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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Sister Invites Mutual Friends to Our Weekend House and Doesn’t Invite Me!”

I am a mid-40 female with a sister who is three years older than I. We were blessed by our dad with a weekend retreat home just a 90-minute drive from the city in which we both live. Three couples, including my father and his wife, my sisters’ family, and my family share the home, respectively.

In the one year that “we” have owned the home, my sister has twice had a girls weekend to which I have not been invited. She invites mutual friends of ours and only tells me who she invited if I pointedly ask. I am hurt by her snub, which I feel is intentional.

We live in different areas of the city now and I honestly don’t spend as much time with the group that still lives in “her neighborhood,” but I still feel slighted and left out. Although the home is meant for all of us to enjoy and we have each taken individual friends out on our own, these occasions are different because I would also consider this particular group of women my friends.

My sister and I have a close relationship, but I’ve learned over the years that she is a tad narcissistic, definitely self-absorbed. She would certainly come up with a lame excuse if I confront her, but I feel that if I say nothing, this will keep happening indefinitely.

She is entitled to time with her friends, as am I, and I’ve had no issues with her taking friends that we don’t share and vice versa. She likely knows how rude it is by not including me in these get-togethers and is, or would be, deliberately sneaky about the guest list if I didn’t ask directly.

She doesn’t need my permission to take friends out as we typically just let the rest of the family know that we intend to use the house at a particular time so no one else plans to be there. I technically have my own room, which I am free to use at any time, but we all try to be respectful of “reserved” time.

Should I confront her? I am used to this type of behavior from her but am still shocked and upset by this, now for the second time in less than a year.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated. — Slighted Sister

You need to figure out what it is – and who it is – you’re most upset about here because this isn’t a dilemma that includes only you and your sister. There’s a whole group of friends here who pretty much star in this dilemma, and I wonder what your thoughts are about them and your relationship with them. You share nothing about your friendship except that they live in a different neighborhood and you don’t spend as much time with them anymore. Is it possible that your friendship has changed and you aren’t as close with this group anymore? I suspect it has and you aren’t, and rather than really confront THAT issue with these friends, it’s easier to think about confronting your sister and this snub you’re feeling from her. And you can do that, but I don’t think you’re going to get the result that you want if you approach her from a “confrontation” angle, where you’re declaring an offense and she has to go on the defense.

Instead of “confronting” your sister, you could invite a discussion about your friendship with your mutual group of friends and express to her your feelings about where you stand with them, and how you’ve felt excluded lately. This way, you aren’t framing it as a “you snubbed me” confrontation, but more of a discussion that starts with: “Hey, I’m feeling excluded by our group of friends lately and since you’re part of the group and part of my being excluded, I was hoping you could share your perception of what’s going on and how I can re-join our friend group.” And that’s assuming you *want* to re-join the friend group. Do you? Because you aren’t making the time to hang out with them, and you aren’t inviting them to your family’s weekend retreat even though you own the house as much as your sister does.

You are upset about feeling slighted, and I certainly empathize with that, but what active steps have you taken in the past, say, year to foster these relationships? If the answer is “not much,” then maybe others have felt slighted by you. It’s possible. But clearly this is more than not being invited to a couple weekend retreats. There’s a fracture in your relationship with your sister and/or your relationship with your mutual friends, and if you want to repair it rather than crack it further, you need to approach this graciously and with love and not come to it with only hurt feelings and a bone to pick.
 

My boyfriend and I are living together. He’s divorced and shares expenses in MY home that I recently bought. Problem is he’s still settling community property with his ex-wife and she owns half his business. He tends to give in to her way of doing the settlement, even though it’s not in his best interest, because she is very dominant in her personality. By her dragging it on, my boyfriend can’t semi-retire, therefore she’s getting half of the income from HIS plumbing company in doing this. AND that means he has to work more, which means less time and money for US.

I know those kind of settlements take time and I know my boyfriend wants to be rid of her. But he’s trying to settle with her by communicating with HER instead of a lawyer, which I suggested, and he’s trying to take the cheaper way of doing it, even though he feels she has embezzled him. He says he doesn’t care – he wants her out of his life and just wants to end it. Should I care? Should I just turn my head? I personally am well off and don’t need his money, but I guess since I’m the other woman, I would prefer if he stood up more to her. Should I care? — The Other Woman

 
Sure, you can care. You can care about your boyfriend, you can care about how his financial life effects yours, you can care about how his divorce settlement will affect his relationship to work and how that, in turn, will affect the time he can devote to your and your relationship. You can care about all of this, but that doesn’t mean you get to dictate how your boyfriend and his ex-wife conduct their divorce. When it comes to their divorce (and maybe the end of their marriage?), you *are* the other woman, and while you can share your preferences with your boyfriend, he doesn’t have to do anything just because it’s what you want.

