Dear Lisi: My sister has decided that she’s done with family celebrations of any kind. She announced that she doesn’t want to see or hear from anyone on her birthday, which is the first special day on our family calendar of the school year.
My parents think it’s weird but don’t care that much as they happen to be away that day this year. I only care because she’s my sister and we always go out for a fun lunch and do something, like get mani/pedis, or a foot massage.
She also told us that she’s not going to participate in any Thanksgiving activities. But her daughter is away from home for the first time. She did her undergrad in the city due to COVID. Last year she was asked if she wants to do a semester abroad and she received a full scholarship to go, so my sister said she could. But she’s a shy, quiet, homebody type of girl and I know that she would love nothing more than to speak to her mom on her birthday and come home for Thanksgiving to be with family.
I’m not sure why my sister has decided to slam the door on festivities, fun and family, but it’s going to damage her relationship with her daughter. How do I talk her out of this abstinence?
You don’t need to talk to your sister; you need to listen. Something’s going on with her and she’s avoiding it by avoiding all of you. But you can’t hide from life. And you clearly have a close family who enjoy doing life together.
Invite your sister out for lunch, no reason necessary, but get her talking. Find out what lies beneath her new standoffish behaviour. Talk about her daughter, how she’s doing in her program, and how much you genuinely miss her and look forward to seeing her soon.
If your sister-love relationship is as strong as it sounds, your sister will come clean. Maybe not after one lunch, but perhaps the foot massage will help loosen her up.
Dear Lisi: My boyfriend never wants to have sex, and when I say never, I mean, never. We started dating a year ago and we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. Wherever we went, we were always holding hands, and constantly kissing. And we barely made it through the front door on most nights we spent together.
We both had pre-arranged summer plans, so were apart for about a month. We met in a vacation spot as our reunion and it was exactly how I had imagined — we barely left the room. I honestly thought this relationship was getting better and better.
But the minute we got back home and into our routines, he wants nothing to do with me sexually. We go out for dinner, to events, or out with friends, and we still hold hands, but he never kisses me anymore. He doesn’t pull away from my kisses, but I can feel the chill from his skin. And our goodnights are a peck on the cheek. We haven’t even had one sleepover.
What’s going on?
I’m as clueless as you, so…. you have to ask your boyfriend what’s with the major shift in romantic behaviour. I can think of several excuses, like maybe he has genital warts, or a case of crabs, but these are things he should be sharing with you.
If it’s not medical or health related, then perhaps it’s situational, as in, maybe something has happened that has upset him deeply. Again, this is something he should be sharing with you, not hiding from you.
You two need to talk.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who forgot how to brush her teeth (Aug. 8):
Reader — “This is in no way due to normal aging. Please let your readers know that major, sudden changes must not be ignored or attributed to the myth of a ‘seniors’ moment.’ There are treatments that can help once she is properly diagnosed. Her husband will be able to learn how to be both supportive and therapeutic.”
Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.