The Sisty Uglers

21 May

Letterbalm Two Creepy SistersDear LetterBalm: My partner and I have been together for three years. During all that time, his two sisters have done everything they could to break us up. They’re quite a bit older than he is, and they’ve always bossed him around and denigrated his successes from the time he was young. They don’t like me, and they’ve told lies to him and the rest of his family about me. They’ve spread hateful rumors – the latest that I was going to take all our things and move out of our apartment. I can’t ask my partner to have nothing to do with his sisters – he’s in a very successful family business, and they are involved in our lives. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair. I know his family is a fact of life. My partner has told them countless times that he loves me and won’t listen to their lies. He needs to explain this to the rest of the extended family. What can I suggest he tell them?

–The Pariah

You are wise to recognize that it is certainly unrealistic to expect your partner to cut off contact with his family, especially since he’s in a good business with them. (He has seen to it that his legal rights are protected, yes?) Besides, if he did so, everybody would blame him and, of course, you, and think of that situation. Ms. L.B. presumes you have weighed the ramifications of staying in your current relationship against the reality of his family and have decided your love will endure regardless. If your partner has already told them to cease and desist, there’s little likelihood they’ll stop – their patterns are ingrained. Humor helps sometimes; so does benign disinterest. If you and he don’t react to the nasty lies, there’s no fuel for the fire. You may be able to coach your partner in a statement to the extended family – perhaps a sympathetic distant cousin will take up his cause to the rest of the relatives:

John, I’m sure you’re tired of the rumors and gossip about Anne. I know we are. We’ve been together for three years, and during that time Drizella and Anastasia have kept up a drumbeat of criticisms and blatant falsehoods about her to the family, even after I’ve called them on it. I know they’re used to being my big sisters, but this is ridiculous. They don’t like her, that’s obvious. Not sure why, but it may have something to do with the fact that I’m not their little brother anymore and they can’t run my life. Anyway, I just wanted to get this off my chest. Anne is a wonderful person, I love her, and I’m sorry she has to go through this.

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