His Sister is Rude to His Girlfriend

Q: My sister is causing problems between me and my girlfriend. What's happening is my sister doesn't like my girlfriend, so she keeps trying to set me up with other girls. When we have family dinners at my sister's, some extra female friend always seems to show up, no matter whether my girlfriend comes or not. My sister talks up the other girl and how great she is at this, how good she is at that. She'll say things like, "Isn't she pretty?" Now my girlfriend wants me to stop talking to my sister because of all this. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. My sister is going too far, but I'm not going to stop talking to her. And my girlfriend has a right to be mad, but she's been nasty to my sister too. What can I do? —Danny, 28

Dr. Susan: Sit that sister of yours down and have a frank conversation about her rude behavior. Remind her that you're an adult who likes both your girlfriend and your sister very much. Point out that no matter what happens with your girlfriend in months or years to come, you want your brother/sister relationship to stay strong and healthy forever. And that by her disrespect for someone you like, she's just putting you in an impossible situation.

Now sit your girlfriend down and tell her that you're not going to stop talking to your sister, but that you're working on her to be more respectful. And that you hope she, your girlfriend, will try to be above all the pettiness and not be nasty to your sister, no matter what. But meanwhile, keep the two of them apart as much as possible, and don't repeat stupid stuff your sister says about your girlfriend.

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