Tough Brotherly Love

Showing sibling the door won’t kill relationship

Dear Carolyn,
I let my brother crash on my sofa until he got back on his feet after losing his job. Well, it’s been six months, and he’s not only on my sofa, his stuff is spread out all over the whole house. He hasn’t even looked for a job. He trashes the place, his dogs trash the yard and now his new girlfriend is trashing my bathroom. I’m on the road at least three weeks out of the month, and it really bothers me to pay the bills for his funhouse.
I want to kick him out but am afraid he’ll be on the street if I do.
Please help.

Dear Lew,
Grow a pair. And stop worrying about that thing you are worrying about. He’s not going to stop being your brother because you show him some tough love. What he’ll probably do is find another couch to crash on. That’s what those guys do. And you can go back to commiserating with him about how unfair life is. It’s going to be OK.
I’m just sayin’.

Dear Carolyn,
My husband and I have stayed together through a very tough time. He confessed a series of infidelities to me and expected I’d leave him. Most of my friends and family expected I would, too. Nobody would have blamed me, and I even packed my bags. But I decided to at least ask him what he wanted from me. He said he wanted forgiveness and wanted more than anything to put our life back the way it was. He didn’t give the usual excuses of the lonely life of a long-haul trucker. Instead, he lined up a good counselor.
Our counselor saved our marriage and, I believe, saved his life. He couldn’t make it to regular meetings because of his schedule, but the counselor set up phone appointments. It was a long, hard process, but we are stronger than ever.
I will always be hurt by what happened but somehow have managed to put it away and move forward. I took the opportunity to work on some of my own issues, try to follow some dreams I’d put aside.
I wanted to write this letter to encourage other couples out there who get no encouragement to try to work through a bad situation. Believe me, I would have been one of them before my own experience.
There is always hope as long as both are willing to try.
Thank you,

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Dear Janice,
Well said! Your letter will give hope to many struggling couples out there. Congratulations to both of you.
I’m just sayin’.

Dear Carolyn,
Is there a good way to break up with someone? I don’t want to be “that guy” who sends a text or just stops calling. Then again, I’m tired of the long, pointless conversations where we go over and over all the ways our relationship is not working. I always end up promising to try harder. The truth is I don’t want to try at all anymore. But I’m a good guy, and before we went down this road, we were very close friends. Is it possible to go back to close friend status after a breakup?

Dear Billy,
This is a multiple-part question, so I’ll answer in the order you wrote. Here goes:
No. You won’t. I’m with ya. Well, then. Nope.
I could give you a long explanation about each answer, but it boils down to this: Breakups are like removing band-aids. You can slowly, painfully peel the edges, inching along until it’s done, or rip it off. I should tell you to do it in a mature, calm, loving way, sparing her feelings and easing into the bad news. But truthfully?
Let it rip, and let her heal with privacy and dignity.
I’m just sayin’.

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