Need help with Sister in Law

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-12-2008
Need help with Sister in Law
Wed, 04-16-2014 - 12:28pm

There are alot of family dynamics that I would love to tell you about, but that would be a novel, so I will include just what I think is pertinent. My husband and I met online several years ago. He is 17 years my junior (I'm 45 and hes 29). He moved out here about 7 years ago and we have been married for 6. Obviously when he came out, none of his family was very supportive of him being in this relationship, actually his mom was, but his dad and sister, not at all. We have 2 wonderful children now, a 4 year old and a 1 year old. Our relationship is awesome...except for his sister.

His parents divorced when he was young and his dad and sister now have this weirdly close relationship. They live across country from each other, but call each other numerous times a day, visit each other every month etc. When my husband does something his father doesnt like, his sister will call and complain at him and same if he does something his sister doesnt like, his dad will call him. It's just weird to me.

So over the years, his dad and sister have come to visit many times and everything has always been cordial. We dont have close bonds by any means, but we always for the most part get along. However, after the fact his sister would always find something to complain about me to either his dad or him.

Recently her behaviour has, in my eyes escalated. About 6 months ago his Dad and Sister came out to visit. She got the 3 of them tickets to a football game, the playoffs actually and never asked me if I wanted to go, never apologized for not getting me a ticket. I got pretty upset that my husband would just let her exclude me and we got in a fight over it, but it passed.

A couple of months later we were planning a trip to CA to Disneyland and she offered to get us some free 2 days passes from a friend. We gladly accepted only to find out that she invited my father in law out and she and he were now making themselves part of our family vacation. My husband and I discussed it and decided to take the tickets and let them come along for the Disneyland part. He thanked her for the tickets. A few days later she called my husband railing on him that I was a b*tch because I didnt call her and thank her. I told my husband we are married and his thank you should suffice for both of us.

Fast forward to last week. She sent an Easter package for our girls to my work. I realized I didnt have her phone number for whatever reason so I told my husband the package came, to let her know and thank her. So a couple of days later she sends me this text "This is my number, now you have it since you werent able to thank me". Ugh, seriously?

So yesterday she called my husband again, railing on him, calling me names, saying that I am ungrateful and she is tired of the drama. SHE is tired of the drama. My husband...I don't get him, like he sees how crazy she is, yet he looks to me to fix this. He says that I could be more grateful. He acts like in the past I have never told her thank you.  I honestly don't want to deal with this drama any more in my life. It's sad when you contemplate throwing away an awesome marriage because of a SIL who shouldnt even have any bearing on your marriage. I asl my husband repeadly what I should do and his only answer is "I'm (meaning him) not a bad person, I shouldnt have to deal with this".

He wants his sister and I to sit down and hash it out, but honestly there is nothing to hash out. It is her expectations of me acting a certain way that are the problem, and I'm not  about to change the way I am for her. I even told him, even if I did change it would never be good enough because that's just her, and he agreed.

I also want to point out that it really bothers me that he sits there and listens to her call me names and bitch about me and his come back to her is "thats not acceptable". Honestly if it was my sister speaking that way about my husband I wouild tell her I would speak to her again when she could speak civily and just sever ties. That is not ok, and it leaves me feeling alone and like the bad guy in this.

At this point she left the conversation that she wasnt going to be in his life anymore. That's perfectly fine with me, but I know it distresses him.

Any advice/input is welcome, please.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2014
Wed, 04-16-2014 - 2:31pm

You're a unit, a married couple.  Your husband needs to grow some balls, tell his sister to start respecting you as his wife, and as a woman.  If she can't stop being so petty, horrible, bitchy, and catty, you both need to cut her off until she grows up.  She sounds 12.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2014
Mon, 04-21-2014 - 2:03pm

I think it is terrible that he lets her talk so badly about you and doesn't stand up for his wife and his family.  I also think it is time you had a frank discussion with her.  The game where she totally excluded you was wrong and your DH was wrong to pretend like it wasn't.  Her constantly speaking badly of you and your DH acting as if you need to fix the problem is wrong.  But, until you stand up to both of them, the only thing that will change is the condition of your marriage and your relationship with all of them.  If DH isn't going to do it then you need to. 

When she goes to DH and starts complaining about you - you only know about it because then DH comes and starts complaining to you.  Tell him to stop.  If your SIL has something to say to you then she needs to say it directly to you - otherwise it is her issue and her problem.  Stand up to DH.  Then, if she confronts you - stand up to her.

I think the part about thanking her is something you should make an effort to do.  But I also think it will never be good enough for her.  Whatever you try to do, she'll expect something else.  She just wants to cause a rift in your relationship and basically is expecting her brother to take her side.

I think it speaks volumes regarding where he does stand.  Until he can stand up for his wife and his marriage - my concern is that his full heart is not where it should be.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2010
Tue, 05-27-2014 - 5:48pm

I'd say part of the problem is that the SIL and FIL view your H as a child who is incapable of taking care of himself and is being manipulated by an older woman. Its quite obvious they (or at least the SIL) doesn't approve of your marriage and the age difference, and your H isn't doing anything to make them think differently. He doesn't take your side, makes excuses for SIL's poor behavior, and doesn't want to come off as the bad guy. So in a way, the SIL and FIL are right~he's not mature enough to stand up for himself and his own wife and kids. He's rather let you deal with it, you be the one hurt, than confront them.

I was in the exact same postiion for 20 years with my inlaws. My exH did exactly what your H is doing. Trust me, you are going to come to a place where you say "I've had it with the whole damn bunch of you"~including your mealy mouthed H. You aren't going to change him and how he deals with the hurtful things they do to you. He is going to have to be the one who grows a pair and stands up for his W. I hope he does. My exH never did.