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Annie’s Mailbox: Save marriage over money for family

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: I am married to a wonderful man who loves my kids and me very much. Since the first of our five children was born, I’ve stayed home to raise them. The problem is his family.

My husband’s brother has been in and out of jobs, jail and rehab his entire life. Several months ago, he was hurt on the job and has been fighting to get workers’ compensation. Since he currently has no job and no money, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law think we should contribute to pay his rent, which is about $600 a month. Annie, we cannot afford this. We have five kids and our own expenses. We live comfortably, but we don’t have a lot to spare.

Another of my husband’s brothers recently asked us for a loan of several thousand dollars. We already loaned this brother money a few years ago and have yet to see a dime paid back.

Is it just me, or is it wrong of my in-laws to ask us to help support my 51-year-old brother-in-law, who is also an alcoholic and drug user? All these requests for money are causing a rift between my husband and me. Please help. – Bad Daughter-in-Law

Dear DIL: No, you do not have to help your grown relatives out of their own jams, especially when they have proved to be poor risks in the past. However, this is your husband’s family, and he apparently wants to continue giving to the cause. Discuss it calmly with him so he can understand that his family members are taking advantage of his generous nature. If he still insists on loaning money to his brothers, put aside a specific amount that you can afford to lose, and let him do with it as he pleases. It is not worth wrecking your marriage over this.

Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
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