Q: Hi Meredith,
My girlfriend and I have been dating for about a year now. We live together and really have a great time together, but there is one small problem: her sister. We are in our 30s and her sister will turn 30 this year. We all live together, and we all do get along really great.
When we first got together, her sister was in a relationship so we had our space. However, over the summer she broke up with her boyfriend and ever since has been involved in every part of our relationship. We rarely have time to ourselves, and when we do, her sister is either calling or texting!
When the three of us go out, I am often left to feel like the third wheel because the two of them have their own conversations and I'm left just sitting there. At home there are some times when it's like I'm not even in the room the way they carry on.
I really don't know what to do. I love my girlfriend and I really see myself spending the rest of my life with her, and her sister is a really nice person. When I bring up going out alone to my girlfriend, she starts to feel bad about leaving her sister alone. We have tried to get the sister back into the dating world, but she just doesn't seem interested in going out unless we all go together.
What advice do you have to share? I know that once her sister finds someone again things will go back to how they use to be, but I am really at the end of my rope in sharing my time with my girlfriend.
– Three's Company, Massachusetts
A: Sounds like it would be best for everybody if you didn't live together as a threesome. You and your girlfriend need to figure out whether you can cohabitate without a third-party distraction, and your girlfriend's sister needs to set up her own life. Really, she has to know that this living situation is temporary.
Your girlfriend probably won't love the idea of asking her sister to find her own place, so be gentle with the suggestion. Ask your girlfriend how long she expects the current living situation to continue. Ask her whether she really thinks that this setup is best for her sister.
No one has to move out immediately, but if there's a plan in place to find separate homes, everyone will start preparing themselves for what's next. You can't just wait around until the sister finds a new boyfriend. That's not the solution you're looking for.
Readers? Should they be living together? How can he talk to his girlfriend about this? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.