General Etiquette > Family and Children

You're Not My Sister

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dirtyweasel:
Background:  My dad was married three times and I'm the product of the third marriage.  He had one kid with each marriage so three kids total and he had two step daughters with his second marriage until he got a divorce.  This particular issue involves one of the step daughters from the second marriage.  End background.

My dad was always on great terms with one of his former step daughters (lets call her Betty) since her own father was not in the picture so he filled the role of father figure for her up until his death.  My own family is on friendly terms with her and we' re all Facebook friends.  I realize that she considered my father her dad, but the problem is that she also considers me her sister.  She's not my sister and I don't consider her my sister.  We're friends on Facebook, but she lives across the country and I've met her maybe three times in my life.

She calls me her sister on Facebook and tried to get me to join this genealogy thing on Facebook linking me to her as her sister (I declined as I decline ALL Facebook requests).  The issue now is that I just found out from my mom that she's hurt that I didn't invite her to my wedding because "you're supposed to invite your siblings" and she's hurt that I don't acknowledge her as a sister on Facebook.

I don't know what to do and I don't know what to say in response to stuff like this.  Is there a polite way to say, "You're not my sister"?

gramma dishes:
I feel sorry for her.  She obviously considered your Dad to be 'her' Dad.  That would make you "sisters" even though from the standpoint of genealogy, she clearly is not.

Keep in mind that had your father adopted her, she would have been technically your sister.

Honestly, she must really like you an awfully lot to want that closeness.  Is there some other reason you are rejecting her wish to include you in her concept of 'family'?

weeblewobble:
So she's hurt.  It may sound cold, but she's not your sister.  It doesn't sound like she's even your stepsister any more.  You see her so infrequently that she has to tell you through other people that she's hurt. So overall, this has very little impact on your life.

You can't control the actions/feelings of those around you and that includes forcing someone into what amounts to a very special intimate family relationship.  You don't have those feelings of closeness toward her.  Her feelings are hers to deal with.  If your other relatives continue to ask you about the situation, just tell them that you are comfortable with the status of your relationship now. If she continues to make inappropriate* requests on facebook, defriend her.

I struggle with something a little like this from my SIL, who tries to force me into a sisterly relationship with her, which in her mind means there are no boundaries between us, I give her whatever she wants, and she gets to unload her problems/burdens/untold TMI on me.  Her constant push for more closeness to the point of some really inappropriate behavior on her part, lead to me totally shutting down around her emotionally long before we cut off contact for other reasons.  I have a sister.  I know how special that bond is and that bond is not something I'm interested in sharing with SIL.  And if someone pushes that too much, it will blow up in their faces.  Instead of having a reasonable, cordial relationship with me, she has no relationship at all.


*inappropriate in that they are making the OP uncomfortable by attempting to move their relationship beyond the OP's boundaries

weeblewobble:

--- Quote from: gramma dishes on April 27, 2013, 01:49:06 PM ---I feel sorry for her.  She obviously considered your Dad to be 'her' Dad.  That would make you "sisters" even though from the standpoint of genealogy, she clearly is not.

Keep in mind that had your father adopted her, she would have been technically your sister.

Honestly, she must really like you an awfully lot to want that closeness.  Is there some other reason you are rejecting her wish to include you in her concept of 'family'?

--- End quote ---

I'm not saying I don't feel sorry for her, but at the same time, how could she like the OP so much if she's only met her three times?  They don't have the relationship that Betty is imagining.  When someone pushes for the rights and privileges (i.e. wedding invitations) of a relationship that is non-existent that rings some alarm bells for me.

SamiHami:
Clearly the two of you view your familial relationships differently. Neither of you are wrong...you are not genetically sisters, but through marriage you are step sisters. I would think that had you been raised together-even if only for a short time-that bond might be stronger and more sisterly. But since you say you've only met three times in your life, I have a hard time understanding why she is pushing the "sister" thing.

What is nice is that everyone seems to get along and like each other. Perhaps you can find a way to gently explain to her that since you don't really know each other that you don't feel that sisterly connection, but that you would like to continue to build your friendship with her.

My mom didn't even find out that she had a dozen or so siblings from a previous marriage (her father was married before, but they didn't bother to tell my mom and her "full" sisters about it). She didn't know about or meet any of them until well into adulthood. Many of them were disinterested in building any familial relationships, but a few did want to. There are couple that mom has only met face to face a couple of times, but she claims them as her siblings (and they her), and it's been very comforting to mom especially as she is getting older.

I'm not saying that this will or should happen with you, but I guess I'm saying I don't think you should discount anyone who clearly is trying to love you. You don't have to become besties all of a sudden, but you might find her to be a valuable person in your life eventually and you might be glad to have her as a friend or a sister.

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