Worried about my sister and her future
I have an older sister, who is in her early 40’s. We get on, Although she rarely texts me, and hardly ever calls. I make sure I text/call her regularly. Growing up, we never talked relationships, crushes etc, and to this day, it’s not something that we discuss.
She has had one boyfriend, which lasted a year, and not had ANY type of relationship since, that was over 20 years ago. For the last 15 years, she’s lived with my parents, even holidaying with them (sharing a room too!) My worry is that she’s wasting her life, and will end up very lonely. My parents are thankfully fit and well (both in their 70’s) but as time progresses, the inevitable will happen and she could end up as their carer (I would of course not let that happen)
I just want her to be happy and have someone to share life, laughter, experiences and more with. Several of our mutual friends are concerned also, but none feel comfortable discussing the issue. I have wondered if she’s gay, and have made it clear that it obviously wouldn’t matter- love is love. My best friend is a lesbian and I have many friends in the LGBTQ community.
I did have tried to discuss moving out, relationships etc with her over the years, but she clams up. I really want her to be happy and to help. If she’s happy as she is, then that’s ok. However, she doesn’t seem it. Her days are the same. She works until 5, gets home at 6, her tea is on the table, and her and my parents eat and have wine. She watches 2 soaps with my mum, sport with my Dad and by 9:30pm, she’s off to bed! That’s ever night. The weekends, she has a lie in, sometimes goes shopping with my mum, but rarely anything else. No help with housework, food shopping, cooking, it’s like she’s a teenager still!
To some, you may think “this sounds great!” But the reality- 15 years, living with parents, in your childhood room, with the same decor. It’s worrying- what should I do, without upsetting her or my family? Please help xxx
Sounds like she’s in a rut and has been for a long time. It’s not healthy coz she’s not learning to be independent, she’s co dependant, and if she’s not paying for anything she’s not learning to take responsibility for her self and being in her early 40s she should be and want to be(?). So I can understand why you are worried about her like you say shes more of a teenager than an adult.
She could be anxious, with low self esteem and maybe she hates change? if she is gay or bi then maybe she’s worried what family, friends, work colleagues think about that.
As her sister you can encourage her but I think it needs to be done slowly and try to find out what it is that is holding her back. Instead of her and your mum going out shopping, you and her could go shopping. Or you could meet up with her after work and go for a drink? For Xmas you could tell her you’d like to help her redecorate her room, make it more of a grown up room ( you could buy the paint) and do it together. It might take up some of your time or she might say no to you with some things you suggest to her. Just be patient. But you sound like a nice, caring sister :-), some people wouldn’t care as much or not at all.
With your parents you could talk to them and say you’d like to help her and tell them how and say you don’t want to upset anyone but you are concerned. Their reaction will tell you how supportive they will be or what they think. To begin with you could try connect with your sister first. if your parents agree with you and want join in too, then your sister might get upset and think your all ganging up on her.
In the not too distant future they can talk to her and ask her to start doing more house work, contribute to shopping etc.
If all the above fails and she’s not ready to make any changes, carry on with the texts and phones and let her know she can talk to you anyone.
You know what's happening with your sister is something pretty common. At least in my country. Since it's almost impossible to support a home by yourself with a normal job.
Lots of people simply decide to stay at home with parents.
I don't think it's a bad thing since when you get older it's very good to have someone always around you for anything.
My boyfriends sister is exactly the same. Never had a stable relationship. She works from home and lives with his parents. She's just 34 but I think that she is going the exact same path.
His mother is always very concerned and I always listened to her but then I realized that the real problem was his parents.
He behaves exactly the same. She is there all day and does absolutely nothing to help. Not even washing dishes.
The problem is as long your parents protect her and and don't place her place in the society scale, it will go on, and on.
For example, when you live together with anyone there are tasks. One pays utilities other rent. One cleans the WC and the other the bedroom. And things like that besides helping each other give you a place and a mission. And make you feel accomplished because you completed what it's supposed of you.
