My sister cheated/embezzled/stole about seven grand from me in 2001 and we have not talked since. She has made several overtures which I have rebuffed. My wife is dead-set against reconciling with her. But my sister (who lives nearby) is ill and possibly dying and recently reached out again to me. I am not so much angry with her as opposed to dealing with anyone who would steal from me. On the other hand, I have heard often enough that forgiving is the way to go regardless. I think at this point if it were just me I would extend the olive branch, but there is the Mrs. factor. What do you think? Any thoughts appreciated!
Stuck in the Middle
Dear Stuck in the Middle,
It is just you. It’s you and your relationship with your sister. So the simple answer is, reconcile. She’s your sister. The $7K is just money. It might do you some good to clear up the money issue with your sis. Just make sure you don’t allow her to go back into your wallet. You shouldn’t have to ask for permission to have a relationship with your sister. Things happen. And if this isn’t the time for forgiveness, when is?
That’s the simple answer. But it doesn’t address what may be going on behind the scenes.
First, your wife has feelings about this situation. I’m sure her resistance to you reconciling has a little to do with her feelings about your sister AND her feelings about you. She doesn’t trust your sister for what she did, and she probably doesn’t trust you for letting her get away with it. The best way to keep your sister from stealing again from your wife (your wife may be thinking) is to make sure you keep sis at a distance. And that would work, except it keeps the two of you from reconciling and healing old wounds while you still can.
The other red flag in your description of this dilemma is your willingness to permanently walk away from your sister simply to please your wife.
Explain something to me. Is she your mother? Are you 10 years old? Have you actually given your wife the power to determine who will be in your life? Does she also dress you in the morning?
You’ve given your power away. We men have a more colorful expression to describe what you have given away to your wife. This state of affairs is deadly for you, and it’s really no good for your wife or for your relationship. You’ve got to get them back and start acting like the man you want to be.
You cannot ask for permission to be the man you want to be. You simply have to be that man. When you do so consistently, those around you will learn to respect you for it.
So, go be that man. Assure your wife that she has nothing to fear, and then go be with your sister. Chances are, if you are very clear about your terms—no more cash transactions—you’ll be a happier man with all his parts intact.