sister-in-law attracted to husband

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-01-2009
sister-in-law attracted to husband
Thu, 01-01-2009 - 5:17am
I don't know how to handle my SIL's behavior without getting really mad. I can't figure out if she is my stalker or my husband's stalker, and I need advice about how to not let her get to me so much. I will give a brief back history. She went on 2 dates with my husband before marrying his brother, and her personality is very spoiled, flirty, and selfish. None of this bothers me much since I only see her a couple of times a year and my husband was never attracted to her. I have known her since high school and we have been sister-in-laws for the past 16 years. She only started to bother me the past 4 or 5 years, because she would say things about liking things better about my husband than her husband, she has even said this about sex! She also insults me and asks me why my husband likes me better than her or she will say that the only reason he likes me more is because I am a Molly home-maker. She goes out of her way to get me alone and insult me like that. I thought she was just obsessed with my husband, but she also acted jealous that my sister moved close to me and even said that she should move close to her in her state even though they had never met. Whenever I tell her how I want to decorate my house or what furniture I want to buy or how I want my hair cut, she will go out and do it. She does a lot of other mean things like when my Mom was dieing she insisted on driving me out of state to see her just to manipulate her husband into letting her buy a van and then tells me I can't go, and I didn't even want her there, but I still found it rude that she would use me and my Mom's death like that to manipulate her husband into letting her buy a van. I am always nice to her even when I am furious with her behavior and insults. I never get even, because I want to be a good person no matter what circumstance I am put in. I don't want to let other people choose who I become and I want to like who I am at the end of the day. If I got even I would feel like I was like her, and I wouldn't like myself. I at first jokingly rejected her comments and changed the subject, then I tried asking her how she would feel if I said that about her and her husband, then about a year ago I decided to have a talk with her about it, telling her how I felt, and asked her to stop, and then I avoided her and stayed busy in the kitchen. I thought that had fixed the problem because I didn't get any bad insults during the last 2 visits. We decided to ask her to come to our house with her 2 boys (my kids adore her kids) because her husband is in the Navy and would be gone for 6 months and we didn't want them to be alone during the holidays. At first I thought we would have another uneventful visit, but then she asked my husband if she could hug him for a while since she missed her husband. My husband got out of that one. Later she told me that she was jealous of a girl my husband dated in 10th grade, but the thing that really made me mad was what she did when we took the kids to the mall. She grabbed my husband by the arm so that they were walking arm in arm and said something like "oops, wrong husband," but she wouldn't let go. My husband looked horrified and didn't know what to do so he ran towards me to grab me by the arm as if that would fix it, since he knows what she has been saying about him. I was very unhappy that she was still hanging onto my husband, and told him I didn't like men who were attached as a way of hinting to him to get unattached. He looked like a deer caught in the headlights and tried to turn to me for help again. Then I asked if anyone needed to go to the bathroom. He took that as his way out and ran for the bathroom. She hung on all the way to the bathroom. We both thought she was going to follow him in there. Then she sat and pouted and cried on a bench for attention, pouted and stayed in bed for the next day, and then later said she was dizzy and made a big drama about being scared of heights while she collapsed at the top of our stairs. I am sure this was another attempt at getting his attention. I actually found that kind of funny, especially when my son rolled his eyes in disbelief at his 35-year-old aunt's drama. My husband and I have a good plan for both of us to be more direct with her behavior in the future, but I am having trouble getting over how disrespected I feel. She only tried to get his attention when she knew I would be watching, like she wanted to hurt me. In fact, I know she has been going out of her way to hurt me every time. On top of that it was hard to get her to leave. She really wanted to stay another week, but there is just no way I wanted to be around her that long. I think I hate her, and I don't want to hate anyone or to be angry. I had to talk to 2 of my sisters for hours in order to stay calm. She isn't a threat to me. We have a good plan to deal with her. My husband would never fall for her manipulation, but it still gets to me that she would treat me so bad when I have been so nice and thoughtful to her. I am still so angry about it. How do I not let her get to me? I know she is never going to change. I am going to have to learn to cope with her, but I haven't figured out how. The worst thing is that she talks about moving closer to us. Yuck! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-01-2008
Thu, 01-01-2009 - 9:41am

Hi Dawn,

First of all, where do all of these people without basic social skills come from ?, we all have them in our lives! I mean you would think she sees her visit as a house party in high school, and in keeping with competing with her girl friends for a guys attention she was all over him. It seems from what you posted ,that you and your SIL are from extreme ends of the scale of social etiquette. That being said though your DH should be setting his boundaries with her,even though it appears that neither of you want to create an uncomfortable situation. However, you and your DH aren't creating the tension... she is!

