Jump to content

Husband's Sister is Disrespectful Toward Me


Recommended Posts

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?

Link to comment
  • Replies 69
  • Created
  • Last Reply

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.

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.
Link to comment

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?

Link to comment

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.

Link to comment

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.

Link to comment

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.

Link to comment

I think you need to ask yourself why you take her behavior personally. A lot of times we do this when in reality how a person behaves has absolutely nothing to do with us.


I also think you need to change your mindset around being entitled to her love and affection just because you are "still around"... this isn't enough of a reason for someone to like you.


I think people often expect friends and family members to go out of their way to love and accept us as partners / girlfriends but they aren't required to do so.


The reality is that maybe it's who she is, or maybe she has a legitimate reason for not wanting to get close to you. Whatever the circumstance, you will find it easier if you let go of the idea of having a relationship with her, and just focus on being a good person and a good partner to your boyfriend.


Go to the family event, be polite and helpful, and don't focus so much on how you are feeling but on how you are building more intimacy in your relationship.

Link to comment

Other than the age gap is there any other reason she might feel disrespectful towards you e.g. did he cheat on his ex to get with you or was there a great financial disparity making her feel that you may be a gold digger? Why were you so nervous to meet her? Was there anything to feel guilty of? Regardless, you need to agree with your husband on some boundaries regarding having to babysit her children without notice. He chose to marry you and you are now his family. You need to tell him your feelings and find some middle ground.

Link to comment
Yep, my husband and I are extremely close with my parents and we drive 6 hours to visit them almost every month (usually per his request, as he is incredibly close with my father).


That’s great then.


Look, I hate my in-laws too and them me but I married my husband for better or worse, for forever so I am polite regardless. My husband is not about to divorce his family or bust their chops... so I am polite for his sake and our son’s sake but I am not required to love them.

Link to comment

Thank you for your response - he told me about a year ago, when I asked him about her behavior toward me, that she said I was too young. After I heard that, I was discouraged, so I decided to take initiative and invite her to drinks to get to know her better. I thought it went well, but when the night was over, she went right back to treating me the same.

Link to comment

Ok so you know why she has a bad attitude. Your husband won't do more to smooth things? It's odd your husband just stands there with his thumb up his butt letting them be nasty to you.


His family sounds like they are from a different culture and a few generations difference. Just bear with them since he insists on being with them.


As far as the sister, stop trying to impress her. Stop trying to be her pal. She has a mindset you can't change or fix.

I asked him about her behavior toward me, that she said I was too young. After I heard that, I was discouraged, so I decided to take initiative and invite her to drinks to get to know her better. I thought it went well, but when the night was over, she went right back to treating me the same.
Link to comment

Sometimes you don't get along with the husbands' family. All you can is steer clear of them, at least as much as possible. That's kind of hard when they just waltz in the front door without knocking. But not impossible. You could always leave the house while she's there. go shopping or something.


I would talk to your husband about it. Don't argue though, that will only make you look like the bad guy.


I would not go to your husbands' parents house next week either.


Sometimes you have to use tough love. Maybe your husband and sister in law will have a talk, and she'll change her tune. Maybe if it's her idea, she'll start treating you better.

Link to comment

She's your SIL. She doesn't have to be your friend. There's not much your husband can do to force her to chat and giggle with you. It's always nice if everyone's chummy, but it often doesn't work out that way. Honestly, it's only a 45 minute drive. Worst she does is ignore you. Sounds like you'll be back home that evening. I'd just get it over with, check it off the list, and pour myself a drink afterward.


I mean, if your husband's not a huge fan of his family himself, I'm sure he wouldn't flip his **** if you decided you didn't want to go (assuming you weren't asking him to refrain as well). But if your goal is to ever get in their good graces, your absence would just validate their feeling of you being alien. In their heads, the marriage is probably temporary. By no means is it guaranteed, but it's often the case that it'll take time and enough presence for it to finally sink in that you'll likewise be a part of their lives for the long-haul.

