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Annie’s Mailbox: Wife’s illness drives brother to affairs

Tue., Nov. 19, 2013

Dear Annie: My sister-in-law, “Marie,” has been diagnosed as bipolar, but doesn’t take any medication. For 25 years, it has caused serious trouble. Marie is a spiteful, evil, controlling human being. You can’t find a single person in town with a kind word to say about her. Her own daughters try to keep their distance.

My brother is afraid to leave her and instead seeks the company of other women. He’s had many affairs during their marriage. All of the men he works with are aware of this and even encourage it because they see how awful his wife is.

As brothers, we were always close, but Marie has managed to sever our relationship. My brother is not a healthy man. He works extra hours in order to stay away from home. His latest girlfriend is a beautiful, kind, sweet woman. He adores her, but is afraid of what Marie might do. She has threatened to destroy his life if he ever leaves her. Her threats are real.

While we do not condone his cheating, the family has witnessed his painful marriage. What can we do? – Brother to Brother

Dear Brother: Marie should not be allowing her bipolar disease to control her behavior. It would help if your brother could get her to see a doctor and find a medication that works for her. If she refuses and your brother is truly afraid to leave because of her threats, this would be considered emotional abuse. Suggest that he contact the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women ( at 1-888-7HELPLINE.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxW, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.


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