What happens when your sister starts dating your close friend?
By: Niko Haloulos, Contributor
When my sister started dating one of my closest friends, I felt like I was looking into a kaleidoscope. I was distracted by the twisting shapes of my emotions, thoughts and feelings, but as time went on, I decided to look at their relationship as a full, unified pattern and it changed everything.
When we were allowed to see a few friends outdoors, I hosted a 19th birthday party. As smoke and laughter filled the air, I peeked over to see that my friend had snuck into the chair beside my sister. I guess they had been talking the entire night, even though they had never met before.
I woke up the next day and realized that my sister was acting giddier than normal. When I asked her about it, she simply said, “You know, if your friend there ever asks for my number, you can give it to him.”
Suddenly I realized that my friend and my sister had begun to develop something that they both thought was special. I couldn’t hinder that so when I met up with my friend a few days later, I offered to give him my sister’s phone number. He accepted.
I did not think much about the consequences of setting them up. It seemed like pretty standard procedure, just passing along a phone number and encouraging my friend to ask her out on a date.
At the time of the party, my sister was only a few months removed from a gruelling breakup so this felt like a good way for her to meet someone for whom I had the utmost respect, trust and love. For my friend, it was a chance for him to meet someone who would help him become a better man. So why did I have such a problem with it?
I began to close myself off from the two of them and I felt myself disliking my friend for a few weeks. I constantly reminded myself that I had offered to share my sister’s phone number and that I had known that he would be a really, really good match for her. Even though I knew this deep down, on the surface I could not help but feel like they were pulling themselves away from me.
I knew I could trust my friend but suddenly, like the flip of a switch, I went into protective brother mode. I couldn’t look at my friend without wondering how he was going to treat my sister poorly and though I know she can stand up for herself, it felt necessary.
Whenever my friend would come to the house, it felt like my sister and I were fighting over him. I would only be allowed in the basement for a certain amount of time because eventually she would ask to be alone with him.
I would throw the “Well, he was my friend first. Why can’t I talk to him?” and my sister would become frustrated. I said passive-aggressive things about their relationship and got angry whenever she said he was coming over.
Soon enough, my sister became worried that I had a problem with their relationship and the anxiety in her expression when she asked me was devastating.
I didn’t own anybody. My sister is strong and knows her own worth, but for her to suddenly think that she would be offending me was a wake-up call.
My friend, too, became worried that he had crossed some kind of line. He asked my sister if I was truly unhappy about them being together and said he wished I would talk to him personally. When my sister told me what he had said, I was saddened.
I had been blinded so much by my pride that I forgot to consider one thing: happiness. Being with my friend had brought a sparkle to my sister’s eyes that had been absent for a long time. My friend, too, slowly began to change, becoming more mature.
After long talks with my sister and my friend, we reached a better place. We still had some small riffs, but the instances of disagreement became more lighthearted, rather than rooted in jealousy and regret.
When he came over to see my sister, I knew my only role was as the brother. When my friend and I planned to hang out, I didn’t discourage him from saying hi to my sister.
I’ve realized that all three of us have become stronger emotionally by sharing this love that propels itself in different directions. My trust in my friend has grown exponentially because of how he has treated my sister.
While we’ve always been close, I have been able to communicate more openly with my sister since her relationship with my friend started.
The awkwardness took time to clear and I had to communicate very openly about how I felt. Now I’m still standing in the middle ground, figuring out how to equally distribute my time between my friend and my sister and not get in the way of something truly special.
Their relationship is not a violation, but more of an invitation for me to explore just how appreciative I can be about something that is so genuine, pure and beautiful.