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Hi guys,

I’m really needing some guidance and external advice - as the people who I have confided in have taken sides as to who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong, but I’m really just looking for a way to manage the issue. Just some background - my fiancé comes from a pretty reserved, quite upbringing. They’re a bit conservative and my partner is quite introverted. My family in the other hand are a bunch of crazies, we’re super loud, outgoing and there’s not really any barriers with how and what we talk about. 

My fiancé and sister do not get along. It has all stemmed from a family get together where my sister made some rude comments to me infront of my partner and his family - and instead of calling my sister out or making a fuss, I thought best to remove myself from the situation and just went and had a little cry by myself. My sister consistently gets away with being rude/swearing/carrying on and very rarely does anyone address that her behaviour is not acceptable. However this event happened over a year ago.
My fiancé has not been able to move past this, consistently brings it up in arguments and makes a point of saying “you did nothing to stop her” and that the whole encounter has embarrassed him and made him and his mother really uncomfortable. 
Over a year on and I’ve spoken to my sister about it on multiple occasions, explained her behaviour made my partner and his mum extremely uncomfortable and tried to make her understand that she needs to be more cautious of how she makes other people feel and her response has always been that she can’t even remember what even happened on the day.

My fiancé is not happy with this and thinks I’ve “let her off” - but I never really knew how to address it, especially so long after it even happened. I asked my partner if he needs an apology from her/what outcome could assist in making it better and he just says that nothing can make it better because it wouldn’t be genuine.

Now, he refuses to come to any family dinners or events and I am constantly fighting with him about it because it means a lot to me that we do these things together - and I also am always at his family events and making myself available even if I have other commitments. But he continues to not come and I feel obliged to lie about why he can’t make it because I just feel so stupid.

We are now planning a wedding as he has recently proposed and he has made a point of asking that we don’t have a bridal party - which is fine, I’m not really fussed. But this has stemmed from his resentment. He doesn’t want my sister making a speech, a reading or doing anything to remotely be apart of the wedding as a consequence for her actions. 
I have basically cried and begged that this is not the case because it means so much to me to have our families involved - but he just is not having it. 
It has now turned into an even bigger mess than it originally was, because he now wants me to tell my sister and my parents that she is not involved as a result of her actions and as a result of my parents also not doing anything about it.

I have no idea how to handle this, I feel so depressed and overwhelmed by this whole thing. I have no idea what to do as i really do love my family and want them to be involved, but there’s just so much resentment from my partner. We keep fighting about this, and I am consistently the only one trying to find ways to resolve the matter, but we just can’t find any common ground. I really don’t feel like the punishment that he is seeking fits the ‘crime’ so to speak.

Realistically, I know that even if we go ahead and have this conversation with my family, not have my sister involved and there be a “consequence”, he will ultimately always use the fractured relationship to have nothing to do with my family.

What do I do?

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First of all, if I were you, I'd postpone the wedding.  Neither of you are ready to get married.  This is about a power play, enforcing strong boundaries and your partner's adamant game changer for himself and his family.  

I think you and your partner need to make a compromise and sacrifices somewhere.  Both of you can't have everything. 

In many ways, I empathize with your fiance.  I have a brother-in-law (BIL), my sister's husband who has a major "mouth problem" by saying random, obnoxiously rude and inappropriate comments to me, my husband and sons.  BIL is predictable and I always say to myself, "Here comes another zinger!" 🙁😡  There were times when I deliberately declined invitations due to this BIL.  I prefer to stay home and take a nap!  BIL is absolutely intolerable for me and I'd rather get a root canal than be in the same room or restaurant as BIL.  Same holds true for MIL (mother-in-law) and SIL (sister-in-law), however, they're more tolerable than BIL any day.

If your partner's family is peaceful, civil, kind and without incident with you, continue attending your partner's family events (albeit safely).  Or, strike a deal and neither one of you will attend either family's gatherings together.  You have to agree to do something.  You don't have to be paired up to attend anything together all the time. 

Your fiance needs to hear an apology from YOU regarding your not addressing your sister's situation when you had the chance.  With situations, you need to "strike while the iron's hot" otherwise doing it later is ineffective.  Tell your fiance that from now on, you'll speak up when necessary.  I have a feeling your sister won't change though.  It's better for your fiance to avoid her and not make himself uncomfortable nor awkward in her presence. 

Even though it won't feel normal, you might end up like other couples and just concentrate on each other without forcing yourselves to attend family functions against your will.  Someone has to acquiesce.  Since this is your sister, you may be the one who has to yield and cooperate with your fiance in order to attain peace in your relationship with him. 

