Our mind-health Q&A columnist Athena Laz is a qualified psychologist and the author of You’ve Got This. She’s on a mission to help you clarify your blocks so that you can move onwards and upwards in life. You can see her work here.
‘I’ve fallen hard for my sister’s boyfriend. We all spend a lot of time together and it just sort of happened. I find myself getting really irritable with my sister and I think it’s because she gets to have him in a way that I can’t. I want to tell him how I feel. What do you think I should do?’ – Anonymous
Sounds like you’ve found yourself in a tricky love triangle. You can’t help who you fall for but you can take responsibility for how you feel and, following that, make empathic decisions.
Put yourself in your sister’s position. How do you think she would feel? What do you think the quality of your relationship with her would be like after your disclosure? From the way you’ve worded your question it sounds like the three of you are close and spend a lot of time together. What do you think it would be like between the three of you if you did disclose? Either way, revealing how you feel or keeping it a secret will result in specific consequences.
You have to weigh up what you believe is best for everyone involved. No matter what you decide just know that the best way forward is by maintaining your integrity. Maybe that means saying something to both your sister and her boyfriend. Maybe that means keeping how you feel to yourself. Whatever it is, if you come from a place of empathy you’ve done the best that you could do.
It is also helpful here to reflect on your love history. What have your previous boyfriends been like? What do you find attractive in a partner? Have you ever fallen for another person who was unavailable? Getting clear on your love history can help you gain awareness into why you attract certain partners and help you get clear on how you want to feel. You can read more about that here. – Athena.