of them, and my husband confessed his involvement and begged for forgiveness. He always has been forthright and honorable in the past, and we are working hard on our marriage. I have told her that she is never to step foot in my house again.
The problem is that my 91-year-old mother is quite ill and not likely to live much longer. I cannot be in the same room as my sister. Is there a way to honor our mother while avoiding a confrontation that will only be ugly? – Devastated
Dear Devastated: Louise is quite a piece of work. But your husband must also take responsibility for allowing his vulnerability to lead him astray. Louise deserves to be officially snubbed. That means if you end up in the same room, you do not acknowledge her presence. She is invisible to you, while you are perfectly gracious to everyone else.