- 7 years ago
Warning: a bit lengthy! 😉
I wasn’t sure whether to put this in “family” or “relationships”.
My SO was really, really close to his younger sister before I entered the picture. they are only 2 years apart. he is her older brother, and she clearly adores him and would do anything for him. he had dated a few girls, but not seriously, and I’m the first person he has evern introduced to his parents or taken on family vacations, etc.
Now that he spends his time with me, she feels left out. She is late 20s, has a decent job, and is a very attractive girl, but she lives at home, doesn’t get out much, and doesn’t have a boyfriend at this time, so her brother was apparently the main guy in her life and her main go-to person when it came to planning fun activities. The adjustment has been really, really difficult for her. At first, I completely didn’t get it. I have a younger brother, and I was never jealous of his attention to other girls. My younger brother and I are close, but not so close that it changes things for us when he as a girlfriend. But my brother is 4 years younger and we always had different social circles. My SO and his sister did everything together during their growing up years, and when she didn’t have a date to go to an event, he would escort her. She depended a lot on him, and she does come across as shy and slow to open up.
At first, this manifested in her making things really, really difficult for me. I was blindsided. I was surprised that she felt left out because that simply was never on my radar of something that might happen. When MY brother has a girlfriend, I can’t wait to meet her. It’s exciting! I want to make her feel welcome and hope we’ll get along and eventually become friends and do girl stuff together. But with my boyfriend’s sister . . . I was clearly given mixed treatment. She was polite, but then little rude comments would slip in. When we were at their house, she would try to keep him away from me as much as possible and would sulk or walk off and then he would feel guilty.
Over time, I have noticed that this has started to change. She’s started to open up to me, and started to be supportive of the relationship. I struggled not to be frustrated with her for making things so difficult for me for a while, but I also really tried to grow through this experience and understand things from her perspective. Even if I think it is weird that a brother and sister could be so close b/c it’s different from my sibling relationship, they were close in age, and their relationship was more like twins. For a while, they were the only ones who spoke English in their school (when their family was in another country) and they had to be in the same grade — and i think that experience really bonded them to be similar to twins in terms of closeness.
The thing I’ve told myself is that this is a LOSS for her, a real loss, and she’s had to grieve over it. She has matured a lot, too, over the past couple of years, and even told me that while she used to consider her brother her best friend, she now realizes things have to change and she has to just let go, and it’s made her simply long for a boyfriend and become more aware of that need instead of trying to fill her need for male companionship with him. I thought that was amazing — I told her I was supportive and knew they would always be close. I certainly *don’t* want to cause division, and I realize that family is forever, but I am grateful that she “approves” of me now in the sense that she wants to build a friendship with me and not interfere with my relatioship with SO.
Wow, that was long. But it feels good to get it all out! I guess the reason I’m posting this is because I’m curious to know if anyone else has had a similar experience — particularly from the perspective of the sister in this situation. I want to be supportive and simply understand her, and really, I have no life experience of my own to truly draw from here. Also, if you’ve been in my position, how did you cope? How did you help your SO and his/her other close relationships (whether best friends or family) transition, change, and grow as you entered his/her life?