You ladies are all incredible. Thank you so much for this outpouring of support and incredibly thoughtful, positive advice!
Some of you asked if they openly argue, or if it is more just tension. It is definitely the latter. I have never seen them argue about anything. It’s just clear from their body language and attitudes that that they are not comfortable with each other.
For example, my FI, when he’s comfortable, is one of the most outgoing, warm and charming people you’d ever meet, and I’m not the only person who thinks so (although I am biased! :)) And he used to be very gracious and outgoing around my sister. Now I can see that he clams up and is not warm, not receptive. My sister is also clearly tense and unhappy. I don’t know if anyone would notice as much as I do, since I know them both so well.
I think you all have wonderful suggestions. I do think you are right, I should probably sit them down separately at first. I actually have talked to them both about this already separately. I guess that is why I felt so very despairing about it this time. I remember my FI made a big effort to reach out more to my sister and pay more special attention to her and it helped. But it has been a while. When I talk to them about it, it does seem to improve, but yesterday felt like the same ugly things rearing their heads again.
One thing you all should know: because he knew my sister was my only family, my FI took her out to dinner and asked her blessing before he proposed. I did not know this till later of course, because the proposal was a surprise. When I spoke to my FI about his relationship with my sister at one point, he bitterly brought up that when he asked for her blessing, she said she wasn’t sure and had to think about it. She also told him that she thought she had to tell me before he proposed, he had to practically beg her not to ruin the surprise. I think that really hurt his feelings and I think that may have been the beginning of the end of them.
Well hopefully it is not the end! But it was the beginning of a lot of tension between them.
My sister, just so you all know, was dating two guys for a while until recently. Believe it or not, they BOTH proposed to her. She just didn’t feel into either of them enough to say yes. She is five years older than me though, and right now there is no man in her life that she is interested in.
We have had some conversations where she says how she feels very frightened about the future, and I do understand how she feels (I think) but it’s been hard for me to be too understanding because to be honest I have been very resentful that she has not bee more supportive. To her credit, in the past few months she’s become much moreso. It’s been a really difficult separation process for us — we have been roommates for the past seven years.
Also some of you asked if she was concerned for my safety or thought he was treating me poorly, etc. Those are very good questions. The short answer is that she definitely has no reason to fear for my safety with him, I have never in my life felt threatened by him in any way whatsoever. The more complex answer is that my sister and I were raised without any men in our lives, after my father left when we were kids. My father was abusive to my mother and she, God bless her, did not have a very good attitude towards men. She was really burned by my dad and ended up kind of bitter about it and never remarried or even had a serious relationship after that. With that said, she did have a rich, full independent life and lots of friends. But my point is, we grew up actually sort of with an unhealthy DISrespect for married life. My mom always acted like women who got married usually "sold out" to their men and let them dominate them.
My fiance is a very dynamic, confident, and strong willed guy, and he gives this impression generally. What I know is that with me his a just a big old softie and gives in to almost anything I want! He is very flexible, patient and generous with me. But he is Latin and has a natural sort of "machismo" that I think is threatening to my sister (please know he does not throw this around and he is not a sexist). He is very kind to me and loving, it is just in a different way than we are used to (we were used to very lovey dovey behavior, he is more a loving by actions kind of guy).
So anyway as I said I think he pushes her buttons and that combined with the fact that I think he basically feels sort of rejected by her, doesn’t make for a healthy brew.
But I think I do need to have a real heart to heart with both of them. What I really want them to do is work on their relationship for my sake. I hope they will. Some of you had a great idea about something we all would enjoy to do together. I will think about that.
Also — some of you made good points about the fact that he does not have to be a big part of my relationship with my sister, and that’s true too. I think I hoped they would be great chums in the beginning but I had to accept that wouldn’t happen. Now all I want is for them to get along, for them to be easy with each other, you know?
Thank you so much ladies. Sorry if I went on too long. I am a fast typist. :o)