I (26m) fell in love with my sister's partner. This began around a year ago when my sister had to travel for work for an extended period of time and her partner got into a pretty bad car accident just a week after she left.
Without going into too much detail about his injuries, he needed someone staying with him and helping him get around for a while. I do freelance work from home to support myself, so they asked me if I could go and stay in their home for a while as her partner's temporary caregiver while he recovered. I immediately agreed, wanting to help in any way I could.
Her partner and I were already good friends prior to this situation, but living with someone and being there in some of their most intimate moments obviously strengthens a bond even further. We bonded over our many shared interests and got to talk about deeper things that were typically off limits in a group setting.
By the time I realized my changing feelings, it was too late to distance myself from the situation. I had committed to helping him for the duration of his recovery and a sudden change in my behavior would just tip him off that something was wrong and add unnecessary stress to an already hard time.
He had expressed feeling like a burden more than once. So, I pulled away the little bit I could and we rode out those last few weeks together before he was back on his feet again.
To make a long story short, the period that followed was full of guilt from me and confusion from my sister's partner by my quick disappearance following our time together. He eventually texted me and asked if he had done something wrong during our time together and pissed me off somehow, so we met up and I came clean.
The conversation was a brutal one and it eventually ended in both of us agreeing we would limit our time together from now on as there was no hope for an actual future for us - it would simply be too weird given the history.
Fast forward to now. The two of them got engaged somewhat recently and this past Saturday, my sister asked me to be in her wedding as part of her bridal party. I asked her to let me think about it (which already caused some tension) and finally told her yesterday that I was incredibly grateful for her offer but I had to turn it down.
I'm fine attending as a guest, but being in the party just feels too much. She is now furious with me and is demanding I give her an explanation at the very least, something I have refused. AITA?
ETA: Addressing comments/questions — he did reciprocate my feelings. They didn’t have a traditional proposal and my sister is the one who initiated the conversations.
In response to inquiries about the status of their relationship now: he told me that he respects my sister and doesn’t want to end the relationship abruptly with no real reason he can disclose. He has had relationships with men in the past and she knows this. He and I text occasionally but not often at all.
Here's what people had to say:
See here’s the thing, OP. You weren’t an AH for developing initial feelings. It’s not something you can generally control. However, you are a giant, flaming AH for admitting those feelings to her SO. The moment you developed feelings, you should have simply distanced yourself as much as possible and never said a word.
It almost feels like you wanted your sister’s SO to admit reciprocated feelings. Secrets never stay secret. You’ve essentially loaded the gun and cocked the trigger and now it’s just a waiting game before your actions blow up her life.
There were a million different excuses you could have given fiancée as to why you’d been distant. “Nope, nothing wrong - you don’t need help anymore and I’ve been busy…” “Honestly, I’ve been caught up in work and dating, but it’s nothing personal…” or my personal favorite, the short and sweet: “Nope, you haven’t done anything. We’re all good!”
You unloading your feelings was incredibly selfish and honestly… all about you. You felt the need to relieve yourself of these FEELINGS. Newsflash: you really didn’t.
Everything that came as a result of your selfish reveal, including your sister’s fiancée admitting his own feelings, this secret burning a hole in your relationship with your sister, you feeling like you can’t be a part of her wedding… it’s all on you and a direct effect of you being an AH and saying something you really shouldn’t have.
helpme__2 OP responded:
Hindsight is 20/20 for sure. All the relief I thought that conversation would bring me and the brief solace it did provide were short lived after the fact.
OP is justifying horrible behavior. You don't mess with your families love interests. I can't believe I have to say this. As an adult you have 100% faculties over your actions and 'love' is not something that happens without a commitment. Real life is not a movie. Inexcusable. Period. This space is for growth now. He needs to hear it.
Really? You wanted reddit to validate you for what exactly ? Your nobility in not participating in the wedding or your martyrdom for sort of not saying anything about your affair with her partner. You do not receive validation or sympathy.
You have betrayed your sister and the fact that you are male does not make this better. You know you crossed the line. Do you even love your sister or is everything about you ? YTA 100%