I once dated a guy called Jack.* Things started off really well, he was a lovely guy, sensitive, into music and art. He was intelligent and good looking. He was the type of person who never had a bad word to say about anyone. He ticked most of the boxes and was well liked by my mum and friends.
He introduced me to his family. I met his parents and I got the impression that they were a tight knit family which I liked.
It wasn’t long before I was then introduced to his sister, Melinda.*
Melinda was nice to me and they seemed quite close. There were loads of pictures of them together around the house which I thought was really sweet. Jack was so supportive of Melinda and everything that she did. If she would walk into a room he would flood her with compliments on her choice of clothing.
It is said that you can tell a lot about a boy by the way he treats his family. Although not every guy will get along with his family all the time, if he respects them it’s a good sign. Jack was respectful of his parents and his family in general.
And everything seemed to go well…but there was something in my head that said ‘if something is too good to be true..it usually is.’ I was right.
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Melinda never went out with any other friends other than her brother’s.
I started to notice that 9 out of 10 times we went out, Melinda would be there. She never seemed to go out with her own friends. She would always sit next to Jack. Would do whatever Jack said. Never had a difference of opinion to Jack. Never even fought with Jack.
By contrast, my siblings and I fought like cats and dogs growing up. We had one bathroom and a family of five. There were plenty of things to fight about. Who was going in the front seat of the car? Who was having their shower first? Whose toys belonged to who? We are now officially adults and our relationship has improved since we no longer live with each other, but to agree with them on everything? Real life isn’t the Brady Bunch.
She would stare at us when we were snuggled up….
One night we went to a concert and we came back to his place. His parents were out that night, it was going to be a struggle to get home as we did not live that close to each other.
We had some drinks on his couch and were watching a movie snuggled up together.
Jack looked up and saw Melinda standing in the doorway, staring…..staring at us.
How long had she been there? I have no idea. I could only see the reflection of the TV in her eyes. She was holding a glass of wine, just glaring at us.
Jack awkwardly acknowledged her presence, “Oh hi Mel…”
She turned around and stormed off…
“She’s not in a good mood,” he explained to me.
I stayed out of it as it wasn’t any of my business. Perhaps she had a bad day? Did I think it was weird her staring at us? a little…but honestly…that was only the beginning…
Her 'dream guy' was her brother...
When I met up with his circle of friends, Melinda sat down next to me. We started chatting and I asked her if she was seeing anyone.
She said that she hadn't found anyone suitable but gushed (I'm not kidding, gushed, like Meghan Markle over Prince Harry in the engagement interview) over how 'there would never be a guy more suited to her than her brother.' (What?!)
Well, I downed that glass of wine. Quickly.
Now I have a brother. I respect my brother. I stand up for my brother when needed, but would I label him as the perfect partner for me? Ummm HELL NO.
They slept in the same bed on a regular basis and that was normal for them....
After everyone had left, I started to get ready for bed. I walked into Jack's bedroom to find Melinda lying there in his bed...asleep.
I backed out of the bedroom and walked back into the kitchen where Jack was cleaning up and I told him that Melinda was in his bed. Hoping for some explanation.
"Oh yeah she does that sometimes."
"Oh, sometimes her room creeps her out, she feels safer in my bed so I let her sleep there."
Now just to clarify, Melinda was 21 years old at the time. Not a two-year-old. For them it was completely the norm to sleep same bed sometimes directly... next to each other. It happened on a regular basis.
My 'close sibling weirdness' threshold was then broken.
In the end I didn't want to come between Jack and his family..
I confronted Jack about this eventually but he was naturally quite defensive. In the end, I didn't want to be the person who came between Jack and his family.
I only saw him one more time after that. One of his ex girlfriends came and spoke to me. She used to date him but it had not worked out. She said that 'he wasn't for her' but didn't elaborate on the 'why'.
At the end of the conversation she said something that stuck in my mind. She said that my only competition with Jack was Melinda. That it was important to get Melinda on my side. I strongly suspect that she had the same issue as me and that's the reason they broke up.
I like close families but it's difficult to have a relationship with someone when there was always a third wheel...especially when the third wheel is from the same genetic make up.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's sweet when siblings are close.
But to me there is such a thing as 'too close'.
*Jack is not his real name
*Melinda is not her real name.