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by Abigail Van Buren

Bossy Brother in Law Makes Man Want to Raise the Roof

DEAR ABBY: Regarding your response to "Irritated in Minneapolis," the woman who was distressed because a minister's widow was chasing after her husband at church: You said the widow probably needed "verification that she's still attractive to men."

Abby, you excused this woman's behavior and minimized the wife's distress. The minister's widow should know better. She does know better if she is trained in the holy Scriptures, which are guidelines for what is appropriate and what is not between the sexes.

The widow has already had a husband of her own, and though it's unfortunate he's deceased, pursuing someone else's husband (in her own church, yet) is not only inappropriate, but disloyal to the man's wife.

People like the widow invade others' boundaries and count on "compassion" in order to continue their game. The husband is not always "not attracted," and it's not the wife's job to find the widow a new man so that she won't steal hers.

I have been in similar situations and have a solution: I take the woman aside and say, "I may be wrong, but I get the feeling you're attracted to my husband, and it makes me uncomfortable." They always deny it at first, but I treat them with dignity and honesty, and it earns me their respect. I have no more problems with them. In fact, I get the sense they're relieved to have been stopped in such a loving way. It works. -- A WIFE WHO CARES

DEAR WIFE: Your experience gives wise voice to the other side of the story. In a perfect world, no one would desire or deliberately entice another's spouse. Unfortunately, however, we're not living in a perfect world.