 

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4 hours ago, LTP said:

  he has made a point of asking that we don’t have a bridal party - which is fine

If you want to get married. Have a small simple wedding with no bridal party. That is a great idea.

Are you from different cultures or socioeconomic backgrounds?

Stop running away and crying. It serves no purpose in trying to buffer the situation. It's just even more drama for everyone to deal with.

Instead, don't force these two on each other. They Do Not have to like each other. 

You cannot tell your sister how to act. You've already mentioned the rudeness. You can not tell your BF or his family who to like.

You'll have a very rough road ahead if you keep shoving your sister down people's throats.

It's unrealistic to expect everyone to do what you want and play nice so you feel better.

You can love her all you want but if she's obnoxious to people, respect everyone and create space.

 

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Your partner has absolutely no right to hold your sister's behavior over your head and to punish you for this over and over again and going. He also doesn't have any right to dictate to you how to handle your family or your family relationships. On top of that, bringing up your sister any time you have a disagreement is toxic and abusive tactics on his part in order to win the argument. This is how he fights and it's not going to get better. Can you really live like this the rest of your life? 

It seems almost that you can't see the forest for the trees here. Your fiance is being extremely controlling, my way or the highway attitude, and he has long crossed the line into emotional abuse. It's one thing to get upset about an incident, talk about it and let it go, it's quite another to use this as a source of never ending arguments between you and to dictate to you whether or not you can do certain things with your wedding and various elements of that. Not mention trot that out any time you argue in general. Can't say this strongly enough - this guy is toxic.

If I were you, I'd give him the ring back and tell him to take a long hike off a short peer. If you marry this guy you are in for a whole lot of pain and misery and you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

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14 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

If I were you, I'd give him the ring back and tell him to take a long hike off a short peer. If you marry this guy you are in for a whole lot of pain and misery and you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

I actually agree with DF.  You both are not compatible.  

I have a feeling he won't allow your future kids (if you stay together and have them) to be around your family either.  Will you be ok with that?  I think you'll be in constant drama trying to sort it out and keep him and them happy.

In the future... you may want to consider how you handle your sister better.  Have stronger boundaries.  If she says something rude/toxic, confront it right there.  I think in the end, people in your shoes with toxic family members get a raw deal 😞 I'm sure she's going to insult other men you like, and constantly try to cause drama in your new future family, but only you have the power to, "deal," with that.

Let this guy go.  Focus on building up better boundaries and watch her closely next time to see if she continues to try to sabotage all your relationships.

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25 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

Your partner has absolutely no right to hold your sister's behavior over your head and to punish you for this over and over again and going. He also doesn't have any right to dictate to you how to handle your family or your family relationships. On top of that, bringing up your sister any time you have a disagreement is toxic and abusive tactics on his part in order to win the argument. This is how he fights and it's not going to get better. Can you really live like this the rest of your life? 

It seems almost that you can't see the forest for the trees here. Your fiance is being extremely controlling, my way or the highway attitude, and he has long crossed the line into emotional abuse. It's one thing to get upset about an incident, talk about it and let it go, it's quite another to use this as a source of never ending arguments between you and to dictate to you whether or not you can do certain things with your wedding and various elements of that. Not mention trot that out any time you argue in general. Can't say this strongly enough - this guy is toxic.

If I were you, I'd give him the ring back and tell him to take a long hike off a short peer. If you marry this guy you are in for a whole lot of pain and misery and you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

I agree.   You are looking at a miserable future with this guy.

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I think the approach to this might vary depending on how close someone is to their family (siblings, parents etc). We all have a toxic family member or have dated someone who probably holds way too many grudges so I can relate. I can especially relate because my ex had childhood PTSD that made forgiving and trusting anyone extremely difficult. This led to grudges held over years that were damaging to the marriage and ultimately we did get divorced. The only reason I'm sharing this is to help you see the warning signs when someone has trouble getting over a hump in a relationship.

It's always a practice in working together and finding compromises. I think asking you to fore-go or ordering you not to have a bridal party is a little hard to stomach. Are you sure there are no other reasons for this? Maybe he doesn't have anyone who will match your bridesmaids. Did you ask him about his side of the bridal party make up or who's to join or be invited on his side? He may be covering up embarrassment or insecurity with his request not to have a bridal party. 

