Sister In Law problem - FamilyEducation
Sister In Law problem
01/14/2009 at 03:12 AM


My sister In law left her inlaws house 3 years back and was staying along with my husband and FIL before my marraige. She would not talk to me whenever i visited his place. He mentioned to me tat his sister told him to rethink abt the decision of marraige as ours was arranged. Once we got married she started behaving oddly and used to take my husband over the weekends along with her. Since both were working we never found time to go out together. and also my husband behaved oddly when we used to be at home he never used to talk but then wen we were alone he used to talk freely. We then shifted to our new flat and my SIL and FIL also moved along with us.


I thought things wld change but it worsened. We had to eat wat she prepared and had no choice. My FIL closed his eyes to all this. She made me feel as a guest in my own house and there was time when i thought i did'nt know the people i was living with.


Now things have settled in a way. I and my husband moved out and then now she is back with her husband. After all this i am really hurt and do not want to have any relationship with her so both me and my husband have decided not to call her . but my FIL is against it and he says do watever u want . I do not know wat to do

You and your husband need to give yourselves time to build your own relationship together now that your SIL is not living with you (not sure if your FIL still is?)

I would see and talk to SIL as little as I needed to. She is still a part of your husband's family, so that will not change, but I would keep her at "arms length", so to speak, setting boundaries.

A good article I found explains it well:

"Growing a Strong Marriage: Tips for Dealing with In-Laws" by by Jenna D. Barry

"Last spring I was trying to decide what to do about some green grass that had crept into my flower garden. To pull out the grass or not to pull out the grass…that was the question. I thought to myself, grass isn’t really a weed, but I don’t want it to grow where it is growing. Just then my husband walked up and made the profound statement “A weed is anything that grows where you don’t want it to grow.” I decided that he was a genius and pulled the grass out from around the flowers. Then to prevent the same problem from occurring again, I put in some decorative rocks to serve as a boundary between the flowers and the grass.

When it comes to relationships, a ‘weed’ is anything that gets in the way of maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. That day in my yard I realized that my marriage is like that flower garden and my in-laws are like the grass that had crept into it. Ever since I put in that boundary of rocks to keep the grass out of my flowers, it has been easier to maintain my flower garden. Likewise, ever since I established boundaries (AKA limits) with my in-laws, it has been easier to maintain a strong, healthy marriage.

You may have the most wonderful in-laws on earth but if you have not set any boundaries with them, then they may cross into territory where they don’t belong. Eventually this will take a toll on your marriage, as you may have already figured out. To have a strong marriage and a healthy relationship with your in-laws, you must set and maintain boundaries.

Setting boundaries is a way to protect what is most important to you. It’s a way to stay on alert and tackle problems early so that nothing creeps in and destroys your marriage. You can set boundaries with your in-laws about advice, money, phone calls, visits at their house, visits at your house, holidays, vacations, gossip, raising your kids, etc.

In a perfect world, you and your spouse will unite as a team in order to set effective boundaries with them. However, if you are not living in a perfect world, then you may need to gain your spouse’s loyalty so that he will make you a priority over his parents. (I realize that often the wife is the one who has difficulty transferring her loyalty, but I’m going to use the husband as an example here just to make the sentences easier to read).

It can be extremely difficult for a man to transfer his loyalty from his parents to his wife when he marries, especially if his parents try to make him feel guilty for doing so. He may want to transfer his loyalty to you but just doesn’t know how.

On that day when my husband and I were out in the back yard, he said, “I want to help you pull weeds but I can’t tell which plants are weeds and which ones aren’t.” I could’ve snapped at him saying, “I can’t believe you can’t tell which ones are weeds. If you loved me, you would know which ones were weeds and help me pull them.” Unfortunately when our in-laws cross our boundaries, we tend to snap at our husbands instead of lovingly explaining our needs. Be patient and persistent with your husband. Gently tell him what you would like for him to say and do in specific situations with his parents."


But you see, if you set boundaries, you won't worry so much about SIL coming to the birthday party. She can be there, but she can't "get" to you because you won't let her cross your boundary.

Boundary setting is about you deciding what you will and won’t tolerate any longer in your life, and then communicating this firmly and consistently whenever you need to.

Yes, it is easier not to have such people like your SIL around you, but is your husband truly willing to do that? Keep his sister out of your lives? If so, ok.

But if you think he might feel torn between his loyalty to you and to his family, you might try working on strengthening that invisible boundary around you so that she fails to affect you the way she seems to be trying to.

Really important for you and your husband to be on the same page about his family, though, so have a big heart to heart talk with him so you are united and clear in how you intend to deal with SIL.

I know this is not easy! I have my own problem with one of my SILs. But I have learned to deal with her when I see her at family functions. I luckily don't see her a whole lot, but when I do, it is much better now because I won't let her get to me.

I think part of it was my own self-esteem issues. I wasn't giving myself enough respect. I needed to honor and value myself more. Do you think this applies to you, too?


You and your husband are adults. Make your own decision about this. If you both agree that your SIL shldn't be living w/ you, then put your foot down. If your other inlaws don't like it, too bad. It's not for them to like. It's your lives, not theirs. Tell your SIL and the rest of your inlaws that their welcome to visit, as long as they respect your wishes for wanting to be alone together in your own house as a married couple shld be. This is not the 1800's where your families can dictate how you live your lives. I wonder if that's the case here, since you mentioned that you and your husband had an arranged marriage.

I think wat u said is absolutely right we shd identify the weeds but in my case she did not bother to listen wen i got pregnent my husband told her we decided to move out of our newly bought house because she never adjusted but both my FIL and SIL did not once offer to move out instead and we had to still pay the maintenace and loan amount of the house.These are some of the few incidents that i mentioned but there are many more so do u think i should still stay in touch and inspite of all this invite her to the birthday party of my son which my FIL is insisting as he is staying with us

Is your FIL disabled or something? Why is he not living on his own?

Hello from Sally sorry you have gone thru all that anabank. More than a comment I have a situation. My sister in law moved into our home from South America. Within a week after her arrival she brought a date home for a family gathering, an hour later she disappeared into her room for a long while I was embarrassed the kids and everyone noticed. I asked my husband to please ask her to open the door and rejoin the rest of the family. She kept on and was upset because she claims she is a grown woman. now she asked my husband to drive her to meet her dates and pick her up as well. its been a year and I finally had enough of her behavior since my husband has a difficult time dealing with her I asked her to move out. I almost lost my husband

continuation from my last input. I almost lost my husband because after going thru my SIL antics and avoiding her incessant need for transportation, the topper of all the toppers; She asked if she could use one of my friends vacation apartment because she had a friend she wanted to spend the weekend with! I said no asked her not to put me is such uncomfortable situations and told her I could not do this because that was not my home and it was not appropriate. I then told my husband and he "spoke to her" about it and she kept on and tried yet one more time I lost it and told them both off . My husband felt offended and she needless to say thinks I'm just uptight. I did not ask my husband to choose between her and I but I told him that this could not continue that I could not live like this, he choose to move out