Does My Boyfriend Love My Sister?

December 17, 2012

Cheating with sisterHi Susan,

I have a problem and I am miserable about it. For the last six months I have been dating this wonderful, amazing guy. He has made me so happy and I thought he really cared about me until recently. You see,  I think he is love with my sister “Chloe.”

I am the quiet shy girl who is smart and dependable. I get along with everybody and you would be hard pressed to find anybody with anything bad to say about me. My sister Chloe is the opposite of me. She is the fun loving wild party girl who is promiscuous and sexy. Chloe always has to be the center of attention and she doesn’t get along with 99% of the women in her social circle. 

My boyfriend didn’t meet Chloe or the rest of my family until we had been dating for about 3 months. I have noticed that he is always asking questions about Chloe but I always thought it was just curiousity about my family. However, I have realized that he never asks about my other sister or brother. He is only interested in Chloe. And he is constantly bringing her up in conversation.

This weekend he was talking to my mom and expressed interest in looking at pictures of me of when I was a little kid. My mom brought out the family photo album so that he could see the pictures. However, he only had eyes for Chloe. All he could say as he looked through the photos was “There’s Chloe…Is that Chloe…Where is Chloe…Here is Chloe…etc.” He only noticed me once. It hurt my feelings to see him staring at her so intently.

Chloe lives in another city and he actually wanted to know why she doesn’t get a job where I live. Nobody has ever mentioned Chloe moving to the same city as me and Chloe herself has never mentioned getting a job here. In fact, Chloe mentioned that she had applied for a job transfer to another state. My parents are okay with this but my boyfriend asked several times if she was really going. I had to reassure him several times that there is a lot of competition for the position that Chloe wants so she probably won’t get it. He seemed so worried and serious when Chloe first announced that she had applied for this job transfer.

My boyfriend will ask questions every now and then to try and get information about Chloe. It is like he wants to know everything that there is to know about her. He no longer shows interest in learning about my likes and dislikes. And of course, Chloe can do no wrong in his eyes. She is outright materialistic and superficial in his presence but that doesn’t bother him at all.

I worry that he is only with me because he is settling and it is Chloe who he really wants. He has made it apparent that he wants to get married and have many kids. I am afraid that he thinks I will make a good wife and mother and that is why he is in a relationship with me. My boyfriend is the beta guy who was ignored by girls in high school and college. He studied hard and now has a job making over $100,000 a year. Chloe thinks he is a nice but boring guy.

I don’t want to be with him if it is Chloe that he truly wants. I am planning to confront him about this but I don’t know if he will tell me the truth. He really wants to get married and have that large family soon. And of course Chloe currently has a boyfriend.

What should I do? I am being crazy or do you think he really is interested in Chloe?


Dear Karen,

I am so sorry that you feel tormented with worry and anxiety about your relationship! I think most women have had the experience of being in a relationship and feel their boyfriend or even husband pulling away as they become preoccupied with someone else. The fact that this is happening with your sister must make this many times worse. 

While I find your boyfriend’s behavior troubling and think you are right to be concerned, I’m going to run through the best and worst case scenarios here. 

Best-Case Scenario

Your boyfriend is fascinated with Chloe in a car wreck kind of way. He doesn’t want to look, but he can’t avert his eyes. He is fascinated by her wild ways, her promiscuity, her “lust for life” and her living in the moment. He is curious to learn more about this creature so unlike the women he has spent time with. He may well be attracted to her in a superficial way while knowing he would never choose a woman like Chloe for a long-term relationship or marriage. If she is the kind of girl that never gave him the time of day before, and he perceives that his SMV is higher now, he may crave the validation of attracting a girl who generally goes for manwhores and asshats.

He loves you, truly, and would not dream of dating Chloe even if he had the chance. He understands that you are wife and mother material, which is hardly something that men “settle” for – no sane man would even consider marrying a woman who did not meet that standard. In addition, he is well aware that breaking up with one sister and taking up with another would never be possible – the thought has never entered his mind, much less become a preoccupation or fantasy. 

His cluelessness is troubling. His failure to observe your hurt feelings shows some insensitivity about the effect of his actions on his girlfriend – he should be aware that making such a fuss would cause you discomfort at the very least. Expressing a simultaneous curiosity about your sister and disinterest in you is careless, and suggests that he is very much taking you for granted. 

Worst-Case Scenario

Your boyfriend has a mad crush on Chloe, bordering on obsession. Ever since he saw her, she is the sister that truly preoccupies his thoughts. He fantasizes about having sex with her, and possibly even dating her seriously. He may or may not know the degree of her sluttiness, but in the short-term he does not care. He is in a state of temporary insanity.

At this point, you mean less as a girlfriend than as a source of access to Chloe. He is not above using your relationship to feed his curiosity and stoke the flames of his mania. He has no idea how to proceed or how to get Chloe to take notice of him, but if she pulled him into a dark corner by chance he would not hesitate to cheat on you by hooking up with your sister. 


I find your boyfriend’s behavior very troubling and unempathic in either case, and if I were your mother I would probably have noticed his behavior in looking at the photos and would harbor deep misgivings. Without knowing his side of this story, it’s impossible to know which of these scenarios comes closest, or whether the truth is somewhere in the middle. I urge you to tell him very clearly and frankly what you have observed, and how his behavior has made you feel. Be prepared to give concrete examples in case he suggests that you are imagining things, or even worse, plays the “psycho” card. His response, whether one of denial, ignorance, guilt, or an eagerness to make things right, will tell you whether you are right to be worried. 

For you to remain in the relationship and consider marriage, it is imperative that you reach a point of 100% certainty with regard to his love for you. The thought of going through life worrying about his being alone in a room with your sister is intolerable, at least to me. You cannot stay with him if you have an iota of doubt on this score.

I’m afraid you’re either dating a fuckwit or a douchebag, but I do encourage you to address it directly and give him every opportunity to respond. If he can’t make it right, I urge you to recognize the fact that Wonderful, Amazing Boyfriend has been replaced by someone you really don’t want to date at all.

As Maya Angelou said, “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” If you are not his top priority, he is not the man for you. Do not settle for anything less than the knowledge that a man is head over heels in love with you. If that is not the case, your best strategy is to end it, heal, and then get back out there. 

I hope this helps, good luck.