Dear Dr. Pam,

Every Christmas my sister comes to stay with her husband and children since our parents died. Before our parents died in a car crash we all went to their house. But now we’re the only family each other has. Five years on we’ve all pretty much come to terms with the cruel time in our life. My sister and her husband tend to stay till New Year’s eve.

I’m single and I have a major problem brewing and need help. I’m absolutely terrified that I’m going to fall for my brother in law. He always flirts with me when he’s around. Last Christmas I was so tempted to have kiss him. I know it would be a terrible thing to do my sister. And I know he shouldn’t act this way. But we seem to have this intense sexual chemistry between us. Any ideas how I can get around this? Terri, 29


Dear “Terrified”,

I’m so glad you’ve got in touch and I’m not surprised you describe yourself as terrified over the situation because it would be a terrible mistake to get involved with him.  And I’m so glad that the rational part of you realises having a sexual fling with your brother in law would be an awful thing to do to your sister. Keep hanging on to that thought!

Obviously the sexual and emotional side of you is craving this excitement. Ultimately you need to ask yourself where this desire for potentially very risky behaviour comes from. But in the meantime you can ask her tactfully to stay for a shorter time. Why not tell her you’re exhausted or that you have other plans after Boxing Day so they don’t hang around longer. The shorter the time he’s around you, the less likely you are to succumb to kissing him, or more.

Next, you need to make sure you’re never alone with him – this will help prevent anything happening. So if your sister wants to go out on some errands then insist you come with her and help her do them. If he flirts with you give him the cold shoulder – be strong and don’t flirt back.

I wonder if part of this is loneliness and the fact he gives you attention means that you lap it up. Make a resolution to get out there and create a good and happy social life in 2014. You’ll be far less likely to do anything you regret if you’re happy in the rest of your life.

Finally, remember this fate isn’t sealed just because you and he fancy each other. You don’t have to go down that route and keep telling yourself you’re better than that. Try and imagine how your sister would feel if you two had an affair – the devastation wouldn’t be worth it.

Now go and have a happy Christmas and a great new year moving forward, Pamx

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