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Thread: Husband's Sister is Disrespectful Toward Me

  1. #1
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    Husband's Sister is Disrespectful Toward Me

    I have been with my husband for a few years, and met his sister for the first time 2 years ago (she lives across the country). My husband and I have a significant age gap, but had already been together well over a year when I met her. She did not take me seriously and did not pretend to. She walked into our home without knocking and opened the fridge and poured herself a drink. I had been very nervous to meet her and she did not look in my direction or address me, only speaking to my husband.

    Over the years, every time I see her, I expect things to get better thinking that she'll take me seriously since I'm still around. She has two very young kids under the age of 4, and sometimes when she visits she will just drop them off at our house without notice. (This is something I don't like about myself and am working on, but: I don't like her kids. Or I don't like them in my house. I think they are cute from a distance, but I find them extremely irritating.)

    Since first meeting her, I have always been very kind to her, but have become extremely shy around her because I don't want to give her any reason to like me less. I have put in effort with her on every occasion I see her, and am met with no reciprocation. She usually just ignores me, and often ignores me in my own home. We took a vacation with his entire family this past summer, and it was the longest 3 days of my life, mostly because of his sister, her husband, and her children.

    This weekend, she is in town and I'm expected to go with my husband to see them at his parents' house about 45 minutes away. Do you think it's worth possibly having a fight with my husband to get out of going? I told him I would go if it was important to him, but the thought of it makes me want to throw up... Do I continue to try to be a part of his family or can I finally just give up?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Was he married before? Is there also a significant cultural or socioeconomic gap? Just be polite and talk to your husband about boundaries in your home. You don't have to kiss her ass. Stop that, it gives off a doormat impression.

    No do not be manipulative and precipitate a fight to get out of it. Maybe that's why his family doesn't like you? Perhaps your marriage has more problems than you think. Be decent and simply be busy or state that you can't go for whatever valid reason.
    Originally Posted by greeksalad
    My husband and I have a significant age gap, I don't like her kids. Or I don't like them in my house. I find them extremely irritating. This weekend, she is in town and I'm expected to go with my husband to see them at his parents' house about 45 minutes away.

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    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    Personally, I would call her on it. Ask her what you've done to deserve the disrespect she has shown you, and don't let her wiggle her way out of it. Tell her you don't appreciate it, and if it doesn't change, you're going to have to distance yourself from her.

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    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Is the age gap something you're self-conscious about?

    I ask because I'm wondering if taken "seriously" alongside him is a more general source of insecurity, outside of the sister. This is someone you barely see, by the sounds of it, so while I can understand it being frustrating that you don't quite click with her it also sounds a bit like one of those things that come with being in a relationship: a friend, or family member, of the other that we just don't gel with.

    In terms of how to deal with it? Well, I would nix causing a fake fight to get out of the weekend visit, as that's just a bad habit to get into and won't bode well for communication and closeness in your marriage. Have you talked to your husband about these feelings and concerns?

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    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    Are you and your husband a team? Have you communicated what you'd like to happen? It's up to him to deal with his sister. He should have said to her: I can't force you to like my wife, but you will be pleasant and respectful to her and not ignore her when you're in my home, just as I expect the same of her toward you.

    He also needs to tell her that she needs to ask you two if you are willing to babysit ahead of time. Even if he doesn't mind, you do, and he should care about how you feel and act as a team with you.

    Even if it sickens you, it might pave the way if you spent one on one time with her. Say, "I'd like to get to know you better and would love to hear family stories you might remember and hubby doesn't about your childhoods. How about if I treat you to lunch, just you and me?" It will probably really take her aback and just might break her icy chill with you. If it doesn't work, at least you tried.

    At least she lives across country so the problem isn't daily. On your family visit, maybe decide to enjoy the kids by bringing a game you can play with them, or a holiday book you can read to them, or a Where's Waldo type book they have to find certain objects in the picture. Maybe you can bring those mostly made sugar cookie dough that the kids can put sprinkles on and you can bake together. When kids are excited about fun activities, they are actually enjoyable. When they are engaged, they are usually better behaved. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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    I didn't mean start an irrelevant fight to get out of it -- I meant that he might be upset if I don't go. Thank you for your comment.

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    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by greeksalad
    I didn't mean start an irrelevant fight to get out of it -- I meant that he might be upset if I don't go. Thank you for your comment.
    Ah, I had read it the first way as well—thanks for clarifying.

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    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    I get not really wanting them in your home and on a vacation no less. But I think for the sake of your husband and the rest of his family you can be the better person, make the drive and visit.
    Let her be her nasty self. It's a bad look on her and not a reflection of you.
    To each their own, but I'd be pretty good at blocking the nasty person the room as long as everyone else is decent.

    This isn't about you. Sometimes up with her and I wouldnt deal with it.
    Sometimes I try to find the sick humor in things like this. When she pushes your buttons, just smile and tell yourself 'party for one' and dont engage in it, smile and walk away.

    About whether she should speak up or have her husband fight her battle - I had a similar experience with an in law and my then husband attempted to appease both sides and nothing was resolved. It wasnt until she confronted me that I fought my own battle and said everything I ever wanted to say. Waiting for my husband to fight my fight was pointless.
    She didnt speak to me for about a year but in the end she ultimately respected me and at some point we even liked each other. She also didn't mess with me anymore.

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    Thank you all for your thoughtful comments -- I should mention since someone mentioned 'the other people in the room' that the rest of the family isn't very redeeming. My husband has a very poor relationship with his father, who abused him and his mother when he was growing up, and the father is very rude as well. His mother is very kind but doesn't speak much English so it can be hard to carry on a conversation together for very long. At these get-togethers, my husband usually spends the whole time with the kids, which I don't love to be a part of, leaving me with the insufferable adults. He has a lot of problems with them too, which I think is partly why he clings to the kids the whole time.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with your sister-in-law @reinventmyself, it's good to remember that confrontation doesn't mean the end of the world. As for confronting his sister, I've come close a few times but have bitten my tongue. I think my hesitation is that she is known to hold a grudge, but we'll see what happens.

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    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Do you get along with your family? Just visit them.

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