updated 24 Dec 2010, 06:59
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Sun, Oct 03, 2010
The Star/ANN
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Woeful shotgun marriage

Dear Thelma

JUST over two years ago, my brother started seeing a girl from Ipoh, and almost immediately, she got pregnant.

Anyway, my brother married her and moved to Ipoh to please her. He found a job there, bought a house and took responsibility as husband and father. She does not work but wanted her mother to stay with her to help with the baby.

Soon, the cracks started to appear. The mother-in-law is a complete control freak and got too involved in their relationship. She even went on holiday with them, claiming she would look after the baby. Our family hardly gets to see the baby at all.

Lately they've been fighting over the most petty things - she claims to have a big issue with him for not closing the doors properly!

My brother works, hardly drinks, doesn't smoke or take drugs. He doesn't even have a social life any more because he hates his work and surroundings, and doesn't have any friends where he is now. On the other hand, she has everything and still complains all the time.

One day, my brother came back late from work. She was hysterical and started hitting him while carrying the baby.

There have been many more fights and arguments and my brother can't take it any more.

He wants to leave her but he is afraid he will lose the baby. What can he do?

Married to a Shrew

YOUR sister-in-law was probably aware that your brother had married her out of obligation, not love. There must be a lot of ill feelings, suspicion and underlying hostility flying around the marriage.

Perhaps your brother should calm down before taking any action. He may be an exemplary, dutiful husband, but are love, romance and tenderness missing in this relationship?

His wife's petty tantrums, complaints and shrewish ways could be calls for some show of love and attention.

The big showdown when your brother got back late from work was a desperate act from a very insecure woman who was afraid of losing her man.

Your brother does not really want to walk away. He loves the baby and it would help if you and your family could lend support instead of throwing darts at your sis-in-law and her mother. Forgive her mum for hovering and controlling - she only wants to help her daughter out.

You are a wonderful sister. You could advise your brother to restart the relationship on a better note; the marriage may still have a chance then. Instead of feeling trapped, perhaps the two of them could start dating and romancing to try nurture their relationship.

The baby should not be fought over like a prized possession. Protect her sweet innocence, for she is the bond of love and forgiveness. Your family could visit more often, and take time to care for and enjoy the child.

Blaming others is lame if you really wish to be with the baby. Allow the young couple to take some time to iron out the issues and problems.

Do not try to interfere or be intrusive. Hopefully, love will find its way in with patience, understanding and compromise.

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