Post # 1
Hey Bees, I could really use some advice and insight, especially if you’ve been on either side of a similar situation.
My sister is smart, kind, beautiful, funny, has lots of friends, has a lot going for her, etc. Her SO is a complete jerk and liar who is not there for her, is disrespectful to my family, and I know that she can do so much better than him. I am not the only person in the family or in her circle of friends who sees this. I won’t go into more detail on him or their relationship to maintain her privacy, but I will say that they live together and are planning a future together. I just need some objective advice. I realize my only options are to talk to her about it, or keep my opinion to myself. I’m sure some of you may say: “It’s none of your business,” but as her sister I sorta feel like it is. I’m conflicted because I do trust her to make her own decisions, but I feel like sometimes you need an outside perspective to really help you see things clearly. I am a happy newlywed now, but when I was with my ex-boyfriend, it took a good friend kindly pointing out that I didn’t seem happy and could do a lot better, to finally make me realize he wasn’t the right person for me, and it was partly her support that gave me the strength to leave him. She was so right, and I am so happy that I left him and met my now husband. I realize my sister and I are not the same person, but I can objectively see that she can do so much better.
When it comes to my sister, I am just really scared of overstepping and offending her (and damaging our relationship as a result). She used to complain a lot about him, where a break-up seemed imminent, but when I would voice an opinion (really just echoing what she was saying about him then) she would get defensive. It’s been a while now and she doesn’t complain about him anymore (and they’re still together), but still some things she mentions to me (and things I see with my own eyes when I’m around him) I can’t imagine her truly being happy with him.
What would you do if you were me? Have any of you been on either side of a situation like this? If so, what did you do?
Post # 2
You can try to say something, but I doubt she would be receptive, especially since you’ve tried before and she got defensive. Unfortunately people in bad relationships usually just need to come to the conclusion themselves.
Post # 3
rusticchic212: personally, I’m in the camp of mind your own business. She’s your sister and you love her but she should, and is going to make her own choices. If you REALLY feel the need to say something, say it once and then let it go. For good. At the end of the day, relationships aren’t anybody’s business except those two people in the relationship. Plenty of people end up in relationships with SOs that their family or friends may not like.
Post # 4
Not much you can do but.. I would wait till she complains then just encourage her to see that ____ isn’t right and she should be treated better than that. I would have no problem voicing my disapproval lonvingly and when appropriate.
Post # 5
rusticchic212: If you guys are super close and you really think he’s bad news, i’d say something.
I had a boyfriend treat me badly when I was younger and so many people told me so. I got angry with them and ignored them but deep down I knew it was true and it helped me when the relationship was over to know that ending it was obviously a good thing and everyone could see that. Although it annoyed me at the time, i’m so glad people voiced how they felt rather than keeping it to themselves. If random people are commenting I think they should mind their own business, but when it’s someone super close to you (in my case it was my mum, aunty and best friends) then I think it’s warranted.
There are other more subtle ways to let her know how you feel as well, rather than bringing it up yourself, you can wait until she brings things up and then tell (or at least hint at) how you feel. It may take some time but hopefully, eventually, she’ll see what everyone else sees!
Post # 6
You already know she will get defensive about it, so just stay out of it. It will be difficult because you love her so much, but she will most likely not listen and will only be upset with you.
Post # 7
Say nothing and just be there to support her if she decides he isn’t right for her. Until she does that if you do/say anything you will just be the bad guy.
Post # 8
Ask her if she’s happy in general. If she says yes then accept it.
Post # 9
Thanks ladies! I really appreciate it.
Post # 10
Let me preface my comment by telling you that I also have a younger sister whose relationship with her DH is cause for worry and concern. Here’s what I’ve learned to do in her case and in close friends’ cases: LEAVE HIM OUT OF IT. Like, never say anything bad about the person. Instead focus on HER. So if she’s like “I’m so miserable with him!” you don’t say “Yes he’s a POS disrespectful scumbag! Did you see how he treated mom today? Weren’t you embarassed?”
Rule #1 for dealing with other ppl’s SOs -> never attack them as you’ll only alienate your friend/family member. So you’d say something like “oh noooo! Have you felt this way for a while? Are you ok?”
Rule #2: listen and always keep the conversation centered on them, not their SO. So if she says “wow Gary is an ass!” you say “What makes you say that?” even if she says “What? Don’t tell me you didn’t see that! You were right there too!” you counter with “I just want YOU to be happy. Are you happy with him? No? What’s preventing you from ending it?” (Not “does he make you happy?”)
Rule #3: Instead of alienating that couple bring them into the fold as much as possible. This will provide a better support system for when “your” person wakes up and realizes s/he is not happy with her/his SO. It will also showcase the SO’s social deficiencies without anybody ever having to mention them to the person. So…if you’re happily married and your DH is great with your family and your sister’s SO comes into the family dynamic and is a total douchebag EVERYONE will notice (including your sister) and maybe one day she’ll say “I want a guy like my sister’s DH. I know guys like that exist bc my sister -who is regular and flawed- is married to one just like that.” Also, the more your sister is around your family and her friends the easier it’ll be to not feel too lonely when she’s ready to leave the guy.
Rule #4: Rule 3 does not apply if there’s physical, sexual or severe psychological abuse. Then you need to step up your game and go for the interventions ASAP. If her partner is just sketchy and your sister has a modicum of self esteem she’ll come around eventually.
Post # 11
Soon2ElopeBee: Thank you so much, all of these points are extremely helpful!
Post # 12
My brother has an SO who no one in our family likes. She’s superficial, snobbish, cold, and downright dumb. They’ve been together for quite a while now, and, he loves her. I realize now I might have been cold towards the beginning (there were a lot of other issues I won’t go into), but no one can change his mind about her and it’s not worth trying. Honestly, he isn’t happy with her himself anymore, but I’ve found the best way to deal is to suck it up, embrace her, sit on the sidelines and wait.
Post # 13
Great advice! It’s so difficult to be in OP’s position.