Ask a counsellor: Nothing's the same now my sister has a boyfriend and I hate it - what can I do?

26th Mar 19 | Lifestyle

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers advice to a teenager who feels like she's lost her sister now that she has a boyfriend.

Black angry mother and apologizing daughter on background

The problem…

“I’m 17 and my sister is a year older. Until three months ago, we were inseparable – but now that she has a new boyfriend, I hardly ever see her. We’ve always been so close and shared all our feelings, but now I have no one to confide in. We used to go out dancing together three or four times a week, now it’s as much as I can do to get her to have a cup of coffee with me at my college once a week.

“I’ll admit, she seems really happy and says she’s in love with this guy, and there’s a lot to like. He’s good-looking, kind and clearly thinks the world of her, but I can’t help it, I hate what he’s done to my sister and I hate him. Nothing is the same anymore and I feel so lonely now. Do you think there is any way I could persuade her to dump him?”

Fiona says…

“Your sister is very happy and says she loves this guy, so if you genuinely care for her, why would you want to spoil this? If the situation were reversed and it was you with an exciting new boyfriend, would you take kindly to your sister if she tried to persuade you to dump him? I think not. I know you’re struggling to come to terms with this change, but I’m afraid it was inevitable, at some point, your lives were always going to diverge. You need to accept this, be happy for your sister, and find a way to move on.

“Key to this, I think, is filling the void in your life that your sister used to fill. Because your relationship was so close and so easy, I suspect that you’ve not developed many other friendships but now is the time to do so. Make a start by trying to be more open to friendship in your classes at college. Consider spending more time with your fellow students and take part in any social activities that they organise. It would also be a good idea to join any extracurricular activities at college that appeal.

“Then I suggest you widen your social circle outside of college by developing new interests. This might include starting a new hobby, sport or club and a search online will reveal many options I’m sure. It doesn’t matter what you do, the key is to meet as many new people as possible and maximise your chances of making new friends. You may find this daunting at first but please persevere. Others may seem full of confidence, but I assure you they are likely to feel just as nervous as you in new situations.

“Finally, you may have to adjust to seeing less of your sister, but that doesn’t mean your relationship is any less strong. You can still stay in touch through social media and your mobile phone. Show her that you’re happy for her and I am sure she will continue to be a caring, loving sister. When you do get the chance to see her and chat, be positive for her, not miserable. If you complain and grumble, she may be even less likely to want to spend time with you. Instead, talk about the new things you are doing and the new friends you are making. You might even find yourself a boyfriend – and perhaps that will even lead to double-dating!”

:: If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to help@askfiona.net for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

© Press Association 2019

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