My wife's older sister has no kids, has never been married and never lived with anyone. From overhearing conversations between the two sisters I know that my wife often gets relationship advice from her sister. I also get relationship advice from friends and family but stay clear of those who have no relationship or are scarred from one. I would like my wife to do the same, but know that she has a natural politeness toward her older sister. How do I convey this message to my wife without coming across as 'a controlling husband' ?

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    Why do you feel getting advice from people "who have no relationship or are scarred from one", is necessarily a "bad" thing? Feb 11 '18 at 14:41
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    Just because the sister offers advice doesn't mean your wife will take it. She's an adult and she knows as well as you do that her sister doesn't have experience in this area. What makes you think that she needs you to protect her from hearing poor advice? Feb 11 '18 at 15:51
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    Controlling? More like, how to not sound like an ass when you ask your wife why she takes relationship advice from someone who's never been in a healthy relationship. Hey, it's your funeral; go nuts.
    – Mazura
    Feb 11 '18 at 20:56
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    You say, “I stay clear of [relationship advice from] those who have no relationship or are scarred from one.” Yet you also say, “From own experience, I find that single people with relationship-scars will mostly advice you to go it alone.” I find it odd that you have “experience” with a group you “stay clear of.” It seems more likely you are perpetuating a stereotype in your own mind. As for your comment, “Please reread post,” the more I read your question, the less I like it. You want your wife to get advice the same way you choose to get advice, even if that means ignoring her own family.
    – user12334
    Feb 11 '18 at 21:17
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    Will you only be considering answers from those who disclose their own relationship status here?
    – Spagirl
    Feb 12 '18 at 10:11

Unfortunately one of the textbook behaviors of a controlling partner is isolating your partner from the advice of their friends and family. Psychology Today lists isolation from friends and family as one of the top warning signs of a controlling relationship. Your wife is talking to her older sister for advice. This is a relationship she has had for her entire life, far longer than her relationship with you. Telling her to not talk to her sister about her relationships is a red flag for an abusive relationship.

If you don't want to be an controlling husband, don't control who your wife seeks advice from.

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    – John
    Feb 11 '18 at 20:37

From overhearing conversations between the two sisters...

You seem worried that the advice she gives would be bad, and that your wife would follow the bad advice. I agree with sphennings that convincing your wife to ignore her sister's advice is controlling:

  • It assumes the advice would be bad (maybe it isn't, but you're not sure).
  • More important, it denies your wife the agency to choose for herself.

A good compromise would be to ask your wife about what her sister said. This is simply curiosity. You can also ask what your wife thinks about the advice. Generally it seems like a good idea to be interested in what your wife thinks ;)

Note about Stephen's comments: the idea is not to pry or sound controlling, rather to calm your anxiety by removing doubts about the contents of their conversation. So maybe ask "how's your sister, is she worried about us?" or something like that. Better communicate your worry and maybe look like an idiot than sit on a grudge.

Perhaps these conversations aren't really the sister trying to influence your wife, but rather the sister feeling lonely and simply wanting to talk about relationships. In this case, there is no problem at all...

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    Talking is always good advice, but it's perfectly possible to ask the questions you suggest and start that discussion while being as controlling and patronizing as the other answer assumes @user12684 is. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, this is the better answer. But in a heathy relationship, I don't think there is much point to the question anyway, in such a relationship I think it should just be possible to ask exactly like in OP, maybe get an angry reaction for phrasing it poorly, explain better, and continue.
    – Nobody
    Feb 11 '18 at 19:27
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    Trying to find out what your wife said to and was told by her sister is terrible advice. It's controlling behavior, and it would make the OP's wife think the OP doesn't trust her judgment (which, from the OP's posts, seems to be the case.) A relationship where you don't trust your partner is not a healthy relationship.
    – StephenG
    Feb 11 '18 at 21:09
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    @peufeu I'd be pretty surprised - I have no brother. :-) And I'd normally just deal with that (wife or gf or whatever) with a "just guy stuff" remark and, if appropriate, a quick hug or smile or whatever felt right to reassure my partner that things were cool. And anyone who knew me at all, especially any wife or gf that has ever been around for long, knows I'm a person who keeps private conversations that way. I would not ask a partner unless they looked bothered by a conversation and might need support. My view is that everyone needs to vent outside of a relationship.
    – StephenG
    Feb 11 '18 at 21:42
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    @RandolphCarter we don't know she asked. Anyway, how would you recommend OP communicate his worries to his wife then? I think communicating is better than sitting on a grudge or anxiety and let it fester.
    – user2135
    Feb 12 '18 at 0:50
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    @peufeu Unfortunately "How do I communicate my insecurities to my wife?" isn't the question that was asked. If it was the answer would be obvious "Use your big boy words and tell her." What was asked was "How do I tell my wife to not listen to her sister's advice without coming off as a controlling husband?"
    – sphennings
    Feb 12 '18 at 4:50

Your wife talking to her sister is not the problem here. Poor relationship behavior is.

You shouldn't - in any way, shape, or form - try to get between your wife and her sister. At least not without clear evidence of some sort of malicious intent on the sister's part.

Instead, you should be addressing anything which may be bothering you in the relationship the same way you've presumably always done so: by speaking to your wife about it.

Let's suppose for a second that your wife gets some poor advice from her sister, and she starts behaving in a way in which she never has before, and which bugs you. Sit down with her, and very calmly discuss the situation. Don't express any suspicions and that this behavior may have been influenced by her sister. Don't point fingers. Simply seek to express your dissatisfaction, and try to reach a solution:

Hey honey, for the past couple of weeks I've noticed [behavior here]. It's a new development, and it makes me uncomfortable because [reason here]. Could we talk about it?

Over time, if her sister's advice is consistently leading her to these talks, your wife will realize that she's getting poor advice.

  • Excellent answer. That really helps me! Thanks for the contribution.
    – user12684
    Feb 13 '18 at 20:10
  • @user12684 - glad to have been of service.
    – AndreiROM
    Feb 13 '18 at 20:12

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