Should I Be Concerned or Am I over Thinkin?

Updated on March 11, 2016
E.A. asks from Guffey, CO
21 answers

This is going to be long so please bear with me. My husband and I have been married for 9 years. My sister is married as well but is very flirtatious with men and has previously had affairs. Anyway...many moons ago I caught her and my husband outside smoking a cigarette together alone. Which was odd since I was supposed to go with. As soon as I got outside she went in. (Now yes it could have been to give us privacy but having been cheated on before my mind finds it suspicious that she'd leave asap). Fast forward to another situation.....he rarely ever tasted my fruity cocktails because he's a beer guy. But one time at a family gathering after asking my dad to taste her drink she asked hubby and without question he sipped her drink. It kinda bothered me because again I can NEVER get him to tase mine and poof he drinks hers no questions asked. Another scenario...we were all getting ready to hang out and as she brings in the deviled eggs he grabs ones and says "Here you go Susan" didn't offer me one and him and I were just talking about being excited to have them. Why not offer his wife one instead of her? Even if he offered us both one would have been more acceptable to me. More recently we all went out to eat and he passed me my food and the waitress gave my sister her food....he immediately grabbed a chip off of her plate to taste it (my plate had the same exact chips so why not take some from my plate?). It really bothered me and in combination with the past situations I mentioned before it just made it worse. I didn't tell him but made it clear that I was upset with him. He kept asking what was wrong and even later that night said "I only love you and no one else". It helped ease my feelings but I still can't get those thoughts out of my head. Though I dont blame my husband for my past my past still affects me today. I will say I have been cheated on by different men with friends of mine so it does put me on edge especially since my sister is flirtatious and almost seems like its her mission to win over any man she meets. I haven't caught him cheating, I know I personally have jealousy issues which doesnt help at all. I'm trying hard not to assume so I'm asking here. Am I over thinking? Or am I in the right for being concerned? What should I do? Suggestions and input please.

And yes Andrea you are correct maybe he's just being friendly and there is nothing behind it. I guess the fact that if I was to suddenly try my BILs beer he'd get mad (I hate beer). If I offered my BIL food but not him he'd also get mad. Same with reaching into my BILs food to taste it.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Nothing has happened yet. Yes I have had small convo about my feelings but he seems to not understand obviously. Or he forgets when alcohol is involved. Am I playing games with him? No, or at least not intentionally. I asked here for a reason. I'm not assuming he's cheating but am trying to get others opinions on how to approach things because apparently what I've done hasn't worked. I did get upset all the times and don't think in front of the whole family is the right time to approach it. I figured I'd sit on it and try and get my head straight along with get other opinions. I know I have my issues and I don't want him to pay for it again which is why I asked here. I do like some of the suggestions mentioned and I will follow through with a combination of them. Thank you for the responses guys. Am I insecure in my relationship? Clearly I am. Do we have communication issues? Yes I am aware. I cannot make him go to counseling if he doesn't want to. I am currently going to counseling but I am having a hard time getting things through to him clearly. He thinks I am overreacting but I just don't see why he would feel the need to share fod with her etc... he doesn't do it with my other sister or even my mom. I asked here to get others opinions because I am aware I have insecurities and communication problems so figured I would see what others think.

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answers from Springfield on

My husband and I have been married for 10 years, and since the first day he introduced me to his family he views time with his family as time to hang out with his family. (Drives me crazy.) His focus is on his family. Even if I'm standing right next to him, he has this amazing power to tune me out ... even more so than normal selective hearing. It's bizarre and amazing at the same time!

We've had a few discussions (arguments) about this, as I do not appreciate being tuned out, at all, ever! But I am working on not getting too upset about it.

Honestly, I think he doesn't mean anything by it. He just thinks about how he sees me every day and only sees his family on occasion. So they are the ones he's interested in spending time with.

Since this is something that is upsetting you, you have to talk to him about it and really spell it out. Be very specific about what is bothering you. If you haven't done that before, he's probably going to be completely caught off guard. Try not to be offended if he doesn't get it. It's important for you to talk about it, but you also need to listen. If he says, "That's crazy! I was just being polite," you have to try and accept that. None of the things you mentioned would in any way cause my mind to jump to cheating (at all). If they bother you, it's ok to ask him to be more sensitive. But it's a huge leap to "He's cheating on me."

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Sometimes guys just feel more at ease with people that are "off limits" because they're family or something like that. Perhaps he sees her as a younger sister or something.

If you think he's cheating then have it out with him and don't take him to any more family things.