Link to comment

I'm a bit confused - when she comes over she appears to ignore you but do you stand there mum? There's a visitor in your house (that's your property) and it's your responsibility to appear gracious and hospitable to those that step through your threshold. That's just my belief. I would never allow someone to come in without being addressed especially if that person is coming across the country to visit. Whether you like her or not, it's your house, your rules. I'd start by creating a better sense of boundaries in your home and taking ownership of your own space. This might help you feel more empowered or proactive also and less helpless around her. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who also have a sense of entitlement. Just be assertive without being rude and start behaving more like you actually live there.


If she continues to ignore you, ask her questions about her trip and appear a bit more interested in her as a person. I think it's a two-way street unfortunately. You can't make anyone like you but you can be more likeable yourself or give others less of a reason to ignore you. I think she doesn't respect you because you appear not to make much of an effort with her around and that can be interpreted as rude for some people. There's a misunderstanding there, it seems, regarding roles in your home.


If you respect her or envy her in some way or are insecure as the others have hinted at, it might also come across in a negative way. Most people aren't too generous when they sense negativity. Most people won't give you the benefit of the doubt and think that you're just shy or wanting someone else to make the first move. People do tend to think the worst of others especially when it comes to expectations within family. That's just the nature of things.


Take it all with a grain of salt, I think. I'd personally go out and spend time with the in-laws. I've found the most challenging, irritating connections and friendships have eventually turned out to be the most rewarding too because it means I had to stretch my brain to see the other side or understand other people I wouldn't normally understand in my day to day ongoings. I agree with reinvent also about letting her to her own devices. If she really does have an attitude problem, you'll know then that it's not you - it's her. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Link to comment
I'm a bit confused - when she comes over she appears to ignore you but do you stand there mum? There's a visitor in your house (that's your property) and it's your responsibility to appear gracious and hospitable to those that step through your threshold.


Oh, no no! I should have clarified. I have always been very warm with her and offer her things, but she usually turns her nose up. I always, always offer guests whatever there is in the house, and always immediately greet them with a bubbly attitude, even when they show up unannounced. This is how I was raised. But this is ignored; she doesn't look my way, and often acts like she's too good for it. It's like she pretends I don't exist. At one of the last get-togethers we had at their parents' house, she and I were in the kitchen alone, she opened a bottle of wine, poured herself a glass and closed the bottle. It's not like I think that's a huge deal but it's a good example. That's the sort of thing that would be considered very rude where I grew up, as well as not showing graciousness if you are offered something when you're in someone's home.

Link to comment

Been there, done that... you cannot argue with crazy or stupid. My Sister has done this with every woman I have been with and she turns the family against them too.


My advice... cut ties with her AND the toxic family. If hubby doesn't like it then tell him to grow a set of balls and stand up for YOU!

Link to comment

It's not nice to have an inlaw who behaves that way. The ideal situation would be for everyone to get a long and to have a happy family.


But, she won't have it. She doesn't like you and it's just something you'll have to come to terms with.


Her not liking you does not and should not affect your relationship with your husband. However, I do find it odd that your husband has not said something to her, and asked her to at the very least, acknowledge you and to be polite to you. I am wondering why it is he has not said something.


Secondly, when she drops her kids off unannounced, is it your husband who takes care of them? Cause if not, you have a right to say something. You don't have to be a doormat.

Yes, kids are kids and it's always a good thing if you can be kind. But that does not mean you have to forced to like them.

Same deal though, why is your husband not speaking up and at least telling her that: 1.) She cannot drop the kids off without asking first. and 2.) If she expects help, then she is to be polite to you.


If I were to be looking at why your feelings are hurt, I would be looking at your husband. He's the guy who is mostly allowing this.

You need to sit down with him, be honest, express your feelings and ask for his support on this matter.


As long as he is supporting you and doing his best to understand your feelings, then you should do your best to accept that the sister does not like you, ignore her and go to family outings anyhow and make it the best you can for both you and your husband.

BUT, if your husband is not willing to acknowledge your upset and will not at least say something to his sister, then I would not go to outings.


Marriage only works if both people work together and it sounds like your husband is leaving you out in the cold with a wolf.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...