How can I deal with my jealousy to my husband’s relationship to his sister?
We’ve been married for about 20 years with a daughter.
We’ve been recovering from couple crisis caused by my husband’s attempts of cheating me. Seemingly everything was going better between us. But I’ve recently been feeling pain about my husband’s relationship to his sister.
She is three years younger than him, not married without kids. They’ve been very close since their childhood. Almost all my husband’s friends are hers, and she has read almost all the books he has read. I knew their excessive closeness and felt uneasy when we were just dating. But we used to live far from her and I didn’t worry so much until we came to live very close to her place. She often comes to stay in our house. While developing her career, she hasn’t had a stable romantic relationship. She cannot help but consulting with somebody about her insecurity. She has often talked to my husband about her anxiety about her boyfriends, work, etc. My husband is always happy to listen to her to give her an advice. She has also talked much about these things to me for my advice. Understanding her characteristics and situations, also liking her basically as a friend, I had not felt so bad until very recently.
I was shocked to witness:
1. My husband was touching my sister-in-laws’ naked feet while they were sitting next to each other on a sofa, saying “Ah~, your feet are so cu~te”;
2. She was greeting my husband, when he was about to leave home for work in the morning, by kissing his cheek holding his face in both the hands as if she was his partner;
3. Talking the fact that our daughter is very smart and well educated, my husband was telling her that it is because our daughter has taken all the good parts of my sister-in-law;
4. Now that she decided to move to another country for work promotion and proposed my husband move to the same country and city for his job, he was telling her about his positive feeling about this proposal although he had rejected every opportunity to go abroad for his work telling me that he didn’t want to move out the country and city where he is as he likes them very much. I had repeatedly told him that I’d like to move out to another place.
Until now, whenever I conveyed my uneasy feelings to him about his attitude towards her, he become aggressive towards me as if I was criticizing him. I feel my husband prioritizes his relationship to her and doesn’t care about my feelings. I want him to understand that this situation hurts me. I’d like to avoid irritating him more with me in order not to destroy what I have made efforts to reconstruct for our couple relationship.
A: Thank you for asking. It sounds to me as if you’ve tried hard to get your husband to understand, but he just isn’t able. I think this is an opportunity for both of you to talk to a couples counselor. In this way the therapist can help you express your concerns –while finding ways to help your husband understand them.
Your husband has had a very close relationship with his sister for a long time and doesn’t appreciate the level of discomfort you feel. Having sessions with a therapist together will increase the possibility you can resolve the issue though improved communication.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jul 2014
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Jealous of Husband’s Sister. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/16/jealous-of-husbands-sister/