About 1.5 years ago, my older sister was talking to our parents on the phone going somewhere and then said the person driving her was her boyfriend. This was the first time she had mentioned him to any of us and my initial reaction was running to my room and crying. At the time, I honestly didn’t even know why that reaction came out of me, and still, now I’m not completely sure. Especially since I was in my mid to late teens, I don’t know why I had such a childish reaction. On that day, my parents told her I was crying, and she tried to talk to me and reassured that family will always be most important to her. I understand that and we are very close and have a good and playful relationship, but don’t talk about such serious things/relationships. I do think it’s good she found a potential life partner and I don’t think my crying is out of jealousy or anger because I don’t feel bitter or angry at her or her boyfriend at all. In fact, none of my family have even met him at all even though I estimate they’ve probably been together for +/- 2 years. He does live a bit far (1-2 hours) and since she was at college most of the time (which was also 1-2 hours drive away) I guess it wasn’t really convenient, but I think my sister did meet his family or siblings at least since I saw my sister has messages with his sister asking if he would like a certain gift recently, so I think it’s a bit odd and feels a bit guilty thinking I may be the reason she never mentions him at all.
I don’t really understand why even now, I react in tears. Today, I thought about this whole issue again once I saw my sister was receiving a call from him, and began tearing up and can’t wrap my head around the fact that I still tear up every time I see his name or think about this topic. I’m guessing I may have subconscious feelings of abandonment in the future? But even when she went off to college, I was still fine + didn’t have the same reaction as this issue. How can I come to terms with their relationship/stop tearing up at the thought of this? (From the USA)
Your sister is lucky for having a sister like you because you are so very connected to her in many ways. What if the tears were not part of something pathological, or negative? What if it weren’t abandonment, or jealousy, or anger? By your own words: “…we are very close and have a good and playful relationship…” This doesn’t sound like someone that you would want not to have a partner. Again, by your own words: “ I do think it’s good she found a potential life partner…”
What is much more likely is that the tears are bittersweet. Happy for her to have something that is separate from you and the family, sad that it is different than you and your family. Parents often feel this when a son or daughter go off to college. They are happy for their daughter or son’s growth, but sad that a milestone is being reached and change is happening. During growth, there is often a struggle and loss before the new.
I’d begin by not pathologizing your reaction or thinking poorly of your response. Instead I’d begin to acknowledge you are having more than one feeling. “I am glad she has a boyfriend… and I miss her.” “I am happy for her … and I don’t see her as often as I’d like.” “I want the best for her future… and wish I was more involved in her life.” Every time you allow yourself to acknowledge both sides of the feelings coin you are likely to feel better than trying to figure out what’s wrong.
Wishing you patience and peace,