Miserable Marriage

January 21, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

I’m very worried about my brother. He just got engaged to a cold fish no one in our family thinks he’ll be happy with down the line. I’m afraid that if I confront him about how we all feel and he marries her anyway, there will be a rift within our family.

My brother and his group of friends all got engaged to their high school sweethearts. His friends all got married a few years ago, but my brother wasn’t ready back then. His girlfriend got frustrated about waiting and broke up with him. She eventually married someone else.

Last year my brother turned 30 and proposed to the woman he was casually dating at the time. They have nothing in common and she is cold, demanding, and controlling. She has her claws into him so deep that he does whatever she wants, even distancing himself from us.

She clearly wants him all to herself and it will only get worse after they get married. I don’t know what to do. Please give me some advice.  


Dear Josie,

     You made a very good point at the beginning of your letter.  If you confront your brother regarding his choice of a wife, a rift in your family could likely result.  I would expand that concern – the fact that you and your family have labeled his girlfriend “cold, demanding, and controlling” may be the reason that your brother is currently pulling away from you.

     As difficult as it may be, I strongly encourage you to have an open mind towards your brother’s girlfriend. The best case scenario is that you’ve misjudged her and once you get to know her better you will see in her what your brother does.

     Another possibility is that you have judged her correctly, in which case your brother needs his family more than ever. Respect your brother’s choice and his right to make it. Be kind and supportive. Don’t judge.

I wish you and your family the very best outcome for all involved. Please let me know how things work out.