Qustion: My sister and I haven’t been talking to each other for several months over a minor disagreement. Recently, we made peace and I was visiting with her and her family while my husband was away on a business trip. During my one-week stay at their place, I tried to be helpful and participate in everyday chores as much as I could. Most of the housework in their home is usually done by my sister’s husband, so I was helping him doing the dishes, and whatnot. Before the week was over, my sister accused me of flirting with her husband and going out of my way to attract his attention. I told her she was ridiculous, since I did not have any intention to flirt with my brother-in-law who I don’t find even remotely attractive. Besides, I love my husband and am not looking for trouble. When I tried to reason with her, she threw a hissy fit, and literally threw me out of her house. Recently, at a family gathering, we came to terms again, but she still harbors a lot of hostility toward me. When any matter of a family concern comes up, my sister doesn’t call me, but instead asks her husband to do the talking. I feel that the man did nothing to prevent his wife from absurd accusations when I was their houseguest, and now I only feel disgust for him. How can I make her talk to me directly and end this madness once and for all?
Answer: You cannot control the jealous rages of your sister, nor can you make her talk to you if she’s not so inclined. By letting her husband do the talking she actually admits that her past accusations held no truth, and also that she is not comfortable talking to you directly. Should you try to become friends again, be prepared to meet her wrath on other occasions that might not involve her husband. She’ll always find a reason to be outraged with you just because you obviously irritate her, no matter if that’s your fault or not. If you don’t want to talk to her husband as her ambassador, then don’t. You are under no obligation to adjust to communicate with her normally. She is.