To not apologise to dsis who is pregnant?

(158 Posts)

Dsis has married a nice enough man from Turkey.

I say nice enough as I don't really know him nor does she and there's a language barrier to prevent any major communication.

She has fallen pregnant after believing until fairly recently that she can't conceive. This is obviously brilliant! I'm thrilled for her.

However, she's having a boy and although she says he won't be raised as Muslim she is having him circumcised.

She knows nothing about it save that that's what her dh wants. I don't agree with it and while I know it's none of my business, she was asking opinions the other day and I told her my honest views.

It wasn't an argument but the conversation did turn a little heated resulting in her storming out.

My mother wants me to apologise, not because I was horrible or anything but because she's pregnant.

I'm not apologising because a) she asked for opinions and then got really defensive b) she's pregnant not sick and c) those are my views. I'm not sorry for them.


Bowlersarm Tue 17-Sep-13 12:06:08

Well, I think you should be a little more supportive of your DSis really. Maybe she's anxious about it and just wanted a bit of support from you.

If you know her DS will definitely be circumcised, there's little point in you upsetting her over it.

iggymama Tue 17-Sep-13 12:07:11

She asked for your opinions, and you gave them. If she wasn't prepared to hear what you think then perhaps she should not have asked.

mrsjay Tue 17-Sep-13 12:10:15

she is pregnant and I think you should apologise to her and try and make amends perhaps she just wanted an ear to listen to her sometimes that is all people want yes give your opinion say I am sorry you got upset but that is what you think she is your hormone riddled pregnant sister who has married into a culture that is different for her, I dont think you trust her husband tbh

Bowler I do take your point but I'm not going to lie about what I believe and I agree with iggy, why ask me?!

mrsjay Tue 17-Sep-13 12:12:49

you dont have to lie or agree with her at all maybe you were just a bit abrupt

I wouldn't trust my husband either, if he wanted to remove parts of my children's anatomy without a good medical reason.

I might apologise for upsetting her without apologising for your opinion, OP.

(In our house we call that an NHS apology - a sorry you feel we cocked up XYZ without actually saying sorry we cocked up XYZ.)

mrsjay Tue 17-Sep-13 12:14:14

why dont you agree with it just out of interest

Mojavewonderer Tue 17-Sep-13 12:18:30

No, she asked for your opinion and you gave it. It's not your fault if she didn't agree with you.

sleepyhead Tue 17-Sep-13 12:18:41

Yes. This is an ideal situation for the non-apology.

"I'm sorry you feel upset about what I said." Just don't tack a "but" onto it as that tends to spoil the effect.


"I'm sorry you felt I was getting at you re: circumcision. I'm really looking forward to the baby being born" - fingers crossed it draws a line under it.

"I'm sorry you felt I was getting at you re: circumcision, but... I think it's a barbaric practice and you are totally unreasonable to be considering it" - line probably not drawn.

She was BU to ask your opinion if she didn't want it though.

ChunkyPickle Tue 17-Sep-13 12:19:18

Yes, if you want to keep the peace, then a non-apology apology is the way to go..

For what it's worth, I'm with you, and if my sister asked my opinion I would tell her (and would have trouble keeping the strength of my feeling on the matter out of my voice/face I think)

AuchAyethenoo Tue 17-Sep-13 12:19:35

She asked you your opinion, you gave it. You should not have to apologies because she didn't like it, pregnant or not, provided that you gave your opinion in a respectful manner.

This is an emotive subject and it's very easy to place your own impassioned opinions before the feelings of others. Give your conversation with your sister some thought, if at the end you still feel you have nothing to reproach yourself for, stick to your guns.

Bowlersarm Tue 17-Sep-13 12:19:50

Hmm, is it something that will escalate, and you end up not speaking for months/years? Are disagreements typical of your relationship?

If it is unusual for you to argue I would nip it in the bud before you really fall out over it. Be the 'bigger' person, so to speak.

