Yay. You're getting married. Again. Whoo.

sigh Another Christmas-brings-the-family-dysfuction-to-the-surface-and-to-the-SDMB thread. My sister sent me a pix message on my cell phone early this morning of an engagement ring. Huh, I say. I mean, Whoo. I mean, Whoo!. No…I think it’s just, whoo. Doesn’t even require a capital letter.

This will be her third marriage. Her first husband she met and married in six months. They were married nine years, I think, and had one child. Then she got a case of the I’m-not-happys. I’m not happy, let’s have another child (didn’t work out; fertility problems about in my family). I’m not happy, let’s move by your family. I’m not happy, let’s move out by my family (keep in mind, the families live 2000 miles apart). I’m not happy, I want a divorce.

They get divorced, and before the ink dries on the papers, she’s dating like a 16-year-old again. She plays the field, dates multiple men, sometimes going out with two men in one night. Now, she’s not a whore; she’s not sleeping around (though I’m sure there was sex with a few of them), but she is certainly having fun.

A year after her divorce, I get engaged. All the hoopla of my impending wedding gets her amped up about Romance. I recall one conversation about some forgettable guy she was dating; she claimed he was The One and it was Magic (I’ve heard that a lot over the years). She said she had always wanted the fairy tale, and that at first she hoped maybe she’d have it before 30…but now, maybe she can have it before 40 (she was about 34 at the time, I think). She also reiterated the whole fairy tale crap, saying “I want a fairy tale, like what you and DeathLlama have.” I stopped her cold there, saying what we had was an absolutely incredible and wondrous relationship, but it was no fairy tale. There is a LOT of work that goes into it. “I know, but…” she said.

Now, she was the blond girly-girl, cheerleader, designer clothes and make-up, popular, pink-wearing, date lots of boys kind of gal in high school. I was the wear black and bright red lipstick, experiment with creative clothes from Aardvark’s, write for the literary magazine, sing in the choir, and have lots of guy friends but little interest in dating kind of kid. Though our high school days are long behind us, it gives a feel of just how different we are. I loved getting married and preparing for the wedding, but the wedding was no big deal ultimately to me–the marriage was–and I grew increasingly irritated by the number of people telling me “It’s your day,” (um, aren’t TWO people getting married??) or worse, “This is your day to be a princess.” :::hurl::: But my sister ate it all up and got more caught up in it than I did.

At the fitting for bridesmaid’s dresses in February, she lamented she didn’t know who her date would be for the wedding in two months. Then, she ended up booking it off to Vegas to marry the man she took to my wedding in June…in other words, they met and married in an even faster time frame.

The first time she did that, she married a man who was a bad fit. This second time, it was hell. He had a severe drug problem, stole and sold my father’s pain medication, stole my parents’ credit cards, beat the shit out of my sister on a few occasions, bankrupted her (she sent him to two rehabs, which he walked out of days into the program), and then once–ONCE–laid his hand on my sister’s son. That’s when she said fuck off and moved out. Not long after, after a high speed police chase, he was arrested–apparently his third strike, she was surprised to discover–and jailed. Best thing that happened to them. Their divorce was final about 4 years ago. It shattered her. Shattered her. It took her a good year or two to be My Sister again–though not six months later she grabbed my hand and bounced to my computer like a teenager, saying she wanted to show me something. I froze, “Oh, you are NOT showing me a boy!” And she got pissed. Don’t you want me to be happy? --etc. I told her of course I did; but I feared her making the same mistake and reverting to the same old behavior. That got a little tense.

Anyway, she has dated several men in the last few years (some seriously that ultimately went nowhere), despite my encouragement to try being ALONE for a change and deal with HERSELF. I think in a way she has, and of course I don’t know what’s going on in her head. I will say she’s been dating this man for…8? 10? months, and that she has known him in years past when they worked for the same company. So this does break from her pattern in that it isn’t rushed, and my parents have met him and say he’s a good guy (I think–that, or they base their conclusions on observing my sister, who lived with them after leaving fuckwad and up until last week).

But sheeeeesh, I’m not going to be all girly–I wouldn’t ANYWAY–and jump up and down in glee over a diamond ring. And when it’s the third time around, well…color me underwhelmed. When she followed up the pix message with a call, I congratulated her and said the ring was beautiful–in other words, I was polite and honest, if a bit unemotional. Overhearing me, DeathLlama chuckled and said I should have at least faked being really happy for her–to lie, that’s what people are supposed to do! I just looked at him–he knows that’s just not me. I’m no “I tell it like it is” bitch, but I also value being real and true to yourself…and being all fake-y happy just turns my stomach. I am hopeful for her, and I was sincere in my congrats, but…umm…yeah.

