Last week, my sister got engaged. Which should – in theory – have been a joyful moment for the whole family.
But here’s the thing… I hate him. Despise him, in fact.
Which sounds like a terrible thing to say, but trust me when I say you would too. They’ve only been together for nine months and during that time he has proven himself to be misogynistic, rude, and arrogant. He makes racist jokes, he speaks down to my sister, pokes fun at her insecurities, and has actively encouraged her to withdraw from her friendship group.
Since they’ve been in a relationship, I’ve seen her become more and more withdrawn and meek. She’s no longer the funny, glowing person I grew up with. He’s also rude to me and my parents, and quite frankly it’s been hard for me to refrain from giving him a slap on several occasions.
But I’ve always held my tongue, thinking that she would finally see the light and realize what a pig he is. Now they’re engaged and I just don’t know how to tell her that she’s making a huge mistake.
I feel horrible that I didn’t voice my concerns earlier and feel like it’s too late to say anything now, but how on earth can I let her walk down the aisle knowing that she’s marrying such an awful person?
From, Loving Sibling
Dear Jane, my sister is engaged to a man I despise and I don’t know how to tell her she is making a huge mistake
Dear Loving Sibling,
I am so sorry you are going through this. You clearly adore your sister, and would that she were marrying someone you adored. The thing is, we don’t get to choose who our siblings, or indeed our friends, marry.
International best-selling author offers sage advice on DailyMail.com readers’ most burning issues in her weekly Dear Jane agony aunt column
If we are very lucky, they marry someone we like, but over the years I have had plenty of female friends who are married to men who sound very much like your future brother-in-law. Sometimes I see the friend without their husband. Sometimes, I lose the friendship.
The fact that you dislike him is less important than how you see her change around him. That seems to be a clear red flag, and I do think we owe it to the people we love to speak up when we see red flags. And, we must detach from the results, because you have no control over what your sister will do.
Sit her down and tell her that you love her, you want her to be happy, and that you have some concerns and would be remiss in not speaking out. Be clear that your love for her is not conditional, and that you will support her whatever her choice.
Then tell her what you have observed, how you see her change around him. Ask her what it is she gets out of the relationship, how he makes her feel, whether she feels like the best version of herself around him. Sometimes asking the right questions can help people see things they haven’t wanted to face.
Once you have spoken your piece, there is nothing else you can do. If she chooses to go ahead with the marriage, however hard it may be, you must respect her choice.
Which doesn’t mean you continue to allow him to be rude to you. You have the right to set a boundary and tell him that it upsets you when he speaks to you like that. If he continues, you have the right to see your sister without him.
Relationships can be complicated, particularly when it is family, but each person has their own journey, and this may be your sister’s. You don’t have to stop loving and supporting her, but you are allowed to not share that love and support with her husband.
It is not too late now that they are engaged, but we can only voice our concerns one time. After that, you have to let the chips fall where they may, and be there, as much as you are able, to love and support your sister.
My ex-husband has been contacting me and I’m not sure what direction to go. He is a widower and I am a widow. We divorced 35 years ago. We have a married daughter and grandchildren.
Dear Jane’s Sunday Service
Last week I heard an ‘expert’ give advice on marriage. He has been married a handful of years, is in his early thirties, and as wise as he sounded, I couldn’t help but think that given his youth and relative inexperience, he has absolutely no idea what marriage is.
Few of us know how to communicate well when we are young, and so often the right marriages can sour simply because the couple has no idea how to communicate, nor how to deal with their own baggage.
With age comes wisdom, and if we are lucky, acceptance, not just of someone else’s shortcomings, but perhaps more importantly, our own.
He has a girlfriend across the country and they visit each other from time to time, but both say they do not want to move.
He has shown signs of interest with me but I’m not sure what direction to go. Any advice for me?
From, Second Time Could Be the Charm
Dear Second Time,
I love this story, and the possibility of you and your former husband possibly finding your way back to each other again.
So often we marry for the right reasons, but life gets in the way.
We’re too young to understand the commitment of marriage, we allow small hills to become insurmountable mountains, and we don’t have the tools to deal with the things that life throws at us.
The idea that we meet again, some 35 years on, and find that we still have things in common, remind ourselves of the reasons we fell in love 35 years ago, is the very stuff that romance is made of.
Until and unless you get together with him, you have no idea what the future may hold.
I would love for you to get in touch with him, go out, and see if there is a spark that may be ignited again.
And if there is, please let us know so we can follow this lovely story.
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