If you don't want to apologise for your views could you say something along the lines of you're sorry she was so upset with the conversation, and try and leave it at that.

sleeplessbunny Tue 17-Sep-13 12:19:52

i don't think you need to lie about your views in order to be sorry for having upset her, IMHO they are 2 different things. There will be many challenges for her in bringing up a child with a partner who has a different cultural and religious background, this is just the first. I think you should try to be sympathetic as she will benefit from having a supportive family around her. I don't think you need to lie about your views to do that, you just have to agree to disagree and move on.

SooticaTheWitchesCat Tue 17-Sep-13 12:19:57

I think your problem is that you don't like her husband and that you don't like the idea of her doing something he wants.

To a Turkish man it is very important that a son is circumcised as his son will be a muslim, even if he isn't going to actually bring him up in the Muslim faith (children automatically become Muslim after their father in their beliefs). It is also cultural. Your sister is respecting the wishes of her husband on an issue that means a lot to him so really I think you should respect her views too, even if you don't agree with them.

So I think you should apologise to her. Say you don't agree with her but you respect her choice. She is your sister and she is pregnant, she could do with a little support.

specialsubject Tue 17-Sep-13 12:21:11

there is a common problem (you see it on here a lot!) of people asking opinions of others, and then throwing the toys about when they don't get the answers they want.

circumcision is mutilation in my opinion, and clearly in yours too. She doesn't have to agree, but she can't control what you think.

time she grew up and realised the world won't always agree with her. I fear she may be going to find out a lot of that soon.

tumbletumble Tue 17-Sep-13 12:21:16

I agree with Moaning. Some people (DH, I'm looking at you) seem to think that an apology means "you are right and I am wrong".

To me, an apology is an opportunity to clear the air and re-open lines of communication. It can mean something like "it's a shame that conversation got a little heated - let's agree to disagree on this one".

Be the bigger person and be nice to your sister. It's an emotional time for her and she needs your support.

specialsubject Tue 17-Sep-13 12:22:16

oh, and her pregnancy is irrelevant to whether you should agree with her or not. Pregnant women get let off emptying the cat litter, not hearing what they don't want to hear.

HesterShaw Tue 17-Sep-13 12:24:01

Why should she apologise just because her sister is pregnant? Circumcision is revolting.

HesterShaw Tue 17-Sep-13 12:24:41

She could say "Sorry we fell out."

JassyRadlett Tue 17-Sep-13 12:26:26

Special, thank you so much. The 'pregnant women are full of hormones so you must be nothing but lovely to them and their views are not quite rational/to be trusted' is undermining bullshit of the worst kind.

mrsjay Tue 17-Sep-13 12:30:25

The 'pregnant women are full of hormones so you must be nothing but lovely to them and their views are not quite rational/to be trusted' is undermining bullshit of the worst kind.

I do not think you should be lovely to them all the time that is not what I meant , and hormones do affect rational thinking sometimes the sister needs apologised to for the upset not the fact her sister disagreed with her, because she is her sister ,

fluffyraggies Tue 17-Sep-13 12:31:12

she was asking opinions the other day and I told her my honest views. It wasn't an argument but the conversation did turn a little heated

To be fair this could range from you saying
'sorry sister, i just don't agree with it'

... to you saying
'circumcision is barbaric and i think all Turkish people that follow the practice are bastards'

Into the mix throw a pregnant woman (more likely to react emotionally at the moment) and your refusal to appologise on principal, and we have a right mess.

Are you expecting/hoping to actually influence your sister OP? Against the circumcision i mean. If you are then you are going about it badly.


SamG76 Tue 17-Sep-13 12:33:00

WMMM - YAB a bit U. Maybe that was the agreement with her DH when they got married. She may not be so keen on it herself, and will see you as being unsupportive.

Maybe you'd be better off trying to encourage her get it done in the UK (assuming that's where they're living) when the baby is very young, rather than in a mass ceremony at the age of 5 or 6, which I understand is a popular age to get it done in Turkey.

ChunkyPickle Tue 17-Sep-13 12:38:00

Sam - but I (and presumably OP) am unsupportive of circumcision - it's a completely accurate view to hold of me, and not one that I would be prepared to apologise for!

fluffyraggies Tue 17-Sep-13 12:48:15

I don't think OP should appologise for her views. I think she should clear the air with her sister by saying she is sad that they have fallen out. Be sorry her sister is upset. What's wrong with that?

