Are my sister’s actions inappropriate?

For Real Time Discussion join us on Twitter: @TGPBuzz

Some recent questions:

I cheated on him; should I tell him?

Military long distance relationship

I like a gay guy; what do I do?

Will he ever leave his marriage for me? 

Divorced woman w/kids dating bachelors in their 40s

My son is throwing his life away for a woman with three kids

Does my coach love me, or am I being delusional?

My cheating ex won’t get out of my life. Why?

The non-exclusive relationship; what in the world is going on?

Hi Guys,

It seems like every time I meet or date someone my sister likes to form her own type of relationship with the person. Some of the guys are people I’m dating, others are just friends. (I don’t think she’s trying to date them though.) It starts out innocently enough with a few comments on Facebook and before I know it she has added them as a friend—most of the time she has never even met the person—which then leads to texting/phone and in some cases, hanging out. Sometimes she likes to hijack my phone and text them funny things pretending it’s from me. (Sometimes it is funny, but a lot of the time it’s not.)

This has happened on more than a few occasions…at least six or seven times. I feel like I’m being paranoid but I would never do something like that to her. I’ve been told I’m justified AND I’ve been told I’m jealous.

There is a eight year age gap between us—I am the oldest (33)of three and she is the youngest (25)—and we have always been close, but this really bothers me. Is this a line crosser? I don’t know how to approach her. The one time I did she got bent out of shape and mass deleted everyone on Facebook, saying she wasn’t allowed to be friends with my friends. And the one time I mentioned it to a guy I was told I was jealous.

I’m at a loss as to what to make of it. And, what to do.


Dear Trish,

Thanks for your question.

You’re in a funny position here. It’s obvious you care about your sister and you don’t want to do anything to damage your relationship, but at the same time you’d like her to stop. (Ahh, the complexity of sibling relationships!)

Rest assured, she is completely in the wrong. She is definitely crossing the line and she seems completely oblivious to this fact. Which says to us, whatever roles you established when the two of you were younger, are still playing out here. Meaning, you’re expected to be the mature and understanding older sister who puts up with her younger sister’s cute pranks. Maybe twenty years ago her antics were adorable, but now that you’re both adults, not so much anymore.

Sibling roles often last forever. Even after kids go off to establish their own lives—maybe getting married and having their own families—these same roles play out over and over during family get togethers and events. In order to break free from these roles it takes work and participation from both sides. Often, if issues arise, one sibling might try to move the relationship to a new place while the other sibling resists, which can cause a rift that can last a lifetime.

We don’t think a lifetime rift will happen in your case, but you are going to have to have a “sit down” with your sis. (This behavior isn’t going to stop on its own.) And this is where being the older sister will help you, because it’s clear she’s trying to get your attention. She’s flexing her adult muscles, demonstrating her power, and probably looking for your approval. Yes, she still wants to know that big sister is paying attention as she navigates the adult world. And of course on some level she’s also competing with you. What younger sibling doesn’t want to “beat” their older brother or sister in something?

What she doesn’t realize is that you’re treating her more as an equal now, someone who should know better. And this is how we might broach the topic. Tell her how much you care about her, but you also might want to flip things on her. Tell her that sometimes even older sis might need some support from younger sis. If she realizes that you in fact don’t have all the answers, maybe she’ll back off and realize she has crossed the line. Hopefully this new understanding will bring the two of you even closer.

However, this conversation may not go smoothly, and it is possible she will have a knee-jerk reaction and be angry for a time. But if you do it with sensitivity—even though she’s not being sensitive now—eventually she’ll understand her behavior is inappropriate.

And for Pete’s Sake, please hide your phone!


ps. Please leave us a comment her in the comments section. We’ll respond to you here. And let your friends know about us. Thanks!






10 Comments on Are my sister’s actions inappropriate?

  1. Thanks! I appreciate your time 🙂

  2. @Trish…..You’re welcome. Hope it helped.

  3. Hey… Again… Guys. I probably spend more time on your site than anyone. Which to me is terrible, since I don’t have anyone to talk to about my situation… Because the two people I trusted broke that…

    So my ex left me and wants to date my little sister now. This all happened in two weeks. Now I still have feelings for this guy, yesterday I went with him to get his tattoo done and while walking across the street there was this moment where I saw him looking for my hand to take and then in the car he accidentally called me babe.

