Why doesn’t my husband push his ignorant sister away? Ask Ellie


Q: My seemingly loving husband lets everything down when I need him … help with our kids, problems at work, etc.

We have two beautiful daughters – one, 17, is mine from a previous relationship. My husband and I met when she was eight years old.

We got married three years later and had another daughter. I believe he is no different from the two girls. Nothing seems to bother / bother him.

My problem arises when we are with his family. Most of them are awesome, with the exception of one subject.

My oldest daughter is allergic to peanuts. For 10 years that this subject has been mentioned, I have been getting angry. My sister-in-law thinks that schools should not accept children with peanut allergies.

At first I was taken aback and did not confront her, nor my husband. Periodically, she has expressed her opinion in a rude and neutral manner.

I hold on without losing my temper. My husband said nothing!

My brother-in-law says he agrees with his wife, and I am visibly upset, feeling personally attacked.

They talk about the safety of children. My adult daughter understands her allergy but when she was little I was afraid to send her to school!

My sister-in-law has very strong and weird opinions and is a “poor me” person.

I always try to love him because we are family. And I fear that one day I will lose my temper with her. But I also feel like I’m betraying my daughter.

And I’m so disappointed with my husband’s silence, it makes me love and respect him less!

I asked him to speak. He does not, although he advocates less worthy causes.

How do you make them understand how hurtful or disturbing their comments are? Does this show a lack of love for us from my husband’s side?

A: The serious risks of your daughter’s peanut allergy have been mitigated (but not removed) by her maturing towards understanding and knowledge. You end up with two other problems.

1. Ignorance of those who fail to see the need for help from schools to save children’s lives from this potential disaster.

With so many other safe foods available for school meals or treats, the support and attention of school boards and those who interact with children with allergies on a daily basis, it’s a given. For opponents, it is either meanness or distorted politics.

Leave the room / meeting when your sister-in-law expresses her opposing views. If it persists, it is to bother you on purpose.

2. Your husband is on the wrong side here. He thinks he is fair to everyone or that he is avoiding a major family breakup. He’s wrong, hurting those who matter most – you and your daughter.

If the two of you can’t change the subject, both of you go out, calmly, every time. Your silent disdain and visual unity are essential for your marriage as well as respect for your daughter.

The Food Allergy Canada website makes it clear: Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can be life threatening. This can happen within seconds / minutes of being exposed to something you’re allergic to, like peanuts or bee stings.

Feedback Regarding the man still angry at his wife’s cheating for a long time (November 8):

Reader: “Why should she apologize?” It is he who cannot forget the past. Every time he lifts it up, she may wonder if she made the right decision to stay married.

“She’s trying to solve a marriage problem. She didn’t ask him to apologize for what he did / didn’t do to make her wander. She is moving forward to improve her marriage.

“Maybe he should consider her future if she tires of her ‘need to know’ and returns to her past love.”

Ellie: A “mutual excuse” could erase the mutual hurts, between them.

Ellie’s Tip of the Day

Everyone in the family should be aware of the risks to someone living with a peanut allergy.

Ellie Tesher is a consulting columnist for The Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions by email: [email protected]


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