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answers from Washington DC on

you don't mention your husband having affairs, which would be the only reason i could see for being this suspicious over deviled eggs and potato chips.
i'm not sure what you mean in the cigarette scenario. you were supposed to 'go with' whom to do what?
i'm sorry you've got a bad past with bad men and have a bad sister. naturally that ups your ante when it comes to being suspicious. but it's on you to figure it out, not on everyone else to handle you with kid gloves.
you lose me when you didn't have a conversation with your poor husband but 'made it clear' that you were upset. so in addition to not being able to be friendly with his own SIL he has to read your mind too. lucky guy.
yes, you're over-thinking. i think it's actually natural that you do, but not okay for you to be this persnickety about others' actions. your final sentence about tasting beer and food off each other's plates would be enough for me to banish all of you from my life. i have zero patience with people this controlling and squinty-eyed.
i strongly suggest counseling. you probably need marital counseling too, mostly so your poor husband can try and figure out how to tiptoe through the minefield of your issues. but you need to a) work through your stuff yourself and b) not expect your husband to somehow intuit what you need.
tell him.
(and avoid your skanky sister.)

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It sounds to me like you and your husband need to work on your communication skills with each other. If you can't talk to him (NOT arguing, fighting...) talking in a calm non confrontational manner then you are setting yourself up.

You are coming up with all kinds of scenarios in your head (deviled eggs and chips) that will end up sabotaging your relationship if you can't learn to communicate with your husband.

I understand you are jealous and insecure because of your past. Don't make your husband pay for that. Get some help to overcome your issues and make YOU better.

Only you know your sister for what she is and if she is known as being what you say she is, then limit contact with her. Who needs to hang out with someone who acts so trashy? Hang out with people who compliment your personality and that you get along with.

Best wishes.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

If you don't talk with your husband to let him know that something bothers you, how is he supposed to know you want him to stop? He's not a mind reader. My suggestion - learn to talk with your husband. Not fight - talk.

ETA: Letting him know you are upset with him and then refusing to tell him why IS playing games with him, and very unfair. Since you are doing this and you don't even recognize it, then I agree with others that you should try marriage counselling.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I really think that you're playing games with your husband that you shouldn't be playing. You get mad and upset and won't tell him why. You tell him things that don't make sense to him.

Instead, tell him that your sister has been a slut in the past, flirts with men and with him in particular. Tell him that it bothers you that she is so disrespectful of you and that he falls for it. Then give him the examples.

If you are laying this at HER feet instead of at his feet, he shouldn't get torqued up over it. If you make it sound like you're accusing him of an affair, he will be angry and defensive, whether he's guilty or not.

You know, it's not like he's going to admit to having an affair with her, even if he is.

But let's hope he's not.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There will always be flirty women.
That is not the problem.
The problem is the communication between you and your husband.
Strong couples put their relationship first.
If there is something threatening the relationship they solve it together.
When your husband asked what was wrong, you should've told him BUT
not when you were upset about it.
Your husband wasn't wrong for talking to your sister, what was wrong is that you felt excluded. He should make you feel more included, but YOU need to speak up so that you are.You both need to learn to stand together in situations when one feels left out or insecure.
I think it's ok to set some time aside for you and your husband when you are both quiet, calm, and relaxed and just say, " There are a couple incidents that have been bothering me and I would like to talk to you about it. I don't want you to think I'm accusing you of anything, I want to hear your thoughts about the incidents, and I want the goal to bring us closer together".

Then tell him just saying "sometimes I feel like when Lana is around you forget I am also there. I don't think you mean to or intend to but I was surprised that you grabbed her chips instead of mine. I felt it again when.. And it makes me feel like you have forgotten about me in her presence ..."

I would then explain given the past history of cheating you are concerned this would cause cracks in the foundation of your marriage and since you don't want this to happen you felt it was important to communicate about your feelings so you both can be on the same page.

There will always be challenges in a relationship. You both need to commit to overcoming them with communication. It will make you a stronger couple.

Please don't play games with your brother in law. This is an issue for you to work on with your own insecurities, and for you and your husband to work on. Don't bring anyone else into your marriage.

ETA: Just to clarify, brining up the past history of cheating is not to accuse or punish anyone, but to point out that instead of ignoring or questioning what you are feeling you are trying to learn how to communicate with each other about difficult topics.

Margie brings a good point about the past. So if you don't feel you could bring this up nonaccusatory or that there would be no benefit, then don't bring it up yet.

