My Sis-in-law - FamilyEducation
My Sis-in-law
01/29/2009 at 10:26 AM

I need advice. My Husband & I have been married for 1-1/2 years. We are very happy and content with our lives. We do not have any children. My Husband's brother and sister-in-law have been married for 7 years. They are 3 or 4 years younger than us. They have 2 children. When I married into the family we would have supper out with them or have them over or we would go to their house. Well, life got kind of busy and we hadn't really spent too much time with them, but we did not avoid them either. So, one day my sis-in-law calls and asks me if I am upset with her. I assured her that nothing was wrong. But, after that I was trying to go out of my way to call her. Well, she wasn't answering my calls or returning them. So, finally I did get a hold of her and she said that everything was fine. Until, one day I check my email and she had sent me the ugliest email!!!! She was upset because of the way that I had handled a situation - that someone else had told her. She was upset at how I had handled some things in my marriage - I didn't tell my husband DETAIL about my past. She felt that she needed to take sides between me & my husband. I personally feel like these things are none of her business. When you are married you are one -she did not need to take sides.
So, as a result of all of this, we have not spent any time with them one on one. I have had to see her at my in-laws and I do not even want to see her. I feel like I can not have the relationship with my mother and father-in-law that I want when my sis and brother-in-law are there. And my sis-in-law keeps saying "my kids really miss you" or "I do not have your new phone number". Frankly, I do not care. I don't want her to call me and I do not need to have a relationship with my neice and nephew. I will have my own kids and they won't go out of their way to have a relationship with my kids. HELP!!! Do I need to try to keep my in-laws happy and just keep acting like we are one big happy family or can I just visit with my in-laws when they are not around???

I think you need to be more circumspect about personal information. Whoever told SIL about the other situation and whoever told her about your past are gossips. That she reacted to the information she was given is unfortunate, but as you say, she is young. It might be nice for you to send a snail-mail note to say that you are sorry you have been carrying this with you for so long, and that you would like to leave the past behind. Then, when things are none of your Sister-in-law's business, they are probably nobody's business, don't go sharing them with anybody but your husband.

Ah, the wonderful in-law saga. I know it too well. Sounds like your SIL didn't believe you when you said nothing was wrong, and she really feels like you were ignoring her. Now she's decided to ignore you back. That's one possibility. Or, it's also possible that your SIL is just trying to put this all on you, when she's the one who really has the problem. She's using you not seeing her as much as an excuse to blame you. You mentioned your past. Did you confide in her about something? And if so, does she think your husband has a right to know this? I'm only asking b/c I'm trying to understand why she wld even bring up your past. What's it to her? And you're right. It is none of her business. She has no right to interfere in your relationship w/ your husband period, whether you confided in her or not. How wld she like it if you did that to her? If you did tell your SIL about your past, I wldn't confide in her any further, regardless of if your relationship is good or bad. She's putting her nose in where it doesn't belong, and I wldn't trust her. Have you tried to have a heart to heart talk w/ your SIL? Also, is anyone else involved in the situation? I wld first try to talk it out. If that doesn't work, don't involve anyone else. Go about your life as normal and continue to spend time w/ your other in-laws. I can tell you from experience that it's going to be really hard to avoid your SIL at all costs. There will be family events, holidays, weddings, funerals, etc. that you're all going to have to attend together. You can't avoid every situation. I tried that. Although my husband stood by my side, it wasn't easy for him. It definitely put a lot of stress between us, and it created more problems in the long run. You shldn't have to avoid your in-laws just b/c your SIL is there. And her children I'm sure are a big part of your life. Don't you want to have a close relationship w/ them? As hard as it is, I wld try to make the best of the situation. You don't have to be super nice to your SIL, just be pleasant. If she doesn't want to work this out, then what can you do? Don't stoop to her level and play the same games. It's not worth your time and energy. Try to be civil, but if something bothers you, address it right away. Don't drag it out. I learned that. It only makes matters worse. Hopefully in time your SIL will come around, and you can have a close relationship once again. Another thing I've learned is to not volunteer too much information. You never know when it's going to come back to haunt you. I wish you the best of luck in your family situation. Try to be strong for your husband and those other family members who don't deserve to be caught up in this mess. Most of all, don't let your SIL chase you away from the rest of the family. Why shld she get to be there w/ them and you not be there? Think about it. If I can do it, you can do it. Hang in there! Don't let your SIL get to you. If you do, she wins.

Above is good advice. Your children will be your SIL's cousins and deserve to have a close relationship.

I really appreciated the time that you took to show concern for my dilemma. I did confide in her. Way too much!! She did feel like I needed to share "stuff" with my Husband. What she does not know is - I HAVE!! But, like you said - "What's it to her?". At this point my relationship with her does not exist. I have no intentions what-so-ever of ever trusting in her again! She is just a relative. The very next day after I received this email I called her. I told her that I did not understand who she thought she was. I told her that I do not respect her opinions. Another words, I did not and would not solicit her advice in this situation. I called her about 3 or 4 times. I was sooo hurt. I feel like she got her feelings put out on the table and just moved on. I told her if she thinks that I agree with every decision and choice that she makes she would be wrong. But, you cannot control others decisions. Her relationship with me should not be based on my choices. But, I really tried to forgive and forget. But, I can't make myself vulnerable to her anymore. As far as her kids, I used to babysit for her daughter for FREE for her from time to time - while she was working. I would go to HER house to pick her up. But, I will not be the baby-sitter anymore. I love her children, but I won't open that door again. There are consequences and I just feel like I have been taken advantage of and totally betrayed. I do not know if I mentioned it or not, but several times now she had made mention of not knowing my new phone#. Well, I will never go out of my way to give her my phone number. This wound is too fresh and she has done nothing to help it. She only tries to make excuses for her behavior like "well don't you understand why I would say that - this is the way it made me feel". Oh, and through all of this I have found out that her parents had talked about standing up at my wedding and "objecting". That is completely ignorant - as far as I am concerned. Because of my past??? It wasn't that terrible. Anyway, thanks so much for listening. I appreciate your words of advice.

Your welcome. I hope things work out for you and your family. It's a difficult situation to be in, especially when your husband probably feels pulled in 2 different directions. It's your right to not have a relationship w/ your in-laws. Just don't let it come between you and your husband. Believe me, it will only make matters worse. My situation still isn't great either. It seems once impressions are formed, it's very hard for some people to move forward. Don't change for anyone. Live your life to the fullest, be happy and kind hearted, and don't let these people break your spirit. Whatever happened in your past is in the past. Move forward positively and w/ all good intentions. No one can fault you for that. You don't owe these people anything. Good luck.

just talk it out

Things are somewhat better now.

Good to hear.