Boyfriend's sister and 'brother-in-law' seriously threatening our relationship?


Hi all,

I'd really from the bottom of my heart appreciate some advise on the below situation which has been troubling me now for a good amount of months and has driven me to the point where my relationship with my boyfriend of 8 months is now at make or break.

To give some background on the situation: my boyfriend of 24 currently lives with his two parents and younger sister (by 3 years), however, his sister's foreign boyfriend will often spend 6-7 months of year at the family home visiting making him almost a fourth member of the family. My boyfriend is exceptionally close to his sister and her boyfriend, and they will often spend a large amount of time together be it going out for dinner, watching films together, etc, which I have no issue with, especially since I am well-involved with the three of them and accepted. I might add he has lead a relatively cushy life with his parents providing exceptionally well for him his whole life and even into the present day (I'm not sure if this is a common thing, but his Dad even allows him to use his credit card so that he doesn't have to face his spending until the month after).

The issue comes in the form of my boyfriend repeatedly treating his sister and her boyfriend with more respect, friendship and almost 'enthusiasm' than myself, and constantly putting them above me, despite the situation or them being right or wrong (I understand this may stem from the fact he has a deeper connection with them coming from knowing them longer). A few prime examples would be:

- Telling me off for things he would simply shrug off if done by his sister or her boyfriend.
- Being more enthusiastic about spending time with them than me (to top this off, my boyfriend is always talking about his sister's boyfriend in a way that, at times, almost hints the real relationship is there).
- Myself being forced to spend time with his sister and her SO (when I visit my boyfriend expecting to spend quality time with him, and please let me know if this is selfish, I am expected to instead go out to dinner and spend my money on activities with all three of them resulting in me feeling stifled beyond explanation and wondering why I visited my boyfriend in the first place).
- I suppose this ties in with point 1, but his sister and her SO's often rude and disrespectful behaviour (for example, outright moaning and checking their mobile phones until a movie was changed to one more suited to their tastes) is ignored by my boyfriend and he will often cover for their shortcomings in terms of the way they behave.

In addition to the above, I'm starting to wonder more and more if this could even be an issue with my partner's sister and her SO, but rather my partner himself. A few examples of his questionable behaviour around me are below:

- Telling me he feels like a man, and sees me as only a child (I'm 20 years old and, to be perfectly fair, know I've had more down-to-Earth life experience than him in my years with the death of a father and issues with my own sister forcing me to grow up exceptionally quickly).
- Tells me off or gives me the silent treatment for silly things, such as not finishing my dinner, dropping things on the floor or having too many cups of tea??
- Tells me he wants to help me become a better individual by letting me know when I do things wrong (almost insinuates he wishes to change me to my face).

I think all of the above has been drastically highlighted in my mind over a recent event in which my boyfriend's sister spilled the beans on her boyfriend's controlling and downright strange behaviour (accusing her of cheating before and after she goes to work and not even wanting her to leave for work at times due to his paranoia) which I was not at all happy with seeing as I have to spend such a large amount of time socialising with him (there's been 3 huge blow-ups between the two of them now over his behaviour but she forgives him and I imagine it'll continue that way). And yes, as you can probably guess, whilst slightly 'miffed' at her boyfriend, my SO continues to treat him like the Holy Grail despite the fact he has some obvious issues and refuses to talk them through with him. It's really made me consider all three of them as a whole (my boyfriend, his sister, and her SO) and if they are people I even want to be involved with at this point in my life, or ever.

I know the way I've explained things seems a bit clinical but I kind of just wanted to vomit it all out and make sure I've got it all down. Despite the above, I really do love and cherish my boyfriend, our personalities and senses of humour match perfectly and I feel very safe when I'm with him. I am begging for things to work out, but ultimately if this continues I don't know if I'll be able to continue in this relationship.

Sorry this was so long winded, but I'd really love some help outside of the people I know.

All the best and thanks so much,

Sep 22, 2014 @ 11:16 am

3 Replies



If it was me, I would let him go for the following reasons: He is condescending to you, he wants to change your behavior (your behavior is not unreasonable), he does not take your feelings into consideration, he doesn't seem to be on your "side"... these are all red flags... I have had my share of relationships with the wrong man and it wasn't until I found the right one that I realized how bad the others were. Your SO should love you for who you are, be your biggest fan and advocate, he should want to make you happy and not force you to be the only one who compromises... I realize I'm not getting the whole story but at this point he sounds like he has the potential to be very controlling...he should compromise too... it is great that he is close to his sister but he should want to spend some alone time with you too... you should spend some time with them but at the same time you are dating your boyfriend NOT his sister and her SO. With all that being said... you love him so I don't imagine you'll leave just yet so... the only advice I can give you is talk to him... communication is key in a relationship. Tell him how you have been feeling at that this is not working for you (do not give him an ultimatum) but tell him the seriousness of your feelings... hopefully he will see your point of view and make some compromises... it may help if you offer some suggestions like... instead of dinner with your sister and her BF every Friday, can we do it every other Friday (tailor to you specific situation)
Sep 22, 2014 @ 11:49 am


@onimiki - thanks for the advice. I pretty much new I'd be met with responses of leave him because I think even in my mind it's the right thing to do and I can 100% see his potential to be controlling or at the very least stop me from leading the kind of life I wan to. Thanks for the suggestion about compromise; he's not much of a talker but I'm sure he'd be up for delegating times for them and times for me.
Sep 22, 2014 @ 12:03 pm

I wish you all the best

I really hope it works out for you. Stay or leave... I wish you only the best, and happiness! Good luck! :)
Sep 22, 2014 @ 01:16 pm

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