Dear Abby: I love my boyfriend’s family, except his rapist brother

Dear Abby counsels a woman whose uncomfortable around her boyfriend's rapist brother.
Dear Abby counsels a woman whose uncomfortable around her boyfriend's rapist brother.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Will,” and I have been together for seven years. We get along great. I love his close-knit family and adore his parents. He’s the youngest of five brothers, most of whom I get along with great. The only brother I don’t know is the oldest. “Rick” has been incarcerated for the better part of 30 years for rape. I’ve always known about him and the “sugar- coated” circumstances surrounding his incarceration.

Recently, Rick has been letting the family know that he has been rehabilitated and will be released with extensive supervision. He told my boyfriend he would like to meet me and also connect with the nieces and nephews he’s never met (not my children). Upon hearing this, I did some research, and I found the non-sugar-coated details of his crimes. Will has made clear to me he will support his brother’s release and is excited to see him. This is the same feeling most of the other family has.

Abby, the thought of being in Rick’s presence terrifies me. I don’t believe a person who commits a crime of this magnitude can be rehabilitated. (A few others feel the same as I do.) I’m worried about the backlash I may receive from family members, as well as his parents, who wholeheartedly believe Rick’s release is warranted. Help, please. — APPREHENSIVE IN MINNESOTA

DEAR APPREHENSIVE: I understand your apprehension. However, Brother Rick will have served his time when he’s released, and it won’t be without strings attached. If you want a relationship with Will, you are going to have to meet his brother. Of course, it will be under supervised conditions — with your boyfriend and other relatives, so you won’t be alone with him.

As you get to know Rick (it will happen in stages), you may become less fearful of him. Your intuition will guide you. However, if you are still uncomfortable after that, you may have to end your relationship with Will.

DEAR ABBY: My stepdaughter gave her daddy (my husband) concert tickets — for just him, her husband and herself, and excluded me. I was given no warning that she planned to do this, and all the tickets were all sold out when I went online and looked — not that I would’ve gone anyhow. It would’ve been pushing my way in where I felt I wasn’t wanted.

How should I handle this? I know my husband is struggling with it, and I’d like to talk to him about it. I feel like he’s being put in the middle and feels he must go because his daughter bought the ticket. Should he not go and make his daughter mad, or go and make me mad? How would you handle this? What should I say to my husband so I’m not the bad guy? — OUT OF THE ARENA IN ALABAMA

DEAR OUT: What you should say to your husband is the truth. Tell him, “Go to the concert, Honey, and have a good time. I’m just confused about why your daughter didn’t include me.”

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.