Although I believe the preceding to be true that your SIL is socially inept, I also think that it is obvious that she wants to see how far she can push you, and if DH would be BIL's backup while he is away. SIL or not she needs to show you respect and keep her hands off your husband.

Happy New Year,


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2008
Thu, 01-01-2009 - 12:38pm
I cannot believe a person could actually behave like this. It sounds like an episode of Dr. Phil. You are a saint for dealing with this so calmly. Not only is her behavior not acceptable but it seems it is harmful for the children to witness. I don't know what you and your DH have planned for putting an end to this but I feel it would be more beneficial if the two of you sit down with her together and put a stop to this. It seems like she could truly benefit from some counseling. That girl has unhealthy issues. Good luck to you!

"If you don't like something, change it. If you cannot change it, change your attitude."
~Maya Angelou

"A smile is a light in the window which shows the heart is at home." ~Martin Buxbaum "A closed mind lets nothing in. . .or, for that matter, nothing out. ~SB
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-02-2003
Thu, 01-01-2009 - 1:12pm

I had a problm with my BIL that is a little similar to your situation.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-23-2003
Thu, 01-01-2009 - 3:09pm

I agree with gracenote you and your husband will have to take the direct approach and when she's messing with your husband he'll have to be the one to handle it even if it looks like she's trying to get to you. He has to let her know that she won't get to you through him.


I don't think you should get even with her, but she seems to have mental/emotional problems and letting her bring poison into your life can eventually make you a bad person too! Notice that you are beginning to hate her? Being assertive and not allowing her to display unhealthy manipulative behavior in your and your kids' presence is a good thing.

You say you and your husband have a plan. Just practice it and when the time comes be firm about things.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-01-2009
Thu, 01-01-2009 - 5:41pm

Thank you, everyone, for your advice. I think you are right, Suzie, that she will push us as far as we will let her. We aren’t her only victims. She brags sometimes about other men, married or not, who always want her, and it sounds like she does similar things to them, and then she snubs the men when they try to have an affair with her, all for her ego. She does seem unusually focused on me though. It is weird that she doesn’t care how bad this will hurt her kids or her husband’s relationship with his brother. This isn’t just some other guy, this is family. You would think that she would realize that.

Everyone’s advice has been very helpful. It sounds like I wouldn’t be so mad right now if we would have stood up to her last week. I think you guys are right and that I am letting her bring poison into our lives, and we do need to be a united front no matter how uncomfortable we are with confronting her. I thought I stood up to her by talking to her about it, but I can see I need to be more direct and set stronger boundaries. My husband plans to tell her that he isn’t her husband’s replacement if she tries grabbing onto him again, and we plan to tell her that she either needs to stop insulting me and saying inappropriate things about him or she will have to cut the visits short, and we will have to let her husband know why by telling him everything she has been saying and doing. I don’t think my husband has wanted to hurt him by telling him, but I would have told my sister or brother first thing.

Thanks again for the support. It is hard to know what to do. I am sorry you had to go through the same thing gracenote, but it is nice to know that you were able to get it to stop. I hope we have the same results.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-15-2007
Fri, 01-02-2009 - 9:49am

OMG!!!! It sounds like for what every reason she is extremely jealous of you and she is slightly unbalanced, because it's one thing to be jealous, sometimes you can't help that, however you can help how you act and normal well balanced people don't treat people that way, especially

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2004
Fri, 01-02-2009 - 11:19am

Okay, this woman has SERIOUS issues. There is nothing you can do to help her. She needs a professional. HOnest. HOwever, you can set and maintain boundaries. I am SURE she will try to totally ignore them. She probably doesn't even understand them the way her mind works, but it is up to you to enforce them.

