Q: My husband travels frequently with a work crew. It is not unusual for them to be gone for months at a time. During these absences, some of the married men on this crew cheat on their wives, who are at home with their children.
I feel guilty knowing they are cheating. I don’t want them bringing home any sexually transmitted diseases to their unsuspecting spouses. My husband says I should stay out of it because it’s not my business, but I feel bad saying nothing.
Should I speak to the wives? I have seen the cheating firsthand, so I’m certain it is happening. I would want to know if it were me. — Torn in the Northeast
A: You have a moral dilemma, one that I can’t decide for you. It is extremely important that you talk further with your husband about this. While I respect your motivation to disclose what you have seen to the wives, before doing anything you must carefully consider what the consequences could be. If you do what you are contemplating, your husband is sure to be ostracized by his co-workers. He could lose his job, and you your marriage.
Q: I’m a 14-year-old girl with two younger brothers. They fight all the time, which I understand is normal. The problem is, my dad favors my youngest brother. If there’s a conflict between my brothers, he always punishes the oldest whether he deserves it or not. I have come to realize that this is because of my dad’s own bad relationship with his older brother and that this is his way of getting revenge.
It’s taking a toll on my brother emotionally because he already struggles with school and sports. I’m afraid he will become depressed. My mom will never speak up about it, and when I do, despite my good relationship with my dad, he punishes me. Sometimes I’m afraid he’ll become violent. I feel boxed in, Abby. Please help. — Stuck Sister
A: You’re a brave girl, and I’m glad you wrote. Regardless of how dysfunctional your father’s relationship may have been with his older brother, it does not give him the right to abuse your brother. Your mother may be afraid of your father, or she would have put a stop to it years ago.
You say you are afraid your father will become violent with you, which suggests that you have seen it happen to other family members. If you try to discuss this further with your dad, you might be at risk for violence.
It’s important that you find an adult you trust who can intervene on your brother’s behalf: a teacher, a relative or even a neighbor. Another strong male may be what it takes to protect your brother.
P.S. If this doesn’t solve the problem, please write to me again and let me know.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.