How Do You Help a Sister-In-Law Who Does Not Want to Help Herself?

BY: - 14 Feb '17 | Relationships

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I have read several of your articles and responses to many dilemmas that many couples face with in-laws and the duties of a husband. First let me say this, I am not married. My significant other and I have a beautiful baby girl who was born prematurely and thank God she’s now doing well.

My significant other lost his mother a year before we had our daughter. He is the eldest of 3 children. The death of his mother was devastating for the family. The devastation left them homeless, hopeless and grieving. The next year they lost their grandfather, their mother’s father. He was the last of their family.

Now his sister and niece live with us in our home. His sister does NOT have any concrete goals in life, no job, no car, no ambition, no motivation. She never leaves the house unless it’s with one of us. Her daughter goes with the dad for 3 days out of the week.  And she’s making no effort to look for a job. When I asked him why doesn’t she work, he offered the same excuse she had, “she has no car.”

Neither he nor her think that she should utilize public transportation. Every day she wakes up, looks at her phone, mostly social media, for most of the day, while he runs behind her daughter, she never leaves the house, no effort to search for a job and she has no means or source of an income. How Do You Help a Sister-In-Law Who Does Not Help Herself?


Tired and Frustrated


Dear Tired and Frustrated,

I am sorry that you are experiencing this in your relationship. While it is normal to be frustrated with your significant other’s sister, I would encourage you to seek to understand her. Her lack of drive and motivation could stem from feelings of depression associated with the loss that she has experienced. There may be other issues as well (being catered to, enabled, etc.) but it is not uncommon for people to suffer from depression after experiencing major life changes.

I would also encourage you to offer to guide her. Believe it or not, some adults need guidance. We often feel that chronological age makes a person responsible. This is far from the truth. We often look at adults and assume that they have skills based on their age. It amazes me how we give children guidance, but somehow assume that adults do not need it. If she is open to be taught, I would offer the help.

If she is open to be taught, I would offer the help.

On a daily basis, I work with individuals who have nothing and become defensive when you question their motivation and behavior. Through my work, I have learned that most behave this way because they are afraid of failing. Some people would rather do nothing in order to prevent themselves from looking like a failure. Her current behavior is probably a by-product of unresolved self-esteem issues and/or depression. Remember that behind every behavior there is an emotion.

Seeking to understand people is half the battle. Understanding combined with empathy can motivate and move people. However, judgment combined with resentment can discourage and deter people.

Speak with your significant other and recommend that you all seek professional help. I mention you all because everyone is impacted even if one person is the cause or problem. For example, your sister-in-law’s behavior is affecting you mentally. Get help because the source of the problem is not as important as the outcome.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 216 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at


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Fellas: 3 Wack Mistakes You’re Making on Your On-line Dating Profile

BY: - 15 Feb '17 | Relationships

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Fellas, fellas, fellas. Can we talk?

I’m privy to a lot of the conversations you have about your frustrations with the ladies, especially your thoughts about the ladies who say there are no good men out there.  Because as a matchmaker, men tell me all their secrets on a regular basis. (Ok, not all of their man secrets, but enough to get their player’s card pulled!)

I also get to hear from the sisters about your behavior on dates, through our feedback sessions. These sessions consist of post-date interviews of the man and the woman I set up, to find out what they think about each other and whether they want to see each other again. I’ve had to surprise some men with not-so-good ratings of their date.  Because while they thought they had the second date in the bag, they had totally turned off the woman they wanted to impress.

I also get to spy on your online dating profiles. Every week, I log into my clients’ pages and help them pick out great men to chat with and I coach them on how to screen out the crazies and connect with good guys, like you.

Bottom line, I’ve seen a lot of interesting things.

Your game is wack!

