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by Abigail Van Buren

For Wife, House Isn't Big Enough for Her and Husband's Brother

DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law has been living with my husband and me for three years. We have been helping him out for about 11 of our 15 years of marriage. I don't want him here anymore. My husband tells me that I need to be patient. I think I have been patient long enough.

My cousin said to give his brother an ultimatum, but he has a temper, and he doesn't have normal arguments. He doesn't hit, but he automatically yells. Because of that, I have been avoiding issues with him that have been bugging me. How should I go about telling my husband it's his brother or me? -- WANTS HIM GONE

DEAR WANTS HIM GONE: Unless you are prepared to follow through on your ultimatum, I don't think you should put it in those terms. A gentler way to phrase it might be to tell your husband that he has been a wonderful, supportive brother, but he has been doing his adult brother no favors by fostering his dependence upon both of you. Point out that what's been going on for the last three years has been extremely unfair to you, that you no longer wish to live this way, and that it's time to set a certain date when either his brother is out of your home -- or you will be.

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