Ask Danielle: My sister is living a double life

A sister living a double life, and a husband holding the purse strings...The Weekly's Danielle Colley tackles your family issues.

By Danielle Colley
Dear Danielle,
My sister is having an affair. It’s not so much the affair that bothers me, or a loyalty to her husband whom I’m ambivalent about, but the fact that it is ongoing long term and she seems to think it’s perfectly okay to live a double life.
Not only that, but she also drags me into it by inviting me out of a girl’s evening, only for her lover to join us. She has also asked me to cover for her before by saying we’re together when we’re not.
I love my sister, and I’m trying not to judge her. She’s always been the bohemian one and she says she simply doesn’t feel that the confines of “normal” relationships are for her, but she has no intention of leaving her husband.
I’m really not comfortable with any of it and I’m not sure how to broach it without her thinking that I’m judging her.
From, The Good Sister
Dear Good Sister,
There are a few issues here that you need to address. None of those issues are your love for your sister so you need to take that out of the equation, and think a little about yourself and the position your sister is putting you in.
She is behaving incredibly selfishly. I’m not referring to her affair or the treatment of her husband by living a long term double life which is pretty selfish. I’m referring to her behaviour towards you.
She is so comfortable with her deceit that she doesn’t see that she is putting you in a tricky predicament by making you a party to it. If you truly do not wish to pass judgement or get involved, then that is your choice, but she is involving you by asking you to lie for her and introducing you to her lover.
I imagine this situation will make family events awkward at best for you, and at worst you will be caught in the lie. That is seriously uncool.
I recommend you tell her honestly how you feel about her involving you and let her know that whatever she does is her business but you do not wish to be put in this position any longer.
If you speak honestly from your heart, I’m sure she will understand that you need to protect yourself from this sticky, sticky scenario.
Take care.
Dear Danielle,
I have been with my husband for five years, married for two. We have a child together and another on the way and we are looking into buying a home together. We both have savings set aside from before our marriage in a separate account so we are essentially on equal footing there.
The thing is, he is working, and I am staying home with the children and he refuses to get a joint bank account. He pays all of the bills and expenses and gives me an allowance for groceries. All of my friends have joint accounts with their partners and they have brought to my attention that this is strange.
If I need any extra it’s not an issue, but it feels as though I’m asking permission to buy things like a new pair of shoes for myself or our daughter. I have access to the home savings but it is an unspoken agreement that that is not touched as it’s for our future.
I don’t have a bad record with credit debt or anything that could concern him as to my trustworthiness with money, so this is actually starting to cause a rankle in my guts.
What do you suggest?
From, PocketMoney
Dear PocketMoney,
Married couples have many different arrangements concerning money, it is a very personal choice.
My own marriage was similar to this until we bought a house together and then we got a joint account. I think it’s important you stop listening to your friends and what they do with their partners and work out if this is something that really bothers you for a valid reason.
Have you explained to your husband that you are a team, how having to ask for money makes you feel?
It is often difficult for a one time bread winner to become a stay-at-home carer and feel as though they have no money of their own. It’s important that the person working out of the home ensures that the stay-at-home feels valued and that the money is THE FAMILY’S money.
If this is a subject that you have discussed many times but you don’t like you are being heard, I would actually recommend you discuss it in counselling before the rankle in your belly turns into something insidious. Money is a big one in relationships and it you feel unequal now another baby and a mortgage will only add more pressure.
Seeking counselling before a problem gets bad is a wise path. Maybe a chat with a professional will bring you closer together and this will be a blessing in disguise.
Best of luck.
Danielle is not a qualified counsellor and all advice is opinion-based only, to be followed at the responsibility of the recipient.
Do you have a dilemma or conundrum you would like to ask Danielle?
Drop her a line at askdanielle@bauer-media.com.au and she will endeavour to help you sort your life out.

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