Unusual Mother-in-Law Trouble
Q: I have a wife and daughter who are still in another country waiting for their petition to come. My mother-in-law has a tourist visa and occasionally visited here and stayed with me. I would take her out to places but after that I started to have feelings for her. Once I just couldn't help it anymore, and I started holding her waist when we walked. She wouldn't say anything but acted as if nothing was happening. Also we went to have dinner once and she invited me to have some wine. I didn't have any because I was driving that night. Is that a sign that she wanted something to happen? Also one night when she was on the computer she needed some help and so I just went and leaned over her and started typing, but still she said nothing. So I went on my knees beside her while I was looking up at the monitor with my hand on her knee. When I would talk to her she would just look at me like she had a dry throat. But nothing ever happened to us. Now she is back in her country. She doesn't reply to any of my e-mails. My question is was there ever a chance for me to have her and do I still have a chance now? -- Tony, 30
Dr. Susan: Oh my. You're not serious, are you? Your question to me is whether you have a chance to have an affair with your wife's mother?! Okay, then, as you don't seem to be capable of thinking very clearly, let me answer you simply. The answer is NO. Put the idea out of your mind and never again make moves on her. From the way you've described her passive responses to your overtures, it looks like she comes from a culture where the man is boss. When you put your arm around her waist or your hand on her knee, she said and did nothing. That was probably all she felt able to do, when perhaps she wanted to kick you in a place that would hurt. Offering you wine didn't mean she wanted to get you drunk and have her way with you. Take the hint: She isn't responding to your e-mails because she's afraid of you and your inappropriate behavior. Also because she loves her daughter and granddaughter and doesn't want to see their hopes for a reunited family ruined. I don't think you deserve them, but there's still time for you to work on that.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.