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answers from Portland on

I have seen sceneries similar to those you describe. Happens all the time. I suggest you are overthinking this because you don't trust him or your sister. I suggest finding a way to build trust. I urge that the two of you go to marriage counseling to learn ways to communicate as well as to learn how to work thru this issue.

I suggest you have to be honest with your husband. No more getting noticabley upset and then not telling your husband why. Even if he doesn't understand, he can accept thst this is a problem for you. The two of you can work together to build trust. When you express your anger towards him, he is going to defend himself. Talk after you've calmed down. Talk using I statements. "When you do this I feel this. Ask for his help. Do not blame him. Do not expect him to stop being friendly with your sister.

I suggest you use humor in the situations you describe. For example, first be aware that the way you're feeling are your feelings. Doesn't mean that your assumption is correct. Instead of expressing anger, make yourself in a light hearted way, a part of the situation. For example say, hey, I'd like one of those eggs. With the chip, say "Here's one of mine." Clue your husband into your effort to try a different way of acting. Stop reacting. Start acting.

Communication is neccesary for good relationships. Not being open with your husband is another sign you don't trust him. How can the two of you fix this when he doesn't know why you're upset.

I suggest you consider that all of us act differently in social situations than when we act at home. It's possible that he gives her the deviled egg and eats a chip off her plate because he's just being friendly. It could be your sister is flirtatious. When I go out with a significant other, both of us focus on being involved with other people. I also recognize flirting. I enjoy having conversations with other men. That doesn't mean I love my partner any less or that I will become sexually involved with them.

I have seen marriages end when one partner is insecure and continues to worry about their partner's other relationships. This causes tension. When one partner is kept in the dark that partner may stray or may just give up on the relationship. Or when the couple does discuss their feelings and the paranoid partner continues to not trust.

Yes, your past does affect you and the way you relate with your husband. Heal the past, learn to separate the past relationships from the current one with your husband. Healing is a process, takes time, and often only happens with professional help.

If this sister is the one who stole your male friend away, I would not trust her and would not socialize with her.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Oh, boy. I suggest you get going with therapy. One on one with counselor in addition to marriage counseling for you and your husband to work through insecurities due to past relationships.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Reading your SWH: I hope the advice you follow is to go talk to a counselor. You come across as extremely insecure about your relationship and as a person who needs better communication skills. Instead of focusing on the actions of others, try to see this as an opportunity to improve your own situation.

Adhering to the idea that one or the other of them is too-friendly or possibly wanting to cheat is dangerous to your relationship. You are also doing that "keeping track" thing which is damaging to relationships. Having a running tally of moments your husband did something you interpreted as "off" suggests, as Marda says, that you do not trust him. Unless he has done something to lose your trust, he doesn't deserve to be treated this way. Go talk to a counselor and find out what's realistic to expect in a relationship, and heal the hurt that was done to you years before, because you are now putting that on your husband and he doesn't deserve it either. You are expecting him to live in your hip pocket. He has to be with you to smoke. He has to turn down offers of a drink. He has to offer you things first. It sounds very 'high school' and silly. Get past it.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't know if you are overreacting with worry over something totally innocent or not. You descried these individual acts/scenes without much backdrop, other than that your sister is someone who has failed to recognize marital boundaries in the past, and that you've been a victim of cheating in the past. No word on your husband's history. No description of the way they have interacted over the previous 9 years of your marriage.

If, during the length of your marriage, these sorts of personal interaction are the norm when you all get together, then it seems unlikely to me to be of any concern (other than general rudeness... walking off without saying "I'm going in" or taking food--uninvited--from someone's plate), unless you have some reason to suspect an ongoing relationship between them for the last 9 years!
What has changed that makes you think there might be something going on? Are these little "intimate" acts all recent and a drastic change in how they have interacted with each other in the past?

I realize different strokes for different folks, but you know what is normal for you and your spouse. We don't. For me and mine, we don't take food from each other's plates (without asking or having it offered) just out of politeness, let alone from someone *else's* plate. And we've been married 19 years. We don't even take a french fry from our kids' plate without asking. It's just not good manners. Is it typical for your husband to display poor manners like that? If it is, and it obviously bothers you, then address that. But do so in the proper context. That it is rude and it embarrasses you (if it does). If it is *new* and specific only to her, then it would probably make me a bit anxious as well. But, again, I don't know you, your husband, or what is typical for his interactions with extended family or friends.

I would probably engage in some counseling if I had been cheated on. Regardless of whatever is going on now. Have you ever done that, since you were cheated on (I'm assuming by someone else than your current husband)?