    This makes it even harder as we had fun yesterday doing all the things we usually did. As you know I loved him a lot, he was my first love and now the transition to just friends is super hard. He told me today that he cherished me for my friendship and the way I’m always there for him.

    My sister has these issues where she gets super violent and destructive when she doesn’t get her way. She’ll step on anyone even if its for a quick thrill. She’s cold,distant, has no friends and always has these anger outbursts at everyone. She ignores people when they talk, even walking away mid-conversation! And according to her she’s never wrong. Also she’s never had a boyfriend before which means she’s a virgin. Everytime a guy likes her she likes him for 2 weeks and starts to ignore him. I decided to step aside for them both, as I’m tired in every way possible of this but she’s still young so she has to get permission from my mom first to date him, obviously mom said no and then my sister went cutting herself, punching us for trying to take away the sharp things that could hurt her and then proceeded to run into the night. The police had to calm her down and look for her!!

    My problem is that I’m not okay with them dating, I can’t accept it and they just don’t get why! I hate my sister even more now, since I know she’s going to hurt him. And also since she’s literally broken our family apart now. Clearly he hasn’t woken up yet to how crazy she is, and she is just after him for the chase, I think.

    I’m not wanting him back, but feelings don’t just die and how can I get them to understand this as well as let them know by doing this they are making it harder for me to move on, since he’s still gonna be around?

  4. @Saki…..You’re not going to make either of them understand. From the sound of it, your sister is immature and completely self-involved so she’s going to to do only what is self-serving. As far as him, he’s not much of a friend if he’s not trying to date your sister. Pretty shameful if you ask us. Our advice: Try to ride this out for the next month or until it fizzles which it surely will. Then you need to wash your hands of him, because it’s likely he’ll come crawling back to you when things end with them. Try to resist. This guy is not the guy for you. We’re sorry. As per your sister. That may be above our pay grade.

  5. hey again guys,
    a month on and they’re closer than ever it seems, well sort off. See the thing is my ex wants to stay friends, and he keeps in contact with me everyday. If I don’t reply he gets all irritated and starts saying things like he wants to end our friendship. But it doesn’t stop him from rubbing into my nose.

    Partly, no all of it is my fault. In the last month I went out with them twice. Big mistake. The first time I was rude and stand offish to both of them and he criticized me for it the next day, and honestly i did feel bad about it.

    I decided on my own ( and told him so too) that I was going to make an effort to reach out to my sister, forgive her, be the bigger person. But that lasted a week, until I went out with them the second time. She didn’t even try to hide or be subtle about her intentions with him and yes i know we broke up, but still she’s my sister. She kept asking me that night what was wrong like she didn’t know and I left early without even telling them as I couldn’t stand the sight of them anymore.

    Since then I haven’t spoken to her and she’s been nothing but rude to me. Now my ex doesn’t understand why I get negative sometimes, but I try to hide it from him. He had some family drama this week and I tried to support him and be an ear to listen to, He texts me about all of it all the time. Today, just now he said he wanted to go to the local pool for a day in the sun (we went there together in the past) but with my sister. He says though she doesn’t want to ask permission from my mom cause my mom will say no. I asked him if my sister even wants to go and that she should at least make an effort right?

    The thing is I tried every approach now to get over all this, and my stupid mind still misses him and wants him back! Stupid! I am trying to pretend to him like I don’t care by letting him and her go at it or whatever. How do I keep this going and am I wrong for trying to do it this way?

  6. @Saki…..We’d like to be able to help you, but at this point it’s up to you. It’s a tough situation though and we understand why this is so hard. There’s a lot of betrayal happening. Our advice; Cut off all ties with him. And try to be cordial to your sister if you need to be, but maybe take a break from her as well. You need space to heal. This guy is not the guy for you. At least that’s our opinion.

  7. Hey guys,
    So I’ve been thinking way too much and right at rock bottom I decided this isn’t gonna go on any longer; these people won’t break me anymore. I limit contact to a bare minimum since today, yes I know I’ve only been hurting myself by still talking to him.

    Few days ago I had an argument with my mother, who in turn vented to my sister who in turn ran to my ex who then proceeded to jump down my throat. Now in short my mom and I argued because, yes I’ve been a bit depressed to say the least and I’ve had mood swings about this all.

