No, he’s not a sex addict!

My husband’s cousin has been staying with us temporarily, but now she’s accusing my husband of being abusive. I want her out of our home!

She’s crossed a line, says our elder. Have a word with your husband.

Dear EWC

For about the last two months my husband’s cousin has been staying with us as she is going through a rather nasty divorce. My husband is an only child and has always described her as the sister he never had so I was fine with her coming to stay. About three weeks ago she cornered me in the kitchen and accused my husband of being an abusive sex addict and told me I should stop sleeping with him and demand he gets help. I have never thought of our intimate relationship as anything but normal. My husband has always been very affectionate and likes to kiss and cuddle.

She has started saying nasty things to me, usually when I am alone, so now I am avoiding her in my own home, but she is always as sweet as pie in front of my husband. I don’t want to upset my husband but I feel like I should say something to him about her behaviour. I am worried she will deny what she has been doing, but I don’t think I want her in our home any longer.

William replies

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your dilemma with us.

From what you’ve written, you are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. While I’m no professional, I’d say she is still hurting from her unpleasant divorce. She probably sees you as a wedge between her “shoulder to cry on”, your husband, and herself. On the surface, it seems you are in a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” situation. She and your husband were/are very close. She currently has little use for marriage, and that’s understandable. Since they had an almost brother and sister relationship, it’s understandable that she would resent you.

In my view, she crossed the line when she made up the story about your husband. If he were as she described, you’d know. You say he is the exact opposite, and that’s the most believable side of this conflicting story. I don’t know if she has psychological problems, or if she’s looking for a way to get him for herself as a confidant. That sort of assessment would require a professional evaluation, and that’s something we at EWC can’t do.

Regardless of the severity of her problem, it’s not fair to you. You have to tell your husband what’s going on. He won’t want to hear it, and no doubt his cousin will spin her side of the story to make you sound like a jealous or overprotective wife. I believe you have gone out of your way to help her in a time of need. Unfortunately, her marriage fell apart, but it’s not your and your husband’s responsibility to look after her indefinitely. During my 46 years of marriage, a few times we’ve taken in relatives who were having problems or offered a helping hand when they had issues. That’s the easy part — being there as a temporary helping hand. The hard part is getting them to understand it’s temporary.

My advice to you is to tell your husband exactly what you’ve written in your letter to us. Likely it will come as a shock, and he may find it hard to believe. Regardless of this, you have a right to a happy marriage. You did nothing wrong. You do not deserve to have your husband described as “an abusive sex addict” when you know that’s not true. Make sure your husband knows the stress and problems his cousin is causing you. It’s time for you two, as a team, to tell her you’ve helped her and now she should move on. I don’t think it’s healthy to keep her around if she’s causing you all this angst. Trust me; it won’t solve itself or get any better if you keep quiet about it.

Talk to your husband. Get him onside. Unfortunately, I see this as an either/or situation. He has to choose between his wife and his cousin. You are correct when you say, “I don’t want her in our home any longer.” The keyword is “our.” Marriage is a two-way street, and we often have to deal with our partner’s relatives, good or bad. You have done your part, and it’s time to move on. She’s causing you too much trouble. Her breakup may have even caused her some delusional beliefs. I don’t know, but I can say that it’s usually is a good idea to listen to your intuition, thoughts, and feelings about an unsettling situation. Something doesn’t seem right here, and it’s not your problem to fix. Talk this over with your husband. You need to be adamant that his cousin lives elsewhere sooner rather than later.

I wish you clarity, confidence, courage, and happiness as you move forward.

Letter #: 447710
Category: Marriage

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