How do you approach a conversation delicately where you are 100% sure you are going to hurt someone’s feelings?
Redditor fitandintoityum struggled with this question when approaching her sister about her sister’s relationship.
She went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to get some answers.
She began with her and her sister’s background.
“My sister (25f[emale]) and I (22f) grew up in the deep south, my dad is almost 400 lbs and my mom is close. I grew up as a fat kid, however, when I started college and moved to a very fitness friendly state (CO) I lost a lot of weight.”
“I started to care more about my looks. I became a personal trainer last year and got a rhinoplasty recently to fix my crooked humped nose. My sister decided to move up with me.”
Our original poster, or OP, and her sister found their relationship jeopardized by the weight loss.
“My sister was not very approving of my weight loss nor was she happy I did a lot to change my appearance. While we get along wonderfully most of the time we still have fights about her thinking I’m vain.”
“My sisters weight is around 300 lbs, I have offered her help, however, she just tells me life isn’t about looks. Frankly I don’t care what she looks like I just want her to be healthy and confident.”
Ever since, the relationship has been strained, especially when it came to men.
“My sister sometimes acts out at me a lot especially when it comes to guys. When we have gone to bars people can be cruel saying ‘what you’re sisters? couldn’t tell.’ or outwardly paying more attention to me.”
“I defend her when I see it but it still hurts her confidence she has cried to me multiple times about dating asking why cant anyone accept her for who she is.”
Even when OP was hurt, sister could pull out some more hurt.
“In Jan my boyfriend of 2 yrs cheated on me. My sister told me that maybe he left me because I was too vain and high maintenance. I ignored her.”
“Around the time of the break up she started dating a guy, and I was happy for her. However the guy gave off some weird vibes: the way he looked at my sister when she ate, and [the way he looked at us] making plans when my sister and I are supposed to do healthy activities.”
Boyfriend caused a bigger rift.
“Since then my sister has gained a massive amount of weight and has become more hostile towards me. Her boyfriend buys her large quantities of unhealthy food and insists that she needs to eat more, he is weirdly touchy with her and often dismisses things she says. They don’t talk and just watch tv, she hasn’t met his friends or family yet also.”
“She complains how he never posts about her on social media. About a month ago I had a friend over, this friend is interested in fetishes and they recognized my sister’s bf from a feeder site, I didn’t want to bring it up with my sis because that didn’t seem like it was my place but it worried me greatly.”
Once OP’s suspicions were ignited, it got worse.
“I recently downloaded multiple dating apps and my sister like any sister wants to see who I matched with, I showed her and she immediately said the only reason I got these matches is because I’m shallow.”
“She then told me I might be more successful if I stop worrying so much about my looks and said that her boyfriend loves her for her personality, not her looks, and girls who look [like me] really good get men who want them just for their looks.”
So she let the secret about sister’s boyfriend slip.
“This angered me to the point where I told my sis that her boyfriend is a feeder and he doesnt love her if he did he would put her health over his fetish and actually want to introduce her to the people in his life. My sister has refused to talk to me for a week so far and calls me a horrible person along with my parents joining in.”
She wants to know—was she in the wrong?
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit mostly said she was working with good intentions, though there’s clearly a lot to unpack here.
“NTA. Your intentions were good and this guy is sending off red flags for you. However, you gotta respect that your sister is an adult (I assume) and is going to make her own choices.”
“All you can do is show her the proof from the feeder site (as one user suggested) and let her know you care about her, you think she deserves better, and you’ll always be there for her.”
“You could approach this much more lovingly. (Telling her her bf ‘is only with her’ because of her fetish is not nice. Your sister must have good qualities.)”
“Telling someone to break up with their Significant Other (SO)—especially if that someone hasn’t had an SO before and is insecure about getting another one—pretty much NEVER works, no matter who is right.”
“She’s going to have to sort this out for herself. Say your piece, make peace, and try to keep a good relationship with her so you can be there for her when this finally falls apart.”~potsieharris
“NTA….you definitely could’ve been more delicate in bringing it up, as during an argument was the wrong move but you did need to tell her eventually. She needs to see the proof (the screenshot of him from the feeder site or whatever your friend showed you).”
“Also the way she takes out her insecurities on you is out of line.”~loc_nessmonster0
“ESH. Your sister is clearly extremely insecure and probably jealous of you and how you have bettered yourself. I’m sure you are very aware of how hard it can be for people to not just lose weight, but to even take the steps to begin the process. She shouldn’t be saying things like that to you, but you shouldn’t have responded the way you did.”
