My brother-in-law, “Bob,” and I have always been extremely close for the 25 years I’ve been with my husband. He is now one of our only living relatives and lives in another state. Bob’s wife died unexpectedly five years ago. He just retired recently and became an empty-nester. As a result, he’s lonely and bored. Normally he visits twice a year, we get along great, and we even take vacations together. But during his last visit at Thanksgiving, I realized Bob has become overly enamored with me. He may even think he is in love with me. He didn’t do anything overt, but he dropped plenty of hints that set off some internal alarm bells. Last year he told me that he loves me more than anyone else on earth. I took it as a family-love thing, but now I don’t know.
I have no romantic feelings for Bob at all. I will also be devastated to lose Bob’s friendship if this all blows up. I am sure this is just because he’s lonely and bored. The kicker is that this weekend my husband told me Bob is planning to buy the house next door to us that is going up for sale. I asked why that house, since it’s the least attractive one in the area and plenty are for sale nearby. My husband said the point is to live next door to us. This would be a disaster if my suspicion is true. I can’t see any way this could end well. I ran this by my best friend to see if I was flattering myself and imagining this, and she doesn’t think so.
My husband worships his big brother. I dread bringing this up to him, but we are very open, and I will. He may not believe me. I have to have a talk with Bob before he makes an offer on this house, don’t I? I risk looking like I’m nuts if I’m wrong or Bob denies it. I’m willing to take that risk if ignoring it or staying silent would have serious consequences. It would be a big, complicated mess. I would actually love to be wrong! What if I am just misreading Bob’s cues? How do I know if I’m just nuts?