My boyfriend and I have had an on-and-off relationship but now we’ve been together for over a year. When we first met he said I kind of looked like his sister the way my body type is. He always used to party with both of his sisters. It was like he wanted to show them off or something. One time he was talking about how big one sister’s boobs are. It really grossed me out. His sisters always date his friends too. Always. It’s weird.
After we had been together for a long time, he randomly, for absolutely no reason, woke up and answered the phone when I called and just said her name. That’s how he answered. I just don’t like the whole idea of having a body like his sister. Why is he with me? That’s very creepy to me. Also, I’m not pretty at all. But his sisters are. I look like an old ogre compared to them. Except for my body, apparently.
Do you think my boyfriend has some kind of weird past relationship with his sisters? Does he secretly want them? That’s really what it seems like. — Jealous of His Sisters
Your letter reminds me of this one that I answered last year from a 23-year-old woman who was weirded out by her boyfriend’s very “close” relationship with his sister. He had a pet name for her — the same he had for the LW — and when they were together, he was super touchy-feely with his sister. I couldn’t tell the LW whether there was reason to worry about some sort of incestuous relationship — or secret desire her boyfriend may have for his sister — any more than I can tell you whether your boyfriend has ever gotten nasty with his siblings (God, gross). But what I can say — what I said to the other LW — is this: If you feel uncomfortable with the way your boyfriend interacts with his sisters and the comparisons he makes between you and them, you need to express that discomfort. You can’t control his behavior and you certainly can’t control his feelings, but you have every right to tell him when he says and does things you’re uncomfortable with. And if he isn’t able to adjust his behavior or calm your fears in a way that makes you feel better, you have issues that may be beyond repair.
Another thing you and the previous LW have in common is a fragile self-esteem. She worried about the potential of developing an eating disorder in an effort to maintain a thin frame similar to her boyfriend’s sister. You liken yourself to an “ogre” when compared to your boyfriend’s sisters. This isn’t healthy and has far more to do with YOU than any relationship, creepy or not, that your boyfriend has with members of his family. Until you address your own self-esteem issues, you’re going to have a very difficult time having happy, successful relationships, no matter whom they’re with. How can you address your self-esteem? Get counseling, journal, exercise regularly, vent with friends, start an on-going list of all the things you’re good at and add to it every day, ask loved ones what your best features are and learn to play those up. Ask your boyfriend what it is he loves about you. If he says he loves you because you remind him of his sisters, run, run, run away and never look back.
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