Right now, as you’re reading, there’s a young dude somewhere in Brooklyn who’s up stressing about the toxic relationship his wife has with his family. This isn’t a hypothetical situation that I’m describing, but is a very real issue I’m aware of because the young dude I’m talking about is my friend.
I can safely assert that he’s still dealing with this problem, because he’s been going through it for the past 10 years non-stop. What’s his dilemma, you ask? Well, he committed one of the stupidest mistakes someone can ever make in a relationship: he revealed all of the problems he had with his significant other to his siblings.
This dude has two older sisters and a brother. He decided one night after a huge fight, to vent to them all about of the issues he was experiencing with his woman. Not only did my friend disclose surface level stuff, but he went deep into the heart of some messy, embarrassing and ultimately private baggage that probably shouldn’t be divulged to anyone. He was so frustrated that he let it all out to them.
That was in year one of their marriage, yet nine years later, his siblings still have yet to get over what she did and forgive her. My boy, who loves his wife and his family with equal affection, has no intentions of cutting either of them off. Instead, he’s just trying to constantly manage their emotions, keep them away from each other—which is difficult as hell when you have kids who love their uncle and aunties—and pray it gets better. While I have no idea how he will successfully bridge the gap between them, there’s a lot that we all can learn from his situation. Outside of abuse, siblings should NEVER be let in on every critical part of your relationship.
I can understand the perspective of my friend’s siblings because there is nothing more infuriating than finding out a family member has been mistreated by their significant other. Our love for our family causes us to see the disrespect they suffered as a mutual infraction that affects our collective familial unit. To disrespect our loved one is to disrespect us—and we ain’t gonna let that go. But the problem with us being involved in our sibling’s relationship is that most of us don’t truly love their significant other.
For many of us, our feelings for our sibling’s current partner are housed on a spectrum somewhere between “He/she’s aight” and “Bruh, I can’t stand they ass.” This means that when they screw up, we’re more apt to see them as harmful and problematic, because we have no real conceptualization of their redeeming qualities. Our siblings, who love them for everything they are and everything they do, mentally contrast the egregious act they committed against all the good they bring into their lives. But, seeing as we’re mostly ignorant of the inner-most intimacy of their relationship, we lack the necessary access to info that will allow us to make an informed judgement, leaving us more apt to lash out like, “Ugh, just leave their musty ass alone!”
The best method of engaging in your sibling’s relationship is to let them know that you’re there for them if and when things get serious, but make sure they understand that you’re probably not the best daily shoulder to sigh on. Obviously this has nothing to do with abuse, which you should be directly and immediately apprised of, but more about the daily BS that comes up in relationships such as feeling taken for granted or being wary of their work wife or husband. The less you know about the context of their private relationship BS the better, because your sibling will forgive them a lot faster and easier than you will.
Not only do you not want to be the person pacing back and forth in your house in the middle of the night wondering how to reconnect your significant other with your family, if you love your sibling, you don’t want to be the cause of them pacing back and forth in the middle of the night either.
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.