My youngster sister’s dating a guy who’s all wrong for her. She’s 33 and I’m worried that she could end up marrying him.
I can see him thinking that’s a great idea. We come from an upper middle-class family, she owns her own condo, and has a good job.
He’s 30, in a trade like his father, has never saved anything, owns nothing but his car. He lives in his parents’ basement apartment, paying them rent.
She’s hinted that he often sleeps over at her place and I fear he’ll be trying to move in.
He has nothing to offer her besides a warm body in her bed, which I’m sure is the main attraction.
She says he’s very respectful of her, they laugh a lot, he plays the guitar (self-taught) which she enjoys. But otherwise they stay home and watch TV series.
I’ve pointed out their vast differences in education and exposure to the arts – she studied painting for several years and has definite talent.
She used to tour art galleries regularly, but admitted she hasn’t gone since she met him.
She giggles about how strong and protective he is, and she likes that he’s so manly.
I’m trying to guide her, not judge her. I’m married to a man from a similar background to me, and we have two children.
Our values match so we don’t find it hard to make important decisions e.g. our kids’ schooling, what activities we pursue as a family, etc.
How do I get through to my sister before she makes a mistake that can cost her years and a lot of her money?
Concerned Big Sister
It’s unclear if you’re concerned as much for your sister’s right to choose, as for her money and what you see as her bad taste in men.
Yes, she may end up with the wrong guy. This happens, unfortunately, to many people, even those who are cultured and educated like you.
I suspect from your views, that you’ve grown up telling her what’s better for her than what she’s chosen, that she should be more like you.
This may be the very direction she’s trying to avoid.
Keep up your criticism of the guy, and you’re likely to be the force pushing him towards her even sooner than she’d consider.
Your sister works at a good job, earning well. She’ll obviously take that into account if she considers sharing her home (and expenses) with this man.
If she loves him deeply, she may be willing to carry the bigger load. She may encourage him to upgrade through a college course. Or, she may find their relationship so important to her that she accepts him just as he is.
To that point, I suspect she’d like you to accept her the same way, without trying to re-mould her more like yourself.
Back off, and try to get to know this man in a casual non-judgmental way. Visit them, share a pizza, and hang out one night.
Invite them to a casual brunch with your kids present. Ask him to bring his guitar. See him as he is, and let her do so without feeling you’re putting him down.
Once there’s no pressure from you (or your parents), she may see that the choice IS hers but, as with all serious commitments, she needs to think it through.
That may go one way or another. Your role is to accept and be supportive, not to keep campaigning against him.
My depression is from the rejection I’ve had in my personal life.
People using me for money, favors, and not caring about me as a person. And, not having a date in years because I'm never "hot" enough.
It's too bad I stopped caring about myself as well. I just go through every day limping along.
There’s a place you can access in your area that can help you. Google your local Distress Centre to phone or email and talk to a trained person – anonymously if you prefer, and with confidentiality - to help you lift from depression.
You’ll learn what resources are available, such as talking to a counsellor about ways to avoid the old patterns that led to rejection.
Once you gain some confidence that you don’t deserve this, you can meet people knowing they can’t take advantage of you.
Start that journey now through the Distress Line.
Tip of the day:
Relationship criticisms from older siblings often just create long-standing rifts instead of help.