Dear Maria,

How do you repair a relationship with a sibling whom you no longer trust? I love her, but I don’t trust her. Can you truly love someone you don’t trust?

Missing My Sister

Dear Missing My Sister,

Sure, you can love someone you don’t trust. That’s the heartbreak of it, because no matter how much you care about the person, their behavior means the relationship will never be what you want it to be. Estrangement from siblings is especially painful. We’d like the people we share blood and DNA with to also be our closest confidants and companions. If you don’t trust your sibling, you’ll always be on guard, and that’s a shaky basis to build a quality relationship upon. Do some soul-searching to determine what level of relationship is acceptable to you, and go for that. If/when you spend time with this sibling, focus on topics and experiences you have in common, and avoid anything that would cause you to feel vulnerable. So much depends on the depth of hurt your sibling has caused, and if it’s a pattern that they don’t seem to be able to change. You may have some grieving to do, over the loss of the relationship you’d like to have with this sibling. Maybe by releasing that hoped-for relationship, you can find your way to an acceptable one. Hopefully, through the process, you both can find a way to be in each other’s lives in a meaningful way.