    Yesterday I got a gift (roses and chocs) for V-day and at first I thought it was my mother, since she does things like that sometimes for her children. I wasn’t talking to her at that stage and I have no contact with my sister, so I asked the ex to ask my sister if she got the same gift. Understand that this gift was delivered to my office and if they weren’t from my mom, I’d be a bit creeped out about it. I also know my ex won’t send these, as he is after all a jerk, but also a jerk who’s a broke student.

    Eventually it came out that I thought it was my mom and a friend came out and said it was in fact him and not my mom who sent the gift. I’ve known this guy for ages and yes, I picked up on the vibes he was giving off, but I never returned those vibes since he’s a much appreciated friend, but I’ve never been attracted to him. I also made sure not to lead him on in any way since I didn’t want to lose his friendship and I’ve been led on before, its the worst thing you can do to someone.

    Still, the gift came and I’m awkward about it as I didn’t want this to happen. My ex all of the sudden asked me earlier if I found out who the gift was from and I told him about it and also that it feels weird. He knows that I see this guy as only a friend but still asked why. I explained it again to him and he said k,’shame’ as if he’s trying to guilt trip me into dating my friend. Even if I explained to him that I won’t date anyone just out of pity. Its wrong,right?
    When we were together he kept telling me that he knew my friend was into me.

    After the breakup he kept telling me to go out and find someone soon and meet people. I’m not like that and he knows it too… I don’t care to date anyone now or soon as I’m really not ready.

    I’m thinking he’s trying to rid himself of guilt that’s why he’s guilt tripping me? Or is he just trying to get me to date someone so that he could get to my sister? (which by the way I told him to just go ahead already)

    What are your thoughts on this?

  8. @Saki….Our thoughts? All of the above. He doesn’t want to feel guilty. He can see you’re unhappy and would prefer you happy and occupied. He’s interested in your sister. FYI: Just by reaching out to him to ask him a question is involving him too much in your life, if you’re really trying to separate yourself. We’re sorry you’re hurting. Try to focus on yourself and keep your distance, especially from him. But what’s going on with your mom? Is she not being supportive of you? We’d hate to see that relationship affected by all of this.

  9. A bit of background on me and my mother’s relationship; we’re close but not as close as her and my sister. Let’s just say my dad died when my sister was 9 and I think ever since then my mom has been trying to fill a gap in my sister’s life by giving her everything she wants. Growing up my sister could do all she want, never face consequences for her actions and ultimately she also never had to work for anything either, She had everything handed to her.

    I didn’t mind this as my sister was young and I understood in a way where my mother was coming from. I mean sometimes i think my mom wants to be my sister’s best friend rather than her mother. So it’s fair to say that my sister and my mom are very close.

    This being said, right after the break up I shut everyone out, since I felt embarrassed and humiliated. Someone had just left me and it felt kind of like he was saying I wasn’t good enough, so I didn’t want pity or someone to see that feeling written on my face.

    Eventually though (after my ex egged me on) I reached out to both my sister and my mother and both told me that they’d be there for me. My sister obviously did what she did and lied.

    My mom on the other hand was there but she’s also a workaholic who’s very occupied all the time. And in time she and my sister became even closer. Eventually I drew back and didn’t talk to either of them as I felt they couldn’t do anything for me.
    So this argument my mom and I had she basically told me I was worthless, no wonder I’m alone and he left me. Then she proceeded to tell me that all this was my own doing, I caused it.

    Now I’m not saying me walking around miserable is a nice feeling for her, which is why I pulled myself together apologized to all parties involved and I am feeling a whole lot better.
    And I understand my mother is in a hard place between her kids somewhere she shouldn’t be so I decided not to let this happen again. Our relationship has been strained a lot after my dad’s death(teen angst ;)) and we got better eventually.

    I feel like my sister and my ex should be the ones apologizing to me, but thinking that people as selfish as them would actually do that is fruitless. So I can sit around and let my relationship with mother suffer or I can work at it, even if it’s just for my peace of mind.

    Thanks a million for your help guys. A lot of insight later and I’m feeling like the sun is shining again! Thank you!!

  10. @Saki…..We’re glad. Thanks for clarifying and good luck. Keep in touch.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Maximum comment length is 1500 characters.