March 22, 2023

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Annie Lane
Dear Annie: My fiancé’s brother and his wife have been married for 10 years. They’ve been in a “thruple” now for about six months. They recently moved their girlfriend into their home with them and their two young kids. Although I’ve tried to refrain from judging them because I’ve been told they are happy, I still choose not to be around them.
I believe marriage should be a commitment between two individuals, regardless of gender, and monogamy is a staple of maintaining a foundation of trust between two individuals who are married.
Infidelity has caused problems for them in the past, to which I consoled my future sister-in-law on many occasions. I see this just causing more problems in the long run (not just for them but the kids, too), even though it’s temporarily offered some kind of distorted amicable solution now.
My fiancé tolerates it because it’s his brother, but he doesn’t agree with it either. My decision to distance myself from their family has not affected my relationship with my fiancé. He supports my decision and is understanding.
Am I wrong to not want to be around them when this “thruple” goes against my moral convictions?
— Three’s Company
Dear Three’s Company: No, you are not wrong. Since this goes against your moral convictions, by all means keep doing what you are doing — choosing not to be around them — though you might want to reach out to your future sister-in-law. I wonder how happy she is with this new arrangement. Of course, her children had no say in the matter.
One size doesn’t fit all marriages, and no matter how close we are to someone, there’s no way of knowing what truly happens behind closed doors. But she might want to open up to you so you can understand why monogamy is not important to her. Or she might say the opposite — that this is all her husband’s idea and it is driving her crazy.
I agree with you the situation will cause more problems in the long run for the couple’s marriage, and it could have a lasting impact on their children. In the meanwhile, for those times when you must all be together, try to be as polite as possible.
Dear Annie: I ran across one of your columns the other day where the writer, “Intruding In-Laws,” had written in complaining their in-laws are a financial disaster and her husband consistently lends them money.
I would have suggested the husband sit down with his parents and tell them he’s done bailing them out but offer to pay for a course, such as Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, or buy them a book along those lines. That course does have in-person classes and online, too, but there are other similar programs.
I’d also suggest the couple go through counseling to help the husband understand why the wife is so upset with him constantly bailing the in-laws out.
— Financially Undistressed
Dear Financially Undistressed: An excellent recommendation, indeed. Financial literacy isn’t considered basic knowledge, but it’s certainly something that can be attained at any stage of life. Now’s the perfect time for these in-laws to learn.
As always, there’s also great value in counseling. Money, especially as it pertains to family, can make for situations that are difficult to navigate. Speaking in the presence of a licensed counselor can help “Intruding In-Laws” and her husband establish clear boundaries they’re both comfortable with and get on the same page for their future.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to
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Editor’s Note: Annie Lane is off this week; this column was originally published in 2019.
Dear Annie: Our son “Kyle” got a divorce after eight years of marriage. (He later told us it was because his ex-wife had an abortion.)
Dear Annie: I have been with my girlfriend for three years. She and her physically disabled son have lived with me for almost two years. I’ve …
Dear Annie: My wife and I are approaching 50 years of marriage. Recently, we went on a cruise with her childhood friend, “Cindy,” and her husb…
Dear Annie: My in-laws have been married for more than 50 years. For most of that time, it has not been a marriage of love or respect.
More people are taking loans from their retirement accounts (401(k), 403(b), etc.) than ever, simply because they can.
Annie Lane
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