I currently live with my mom and my brother. When I moved back home to save money during grad school, I thought Mom’s controlling nature would be the biggest issue. Little did I know, my brother, Jason, would be the one messing up my life.
My boyfriend and I have been together for about seven months, and every time he comes over to the house, he’s seriously lusting after my brother, who’s two years younger than me and as straight as they come.
My brother’s always been a good looking guy, but he annoys me so much that I can’t even imagine how anyone would find him attractive. So at first, I laughed it off when my boyfriend talked about him being hot. But after seven months, it’s no longer funny.
I also thought he’d get over it, but instead he seems to be more and more infatuated as time goes on. Whenever he comes over, the first thing he always asks is,“Where’s Jason?”
Lately, it just seems to be getting even worse. One time he wouldn’t stop talking about Jason’s gym shorts, and another time he joked about having a threesome (which totally creeps me out). Luckily, my brother is kind of aloof and hasn’t seemed to catch on, but I’m sure if he knew, he’d be equally creeped out.
I actually worry this obsession could affect the future our relationship. When I try to tell my boyfriend this, he says I’m taking it way too seriously, and makes me feel like I’m being too uptight and sensitive. I’m at the point where I don’t even want to invite him over because I don’t want to feel this way.
(Dis)band of Brothers
Dear (Dis)band of Brothers,
The issue here is not with your living situation, nor with you being too rigid. In fact, it’s actually not even about your brother. This is a matter of your boyfriend’s behavior and whether or not he’s able to respect the boundaries you’ve set.
It sounds like when your boyfriend makes the comments he does, you feel icky, angry, and possibly even disrespected. When someone’s actions or words don’t sit right with you, that’s an indicator that you need to set firmer boundaries.
People will often do their thing until they realize that if they continue, there will be consequences. In a healthy relationship, both parties should respect the feelings and wishes of their other half, and if that’s not happening, it’s an immediate red flag.
Setting firm boundaries can be especially hard if there’s a part of us that judges ourselves for having the various emotions we’re experiencing. In your case, I hear you wondering if you’re overreacting to the situation and questioning if your feelings are valid.
No matter what, your feelings are your feelings. It doesn’t matter if someone else thinks they are exaggerated.
When you notice you’re invalidating your own experience, try to recognize that, and not listen to those other voices. No matter the reasons, your boyfriend’s behavior is having a negative effect on you, and as your partner, he needs to understand that and change his ways for the relationship to thrive.
Firmly tell your boyfriend that all of his lustful teasing needs to stop. Brotherly love should stay within the family. If he can’t honor that, it might be time to clip the family tree.