Is my girlfriend's sister justified or not in her disapproval, and why?
May 13, 2009 11:13 AM Subscribe
How can I avoid straining the relationship between my girlfriend and her sister, who disapproves of us? Also, what are some good religious / psychological / philosophical texts to help me understand and (gently) argue against the sister's point of view: that my girlfriend and I are living in sin by having sex out of wedlock?
posted by radiosig to Human Relations (38 answers total)
I am a straight man, 25 years old. My girlfriend of 20 and her twin sister live together in a nearby city, about 80 miles away from me. The girlfriend and I had been taking turns visiting each other on the weekends until her sister made it known to her that I was no longer welcome in their apartment, ostensibly because of our sexual relationship (I am my girlfriend's first). The sisters grew up in a strict Protestant household (grandfather was a pastor), but my girlfriend has been moving away from that lifestyle in some ways over the last couple of years while her sister has continued to embrace it. The sister and her boyfriend have been dating for about a year but are apparently not intimate beyond the occasional long hug (!).
Last night, after an apparent understanding was reached by the sisters some weeks ago whereby I was allowed to visit on an occasional basis (the implicit understanding was that we could sleep together but my girlfriend and I had agreed not to have sex there) and as my girlfriend and I were settling down to bed, she was called into her sister's room and given an ultimatum: that either I would be spending the night on the couch downstairs or that she (the sister) would be going to her boyfriend's house to spend the night (on his couch downstairs, natch). My girlfriend refused to cooperate with this and so the sister's boyfriend came over to pick her up and they left together, but not before he gave my girlfriend and I a bit of an arrogant dressing-down. So this is the impetus for my post.
And here are my questions:
1) Am I in way over my head here? Am I in the moral wrong for driving a wedge (or for being the wedge, anyway) between my girlfriend and her sister? Family's always first? Or, should I take this as a portent of things to come and get out now?
2) What's the big deal? Is this a religious thing only, or are there other impulses at play here? Is the sister justified in feeling "uncomfortable in her own home" because my girlfriend and I are sharing a bed, or because she knows we have sex when my girlfriend comes to visit me?
3) There are assuredly precedents for this type of situation. Can anyone direct me to relevant writings about them? The more specific the better I suppose, but anything in the realm of philosophy, psychology or theology that could help explain the sister's point of view, or justify or refute her ultimatum, would be great.
I may sound disingenuously naive here, but I assure you I'm not trying to be. I grew up in an entirely areligious household and have been throughout my life by turns indifferent to and dismissive of organized religion. Although I can't change the fact that I don't believe, I'm trying in every way that I can to meet my girlfriend half way in this foreign territory. Recently I feel as if I might be up against something far stranger than I ever knew. Or are we just talking about one nutty sister? Thanks in advance.