Me and You and That Guy
December 14, 2013 6:34 AM Subscribe
I can't stand my sister's boyfriend. He's coming for Christmas. They're inseparable. Now what?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (47 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My sister is finishing her PhD multiple states away from where the rest of the family lives. She has been dating the same guy for about four of those years. Developing a reliable social network where she is has been difficult for her, so I was excited to initially meet the guy, but this has since been replaced by frustration and loathing.
First, I want to say that I know who my sister dates is ultimately none of my business and I would never tell her what I think of her boyfriend unless asked point blank, but I don't think he is right for her at all. They are not equals in the relationship (esp. emotionally and intellectually) and I am constantly seeing his life issues creating unnecessary stress for her on top of her PhD work. He almost no social life outside of her, and my sister has complained that she frequently feels that she needs to make sure everyone in her social group is having fun, but doesn't seem to connect that with him. When he first met my family a year or so ago, he would sit in our living room messing with his phone and not really interact with anyone but my sister. He then came to a birthday party for me and announced after near total silence that a toast I’d made was rude because I’d toasted my guests with a glass of water (it was the only thing at hand at the time). I know for a fact that my sister has told him we (the family) share a lot of similar interests with him, but he is short on listening or asking questions of others and long in talking about himself and what he likes to do, and will even flee from the room if it is just him and my father in it. I have sincerely tried to get to know him and to understand what it is that makes their relationship special to them, but I come away disliking him more and more. I've made more of a meaningful connection with people in 15 minutes of chatting than I've made with him after days of activity.
None of this would matter except that now in order to spend any time with my sister, I must also spend time with him. This is now reaching its peak with the announcement that the boyfriend will be coming home with my sister for Christmas. A lot of the details have not been explained yet, but as there is no one the boyfriend knows in our town that he does not know through my sister, it is clear that he will be spending that week either at our house with us or out with my sister doing things.
I consider myself pretty close to my sister. We understand each other on a level that other people don’t, and I really value the time we spend hanging out… time that we’re not going to have because the boyfriend is always going to be there. I only see my sister a few times a year, so I’d like to make the most of it, but right now my plan for coping with the boyfriend is to attempt to stay away as much as possible, which is going to be both difficult (everyone is going to notice if I’m not there at the tree or the dinner table or whatever) and a total bummer (losing precious hangout time with my sister). I definitely don’t want to start a fight or cause bad feelings either. I don’t know what else I can do about this though. My father says we need to accept him and prepare for him to become part of the family… which would be awful, but again, has nothing to do with me.
Is there any strategy that I can pursue that isn’t “hide until he/they leave” this Christmas, or do I need to grit my teeth and deal with it?
Thank you in advance