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I Love My Wife’s Sister

Every once and while I like to write about a love life problem that is a bit more on the messy side. Falling in love with your spouse’s sibling I think warrants that description.

Let’s start here, falling for someone else when you’re already married or committed naturally forms a “triangle” in your love life. You’ll find a few different posts on this blog that make the case that triangles are fundamentally unhealthy. So the first  problem you’ll encounter having fallen in love with your wife’s sister is the ways in which a triangle will interfere with any further growth in your marriage.

From there we have to consider the fact that you’ve fallen in love with your wife’s same sex sibling (or opposite sex sibling if you’re gay). The potential for devastating loss is now even greater, why? Obviously, your wife could lose both her marriage and her sister.

Realistically, what are the chances that you’ll live happily ever after with the sister of your wife? Pretty slim according to my estimations. Let’s walk it through: you fall in love with her sister, you have an affair, you tell your wife, you divorce your wife, you marry her sister, done. Not so fast. The fact that the two women are related will inevitably cause you some unavoidable grief, why? Because ambivalence and that old toxic emotion, guilt, are expected.

You’ve pitted two very intense bonding experiences against each other: a family of origin relationship versus a romantic love interest. These two are normally kept apart. Quite frankly, this is why we don’t marry our sister, brother, uncle, aunt, etc. etc. Now you might say, this has nothing to do with incest because I’m not marrying my own sister. Granted, but the problem is, you’ve created a conflict in your wife by mixing her romantic love interest (you) with her familial relationship (her sister). Get it?

Let me put it this way, cheating is best done with strangers. A lot less messy. My suggestion? Consider your interest in a triangle as just a “symptom” of the need to do something about your marriage. Put your effort into fixing it, or leaving it, if you can’t. Get clear of the relationship, then follow your heart.

If you’ve still fallen in love with your “ex-wife’s” sister and have your heart set on pursuing that relationship, at less you’re an “ex.” Of course, if your wife passes away (God forbid) then marrying her sister would be a bit more acceptable at least by historical standards.

Comments welcome. Dr. Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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