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Thursday, May 10, 2012
XOXO Advice With Kathy and Amy
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XOXO: Controlling Fiance
My sister is getting married in a month, and I am really worried about her. Recently I have seen a lot of red flags in their relationship and notice how controlling her fiancé is. What should I do? Should I tell her how I feel?
It's difficult to watch someone you love make a bad relationship decision, but sometimes that's exactly what you should do. That said, controlling behavior is a huge red flag.
To decide whether to voice your concerns, assess the severity of the situation. You'd never stand by and watch your sister put her hand on a hot stove—you'd warn her of the danger. But you also want to show your sister that you trust her to make good decisions. You'd also never want to jeopardize a relationship that could bring her lasting happiness just because you think he smells funny.
If you decide that your sister is in danger of getting burned, Mom has some great advice on how to approach the situation.
I can't think of a more difficult conversation to have with your sister. But the following six points can help you make it more manageable.
Find a good time.
They say timing is everything, and it's not far from the truth. Pick a time and place when you and your sister can talk privately. Maybe you could take her to lunch or go shopping together.
Express your feelings for her.
Let her know that you love her and really want her to be happy. Ask her how everything is going and about her future plans. Offer to help.
Start with the good.
Help her open up about her fiance by discussing some of the positive qualities that you have noticed about him and their relationship. There must be some, or she wouldn't want to spend her life with him.
Express your concerns.
If your sister doesn't express any concerns, you might ask her if she has any. Chances are that she has noticed her fiance's controlling behavior, too. If not, be ready to back up your concerns with specific examples and use hedging words like "from my perspective" to soften the tone.
Now that you've expressed your concerns, listen carefully to your sister. She may ask you for help and advice, and she may not. The point is that she has now heard your concerns. Now, it's your turn to listen to her point of view.
Respect her decision and relax.
You have made your sister aware of your concerns, so there's no need to bring it up again. If she can live with her fiance's shortcomings, then that's her decision. You just wanted to make sure that her love wasn't blind.
If your sister is in danger of getting hurt, she'll be glad you told her the truth in the long run. But once you do, sit back, accept things as they are, and enjoy your slice of wedding cake.