Dear Ms. Anon Advice,I’m writing to you because I don’t know what else to do who else to turn to. A little background: we are two sisters, our mother passed away quite a while ago, my father is a heart patient and quite old. We belong to an upper middle class family. Both of us sisters are married, I’m the elder one.

The thing is, I keep getting this feeling that my brother in law is making a pass at me. But because I can’t be a 100% sure, I can’t take my troubles to anyone. He has never done anything that could get him into immediate trouble, he is always on borderline. So much so that the desparate-for-normalcy human inside me sometimes thinks maybe I’m over thinking his normal uncle-jokes and that persona. But then again sometimes I feel if he was like that, he would be like that with everyone, no? And yet, I know that you don’t get free with everyone, so maybe he is this chummy with only those he feels close with. However, that doesn’t make sense sometimes, because how can he feel close to me, even like an elder sister? I’m living at my in-laws, he and my sister are living at her in-laws, we meet weekly or fortnightly when both sisters end up visiting my father at the same time.

I can’t tell my husband, because he is the kind who would immediately pick a fight with my brother in law without properly investigating. He will also reatrict me from visiting my maika, which is not fair to me or my father or my unsuspecting sister.

I can’t tell my sister because if there is nothing, this might bring a little tension in our relationship, and if there is something, it will jeopardize her marriage and even then I fear she might hold me responsible.

This brings me to another huge issue, my biggest fear actually: what if my brother in law turns it on me, that I’m coming on to him, then what will I do, where will I go?

I can’t discuss this with my friends or family because it would immediately blow up and it’ll tarnish our reputation only, even if everything comes out clean. Please help me I’m going insane.

Thank you,
Yours sincerely,
Desperate housewife.


Dear Desperate Housewife,

Thank you for writing to me.
I am sorry you have to go through such tough times.

You seem to have covered all bases but I don’t know what you yourself are doing when faced with such settings. So assuming that you and him are not related outside of his marriage to your sister, I’ll cut right to the chase.

First of all, whether there are such advances from him or not, you need to toughen up how you carry yourself around him. So instead of giving him benefit of doubt and being all warm sisterly, be a little more Stern around him. Try not to be around him when alone. If you feel like he makes such advances in public via jokes you deem inappropriate, call him out on them there and then. Play the age card. Put him right then and there by not laughing or acknowledging his jokes even if others do, and gently remind everyone that this is not appropriate topics of discussion in such gatherings. Use the children card if you must, whether you have children or not. If he is a decent innocent guy who just has that kind of free-ness for people he considers family, his behavior would hopefully change at least around you and he’d tread more carefully and more respectfully around you. If he isn’t the decent type, at least you’ll know with time that you need to be on your guard around him. This is where you start cutting out his advances strictly and in the bud. Call him out immediately, with something along the lines of, Bro, you’re making me uncomfortable,” or “Aisi baatain aap ko zaib nahin detien, ainda gurez kijiye GA mujhe pasand nahin,”. You get the drift? Do note however, that if he continues despite your initial expression of distaste, then you need to be very careful before you decide he is guilty or not, because he just might be a dumb happy go lucky person trying to inject humor or ice breakers everywhere he goes.

Additionally, whenever you feel threatened, change topics, talk about your sister or your husband a lot. Cut out every opportunity he gets to get any message across to you subtly if that is what he’s trying to do. Either he’ll back off, or he’ll have to become more aggressive or expressive rather, to get his point across to you, in which case he will have to come out more openly, which is when you can report him, with proof.

This is where you should also realize, if you haven’t already, that you can’t report this to anyone without proof. So if you’re really looking to end this once and for all, either way, then gear up a little and perhaps record a few of these interactions which you feel are advances. Don’t try to trap him though, you don’t seem like that kind of a person, nor do you want to tarnish your reputation just because you went looking for proof where there was none. But do stay prepared to gather evidence in case you ever need it. I’d also advise you, given your circumstances, that if you ever do reach the conclusion that he is in fact guilty as you charge, then keep it to yourself unless you see some grave danger to yourself or your sister or kids in the future. Or unless you have sufficient proof to nail him. But again, my bottom line advice to you under any circumstances is to play very safe. From what you’ve told me about the kind of person your husband is, you don’t want it coming to bite you in the ass. Additionally, your father is a heart patient as well, so only yiu can be the judge if how and when to play your cards.

I truly hope you come out of all this safe and sound.

All the best.

Anon Advice

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