Little things like that also help you in other ways. It gives courage for other things and helps you feel good.
The problem is that his parents never did something like that. For them it's always them who should pay for anything. It's their duty to protect.
I don't think you should talk to her. Sometimes isn't the best thing. But talk to your parents. It should be their decision.
I agree with both of the above posts.
Your parents and sister are entrenched in a lifestyle that no “outsider” is going to influence or adjust. That includes you.
Have your parents ever expressed concern? Sometimes when a marriage is not healthy , one of the parents gives the message to the child that they need that child to stay close by. Is that what has happened?
So do what you can to show your sister alternatives to her life. Ask her out for social gatherings, small parties, theater, etc. where she can see how others her age socialize and talk about their lives.
Thats about all you can do.
Thankyou for your response. I have spoken at length with my parents, both together and separately. They can see it’s an unusual set up, but they’ve both said they don’t want to force her to leave. My mum also said that she can understand that my sister may not want to live alone, I can appreciate that, but she’s going to end up living alone once my parents are no longer here.
My sister does go out after work sometimes. She works I’m a city, so plenty of nightlife, however she’s back home by 9. We get together as often as we can, but I live 2 hours away. If I have any nights out, theatre trips, shopping trips planned, i do invite her, but she doesn’t come. I will invite her when it’s just the two of us, but she rarel says yes. I’ll keep trying xxxx
Hey, I can’t seem to respond individually, so this ones for Lily31.
Thankyou for you response, it was very insightful. I agree that my parents aren’t helping by basically doing everything for her!! Don’t get me wrong, when I go and visit, it’s great being “looked after”, but st the same time, I’m itching to get back to my own house, with my rules! Even my mum has said she wouldn’t have wanted to live at home when she was that age!
My sister and I are very different. I’m a fairly gregarious, self motivated person, with a husband, children, dog, cat, house, am a teacher tv. She’s fairy quiet, and isn’t really motivated at work. When we were teenagers, she once said “if we weren’t sisters, we wouldn’t be friends” which broke my heart. If she saw me out somewhere, she would either ignore me, or leave! I’ve has a difficult time over tenge years. I was diagnosed with chromes disease ages 11, and spent a lot of time very poorly. I have since developed lots of other illnesses, and spent the last 6 months in hospital. I think she is jealous of what she thinks is “attention” that I got being so ill. However, she doesn’t realise how difficult it was spending most of my teen years away from my family in hospital. She says she’s not, but there’s definitely resentment!
I love the room decorating idea! I’m not in a financial position to buy paint etc, but I’m also an artist, so can help create ideas!
We do go shopping together, and sometimes to the cinema etc. I have tried to gently talk about the future, but she changes the subject. I did write her a letter asking 8 months ago, saying how I’d be there for her no matter what, and id help her looking for property (obviously not at bluntly as that!) but she didn’t acknowledge or respond to it. I did ask why and she said “you didn’t ask me any questions, so I didn’t think you wanted a reply” xxz
Nope, I don’t think your parents should ask her to find somewhere else to live straight away, that’s too quick. She would need to take on some responsibilities first, coz like you say when inevitable does happen she’s going to be stuck and it’s going to be a massive shock for her.
It sounds like she’s getting out a bit but she’s not trying new things or meeting new people?
Yeah, I think there is jealously there on her part but I don’t think she’s going to admit to it or talk about it. Sounds like she sees your different personalities as a negative thing, which is why, I think, she made that comment (I think I’d be a bit hurt too!) and not been very empathetic when you were ill and in hospital (quite rightly) you got attention that you needed. And when she either ignored you or left if you were in the same place.
A letter was a nice idea and it’s a good way to let her know, sometimes talking face to face doesn’t work and letters do! Not too surprised she didn’t write back, but at least she knows.
Ah an artist, even better. Hopefully she’ll like the idea :-).