We meet him tomorrow when my side of the fam comes over for Christmas 2.0. I’ll look at the ring, compliment her, welcome him, etc., but I know she wants more of a WHOO HOO! reaction from her sister (her baby sister–I’m several years younger than she is, though I often feel our roles are reversed). She won’t get it.


Where’s the spiced (and by that, I mean spiked) eggnog?

Ehhhh, the only acceptable reaction to news of a wedding, couple nonwithstanding, is jump-up-and-down excitement. Hope you could at least smile and choke back the bile to save yourself the recrimination of expressing the appropriate reaction.

FTR, Ruffian, I’m right behind you. Excellent OP, BTW.

I love your description of the “I’m not happys”. I hope this works out well for your sister even though I understand why it’s hard to work up enthusiasm.

Wow, I just asked my wife the other night what she thought happened to that type of girl. We didn’t really have an answer…I guess now we do!

Sorry to hear about the situation Ruffian, we’ve all got family like this somewhere, I’ve resorted to just giving the best advice I can when asked and leave it at that, knowing they will not take it.

God I miss Aarvarks! None in Ohio.
Oh, and uh, sorry about your sister’s thing she’s going through too, and stuff.

I know what you mean about just not experiencing the expected degree of ecstasy when someone shows you a diamond ring. That happens to me even when the people involved are well adjusted, mature people whose marriage I expect to be successful. For them, of course, I do my best to fake it.

I hate that whole “happiest day of your life” crap, which seems to imply that everything to follow – you know, years of marriage, children, growing old together – that’s all going to be a downhill slide, I guess. I even have to turn the TV off when Oprah comes out with one of those “fantasy weddings” shows. The level of egotism in that whole mindset just makes me depressed.

So I guess I have no helpful advice for you, but your OP was well written and interesting.


So, Christmas 2.0 in all its chaos is over. We didn’t get to meet the new fiance or his daughter; they both came down with a wicked stomach flu and went to the doctor instead. We had a truly nice visit with my family, and everyone had a blast exchanging gifts. I looked at her ring and expressed sincere admiration of it; it’s a simple, classic style that I much prefer over the ones 1/2 inch think and covered in baguettes. Then I asked if they had set a date.

“Oh, we’re taking it slow,” she says, “but we’re headed in that direction.” Okay, so, do you mean 6 months? A year? No, she says. Then she tells me…he didn’t propose.


She explains: The ring means they’re committed to each other, they love each other, and (she reiterates) they’re headed in that direction.


Oh, super. They’re getting married…eventually. We’ve been down this path before, too–sis has fallen hard for a guy, claimed he’s The One, sported Promise rings, said it’s forever…and then the whole thing fell apart a few months later. The one eyebrow-raiser on ths guy is he’s in his 40s and never been married, though he’s had at least one very long previous relationship (and a teenaged child came from it). Now, there is nothing wrong with that; some people aren’t the marrying kind. That’s totally cool, as long as the people they date aren’t the marrying kind. And, as you can clearly see, that is NOT my sister.


Where’s that eggnog? Put more rum in it this time, would you?

Honestly, that seems like a positive development. I mean, compared to the ring being an engagement ring, this seems like a better option.

and if it all goes south, she’s got a ring!

I think you have her pegged. She wants the fairy tale. She doesn’t know how to build a long, stable relationship.

I feel sorry for her. It’s kind of ironic…she wants Prince Charming, but the guys out there who have the potential to be as close to a Prince Charming as you can get won’t be attracted to her, because there’s no way she’s a Princess Charming.

How did your back surgery go, by the way?

Just because Misery Loves Company…My husbands sister, who spent a fortune on one wedding that never happened, then spent a fortune on one that lasted a year and who has now moved all the way across the country to live with “the (new) one,” has come home for Christmas with said person to reveal that he did not buy her anything for Christmas. Not a card. Nor does he buy gifts for birthdays, valentines day, anniversaries, etc. Nor does he ever want children. He also doesn’t buy little gifts throughout the year. She, (of course) had her overly dramatic melt down as we were leaving Christmas night stating that she didn’t want to go back to LA.

Ok, so now Daddy and Mommy have to pay for you to move BACK from LA. Pay for you to move into an apartment (again) and I can only assume, buy you a a car.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said “If you are going to have a gift free, child free, celebration free life, the person damn sure better be worth it and very few people are that much fun.”

I think some people just like being train wrecks because they don’t find themselves interesting enough.

BTW, who the fuck gets promise rings past their teen years? I would be appalled if I got a promise ring in my 30’s.

I think she would be appalled if I called it a promise ring, and then explain how it means they’re committed to each other, love each other, and how it represents that they are “moving in that direction,” which is precisely what a promise ring is.

Seriously. WTF happened to my sister? How are we products of the same gene pool? Apparently, she gathered all of her DNA from the shallow end.