Whatever you decide be clear what you want and what makes you happy. Your partner doesn't have trouble vocalizing so speak up also. Be careful that this isn't actually about your sister afterall and some other issue that's under the surface. I think the go-to might have been your sister's behaviour but there are other problems in the relationship you haven't talked about.

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Your fiance has a pretty strong code of ethics. TBH I don't blame him for being upset, and how your sister totally disrespected you, him and his mother by totally dismissing it as "she doesn't remember". That is a slap to the face. TBH I'm surprised he didn't just excuses himself and left with his mother. But yes I get it family matters are family matters.

From his POV, he's cares deeply about you, and is distraught how your sister treats you. Your sister owes you and him a straight forward apology...that's all he wants. For your sister to own it, and give you some respect.

 

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Talk to both of them again.

Tell your fiance that he MUST try to forgive her and give her one last chance because your family is very important to you.

Tell your sister she MUST stop her bad behavior or there is going to be serious problems between you and her where she won't be in your life anymore.

If either of them don't agree or refuse to be reasonable, then cut the one off (or both!) who is refusing to try to make things work.

Stick to your guns.

 

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I think you gotta think long and hard about what's going on here.... power plays and both your fiance and sister are being jerks.

unfortunately, you are caught in the middle and neither of them really give a crap how it's effecting you. If they did, they would try harder to compromise for your sake. 

I would consider postponing the wedding.  I don't think it's fair that he just blanket decides no to anything with your family. And that is very telling of how conflicts will be handled in the future.  So be sure you two are in the same page before you say I do.  This is not showing good hubs material. And any flaws in a relationship are magnified by marriage NOT minimized. 

I would let all involved know how disappointing it is to be surround by people that are so unwilling to at least try to get along. Because you love them all and you're the one they are actually hurting. 

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5 hours ago, DancingFool said:

Your partner has absolutely no right to hold your sister's behavior over your head and to punish you for this over and over again and going. He also doesn't have any right to dictate to you how to handle your family or your family relationships. On top of that, bringing up your sister any time you have a disagreement is toxic and abusive tactics on his part in order to win the argument. This is how he fights and it's not going to get better. Can you really live like this the rest of your life? 

It seems almost that you can't see the forest for the trees here. Your fiance is being extremely controlling, my way or the highway attitude, and he has long crossed the line into emotional abuse. It's one thing to get upset about an incident, talk about it and let it go, it's quite another to use this as a source of never ending arguments between you and to dictate to you whether or not you can do certain things with your wedding and various elements of that. Not mention trot that out any time you argue in general. Can't say this strongly enough - this guy is toxic.

If I were you, I'd give him the ring back and tell him to take a long hike off a short peer. If you marry this guy you are in for a whole lot of pain and misery and you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

I agree regarding either canceling or at least postponing the wedding.

However, I beg to differ regarding other parts of your comments.  I can see how accepting some people can be quite possible and doable if there were only minor infractions which are predictably INFREQUENT.  It's another story when there is ENDLESS verbal abuse.  (Or, in written form.)  Sure, there can be a break or occasions without incident and then wham!  Here comes another verbal torpedo. 😡 There is only so much patience a person has before they say, "Enough already.  No more.  I'm done."  This is the time when enforcing healthy boundaries takes place by the person who is consistently disrespected time and time and time again.  For example, I've given some people in my sphere numerous second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and umpteenth chances over the years and decades.  I refuse to tolerate more abuse.  That type of behavior is unacceptable.

In the past, I was sweet and I've tried so hard to reach compromises, reason with the unreasonable, engaged in discussions which exploded into gasighting arguments and  vicious circles leading to an abyss.  I've already exhausted all avenues to no avail.  I have no control over what other people do but I have every right to protect myself permanently.  This I can do and will.  

In order to DECREASE being on the receiving end of habitual, obnoxiously rude comments, I simply stay away.  Gatherings are reduced to the bare minimum at best.  There is zero contact during the year in general, we're all peaceful and leave each other alone.  There are no fights.  I attend a minute few obligatory family gatherings such as major holidays and special circumstances such as weddings or funerals.  Even that's a stretch yet I summon the courage to do the very least due to relatives and in-laws residing locally.  The rest of the time?  Leave me alone and don't bother me. 

I deserve to be treated with respect just as I treat others with respect.  If respect is not mutual especially with those who have sick "mouth problems" and they don't know when or how to shut up, I'm under no obligation whatsoever to be in a perpetrator's presence when I could otherwise be with people who genuinely care, love and sincerely respect me.  I've since lost my desire to be with those who don't exercise habitual self control.

