God help me for admitting this: I don’t like my brother’s fiancée. Phew. It feels so freeing to write these words. I can’t even bring myself to call her my future sister-in-law. It makes my skin itch. I would love to be able to give you a concrete reason for being irked by her. Like she kicks small dogs or steals subway seats from old ladies or physically abuses my little brother. None of the above.
She is pretty enough, nice enough, well within the realm of acceptable. She’s not a bad person; she comes from a nice family. She’s just not quite right for him.
Let’s call it sisterly instinct. I know my brother well, in the way only a sibling can know another sibling. He was feeling a little bit insecure about his future and questioning his life when SHE stumbled into it. She was much too young and naive for her age. Lacking in life experience. Sheltered. Relying on my brother for everything. Co-dependent. Needy. At first that made him feel important; he was this big man nurturing a fragile bird, but he soon tired of it. After a few months, he told her he wanted to take a few steps back with their relationship, to slow down a little. She freaked out and refused to talk to him ever again — not by phone or email or text.
In the six-month period they weren’t talking, my brother was devastated by her reaction. He went on dates with a few other girls, but nothing worked out, as is often the case with dating. Instead of taking the time to reflect on what he really wanted in a future potential partner and pouring his energy into personal growth, he panicked about being alone and did everything in his power to get her back. She knew exactly how to play the situation. My brother is a people pleaser and nothing in the world is worse to him than having someone he cares about think ill of him. I have used this to my advantage in some of our fights, I am ashamed to say. She used it to take his heart prisoner.
Fast forward one year. They obviously got back together. I began to see that she was jealous and possessive, slowly pulling him away from his social life, which he values very much. She’s awkward around people while my brother’s high school superlative was most well-liked. Right before they got engaged, they got into a huge fight. She was mad at him because she found some emails he had sent to girls while they were broken up a year and a half earlier. She told him he was untrustworthy and kicked him out of their shared apartment. My brother slept on my sofa. Within the week, they made up, and within three months they were engaged.
Here’s my issue:
I’ve never told him I feel this way. I never would. My parents have. Big mistake. I know it doesn’t matter what I think. It really doesn’t. I saw my mom’s relationship with her brother (my uncle) completely unravel when he married my aunt. I don’t know if my aunt hated my mom or my mom hated my aunt first — all I know is that their hating each other has caused a rift that is beyond repair. I’ve vowed never to allow that to happen to my brother and me. My job as a sister is to support my brother, to love him unconditionally, to love whomever he loves. But I’ve gotten stuck in mourning the loss of the relationship I know he could have had if he had held out for someone different. But it’s not mine to mourn.
Original by Josephine Ledger