How do I tell my sister she's married the wrong man?

How do I tell you that you have made a devastating mistake? How do I tell you that you married the wrong person?

I can’t find the words to tell you to leave him, just like I couldn’t find the resolve to even whisper the slightest ‘no’ when you asked if you were doing the right thing the week before your wedding.

I couldn’t be the one to steal your excitement, I thought it was too late, that nobody actually stops a wedding the week before. As much as I wanted to say no, to make you listen, I didn’t want to be right about him.

How do I tell you that I hoped he would change? How do I tell you that I know he loves you, that his enraptured face as you walked down the aisle was genuine? I can see that the connection runs deeper than with anyone else, that he helped you at a time when I was not there. How can I say he could be perfect for you but that he isn’t enough?

married the wrong man
How come I couldn’t tell you that he isn’t enough for you?

You scared me so much last time you went into hospital and I can’t watch my sister go through that again. You have always been so much stronger than me, down to convincing me, from your hospital bed, to help you hide the medication you didn’t want to take.

I really thought you would be fine, and you were doing so much better. Now I look at you and see your body deteriorating again, far too quickly. How do I still be the little sister and also look after you? How do I tell you that he is killing you?


I know you don’t want to be limited by your illness, but looking after both of you is harder on you than if you were alone. Two people can’t live one life. How do I tell you to stop being responsible for him, he chose to move here with you and if he truly wanted it he would get his own friends and his own job? How can I say you need him to be the one supporting you when I would recoil from anyone who said that to me?

Watch on Mamamia Confessions: The moment I knew my relationship was over. (Post continues after video.)

How do I tell you that I know it is none of my business but that I see him forget everything you say the minute after you say it? Doesn’t it shatter you when you can’t trust him to do the simplest things? I fear that maybe this is just me thinking no one will ever be good enough for you while I watch your body eat itself from the inside out and help you make plans for children.

How do I tell you to start again now, when it was me who thought it was better to let this relationship continue in the beginning? I felt guilty I wasn’t there; I didn’t have all the answers. If only I could tell you that I didn’t want to deal with your loneliness while I lived on the other side of the country. I did think his obliging and enigmatic ways were good for you then and I kept telling myself that we just had different taste in men.

married the wrong man
I couldn’t tell you, and let you deal with the loneliness, while I was on the other side of the country.

The moment I saw you in your wedding dress was more magical than I had ever imagined. For anyone else, maybe I wouldn’t see the flooding rain, the failed flowers and the car crash that day as signs. How can I ask you to be the girl who ends a marriage after nine months, especially when, from the outside, he has done nothing wrong? Are you strong enough to give up the fairy tale ending?

How do I tell you to walk away from the man you miss the moment he leaves? How do I find the words to say something this important when I can see you already know it and yet, it remains the only thing you have never spoken about?

Elizabeth Kennedy was one of the short-listed writers on MWN and HarperCollinsPublishing’s 2015 Writers’ Competition.

Elizabeth is a 25-year-old trained journalist now working in marketing for an ASX top 200 company. After spending three years in Western Australia for an adventure, she is back living in Northern NSW close to her family. After university, Elizabeth worked in TV news reporting after following her passion to find out the stories of the ordinary people in the community. This passion in now largely taken up with her small business of creating video interview packages with older people in her community about their life. In 2011, she won the ABC’s Heywire competition for rural and regional youth with a written piece which has since been taught as part of the Literacy Program in Grafton Correctional Centre. A feature article was also shortlisted for the JB Fairfax Award for Rural Journalism that same year. These days as well as writing, she teaches hot yoga in her spare time and is obsessed with podcasts.


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