“Do you actually know that he has a fetish or is it just a vibe you’ve picked up on with some context clues plus the alleged website your friend found? This does not mean he does not actually care for her.”
“Some people also don’t prioritize introducing their significant other to their family, especially if they are not close with them. Unless you know the entire situation behind this guy, you should have just left it alone.”
“If you were truly concerned about this guys relationship with your sister, it should have been discussed in a more peaceful matter, not used as some sort of rebuttal.”~Nox-Avis
“ESH. It was a bad way to lash out in response. BUT you are a very soft AS. I cant really blame you for lashing out after all the abuse she puts you through just for caring about your appearance and being healthy. It seems like she wants to put you down to raise herself up. She is a major AH.”
“Honestly, she needs a reality check. She probably needs a doctor to scare sense into her. And maybe a therapist.”~lemondagger
Sister is definitely putting OP in a bad position.
“NTA. As a big woman that has been fetishized myself, your sister is being naive. I don’t think she accepts her physical appearance as much as she claims to and no partner should encourage weight gain.”
“To each their own in the fetish world, I’m not judging, but this doesn’t seem like a consensual feeder/eater relationship since she doesn’t recognize what he’s doing.”
“She found someone she thinks accepts her as she is so she’s naturally going to be hurt and offended. But she needs to realize there are men out there that will like and love her for who she really is.”~UIUGrad
“ESH, you totally shouldn’t have said that to your sister, but she also shouldn’t have been insulting you when you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Overall it is a very sticky situation.”~marver2710
“I’m going to go with a light ESH just because the communication was faulty and the timing was faulty. Your sister sucks (in this instance) because she should not talk down to you like that.”
“You suck (lightly), because her boyfriend’s destructive fetish should not have been a weapon for spite or sparring. You should have collected the evidence and sat down with her and talked to her about your concerns. This information should have come from a kinder place.”~unluckyirish992
“NTA and wanted to add that it is a pretty clear Red Flag that he doesn’t want to put her on social media, go out with her in public or introduce her to anyone, it is either because she is his side chick or because he is embarrassed to be seen with her.”~Red415510
However, most agree, OP could have been a bit more delicate.
“ESH but like… not on purpose.”
“You should have been looking out for your sister more, especially as the older sibling. It’s terrible that instead of talking to her calmly about your concerns with her boyfriend earlier you waited to use it as ammunition in an argument.”
“The worst part is that this might wreck your opportunity to talk with her seriously about it in the future and have her actually listen. You know that she’s self-conscious and I’m sure her boyfriend is playing on her low self esteem to keep her in the relationship with him.”
“Your sister sucks for being pettily jealous, but it sounds like you are putting off vibes that make her think you judge her for being fat even if you don’t say it outright. Living this long in a culture obsessed with appearance, most fat people develop a sense of these things (although sometimes they also become paranoid).”
“I hope you’re able to make up and your sister can find a healthy relationship.”~TenguMeringue
“Theres a line with fetishes. If she is fully consenting and enjoys the treatment then what you’ve done is kink shame your sister.”
“Now, yes, she’s been horrible to you. But you just kicked her where you just knew it was gonna cause the maximum amount of damage.”
“ESH – I think it’s tough. Your sis isn’t the A really, but also kind of, she is just a jealous sister, you are only the A because you knew about an abusive and dangerous aspect of he relationship and only brought it up for petty reasons, rather than immediately. Obviously he is the biggest A by far.”~NaughtyDred
“NTA. It probably wasn’t the best to lash out, but I would’ve done the same. I’m glad you’re moving out soon… I think this is a lost cause and being close is doing more harm than good for both of you.”
“You can’t help someone that A) doesn’t want to be helped and B) doesn’t even believe what you’re offering is helpful.”
“I think you two need distance. She’s an adult and she’s responsible for her own health and relationship. And you need freedom from her bad attitude about you, because the resentment doesn’t seem to be getting anything but worse.”~femmemalin
OP and her sister are clearly in an unhealthy relationship themselves, and most likely need time away from each other until they are able to deal with their feelings healthily.
Sister will have the realization about her boyfriend in her own time. Until then, emotional safety among all parties will likely be the pest course of action.