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How to Handle Advances from Relatives


Good day, Dr Maymunah,

I have been married for two years to a wonderful husband who loves and adores me. Recently, we had my in-laws over for a family event and my father-in-law made an advance on me. Prior to dating my husband, I went on a blind date set up by my friends. We went on a few more but I did not really enjoy his company and told him that we should see other people. He did not react well but after parting and I put him out of my mind, hoping and believing that our paths would never cross.

However, when my husband and I got serious about a year after the blind date, I met his family. No one was more surprised than I was that my blind date would turn out to be his brother!

Closeup shot of two people holding hands in comfort. Photo credit: The Knot

It led to a huge conflict in our relationship as his brother had lied to him about the nature and length of our relationship; this led to his mother’s immediate dislike of me. We worked through it, he trusted me and this led to a strain on his relationship with his brother. Now, his father is trying to sleep with me, claiming he will tell my husband that we did whether we do or not and, with my ‘history’, he will not believe me. I cannot lose my husband! He is the love of my life and my mother-in-law has never liked me and has tried to get rid of me many times now. Please help me!

– Christine, Lagos.


Dear Christine,

I can only imagine the awkward situation you are in; it is not uncommon for wives and their in-laws not to have a positive relationship. Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon for fathers to covet their sons’ wives. In most situations, a relationship will take a hit and possibly have irreversible damage. It is important to ensure it is not your marriage that suffers.

Everyone has a past and a list of previous partners. Since you and your husband have discussed yours with his brother and, more importantly, he trusted you, you need to trust in him again to believe you. At this point, your biggest support is your husband, not just random and unsolicited advice from people around you. You will need a lot of wisdom to tackle this wisely.

Learn to trust this journey and don’t delay discussing this with your husband. The right time, place and mood must be considered in all this. You have not done anything wrong but, unfortunately, it is harder to come between parent and son, which is why in this situation you will need proof. If possible, ensure you are never alone with your father-in-law; a trusted friend or family member can serve as your support as well as an ‘alibi’.

As for your mother-in-law, it will be a hard road, but you can still win her over. Ask questions about her day and her life; even if she keeps you at arm’s length, keep trying. He is your husband and his family is now yours too. When you have the opportunity, confront your father-in-law about his disrespect to his wife and son. Make sure you are not alone; your husband or trusted friend or family member should be there with you so that he cannot twist the situation.

It is going to be a long road repairing the family, but it is important to try. I hope this all works out for you. All the best.

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