His sister hates me

Another sibling letter ...

I am a 26-year-old woman with a 30-year-old boyfriend. We have been dating for over two years and we live together. Our relationship is wonderful. We have similar interests, personalities, and enjoy the same activities. The only issue is his sister. She hates me.

I am unsure about why, as I have been nothing but good to their family. I have always been polite, engaging, and helpful. His sister is around my age and claims that I have taken her best friend away from her. She is rude to me every time I see her and has publicly embarrassed me about five or six times.The last time, I was screamed at in a bar in front of 30 of their closest family friends. She said she wanted to talk, but when I brought up rectifying the relationship she said, "No, I am not interested in knowing you."

She has been rude to me every single time I have ever seen her, including the first time. She insults my family, who she has never met. She says I am not welcome in their family and that I have to pass a test to belong. When I ask what I can do to repair our relationship, she says she needs to think about it. She provokes me and threatens me (not physically).

My boyfriend has let me know that he wants to be with me and would like to get married. He said that he has to maintain a relationship with his parents but will not have one with his sister. He also said I would never have to see his family again if I choose. These are all very compassionate things to say in this situation, but not really viable for the rest of our lives.

My question is, can I stay with this person? We love each other very much, but I know the future can't look too bright if this issue can't be resolved. I'm sure they just want me gone so that his sister can have her best her best friend back. We also live together so there are financial issues to think about as well.

– The Cold Shoulder, Boston

I wish I knew how often you've had to see your boyfriend's family, TCS. I also wish I knew what the sister screamed at you in the bar. (I'm just curious.)
The bottom line here is that your relationship isn't doomed because of the sister. You can absolutely get through life avoiding her, flashing tight-lipped smiles at family events, and occasionally hiding in the bathroom when you've had enough of her. We put up with a lot for love, especially when it comes to family. And once the sister sees that you're not going anywhere, she might just get bored of hating you.

The most important thing is that you feel supported by your boyfriend. I'm a bit confused about how his parents have responded to the drama, but it sounds like your boyfriend has basically said, "You're my priority, no matter what." That's pretty great. The sister problem is awful, but you can always make separate plans with family members and have them over without her.

You've done your part to reach out. You continue to be nice to everyone in his world. Honestly, if you love being with your boyfriend, you'll just work together to make this relationship as stress-free as possible. He's there for you and he wants to keep you comfortable. That suggests a bright future to me.
Readers? What should she do? Is this relationship doomed? Has the boyfriend done enough to make this better? Stories about coping with family in a relationship? Can they create their own, shared community outside of family? Help.

– Meredith