Hots for Sister-in-Law
Q: I'm attracted to my wife's sister. I've talked to my wife about this, as we are open to the idea of sex with other people and have experimented with one woman in the past. The problem is that to embark on a relationship with my sister-in-law, who is not now in a relationship, could jeopardize both our friendships with her. Maybe she would run a mile. Maybe she would react positively but the situation would not be sustainable and we'd end up falling out. My wife is fond of the idea of us getting it together up to a point but restrains herself out of what seems like a healthy fear. Sometimes it feels as if the attraction is mutual. I flirt with her, touch her affectionately and once or twice have pushed it a little. At these moments her body seemed to respond. Once in a pub we were sitting close in a large group and her hand kept brushing very lightly against my groin, though I'm not sure it was on purpose. I am infatuated and I love her. What should we do? -- Jessie
Dr. Susan: For mature consenting adults who know what they're getting into, three-ways can sometimes be enjoyed without damaging anyone. What you're proposing, though, doesn't sound like this sort of thing at all. You risk doing serious damage to your marriage if you engage in any kind of fooling around with your wife's sister. The problem, Jessie, is that these sorts of things have a way of (1) being short-lived, and (2) leaving icky feelings behind. You say you've discussed this with your wife, but have you been completely honest about the strength of your feelings? You use the word "love." That's serious. What's to keep you from deciding you "love" her more than you love your wife? It's hard to imagine that the three of you will keep having fun together once the sexual high jinks have run their course. Jealousies do get piqued in these kinds of threesomes. Your wife's healthy fear is the wisest voice to listen to here, so my advice is to cool it. Stop spending so much time with your sister-in-law, and do not flirt with or touch her, since your wife has made it plain she's not in favor of going ahead with the fantasy. You're flirting with infidelity and betrayal, and you could end up without either of the two women in your life. Keep your pants on.
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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.