Four years ago we were both single and we moved in together and did everything as a married couple, but on the down low. It was amazing. For four years we were happy. Intamacy was like none other for both of us. She wrote me letters and made promises we would never break up and told me that I was her soul-mate. I had never felt that loved in all my life. Then one day she said she wasn’t happy and we split up. Two weeks later she’s living with another man 11 years older. She called me once crying saying her life was messed up, she moved too quickly, but because she is a hard-headed person, she is sucking it up.
I am crushed. My world is destroyed. The only person I have ever truly truly loved and trusted betrayed me, lied to me, and cheated on me. I have since lost my job, let myself go, and cry constantly. I can’t think straight or even eat right without my stomach being upset. I don’t feel like I want to live anymore. Please help me. Please pray for me — pray that she wants to get back together again. I know it in my heart she feels trapped by this guy. Please help. — Missing Sis
I’m sure there are people reading this right now who believe — or who at least want to believe — that this letter is fake, but I have strong reason to believe it’s not. And for that reason, I want to urge the LW to please, please get yourself to therapy. The feelings you have for your sister are not healthy. For whatever reason, the two of you became co-dependent, finding a sense of security and acceptance of each other that you mistook for romantic love.
That’s the bad news. The good news is you can break your dependence on your sister and find the kind of love you desire in healthier forms. You can learn to trust other people. And you can learn to move out of the fantasy world you’ve created for yourself, where your sister fills the role of mate and partner, and move into a reality where healthy relationships exist. But you need a professional to guide you through that process. I’m not qualified to help you in that way, and, even if I were, I couldn’t do it in a single advice column. What I can tell you is that your life isn’t over. You can be helped. You can move on. You can form other friendships and even relationships with other people. And when you do, your life will open in a way that it probably has not been open in a very long time, if ever.
Please make your emotional and mental help your number one priority. Find a kind and compassionate therapist who can give you the tools you need to confront your past and build a happy future. And respect the boundaries your sister is trying desperately to create with you. Let her live her life and move out of the unhealthy role she’s maintained with you for so long. If you love her, then space is the kindest thing you can give her right now.
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