I know you’re his girlfriend now and his ex-wife is no longer in a romantic relationship with him, but their finances are still merged and she is entitled to what she’s entitled to, whether you like that or not. There may be a difference of opinion – hers, his, yours – on what a wife who owns half a business with her husband whom she likely supported in a multitude of ways both big and small, seen and unseen, for who knows how many years – is entitled to. But it’s not for you to decide. It’s for your boyfriend and his ex-wife to decide, and if they can’t, then for a judge to decide. You don’t have to “turn your head,” but I do think beyond sharing what your hopes and goals are for your relationship with your boyfriend and how any settlement he makes with his ex might affect those desires, you should probably mostly keep your mouth shut and let the two former partners figure this out without you.

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10 comments… add one
  • ron January 27, 2022, 11:28 am

    LW #2 –“He’s divorced and shares expenses in MY home that I recently bought.”
    No, he’s not divorced. The bulk of your post is about how unhappy you are that he isn’t divorced yet. That’s likely why you just bought a home on your own — he’s married, you’re his gf; you and he aren’t a legal economic unit and you are conducting yourself accordingly. He and his wife still are a legal economic unit and he is conducting himself accordingly. He has a valid point: if he gets a lawyer, then his wife gets a lawyer, then the divorce becomes nasty and much of the $ goes to the lawyers.
    You need to reset your mind to all of the realities of the fact that your bf is not yet divorced. Nothing underhanded on his part, he seems to be progressing the divorce as fast as he can. Meanwhile, you seem to be counting part of his marital assets as your property.

    LW#1 — your sister has every right to entertain mutual friends, without you being included. Her relationship with them may be different enough than your relationship with them that your presence would alter the dynamic. For living in the same city, you seem very invested in the notion of unique, almost sovereign neighborhoods and you are the one who moved away — not that moving to another part of the city is in any way moving away, but… you use it as the reason you are not as close to the old friend group as you once were.

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  • ron January 27, 2022, 11:35 am

    Also, LW#2 — it is not HIS plumbing business, it is their plumbing business and a marital asset to be divided in divorce. I’m sure if this were your divorce, you wouldn’t happily say HIS business and let the husband you were divorcing take 100% of that asset. The business can be sold, and the sale revenue split between your bf and his wife.

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  • Salli January 27, 2022, 2:07 pm

    LW2, You’re expending massive amounts of mental and emotional energy on things that you have absolutely no control over. Creating stress and worry for yourself when it doesn’t have to be there. It’s understandable that you’re invested and care about your boyfriend and his life and HIS choices. To use your emphasis on what is whose. He is telling you he’s choosing to not spend extra amounts of mental and emotional energy on fighting his soon to be ex wife, and you’d do well to follow his lead. Perhaps also doing some reading on co-dependency. You’ve tied these things you have no control over onto your own sense of well-being, and will find peace and freedom untangling that.

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  • Fyodor January 27, 2022, 3:39 pm

    Odds on whether LW2 started dating him while he was still with the wife?

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    • Copa January 27, 2022, 4:00 pm

      I’d say high. She even calls herself “the other woman.”

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    • allathian January 28, 2022, 3:20 am

      I’d say extremely high.

      I’m happily married, so this isn’t personally relevant to me, but even when I was single and wanted a boyfriend, one of my absolute deal breakers was that the guy had to be single. If the guy was otherwise great, I would’ve considered dating a divorced guy, but only if the divorce was final. I was definitely not willing to deal with any step kids, or coparenting issues with a former spouse. At the time I was in my mid-20s to early 30s, and most of my friends were getting married for the first time, and I didn’t know anyone my age who’d divorced.

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      • Fyodor January 28, 2022, 10:25 am

        I mean, to be fair to this lady, the divorce process can go on for a very long time and many people really are several years into their “divorce” but still working through the court and settlement process.

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      • Copa January 28, 2022, 11:28 am

        In my mid-20s, I had a boyfriend in his early-30s who was divorcing. I think the divorce was finalized 3-4 months into our relationship. I never called myself “the other woman” because I wasn’t. His ex-wife moved on well before he met me. I also did not get involved in their divorce in any way (they, too, handled things mostly between themselves, she didn’t even have a lawyer) because it wasn’t at all my business.

        That said, it was a painful and ugly breakup because he was not in great emotional shape, the extent of which I did not realize (likely through my own stupidity), and after that I would’ve dated a divorced guy but never again a divorcing guy. I can appreciate that sometimes divorces can take years, I do have at least one friend who is now very happily married to the man she started dating before his divorce was final, but I think it’s generally speaking it’s not the best idea. And at a minimum, I’d advise against moving in with that person before the divorce is finalized.

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  • Texican Ashley January 27, 2022, 4:27 pm

    Do you actually like your sister and these people or you just mad that someone, somewhere is doing stuff without you?

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    • allathian January 28, 2022, 3:13 am

      This is a very good question. Sounds like FOMO to me.

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