Advice | Harriette Cole: I’m afraid I offended my sister’s husband but I don’t know how

Advice | Harriette Cole: I’m afraid I offended my sister’s husband but I don’t know how


The writer of the letter is concerned about a recent visit to their sister’s house, where they felt that they may have offended their sister’s husband. They mention that they have a close relationship with their sister and her family, and usually enjoy spending time together. However, during this particular visit, the brother-in-law seemed distant and barely interacted with them. The writer is worried about the potential fallout of this situation and wants to understand if they did anything to offend their sister’s husband.

Seeking Understanding

To address their concerns, the writer seeks advice on how to approach the situation. They are afraid that if their sister’s husband decides to cut off future visits, they will be devastated. The writer wants to understand if there was anything they did to offend him and how they should proceed in order to maintain their relationship with their sister’s family.

Talking to the Sister

The advice given to the writer is to have a conversation with their sister to address the issue. They are encouraged to express their happiness about the visit and mention the highlights of their time together. By setting a positive tone, the writer can create a comfortable atmosphere to discuss their concerns.

Bringing Up the Issue

The writer is advised to gently bring up the observation that their sister’s husband seemed absent during the visit. They should ask their sister if there was anything that may have caused this behavior, such as something they unintentionally did to offend him or any other underlying issue that may have arisen.

Potential Reasons for Distance

The advice suggests that there could be various reasons for the brother-in-law’s distant behavior. It might be possible that there is an ongoing family conflict that the writer is unaware of, which could have led to his withdrawal. Additionally, his mood or personal distractions unrelated to the writer’s family might be influencing his behavior. The writer is reminded that it is ultimately up to their sister to disclose any information regarding her husband’s feelings.

Respecting Boundaries

While the writer seeks understanding, they are cautioned not to pry or push their sister for answers. Instead, they are advised to let their sister take the lead in the conversation and share any relevant information if she feels comfortable doing so. The writer should emphasize their desire to continue visiting and ask if there is anything they can do to make her husband feel more at ease during their future visits.


In conclusion, the writer is advised to have an open and non-confrontational conversation with their sister to address the issue of their sister’s husband’s distant behavior. By expressing their happiness about the visit and their desire to continue visiting, the writer can create a positive atmosphere for the conversation. While seeking understanding, it is important for the writer to respect their sister’s boundaries and not push for information. By approaching the situation with empathy and a willingness to make amends if necessary, the writer can work towards maintaining a healthy relationship with their sister’s family.

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Advice | Harriette Cole: My husband and I had the biggest blowup argument ever


The writer of the letter is seeking advice regarding a recent intense argument they had with their husband. They describe the argument as escalating to the point where they were afraid it would turn physical. The writer is concerned about the negative impact this has on their relationship and the fact that their teenage daughter had to witness such a heated and hateful interaction between her parents.

Seeking a Resolution

The writer acknowledges that the current situation is not sustainable and wants guidance on how to address the issue and prevent future conflicts of this magnitude. They are determined to find a solution that will improve their relationship with their husband and create a healthier environment for their family.

Professional Help

The advice given to the writer is to seek professional help in the form of therapy. The escalation of arguments to the point of verbal abuse poses not only psychological but also physical danger to the writer, their husband, and their daughter. It is crucial to address the root causes of these conflicts and learn healthy communication techniques to prevent them from spiraling out of control.

Avoiding Pushing Limits

The writer is advised that pushing their husband to continue arguing during the intense moments of the disagreement was not the wisest decision. Everyone has a breaking point, and it is important to recognize the signs and avoid pushing each other to the limits where one or both individuals may snap. Seeking professional help will provide them with the necessary guidance to navigate conflicts in a healthier and more constructive manner.

Therapy for Resolution

The writer is encouraged to suggest therapy to their husband as a means of addressing their issues together. It is important to approach this suggestion with respect for each other, their daughter, and the well-being of their marriage. By seeking help, they can work towards resolving their conflicts and creating a more loving and supportive environment for their family.


In conclusion, the writer is advised to seek professional help through therapy to address their escalating arguments and improve their relationship with their husband. The current situation poses a danger to their psychological and physical well-being, as well as negatively impacting their daughter. By taking the initiative to seek help and work on their communication skills, they can establish healthier patterns of interaction and create a more harmonious family dynamic.

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About Harriette Cole

Harriette Cole is a renowned lifestylist and the founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative aimed at helping individuals access and activate their dreams. For any further questions, you can reach out to Harriette Cole at or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.