Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: My fiancée's parents announced this weekend that they are separating. Or, as my fiancée puts it, her mother is leaving and breaking her father's heart. The husband's philosophy is that he can't limit himself to being with one person. He enjoys a polyamorous lifestyle where he has a steady wife and various girlfriends. The husband talked the wife into accepting the poly lifestyle, and because she is a people-pleaser, she gave it a good-faith effort for several years. The wife found the husband's lifestyle increasingly difficult to cope with. She would like to return to a monogamous lifestyle where she doesn't need to compete with other women or feel jealous of his time. Even though she says she is leaving, I believe she is open to the idea they might still reconcile, but she feels like he needs to make an effort. When I read between those lines, I think she wants to ask him to get rid of his girlfriend and give up the poly lifestyle. However, I don't think she communicates this clearly to him. I don't know if he would give up the girlfriend for his wife, but in the wife's eyes, it is the only way they can be together. Would it be appropriate to privately explain to him what he should do to get her back? He is clearly distraught over losing her and does not appear to know what to do.Concerned FiancéDEAR CONCERNED: Simply put: It is not your business to fix your future in-laws' marriage.
If this husband comes to you, saying, "What can I do to get my wife back?" you should definitely tell him what you think. If your fiancée (or her mother) asks you to join them in a family meeting to discuss this situation, as a future family member, you should do so.
Otherwise, unless you are a trained marriage counselor and want to take them on as clients, you should let this family work it out. Offer emotional support to each family member, and do your best not to take sides.