We are two sisters, I’m the younger one, at 28, she’s the so-called “big sister,” older at 31. Only three years’ difference, and we might as well be living on two different planets!
For some unknown reason, we didn’t get along from earliest days. My sister would say she wanted to “hug” me, our mother would let her, and then she’d squeeze so hard, I’d cry.
I was too young to remember the pain. But everyone in the family tells that story, laughing like it was okay to hurt me.
At school, my sister purposefully ignored me if she saw me in the halls. Socially, she’d say I had to stay in my room if she had friends over.
And my mother permitted this! She’d “explain” that it’d be the same if I were the one with friends visiting. But that didn’t happen because my sister would barge in and take over.
That’s the back story. Now, we’re both adults but she’s still trying to overshadow me and I’m done with it!
She’s married, her husband is in a high-paid profession, and they have two children whom I hardly get to see, because she says “they’re so busy.”
I’m living with a man I love - he’s creative and musical, has a decent job (as do I) and together we share many interests and dreams.
This gives my sister something big to argue about with me. She’s met my partner only three times but insists she knows his “type,” that we’ll be living in our small, rented apartment “forever,” and I’m making “the mistake of (my) life.”
My father passed six years ago, and my mother simply says, “Your sister’s just looking out for you.”
Now, my sister’s urging my mom to sell her house and move in with her “so she’ll be safe there.”
Should I just end all contact with my sister, even though it may also mean not seeing my mother much?
Big Bad Sister
Leave the past behind, other than to know your sister is unlikely to change.
Then, examine your own present life without her or anyone else’s judgement. Where you live, how you live, and especially with whom, has to feel right for you and your partner, not for others.
It means having occasional discussions with him about your future together (but NOT with your sister), e.g., do you want children? If yes, can you manage as is, or do you need to consider some changes? These must come from you two, together, not from anyone else.
Meanwhile, visit your mother, even at your sister’s home. It’s your right to continue to see/visit with her, through her aging years.
If you’re ever challenged and told to not visit, stand your ground. Seek legal advice if needed.
FEEDBACK This is in reference to a Reader's Commentary on your choice of greeting to followers of your column - whether “Dear Reader or Dear Readers" (March 7):
“I disagree with the letter-writer's opinion that you should use "Dear Reader." While one person may be reading your column on an individual device or in an individual newspaper, there are thousands of us taking in your words at any given time on our many devices and in our many newspapers. Many Readers. Plural.
“Other syndicated advice columnists use "Dear Readers" regularly, especially when sending out well wishes for various holidays.
“Also, speeches by American Presidents generally start with, "My Fellow Americans," not "My Fellow American."
FEEDBACK Regarding sex in the lives of older people (Feb.19, March 10):
Reader – “I’d been widowed about a year in my early 70’s when a close woman friend died. Her husband has Asperger's and I didn’t know him well but I knew my friend would’ve wanted me to check on him as they lived in an isolated locale.
“So, when I ran into his daughter-in-law, I asked her if she’d think I was ‘hitting on him,’ if I were to phone? She laughed loudly. To her, the idea that sex could be a consideration at our age was hilarious.
“I called him anyway which led eventually to companionship and a very happy second marriage for us both. We both mention my friend frequently and I know she’d approve.
“There’s often an opportunity to do some good as we go on following the death of a spouse. We shouldn’t let what others might think, stand in the way.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t let unhappy memories determine your present choices. Avoid discussing them with critics.