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Over the past several years I've observed my brother-in-law (my wife's sister's husband) ogling my wife. In the most extreme case, he watched her change into her swimsuit through the window of a motor home. In more typical scenarios, he seems to find an excuse to approach her while she's in a visually-vulnerable situation (i.e.: nursing, swimming, etc.), and linger. It may be relevant that he is flirtatious, although my wife does not respond to it (not intentionally, although it seems he may have taken some of her actions as responses).

While I initially thought it may simply be coincidence, and tried hard to come up with other explanations (for my own peace of mind), I've observed enough obvious ogling occurring to accept that this is intentional. I doubt he would never cross the line of touching her or worse - this question is just about the ogling & flirting.

Here's the twist: my wife has only seen (or accepted) that it happened once (possibly due to her wishing so badly that it was not occurring, as it hinders her relationship with her sister). My wife's parents have never seen it either (they are wholesome, conservative, Christians, who would be shocked by it; but who also may be blind to it). To my knowledge, everyone else in her family regards the man in question as upstanding, and above reproach, and would never think he would do anything of the sort (he is, after all, a pastor). It is making me think I'm crazy... could I be mistaken about what I've seen?

Should he be confronted in order to pursue family unity, or is ogling harmless?

closed as primarily opinion-based by user58, Tinkeringbell, Anne Daunted, Catija Dec 31 '17 at 13:20

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Have you noticed him ogling any underage girls, or is it "just" your wife? – user1760 Dec 31 '17 at 14:47
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Unwanted ogling is harmful.

In the most extreme case, he watched her change into her swimsuit through the window of a motor home.

In my country, that is directly asking for getting punched in the face. In your country, it may be asking for a legal responsibility, public shaming, or something similar. I'm not sure which way of action is appropriate for your culture, but I'm 100% sure you should not just shrug it off. It is your wife, don't you feel like her safety is your business?

Here's my suggestion:

  1. Talk to your wife about it. Ask her what she thinks and feels about it. Try to be supportive, don't blame her for anything.
  2. Make up a plan of actions in case he will not stop his actions after you talking about him. Like, suing him, or whatever is appropriate in your culture.
  3. Approach him directly, in private. Say what you feel and what you want. Example: "I saw you staring at my wife. I feel angry about it. I want you to stop doing sh*t like that." Don't shout or threaten him in any way though.
  4. Don't accept any excuses. You're only making a statement about your feelings and about which behavior is acceptable and which is not. It doesn't matter if he thinks his guilty or not, you're only drawing a line which he should not cross after the moment you said that. What was done before, cannot be undone.
  5. If he starts threatening you, threaten him back with whatever you've planned in step #2. Make it clear you will do that, disregarding the fact that he is a pastor or whatever.
  6. If all above doesn't work, implement the plan from step #2.

If you're not sure what is the appropriate way to deal with him (step #2), you should probably consult a lawyer.

Good luck.

  • 'Unwanted ogling is harmful' what are the casualty and death statistics for it from 2017 ? – user1450877 Dec 31 '17 at 13:39
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    @user1450877 Unless it it death it is not harmful? – paparazzo Dec 31 '17 at 16:13
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    @user1450877 please google for a definition of "harm". – scriptin Dec 31 '17 at 16:51
  • death or injury – user1450877 Dec 31 '17 at 17:30
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    I like the answer but I think perhaps a tad cynical towards the end. I do not see it as even slightly likely that the pastor will threaten OP, denying or apologising are clearly more probable outcomes... and to think up a counter threat to return to him probably is not the best way to deal with such a thing anyway. – Jesse Jan 1 '18 at 15:52
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Most of the women I know including myself frequently ignore ogling and we rarely talk about it unless it's very uncomfortable. However, we are aware of the people who persistently stare at us.

So, if you have observed this so many times, chances are your wife may also be aware of this.Please talk to her and let her know that you would try to handle this without trying to upset her relation with her sister. You shouldn't directly tell her family when you are sure that they wouldn't agree with you. But your feelings do matter so you should speak with him.

The next time you observe this, pull him aside and tell him in clear terms that you feel quite uncomfortable with this behavior. You can always give past examples that you have noticed. He may argue for a while and shout at you that your accusations are baseless but even then, this should straighten him up.

Unless he's truly innocent, I don't think he will inform others about your discussion. Even if he informs others, they would just label you as a possessive/jealous sort of a guy and everyone would be careful when you all visit the next time.

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