From India: I am married for over two decades. My wife’s elder sister is also married and is around a year older than I am. She stays in another city and visits her parents every year, or two, as my in-laws also stay in the same city as ours. Though not until many years after my marriage but, over the years, I have become very fond of her. I find her very beautiful, very charming and full of virtues, so much so that I cannot keep my eyes off her when we meet. I am obsessed with her emotionally and miss her presence for weeks and months after she returns to her city. Her departure always leaves a big void in my life and I keep thinking about her long after she is gone. My wife is the only emotional support I have and she is very caring and full of virtues, too. I love her a lot. However, I often strongly feel like opening my heart out to my S-i-L but am afraid that all hell would then break loose because my S-i-L is a woman of great character and cannot even think of reciprocating such feelings towards me. Nevertheless, I feel sometimes that if I confide in her then, maybe, she might keep this as a secret between the two of us as its divulgence shall ruin her sister’s marriage. I realize that my conduct is unbecoming of a husband and also immoral but I feel completely gripped by her thoughts. What is your advice?
However charming and beautiful she is, your sister-in-law is not available. To tell her your feelings would damage your relationship with her and your relationship with your wife. It could even damage the relationship between the sisters and your relationship with the entire family. Even if your S-I-L kept your secret, this would be so. She could not look at you without knowing that you are betraying her sister.
But you know this. In spite of knowing it, you persist. Instead of looking deeply at yourself and why you won’t totally commit to your marriage, you distract yourself with the excitement of the forbidden. Ultimately, this will destroy the relationship with the wife you say you love.
I think you are asking the wrong question. You say you love these two women but you are not committed to either. One of my best teachers used to say that two relationships are fewer than one. Spreading your feelings over two people means that neither person gets all of you. For some people, this is a way to avoid taking the total emotional risk that is involved in really joining with another.
My advice? Get into counseling and deal with whatever it is that frightens you about really marrying your wife — all the way. Only then should you make a decision about what to say to the two women.
I wish you well.
Deep Attraction Towards My Sister-in-Law
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Deep Attraction Towards My Sister-in-Law. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/10/21/deep-attraction-towards-my-sister-in-law/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 21 Oct 2015) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.