Honestly, I think the information missing here is how often/recent are these little incidents you describe. Is this over a period of 5 years that these 2 or 3 incidents you recounted happened? Or is this *new* intimacy that suddenly has started in the last 3 months (and you get together with your sister often and have all along)?

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answers from Portland on


Well, it's normal to have some issues if you've been cheated on and hurt in the past. I've been there.

If you learn from it, you become wiser. And you learn to trust your gut. Doesn't mean you're irrational. However, if you serious trust issues in general, then get some help yourself - if you feel they are sabotaging your marriage. Counselling.

But I would be concerned if this happened to me. Those are little signs of intimacy - I agree.

I've been with my husband for 20 years and we vacation with my sisters. We're all very close couple friends. We don't do stuff like this. We can tease and joke but there's no signs of intimacy. None. There are boundaries.

The bottom line is, you're not comfortable with this. Tell your husband. Be clear. Don't mince words. Don't bring up the past. It doesn't matter what your past is or your sister's. You just say "I'm not comfortable with how familiar you and my sister appear to be."

Leave it at that. If her loves you and respects you, he won't engage in behaviors that worry you. If he continues or it gets to be more familiar between the two of them, then that's a bad sign.

I would limit contact between your sister and you as a couple for a while.

My husband, even if I'm being completely irrational at times, listens and never tells me it's all in my head. He takes my feelings seriously. I think if your husband just acts like you're being jealous and doesn't care - then time for counselling.

Good luck and keep us posted :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Has your husband ever cheated on you? Sometimes it is difficult between siblings, my brother-in-law lives with us and us three siblings are all girls so sometimes I feel really conscious about what I'm wearing and a little weird. In the end your sister should know better than to cause drama within your own family. Hopefully his actions aren't anything but just him trying to be a good family member and stay in the niche. Think about it, it is always tough to be liked by other siblings and parents of your significant other. Hang in there, sorry if it doesn't really seem like I have a solid answer. Jealous won't help solve anything...

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answers from Kansas City on

Okay well I kinda think these behaviors you noted are odd. I understand that having been cheated on you may be more inclined to read into things...however, it still seems weird in an overly friendly and inappropriate way. That doesn't mean he's cheating. I agree with others who have said getting some counseling is a good first step. You need to figure out if it's you being paranoid or not.

Even if he isn't cheating, he needs to understand that these behaviors are not appropriate and that they are making you feel uncomfortable. You need to talk about it with your sister too, but your husband's actions and reactions are much more important in this scenario. If he is not cheating then it really shouldn't be an issue for him to respect your wishes and end the flirty behavior. If he does, then your sister will have no choice but to curb hers too because it will no longer be reciprocated.

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answers from San Francisco on

It sounds very slightly flirty, but I think you should believe what your husband told you. And despite your sister's slutty past, your husband is responsible for his own actions.

I think the main issue is that you need him to be more attentive to you, not that he can't eat a chip off of someone else's plate. Ask him for what you want.

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answers from New York on

Why don't you talk to him about it. Hey, when you do so and so, I don't like it because..... Then state your true feelings behind it and how you feel. Then see how he responds. Maybe he just likes your sister in a SIL kind of way. No harm in that. But he won't know what you don't tell him. Good luck!

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answers from Boston on

"Also, I think people can be very insensitive to stuff that hasn't happened to them."

This is a quote from Diane. She hit the nail on the head.

I say this in for reply to folk calling you insecure. Do they have things that bother them? Of course they do. So are they insecure or are their concerns legitimate?


answers from Phoenix on

If you really want to know if something is going on between them, look in his phone, email and Facebook messages. However, you then must be ready for what you might find. Good luck.



answers from Fayetteville on

I think it sounds weird! You need to talk to hubby and sister, separately! They can't fix the problem, if they're not aware. Do you think your hubby would cheat?



answers from Washington DC on

One thing I would address is if you think he wouldn't like you doing the same toward your BIL then why is it "ok" for him to respond to your sister that way? Is he a jealous man? I would overall focus on you and him, though, because at the end of the day people will cheat if they want to cheat and you either trust each other or you don't. Nevermind your sister, the guy in the office, etc. Cheating, like deciding to be faithful, is a personal decision.


answers from Norfolk on

What's good for the goose is what's good for the gander.
Merely act PRECISELY as your husband does with your sister with your BIL.
If Hubby gets mad, then tell him
"Sure I'll stop, Honey. Soon as you quit acting the same way with my sister. As long as you are modeling the behavior, I'll take your lead and do the same!".

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