Dear Amy: I've been dating my boyfriend for almost two years.
The first year of our relationship, his twin sister was living in another country. Upon her return, I quickly discovered that they are extremely affectionate and obsessed with each other.
She acts like his girlfriend or mom. She controls him.
When he does something to upset her, like decline to go out for dinner, she guilts him relentlessly and he feels awful.
In general, I find their relationship creepy, annoying and immature.
Can I say something, or is it not my place?
And what would I even say? Am I being mean, or is this a reasonable thing to be concerned about?
Amy says: If your boyfriend is actually obsessed with his sister, then you're toast.
However, if she were truly controlling him, she wouldn't have to "guilt" him, because he would always do what she wanted him to do.
As it is, it seems that he is saying "no" to his sister at least some of the time. However, he doesn't seem comfortable (yet) with the boundaries he is trying to establish. He should see her behavior when she doesn't get what she wants as an indication that at least part of their relationship has a toxic tinge.
Is he working toward maintaining some healthier distance from his clingy twin? If so, you should talk to him about his efforts and ask if there are ways you can support him.
If you truly see this as a creepy attraction between siblings, you might as well say so, but keep in mind that she came first in his life and consciousness, and likely always will. A less reactive way to frame this might be: "I'm really struggling with your close relationship with your sister, and I feel it's creating some serious boundary issues. Can we talk about this?"
If his sister has successfully designated you as her rival for her brother's attention and affection, understand that you will not prevail. Any sibling relationship is powerful; the twin connection is in a category all its own.
Dear Amy: I love my boyfriend of four years very much. We are both in our 20s.
We've been through a lot and always have fun when we're together.
However, I've been feeling that I need more out of this relationship. I want us to move in together, but my boyfriend has made it clear that he's not ready for that.
A week ago, I met a man out at a bar and haven't been able to stop thinking about him. We exchanged numbers, but I stopped answering his texts because I felt guilty, and didn't want to hurt my boyfriend.
I want to focus on my relationship with my boyfriend, but I don't want to miss out on opportunities with other men.
I'm worried I might be with the wrong person, but breaking up would be too painful for me. How do I know I'm with the right person?
Amy says: After four years, you and your guy should more or less be headed ... somewhere. Together.
Two signs that you are on different paths are: Your boyfriend is not ready to cohabit. You are collecting other guys' numbers at the corner bar.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these things. They are just indicators that you two are not quite ready for prime time.
If you are too chicken to break up with your boyfriend, then by all means, continue alternating between pressuring him and fantasizing about being with other people.
You could handle this by simply being honest (without saying you want to break up): "I'm frustrated that our relationship is not progressing. I'm thinking about seeing other people." You need to talk about it and yes, possibly face the pain and uncertainty of what might happen next.
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