Is His Sister Her Competition?
My partner of 16 years lives with his sister, which is not easy to begin with, due to economic times, and she has never dated anyone because she has a thing for her brother. She is provocative daily with him, knowing it upsets me. He does not tell her to cut it out and get her own boyfriend. It has all the appearances of normal behavior to anyone not living here, but I have seen things that point to incestuous behavior, and it worries me. Talking to her just builds more hostility towards me because she sees me as her competition. It has become unworkable and built distance with my partner. It's achieved what she wants: me out. -- Maria, 50
After you have spent so many years with him, I can't imagine why your partner hasn't already set some rules for his own sister's annoying, possibly abnormal, behavior. Some siblings can perhaps act in a playful way that seems, to an outsider, flirtatious with one another, but you're no outsider by now. Sisters can feel competitive with their brother's lover at any age. Screwy, but it happens. The only person who can and should deal with this is your boyfriend. So where is he when all this is going on? Does he respond to her in a similar manner or does he simply ignore her? If things are intolerable, let him know you've had it. Either he figures out how to control his sister, or the two of you ought to find some way to live away from her, or you will have to go.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.,
is a social psychologist and relationship expert. She is a bestselling and award-winning author whose latest book is "Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way." She has written for and been quoted in Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today, Family Circle, Women's Health & Fitness, YM, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Child, and many others. She also consults and teaches writing online. Read her complete bio!
NOTE: The information contained herein is provided for information purposes, and not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment that may or should be prescribed by your physician or recommended by your therapist.