Adult sibling boundaries

(65 Posts)
Temporary1234 Mon 16-Nov-20 00:23:36


So DH comes from a family a bit too touchy feely than mine.. and I often wonder which bits are just different upbringing and which are actually lacking boundaries..

So an adult sister doing the following with her brother is that acceptable:

1- sitting on her brothers lap asking for a back massage

2- stroking her brothers earlobe while in a conversation

3- asking him to stroke her arm because it feels nice on her dry patches.

Note that SIL is in her early twenties and DH almost 30. So there is the age gap.

I wouldn’t think too much into it but she had form for being passive aggressive and I’m starting to think she is trying to cross boundaries just to act possessive as this all happens in my presence and it’s becoming frequent. She acts excessively needy and entitled while at the same time beinf so undermining time me so I’m starting to see through her behaviour as not at all innocent. But struggling to put my finger on things.

Is it me, or is this a bit much ?

OP’s posts: |
Temporary1234 Mon 16-Nov-20 00:25:43

Oh and DH said he feels uncomfortable and awkward but he knows She doesn’t mean anything as this is something she used to do when she was young as he is her older brother and she is used to being dependant on him.

OP’s posts: |
Mosaic123 Mon 16-Nov-20 00:28:04

Seems a bit odd to me.
Inappropriate now he is a DH and they are adults now.

AIMD Mon 16-Nov-20 00:29:08

Yes that sound like unusual behaviour to me. There’s 5 years between me and my adult brother and I’d never do those things.

I guess every family is different but I don’t know any where massage and stroking is normal between adult siblings of opposite sex.

If he’s uncomfortable with it he need to speak up and put some boundaries in place with her.

EarthSight Mon 16-Nov-20 00:31:11

Yes. Doing that in front of his wife is not on. I think she probably knows it annnoys you. Yuck.

Closingtime94 Mon 16-Nov-20 00:31:29

I know this is serious but it reminds me of that friends episode where Racheal dates a guys whose weirdly close to his sister - have you spoken to DH about it? I don't really know what to suggest, it would make me feel uncomfortable - did it happen before you were married or just started up now?

TableFlowerss Mon 16-Nov-20 00:32:18

In my family that would be highly unusual and yes, frankly odd as anything.

She sounds more like a jealous GF marking her territory as oppose to his sister. Strange starve strand confused


TableFlowerss Mon 16-Nov-20 00:33:38

Well that was supposed to say strange strange strange but once again predictive text fu&ked it up! grin

Cordial11 Mon 16-Nov-20 07:27:27

Did you post about this before OP? I remember reading something similar and thinking WTF.

So bloody weird!!!!

Does she do it to anyone else like her dad , uncles etc or any females in the family?

Thereluctantstepmother Mon 16-Nov-20 07:29:22

Very weird indeed!

category12 Mon 16-Nov-20 07:35:28

What does he do about it?

If he's genuinely uncomfortable with it, he ought to establish boundaries himself with a few well-placed "geroff"s and unseatings.

gungholierthanthou Mon 16-Nov-20 07:39:44

Definitely weird and inappropriate.

SpillingTheTea Mon 16-Nov-20 07:41:14

Oh gosh. That is so weird and not normal at all.

Lordamighty Mon 16-Nov-20 07:52:19

Let’s just say that it definitely isn’t normal sibling behaviour. The problem is how to make it stop.

category12 Mon 16-Nov-20 08:46:18


Let’s just say that it definitely isn’t normal sibling behaviour. The problem is how to make it stop.

That's easy, op's partner stops tolerating it or encouraging it.

Temporary1234 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:12:50

Thanks everyone. I’m trying to see whether it’s ok for me to take this personally or not.

I have this tense relationship with sister in law and she has been proving to her brother that she is on her best behaviour with me after a lot of rudeness in the past which led to me distancing myself from her..

So she has been love bombing DH (who supports her with life admin) and being “nice” to me. But these lovely gestures are going under DHs radar.

He sees it as an innocent misunderstanding.. I see it as deliberate passive aggressive and a sign she hasn’t really fixed up, just got better at hiding.

I do think she is trying to get under my skin but I’m trying to be sure.. I wanted to give her second chance but I’m trying not to be a mug and analyse the situation first and see whether she is to be trusted.

DH thinks this is an innocent mistake becshse she grew up being his younger sister who looked to him for support and that she is just acting out what she did in their childhood.

But I somehow only see her act this way when in my house and after the conflict with her. No she doesn’t do anything remotely similar wirh her dad. And she would certainly not do this Infront of her boyfriend (but I haven’t met him to know).

I’m trying to use this as an example to explain to DH he is being manipulated really.

OP’s posts: |
reservoircats Mon 16-Nov-20 10:15:26

Really weird. She must feel extremely threatened by you and is doing these behaviours to "stake her claim" on him.

HermioneWeasley Mon 16-Nov-20 10:16:35

My brother and I are very close and yes I think that’s weird

AIMD Mon 16-Nov-20 10:18:31

@Temporary1234 what does your partner do when she sits on his lap, askes for a massage etc?

Temporary1234 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:23:13


Awkwardly complies.

OP’s posts: |
category12 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:28:12

It's a simple matter to stop her tho. He just has to laughingly drop his knees or gently push her off his lap with a "geroff, you're not six anymore!" or take her hand away or say "get [boyfriend] to do it later".

He's being just as weird accepting it.

Temporary1234 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:30:58


They do have a dynamic where DH is literally bullied by her all the time and cannot say no without it turning into family drama on other big issues... but I feel this issue he can, but he is down the pecking order in their family and I feel he just doesn’t dare question anything..

OP’s posts: |
Temporary1234 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:38:33

I think next time it’s happening I will say

“Awww let me take a video of you guys and this cute moment and send it to everyone”.

OP’s posts: |
youvegottenminuteslynn Mon 16-Nov-20 10:42:36


I think next time it’s happening I will say

“Awww let me take a video of you guys and this cute moment and send it to everyone”.

She'll just sidle up next to him and smile though, people with a brass neck or inappropriate boundaries (or both) thrive on hiding in plain sight and relying on people feeling too awkward to say what they really mean. This is on your DH to sort, not you to mitigate.

I get that he finds it hard but the alternative is either you being further painted as the bad guy or it just going on and annoying you.

We are quite a huggy family but what she's doing is really odd and cringe - it's territory marking which is all kinds of unsettling.

category12 Mon 16-Nov-20 10:48:25

You intervening is exactly what she wants and I think pp is right about her brass neck.

You're far better coaching him in strategies to get himself out of it with humour or a bit of brotherly exasperation. If he does it cheerfully and kindly, she's got nowhere to go with it that won't make her look mental.

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