My old boss dated one guy for five years. Now, once you get to a certain age, dating is rather pointless…you’re either moving toward marriage or you’re not. Either one is fine, but both people have to be on the same page.

He made a big deal one day, pestering her mom for her ring size, so naturally, my boss thinks he’s going to propose.

Instead, because she loves Disney, he got her a Mickey Mouse ring. It was a nice ring I suppose, little emeralds for the ears and a diamond for the head, but it wasn’t an engagement ring.

She is now married to someone else.

ivylass, you are dead-on: she doesn’t know how to build a long, stable relationship. Past the “magic” time, she’s restless and clueless. Both my mother and have repeatedly urged her to get premarital counseling, or really couples counseling of any kind. Though DeathLlama and I supposedly have a fairy tale relationship, the year we spent in premarital counseling (basically the duration of the engagement) was invaluable and eye-opening. Despite being friends for six years and dating for two, there was a LOT about each other we needed to learn, and learn how to make all of what makes us Us, work.

Auntbeast, your “who the fuck gets a promise ring in their 30s” made me chuckle–although a bit darkly. Worse than getting a promise ring in your 30s is getting one when you’re 39 and four months from your 40th birthday.

I wonder if that “wanting the fairy tale before I’m 40” thing mentioned years ago is still driving what’s going on today.


My sister is on hubby #3, too. She seems happy for now, but I’m afraid she’s always wanted the fairy tale, which is nice in theory but completely unrealistic. I’ve just learned not to get too attached to her husbands because they are so dispensible.

Knowing how skeptical we were about the 3rd one, we were spared the engagement and wedding. I do wish her well, FWIW, but don’t envy her life or her children’s. :frowning:

Fairy tale?

There are women who believe that marriage is a fairy tale?

Weren’t most of these women raised by married couples? :confused: Is ignorance really winning by that much?

So, is it considered ill-mannered to give a couple gift certificates for counseling as a late Christmas gift? 'Cause, you know, I’d love to talk somebody else into doing it first, so then when I give them to all the crazy bastards I know I can say I’m following the new trend. :smiley:

On a not-quite-unrelated note, the mental image of “a fairy tale, like what you and DeathLlama have” is truly poetic. Post-apocalyptic cyborg llamas wreaking havoc with their highwayman (highwaywoman, I guess) partners in crime, a la Mad Max. So, the lessons I have learned from this thread are: Mad Max would be much better with llamas, and some flavors of crazy just can’t be salvaged.

That is dead-on…precisely how I feel about her many “loves.” I don’t get too attached, though I’m pleasant to them. Actually, come to think of it…I haven’t met hardly any of these guys. Hell, I think I met hubby#2 at my wedding, not that I remember him. There have been several “wonderful” men she has dated since that divorce, but she has been hesitant to bring them home (understandable to a degree). One she dated on and off for, I dunno, a year maybe? And she was actually thinking about moving out of state–far out of state. Then it turned out he wasn’t divorced, just separated, and dragging his heels to make it final…one of those. I think it’s been a year or so since they broke up. There was some OTHER guy inbetween that guy and this current guy…I just can’t keep up. She tells me all about them, shows me pictures, gets all giggly about them, but I rarely see them (granted, I live about an hour and a half from her).

I remember one time last summer, when this relationship was new, I was visiting my parents and sister when the phone rang. It was her boyfriend, and she trotted off to her bedroom, closing the door and chatting excitedly for however long, then prancing out when it was over making the same lovey-dovey goofball sounds she made as a teen. The entire scenario struck me as strange because it was exactly like she was 16 again, right down to living with the parents, shutting the door when the phone rings, and flitting around the house once the call ended.

Hostile Dialect, I have no fucking clue where my sister gets this fairy tale bullshit. My parents have a great marriage that has lasted 45 years so far, but my dad was a complete asshole when we were kids and I hated him (deservedly; he has since confessed he was an ass and was amazed Mom didn’t leave him–now that he’s completely disabled, he’s afraid she will). I used to wish my mom would grow a pair and leave him; he was very verbally and emotionally abusive (big on calling her stupid, berating her for being overweight–she has a complex about it–making fun of her, criticizing her parenting, complaining to her whenever we misbehaved–“You need to do something about Ruffian,” etc.) . Oof. No fairy tale there at all. Although, maybe because of that, my sister was inspired to fantasize about what HER life would be like, and she opted for some sort of Disneyfied version; whereas, with me, I was inspired to become fiercely independent and make sure no one ever treated me the way my father treated my mother. Hmm. Dad always praised me for my intellect and bragged to others about my grades, my thinking processes, my awards, and so on, but with my sister…it was always, she’s the cute one, the pretty one, the bubbly one, the fun one. Hmm, again.

Ah, the holidays.

Repeat post 11…
How was the back surgery?*