If people lack "emotional intelligence,"  I'm certainly not going to place myself in a avoidable and preventable vulnerable environment.  (Google "emotional intelligence.")  Enforcing healthy boundaries means I'll allow anyone to do what they want, say or write whatever they wish as long as I'm nowhere to be seen nor found.  I have better things to do with my time, energy and money than waste it on imbeciles. 

"Once bitten, twice shy and fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

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13 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

It's another story when there is ENDLESS verbal abuse.  (Or, in written form.)  Sure, there can be a break or occasions without incident and then wham!  Here comes another verbal torpedo. 😡 There is only so much patience a person has before they say, "Enough already.  No more.  I'm done."  This is the time when enforcing healthy boundaries takes place by the person who is consistently disrespected time and time and time again.  For example, I've given some people in my sphere numerous second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and umpteenth chances over the years and decades.  I refuse to tolerate more abuse.  That type of behavior is unacceptable.

Yea... that was the part I didn't agree with either.  The OP let us know her sister is always rude and insulting like this, and no one calls her out for it.  She enjoys it in a sadistic kind of way... the rest of the family has to put up with it, or get out.  She pours out endless verbal abuse... for fun.  I think it's something one almost has to experience to understand, because it's hard to believe someone would act like this... hurting people for fun!  I've experienced this, it's a real thing.

 

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1 hour ago, maritalbliss86 said:

Yea... that was the part I didn't agree with either.  The OP let us know her sister is always rude and insulting like this, and no one calls her out for it.  She enjoys it in a sadistic kind of way... the rest of the family has to put up with it, or get out.  She pours out endless verbal abuse... for fun.  I think it's something one almost has to experience to understand, because it's hard to believe someone would act like this... hurting people for fun!  I've experienced this, it's a real thing.

 

It’s also hard to believe that people simply tolerate that garbage.  Don’t understand why everyone kowtows to her. Where are the boundaries?  But,  the bf sounds messed up too. 
 

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1 hour ago, Hollyj said:

It’s also hard to believe that people simply tolerate that garbage.  Don’t understand why everyone kowtows to her. Where are the boundaries?  But,  the bf sounds messed up too. 
 

I think because they're raised with it, and don't really understand it's wrong.  Her sister gets to verbally abuse her, and she's expected to just go and have a silent cry.  That's their normal.

My husband's family is like this... his mom, even as an adult, is verbally abused by her adult sisters, who insult and are rude and offensive in over-stepping boundaries.  And the odd thing is that even though they are mean/rude to her, too, she 100% backs their behavior.  If you have a problem with it, YOU'RE the problem.

People put up with it because cutting out family is usually too painful for them I guess.  And they've normalized abuse.

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52 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

I think because they're raised with it, and don't really understand it's wrong.  Her sister gets to verbally abuse her, and she's expected to just go and have a silent cry.  That's their normal.

My husband's family is like this... his mom, even as an adult, is verbally abused by her adult sisters, who insult and are rude and offensive in over-stepping boundaries.  And the odd thing is that even though they are mean/rude to her, too, she 100% backs their behavior.  If you have a problem with it, YOU'RE the problem.

People put up with it because cutting out family is usually too painful for them I guess.  And they've normalized abuse.

Yes,   but she is complaining about it.  They know it's wrong.  You can cut out family if they are abusive.  it is a choice.

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15 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

Yea... that was the part I didn't agree with either.  The OP let us know her sister is always rude and insulting like this, and no one calls her out for it.  She enjoys it in a sadistic kind of way... the rest of the family has to put up with it, or get out.  She pours out endless verbal abuse... for fun.  I think it's something one almost has to experience to understand, because it's hard to believe someone would act like this... hurting people for fun!  I've experienced this, it's a real thing.

 

Once upon a time, I was sweet and naive.  Unfortunately, I've encountered all sorts of worldly behaviors time and time and time again.  I've since lost count. 

There are certain people in this world and some people should just stick to their own kind and be with people just like them.  Others should be with those whom they're comfortable with, too.  No sense lumping various characters together and forcing these types of hopeless dynamics to work. 

Regarding weird, bad people, nothing surprises me anymore.  It's the way of the world.  We can all be peaceful.  However, it doesn't mean we mingle with unalike minds.  It's perfectly fine to draw the line somewhere and enforce healthy boundaries.  Having healthy control back in your life is very empowering and it gets EASIER as time marches on.  Practice makes perfect.

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