My sister ended her engagement last year and was obviously shattered. As I adore her, I rushed to her side and did all I could to not only move her out of the guy’s place, but take her in, console her and help her to rebuild her life as best as we could (she gave up everything for this guy–her job, her apartment, etc). As time moved on, I met someone and have fallen madly in love, but my new love (and the attention and time spent with him) is causing an issue. My sister seems to be regressing and is back to calling me 10-15 times a day (no kidding) and “needing” me for full days and nights on the weekends. I get that she’s gone through a hard time but I feel like I am now her constant crutch and even that she’s trying to break us up. My guy is very serious about us and talking about moving in together and marriage and I know I should be happy about this but it makes me anxious because I am afraid to share my joy with her (and of how she will handle it). Can you please help?
Love, if there is one thing I have learned in life it is that love cannot save someone who isn’t willing to save themselves. You have been an excellent source of support to your sister and I am sure she appreciates it, but it sounds like some boundaries became blurred (as they often do) and now it’s time to re-establish them in a gentle, but firm, manner. I suggest that you sit down and really think about what would make you feel most comfortable and happy and then take small steps each day towards moving into a new direction. Agree to have dinner with her once a week (on a weeknight) or every other week and know that you do not need to make excuses and can be honest that you have plans and can’t wait to see her on the specified date. Tell her you want your time together to be more quality than quantity and have one long phone discussion with her every week instead of answering a call every hour on the hour (that can’t be good for a job, if you have one). I do think you should address this with her directly, in a loving way. Spend the day together in a neutral and relaxing environment and tell her how much you love her, how proud you are of her and ask her what her next steps are in terms of getting back out there and taking her life back. If she clings on or gets mopey, you must let her know that you feel she’s a bit stuck and you’re willing to help her in proactive ways that make room for your own life and wellbeing. Perhaps she could sign up for a meditation course or begin taking Yoga. Or maybe even see a qualified counselor to help her through this. She may take it as a rejection or even be a little triggered by your new love, but I am sorry to be so blunt: this is not your problem, but it will become a bigger one in your relationship with her (and your new love) if you don’t address it now. Don’t feel guilty for feeling what you feel. You have done nothing wrong. You want to be able to experience your happiness and share it with your beloved sibling and both are more than OK, they are your right.