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May 30, 2012 4:36 PM Subscribe
How to deal with inappropriate brother-in-law?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry if this sounds all over the place. My husband's brother is in his late 20's and since day one of us meeting he has been really inappropriate with me. He flirts with me, constantly follows me and talks to me, and makes sexually inappropriate underhanded comments when we are visiting the family home. Other things he's done to make me very uncomfortable:
-Walking in on me changing more than once without knocking (didn't apologize or go out, just kept walking in).
-Sitting or standing extremely close to me so our bodies touch when it's entirely unnecessary.
-Finding and contacting me online out of the blue and asking me personal questions (I had to block him).
-Staring at me nonstop.
I don't really want to get into the specifics of the sexual comments he's made, but in every instance they came from out of the blue. I have never been anything beyond polite with him, but from early on I felt that he was either romantically interested in me or just not understanding of proper social boundaries. Brother-in-law still lives at home and doesn't really have anything going on in his life. He spends a lot of time alone in his room on the internet. He's generally very immature and strange.
At first I tried to deal with his inappropriate behavior toward me on my own by being less talkative to BIL and generally avoiding him, but this didn't work. Finally after a long family gathering in which BIL kept saying inappropriate things to me and following me around, I had a come-to-jesus talk with my husband about it all. My husband didn't realize everything that had been going on (although he had told his brother a few times to stop talking to me so much), mostly because these things happen when no one else is around. I told him I really don't feel comfortable being around him because I feel like I'm constantly being stalked. My husband was super understanding, reasonably concerned, and said he would take care of it.
For a while after that things were better, in that his brother seemed to keep to himself or just not be around whenever we visited my father/mother-law. Slowly he started reintroducing himself to family things when we visited and was a lot less accosting and more polite with me. This all put me slightly more at ease with his brother and I felt maybe things were ok. After a big family gathering recently, in which we had to spend 8 hours around his brother, it all went to hell again. The inappropriate sexual comments came back, following me around, standing too close, etc, etc.
Part of my problem with all of this is that I don't react like I should in the moment because either I don't really get the subtle remark immediately or I don't want to cause a scene. I just continue being polite or just plain ignore when he does these things. But after I get back home I feel really horrible and depressed and disgusted and angry. My feelings on my brother-in-law are that if he were a coworker, I would have talked to HR or changed jobs; if he was a neighbor, I would avoid him or move; if he was a guy I met on a date, I would never call him back. If I had kids, I wouldn't feel comfortable ever leaving them alone with him. This man makes me feel very uncomfortable and I don't want to be in his presence anymore. My husband doesn't really have a close relationship with his brother and they rarely ever talk, so I really have no reason to have a relationship with BIL. The problem is that he still lives at home, so if we visit the parents, he'd be there too.
What should I do in this situation? Do I refuse to see his brother-in-law anymore and just stop visiting my other in-laws altogether or only see them outside the home? I'm worried it would be construed as too dramatic. Is this one of those things that happens when you marry and you just have to grin and bear it? What is the appropriate response?