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Prioritizing Someone Who Doesn’t Prioritize Me

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Posted (edited)

I got married six months ago and had my half sister serve as my maid of honor. She’s 25, I’m 29 and we share the same dad. We haven’t been close in a while and I’d hoped my wedding would be a bonding experience. It got me more face time but it wasn’t the fun, sisters planning a wedding I’d hoped. She started dating her boyfriend in July and I encouraged her to bring him to our October wedding but she didn’t. She did bring him to our cousins wedding a few weeks before. Now she’s engaged to this guy. She announced on Facebook yesterday. I haven’t heard much from her since my wedding and I’ve seen her 3 times in person. I’ll reach out but I usually get silence or a quick “omg” or “aww”. I know we’re not close but she was my maid of honor 6 months ago and can’t even text me a ring picture? My friends who met her keep texting me asking me how excited I am and they can’t wait to see pictures and I don’t know how to tell them I don’t know any information about anything. It’s embarrassing and awkward to realize how little I mean to her. My feelings are hurt but I haven’t texted her. I don’t even know if I should since she hasn’t reached out to me. I feel like it’s obvious I’m not a priority in her life and I should keep it to minimum contact so I don’t build up expectations and get hurt. I reached out to one friend for advice or validation but I’m to embarrassed to reach out to anyone else. 

Edited by Ellnorshellstrop
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I'm sorry for how you feel.  I've felt the same way from some people in my life whether relatives or friends.  Granted, I'm close to some friends and relatives but not all of them or as I would've preferred.

I've since learned that you can't force people to show the same enthusiasm towards you as you have for them.  Any time you have to work so hard at a relationship (or friendship), it's not working.  It either exists or it doesn't.  People have to click, be in lockstep and follow each others rhythms and mutual efforts in order to maintain an enduring momentum with interpersonal dynamics.

If you expect too much out of people, you will feel forever disappointed and hurt because you will take it personally as disinterest in you, there's something wrong with you or they don't like you very much.   I've learned not to care what others think of me.  I simply go about my own way in life. 

(However, I've found that when I'm very busy succeeding and quietly prospering, sooner or later I garner attention because I'm very comfortable and financially secure.  Then people take notice and start wanting to hang out with me.  Funny how that works.  The secret is to get busy with your own life and you will have that draw from so many people without even trying.  It's automatic.  People love success.) 

I've actually lost interest in people not due to anything personal.  I know it's not an excuse but often times I've gotten plain lazy.  It requires effort and time (meaning work) to cultivate, nurture and maintain relationships.  I get so busy with my own life, full time employment, running my household, taking care of my family, making sure I take care of my health and after all is said and done, I'm very tired!  After that, I want my own downtime to do as I please such as my hobbies, relaxing, watching a movie, trying to catch up on my library books and sleep!  I don't want anymore schedules nor commitments.  My brain is fried and I'm too physically exhausted to care.  I try to make time for others outside my house but it isn't easy and I admit that I really don't care if months pass by due to my busyness and fatigue.  I don't hate anyone.  I simply lose interest in some people very quickly and I don't have much time to spare.  I think a lot of people are similar to me.  I admire those who carve out time for friends though.  I've only been able to reserve a little bit of time for a few friends and relatives at best.  After that, the answer is no.

As for your sister and other people in your life, do what I do.  Follow her and their cue.  If she comes around, then be receptive, kind and take it from there.  However, don't be the first to jump up and initiate if you know she will treat you with indifference and ignore you.  If she continues to give you radio silence or crickets, then let her be.  I always give people what they want.  If they want space, I give them tons of space and time.  If they come around, we pick up right where we left off and meet for a meal or a long walk.  Something to that effect. 

Some people are inconsistent and you have to roll with it. 

I agree with you.  Expect nothing and you won't get hurt.  You will feel numb if you lower your expectations to nil. 

Not everyone has a "Norman Rockwell" fantasy.  It is what it is.  I'm not particularly close to my local relatives and in-laws.  However, we're peaceful and no one is fighting.  It's good enough for me and I like it. 

Try not to get emotionally close to those who will not reciprocate same feelings otherwise you're only setting yourself up for more pain and disappointment.  Be kinder to yourself.  Treat people the same way they treat you.  If they're cool towards you, then return the favor and be cool towards them.  If they're nice to you, then be nice back.  If you sense they don't wish to be bothered, then don't bother.  Then this dynamic is fair and you won't get hurt anymore.  This is what I do and it really works.  


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I'm so sorry you're disappointed! I can imagine you want reassurance.  So I think you had unrealistic expectations.  I've been maid of honor and bridesmaid, all of that. It's a lot of work.  It can have some elements of fun.  I don't see it on its own as a bonding experience at all.  Certainly I feel happy for my friends when they get engaged and married, and yes it was an honor the first time I was asked to be maid of honor by a friend (I was my sister's maid of honor, she was mine).  but it didn't bring us closer together - I did it because I wanted to contribute and help.  For me anyway I rarely liked the dress, I thought bridal showers were boring and party planning is boring too.  I'll tell you what was the best- on my wedding day my sister and I hung out in the kitchen of my inlaw's home (where I got married) for a couple of minutes before the ceremony -we joked a lot, laughed a lot, -like we usually do.  I loved spending that time alone with her right before the ceremony.  Had zero to do with her being my maid of honor.  I had a small wedding reception -ten people - it never occurred to me to ask her to help plan it or the lunch after -I just wanted her there and to be one of the people who stood up for me.  

I think you had this idealized vision of sisters planning a wedding.  And she didn't live up to it.  And you expected it to trigger a bond but like I said it's an experience where the maid of honor commits to spending a lot of time and often $ helping to plan the wedding and shower -if she did so, without complaining that's great!  You didn't prioritize her by asking her to be your maid of honor -certainly it's a privileged position at the ceremony but she's simply offering to help you with wedding planning -that's how you saw her role - I didn't in my case with my sister -I simply wanted her to stand next to me during the ceremony.  

 I'm sorry you didn't find out personally that she got engaged.  I know that hurt and I'm sorry.  It's ok that she's not your BFF -not everyone can be!  Congratulations on your marriage and I hope you feel better soon.

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I think you should stop texting her and phone her!  Congratulate her on getting engaged.  Texting is so anonymous.  If you want contact you need to try a bit harder.  Maybe it won't work but it's worth a try.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Ellnorshellstrop said:

I got married six months ago Now she’s engaged to this guy. 

Your husband, friends, work, building a life and other family are your priorities.

Her priorities are her fiance, her friends, family, work, life,etc.

Hop out of the litter box and don't create drama where there isn't any.

Get your boundaries, priorities and ego in order.


Edited by Wiseman2
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If you've never been close, it's not really beneficial for your own head to assign your wedding as 'the event' that would have brought you closer together.

Building bonds is one of the many fantasies that brides tend to heap onto their wedding day, which can really detract from the simplicity of the celebration.

It might be helpful to think of building bonds as an INCREMENTAL process.

You'll have more success during some periods of life than others, but the best thing to do is think of reaching out to her in small ways over the course of time as YOUR generosity toward HER, and then let it go.

When we put expectations on our gestures in terms of how another 'should' respond, that becomes an attempt to push a contract rather than a simple message of thoughtfulness.

Send her a nice card, give her a short congratulatory phone call, send occasional 'thinking of you and it made me smile' kinds of texts that don't require a response. Do this sparingly over time, and if sister ever wishes to bond a bit closer with you, she'll always know that your door is open.

Head high, and trust that different cycles of life can mean different attitudes along the way.

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