And I don’t know how else to say this, so I’m just gonna say it: Your game is wack. I know you’re a great guy, but unless you fix these top 3 mistakes, you’re gonna keep getting stuck with women who are only interested in how much you make, what kind of car you drive, and whether or not you want to get married tomorrow! If you follow my advice, though, you’ll find yourself meeting a different type of woman, someone who knows how to appreciate a good man.

So let’s get right to it, shall we?

Mistake #1: You talk about what you don’t want in your profile (or on a date)

I’ve read profiles where you say things like;


“Ladies don’t look at my pics over, and over, and over again, not say anything, and then expect me to”

“IT WON’T HAPPEN unless, your just that FLY TO ME LOL!!!’

“And don’t get offended if I ask for full body pictures when you don’t have them posted on your page. I don’t want any surprises! Would you expect to buy a car without a test drive? Then why should I meet you for a coffee date without knowing what you look like.”

Not only did you violate the internet grammar rules that state typing in all caps is equivalent to screaming in real life, and not only do you have typos in this rant, but you come across as a jerk who doesn’t want to talk to women who aren’t that fly to you.

I know you just don’t want to waste your time, and you don’t like having to tell a sister you’re not that interested.  But, you’re making a big mistake by leading with what frustrates you instead of what fascinates you about a woman. That negative energy ain’t cute.

Mistake #2: You send all women the same first message

It goes something like this:

“Hello gorgeous, how was your day? I must say you’re a very attractive woman.”

I’m sorry to say, but a woman can tell when you’re feeding her the same line you’re giving to everyone on the site. A quality woman doesn’t just want a compliment about her beauty. And she doesn’t feel comfortable with you using pet names when you don’t even know her real name yet! Instead of the corny one liners, take the time to read her profile and find one thing you think is interesting about her and ask her a specific question about it. That will get the conversation going and she’ll feel special, instead of like one of the women in your rotation.

Mistake #3: You try too hard (or you don’t try hard enough)

I know these seem like two opposite problems, but I think they come from he same place: a lack of understanding what women want. I know the sisters can be confusing sometimes. They’ll say they want a good man, but then when they find out you don’t make enough money or you aren’t as tall as they’d imagine, they reject you. I also know rejection is like kryptonite to a brother and so you want to avoid it all costs. However, when you send her messages like:

“I’m looking for my last girlfriend on this site. I’ve been burned a lot so I’m about to take down my profile on March 1st. Here’s my number if you want to talk.”

You come across as a nice guy who needs anger management classes. A woman doesn’t want to feel like saying “no thank you” will send you over the edge. You want her to feel comfortable with you. Then, and only then, will she make a connection with you. She doesn’t want to hear about all of the online dating problems you’ve had in the past, bruh. It’s not a good look.

You come across as trying to hard when after she lets you down easy with a “I don’t think we’re a good match but good luck” message, you reply with “Did you change your mind? lol I’m a very good person,” or you flood her inbox with a bunch of poems you wrote about her last night. That’s a huge turnoff and it puts you in the stalker territory. Assume she’ll like you (and if she doesn’t, move on because someone else will).

Treat each woman like an individual on these dating sites by taking them time to read her profile. Then, send her a specific, genuine compliment. This will show her that your’e interested in getting to know who she is as a woman. And if you really want to make a good first impression, please take down those selfies of you in the gym or with your boys in the club. Delete the pics where your arm is around another woman, because the ladies can’t tell if that’s your sister, your ex, or the woman you’re with right now! Replace them with some quality (professional) photos of you in a nice button down shirt, or a nicely tailored suit so you make a good impression.

I want you to win fellas!

BMWK, what other online dating tips do you have for the guys? Post them below! 

About the author

Aesha Adams Roberts wrote 178 articles on this blog.

Dr. Aesha is a matchmaker, dating coach, speaker and author of the book, Can I Help A Sister Out: How To Meet & Marry The Man of Your Dreams. After years of making painful dating mistakes, she met & married her husband in 11 short months and has made it her mission to help women and men find and keep the love of their lives.


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