to tell potential BIL the truth.(249 Posts)
Apologies in advance. To avoid drip-feeding this is going to be pretty long.
A few years ago, we found out that SIL had run herself into an epic amount of debt. The kind of amount that if you won it, you might even think about retiring. The details are pretty identifying so I can't go into them but it's enough to say that it was a combination of massive loans and burning through money that had been entrusted to her
and she has literally nothing to show for any of it, ffs. Anyway, after she lost her house her DPs stepped forth and put another roof over her head. (I wouldn't have been so kind, but easier said when it's not your child.) All the while, they kept asking, "Have you told us about EVERYTHING you owe now?" and she kept swearing that she had, and then time and again, something new would come out from missed bills to unpaid bank loans. She is, by any standard, extremely secretive and would not have confessed to any of the debt had it not come out by accident, and she even tried to hide what she'd done via some ridiculously crap fraud that could have actually landed her in prison if the relative had wanted to go that far. In short, her finances are shot. If she does nothing but repay her debt for the rest of her life, she might finally clear it when she's seventy. She will never have a mortgage, she'll probably never get credit, and as far as her DPs are concerned, she can't have anything in her name for fear that it'll get frittered away, so she's effectively on permanent financial probation with them. (Again, not my choice of solution, but what can you do.)
Second factor: she's also a disaster with relationships. She either picks truly awful characters, or if she finds a semi-decent one, she goes so overboard with jealous control that she sends them running for the hills. None of her relationships make it past the two year mark and most die a gruesome death before six months. Finally, for good measure, she's increasingly desperate for babies (she has none so far), and time is moving on for her. Back to the present: A couple of months ago she started seeing someone new. He's a complete step-change from her past efforts - solvent, serious, quiet, hard-working, stable - in fact I'm kind of at a loss to figure out (a) why he isn't already taken and (b) what he sees in her. Whatever the case, DH and I think that if she has a shot of making a family happen with anyone, this guy would be a great option, BUT we don't think she's told him about her finances. She swears that she has, but knowing her character as I think I do, I wouldn't put it past her to have brushed it all off as "a little bit of money owed", if she's even said that much, and then rush to get pregnant, because, by her logic, he'd then be stuck with her. We're not sure what to do. Do we pull him to one side and make sure he really does have all the facts? Or do we stay out of it and let it all go however it's going to go? He's a nice guy and I think he deserves to know, but I'm also conscious that it's meddling in someone else's relationship and I'd be furious if someone did that to me. Then again, if she were a serial batterer, I wouldn't hesitate to tell him. I just don't know where the line is drawn here. Also, selfishly, if it all goes wrong and he leaves, it'll end up becoming our problem. She barely gets on with her DPs anymore - no surprise - and she can't even run her own household, so as a single mother there is simply no way she wouldn't end up crashing and burning.
In her favour, I want to say that she is a great auntie to our DCs - they bloody love her, and after a lot of failure and mess, I REALLY want her to finally have some stability and joy and a focus outside of herself in her life. I also think that with the right support around her - and maybe this guy could be it - she would probably grow into a great mother and partner. I would be properly and seriously delighted
relieved if he knew the truth, and despite it, they could still live happily ever after, but what's the right way forward? Do we shut up and watch and wait? Or speak with the guy? Or what?? and if you read this far!
I think deep down that you know this is none of your business, and you should stay out of it. Seriously.
I wouldn't say anything - it's not your business.
I think it doesn't matter what you want for her. You sound like a lovely (if slightly over-zealous) relative who wants the best for her. But, for everyones sakes, bow out. Not your relationship, not your place to judge/comment/contribute.
If my SIL took it upon herself to fill in my new partner all about my past misgivings, I'd have to seriously hold myself back from giving her a slap.
What would you hope to achieve by telling him?
How do you know she hasn't already?
I think your husband should speak to the guy. I'd really hate to have information like that withheld from me.
Oh gosh that's a hard one.
I honestly don't know what to advise. It's all very well to say mind your own but if it all came out later abs she was left with a baby it's a different story isn't it.
I think you need to sit her down for a serious talk.
Actually, no, I've just re-read your "what he sees in her" comment and I want to retract what I said about you sounding nice. You really, really don't. You sound as though you're jealous and insecure. Women who put each other down in this way are the worst sort of women because they do it under the guise of 'caring' and 'worrying' when actually, it's just busybody spite.
I agree with Imperial, normally I'd happily say MYOB, but that kind of financial mess is life changing for him too.
I would want to know. Christ, what a mess
Normally I'd be firmly in the myob camp but.....this guy sounds really decent and giving someone like this access to his finances could wreck his life.
I think I'd wait and see a bit, then tactfully probe to see how much he knows.
I can see where the OP is coming from, WRT that remark - they are chalk and cheese, and not in a good way. She will fuck his life up. Unpalatable, but true.
How would you plan on telling your sister in law's boyfriend of a couple of months that she owes £xxx and is a financial disaster? Are you talking about some kind of intervention? Do you realise how bizarre all this is? You are over invested in your SILs life.
Obviously she is a complete car crash and most people in their right minds would run for the hills, but unless you're protecting your close male friend or brother from her secrecy then say nothing. I agree with what you think of her but seriously can't believe you're contemplating making yourself part of her mess. Do yourself a favour and turn a blind eye.
Even if you do tell him, what do you expect to happen, apart from him telling SIL, then her falling out with you, and I doubt your PIL's will be impressed either?
And the reason, any of this, has anything to do with you is...?
Turn a blind eye? This lovely man could be bankrupt within months! No way - he needs to know what he's getting involved in. The OP says that her SIL could have retired on that sum of money - we're not talking about her owing a few quid here.
TimeToMuskUp Badly worded on my part perhaps. My opinion of her isn't great, I'll be honest, but what I meant there specifically was that they are very different people. I would just as happily reverse it and say that I don't know what she sees in him. I genuinely don't. I'm happy they DO see something in each other but if you'd have asked me to pick out a person that each would have gone for, I'd never have thought they'd choose the other.
If that makes any sense.
If this were my brother getting involved with your SIL, I would be forever grateful if you filled him in our your debt. It's not easy to do, and he might tell you to fuck right off, but long term I think it's the fair thing . Maybe not the right thing to do! but fair.Maybe it's none of your business, but we could say that about a lot of what goes on in life. Greater good and all of that.
I understand your concerns.
Her new partner is an adult. It's up to him to do his research. Before my DH and I married, we had detailed discussions about finances, including looking at bank statements. I don't think DH thought that was massively romantic but I had worked hard for my assets and wanted to take informed choices. There's no prenup or anything dramatic, just honesty. Now we are married, all our assets are joint and I'm happy with that.
It's up to her new partner to protect himself financially.
Don't say anything, just be there is it all goes tits up. If it's because she's been dishonest, then that's her responsibility.
If there are kids, well they have two parents so again, not your responsibility.
As an aside, has she had counselling for addiction? Gambling or whatever is appropriate for debt issues?
Keep your nose out. From that post it sounds abundantly clear that you'd take gleeful pleasure in stirring up trouble. It's none of your business. You sound totally over invested in her life and business, and TBH, a bit of a bitch.
You could possibly do it through some sort of conversational reference to the debt, in an "I assume you know" sort of way. So no intervention, just a "and then of course there's the £XXXX she's paying back" when you're talking about why going to the theatre might be a bit pricey for her (as I'm typing this I realise how mad it sounds).
You're caught between a rock and a hard place and I really feel for you. I can see why you feel the need to tell him and I can also see why you shouldn't.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.