First, I would NOT let her stay in my house ever again. If she wants to come and visit send her a list of hotels. If she shows up at your door anyway carry her bags out to your/her car and point her/drive her to the nearest (or furthest lol) hotel. This would NOT be a choice.

Next, Do not discuss your dh w/ her AT ALL. If she begins to talk about him in a personal way (you know what I mean) then stand up and say to her I will not discuss things like htat with you and

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-2003
Sat, 01-03-2009 - 4:53pm

Hm...haven't had SILs do that, but women I thought were friends who seemed to be, in my opinion, a bit too "damsel in distress" with my DH.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-01-2009
Sat, 01-03-2009 - 11:24pm

To answer your questions, liljetgirl1, my husband never really liked her like that and was happy that his brother asked to start dating her. No one really got dumped. She chased my husband and didn’t really get very far, but his brother showed more interest and she seemed to also like his brother more. I don’t know if her husband knows how bad she is, but he would have to be blind if he doesn’t see how she has flirted over the years with other men. He isn’t exactly a saint either. Who knows, maybe the attention he gives the Hooter’s waitress or strippers is one reason she is doing this or maybe she is the reason he gives out so much attention to those women. I think she is just very spoiled. Her mother still puts her on a pedestal above her other siblings. Her personality reminds me of a more childish Paris Hilton sometimes. She even has the little dog. I do think she feels inferior to me because I cook, clean, and do a lot for my kids, and she doesn’t really do anything, but she has made it clear that she feels superior to me because she weighs less. I just wish she would stop comparing herself to me. She definitely has issues.

I think the reason I have been very hesitant to fight with her or kick her out is because of the fighting we have already been through with the rest of his family members that resulted in both of us kicking his sister out of our lives, and I had to kick his mother out of my life to save my marriage. Long story short, his sister did drugs and neglected her kids, they got pulled into foster care, we became foster parents to keep them from being separated until she made it through treatment. But when I followed the rules instead of letting them do things their way, his mom and sister had a lot of free time on their hands to blame me for everything his sister was doing, to make my life miserable, and to ruin our marriage. After 7 months of that, we had the kids leave, we moved, he had already ended his relationship with his sister, but I kicked his mom out in order to get out of the middle of it all, and save my marriage, and it probably also saved his relationship with his mom. That was 8 years ago, and it ended the fighting, but now I really want to avoid any conflict with his brother or his wife. He is the only one left that hasn’t been fought with by us, and we never have these problems with my family. I would feel horrible if I was involved in another huge fight involving his family or if I kicked out another family member. So I will only kick her out if I can’t solve it any other way. For now I am going to have my husband handle this one as much as possible. He already wants to keep her visits to a minimum and wants to be the one to stand up to her if she tries physical contact. I agree that walking arm in arm would not have been that big of deal had it not been for everything else she said before doing it and her reaction afterward. The one thing I have learned from everyone’s comments is that I won’t just stand by and let her insult me or put me down anymore. Everyone here has helped me see that I need to not be so afraid to stand up for myself or it will only get worse. I am very lucky that my husband isn’t like the guy rubbing lotion on his sister-in-law. He is just as uncomfortable with this as I am, and we are together on it. Thanks for the advice about not letting her know how upset I get. I showed that this last time, and it did seem to make her smile. I will have to keep that in mind next time.

You are so funny, imotherothers. I probably will just avoid talking to her at all, but it would be fun to start messing with her. I think I did that by accident when I told her I wanted to paint my kitchen cabinets white, but then I changed my mind. I heard her husband complaining on one of their visits last year that she took all the doors off her kitchen cabinets, painted one, and then didn’t touch them again. I don’t know if she did that because of me, but it would be funny if she did. Thanks for the help everyone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2007
Thu, 01-08-2009 - 11:46pm

I would go to a costume store, get a bald wig and put it on. Then I would let her know that it is the "in" thing now all over Europe and your husband LOVES it! Then when she comes back suddenly got extensions. HA!

I seen something similar on Wizards of Waverly Place when my kids were watching it lol.

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