Stamping up and down and shouting your views in a general discusion (here or in RL) is absolutely fair enough. If however it is something which is effecting a family member such as your sister, and you have a chance to perhaps influence her decision, or at least ensure it is carried out safely, then it's better to take off the militant hat and go gently. Surely? Much more to be gained that way than by ranting.

Would apologise for your opinion upsetting her but not for your opinion.

IceBeing Tue 17-Sep-13 12:55:46

yup I would favour the 'I am sorry it got heated'.

certainly nothing wrong with giving your opinions on the matter when asked.

thegreylady Tue 17-Sep-13 13:01:00

Turkish boys are not circumcised at birth.These days it is normally done between ages 5 and 8 in a clinic by a doctor.An anaesthetic is used and there is a huge party for the boy.
I deplore circumcision as you do but if your dsis lives in Turkey the pressure from family will be enormous.
I would just go down the 'agree to differ ' road andlet it go.

Hi everyone. To clarify a few points:

I don't dislike him. I don't know him but he seems ok enough. I DO dislike the "what he says goes" mentality that appears to be the basis of their marriage.

The circumcision will take place in Turkey. We live in Ireland where they plan to live as far as I know.

I don't think voicing my opinion was U, however you're all right in that it could have been handled better.

I think the NHS (love that) apology is the way to go!

geekgal Tue 17-Sep-13 14:22:06

I love NHS apologies, never heard them called that before, just non-apology apologies - NHS rolls off the tongue better, may have to start using it grin

I agree with the posters who say to apologise for upsetting her but not for expressing the opinion, she did ask after all, and if she's grown up enough to make these kind of decisions then she's also grown up enough to hear when someone disagrees with her. Stick to your guns on that one!

Fairylea Tue 17-Sep-13 14:28:35

Well actually I don't think you should apologise. She needs to hear from people who don't agree with it.

Personally (and I appreciate this is an extreme view, oh well) I would find it impossible to remain civil or more to be friends with someone who chose to circumcise for cultural or religious beliefs (medically necessary reasons excluded of course). I just think non medical circumcisions are barbaric and wrong and there is no way I could be friends with someone who decided that it was okay to do it.

So I do understand where you are coming from.

DH works for the NHS and I used to, so we both know exactly what we mean smile

PresidentServalan Tue 17-Sep-13 14:49:05

YANBU - she is pregnant, not made of cut glass! She asked your opinion, you gave it! Isn't that what sisters do?!

MortifiedAdams Tue 17-Sep-13 14:53:34

You say "Im.sorry if.I upset you, maybe I was a bit blunt, however you did ask me my opinion and I wont lie to you - I disagree with it. Im happy to talk to you more about why, just as you should be happy to disregard my opinion if you wish. Please lets not let this come between us".

Life's too short to fall out over things like this. Ring her up, say let's agree to disagree, and move on.

I feel I should point out that we've never been particularly close and had blazing rows as children and teenagers.

However we're not estranged either so definitely don't want this to be a massive issue between us.

The reason I mention our colourful(!) past is she tends to jump on the defensive immediately. Not just with me, she's a bit known for it in our family.

My other dsis mentioned that she didn't like the name she's chosen and all hell broke loose!

ageofgrandillusion Tue 17-Sep-13 15:34:57

Assuming you gave it as a straight forward opinion, i dont see what the issue is. Bet this marriage ends in tears anyway.

Assuming you gave it as a straight forward opinion

Yes, I did this. And not rudely either, I don't think.

I'm frustrated, I won't lie. Because she's willingly agreeing to go along with something she has no clue about. And I really do think that if you want to bang on about "my child, my choice" you should make sure your choice is an informed one!

someoneelsegottherefirst Tue 17-Sep-13 16:13:21

I wouldn't even do the 'NHS apology'. She asked for your opinion and has no business getting pissy when you gave it to her.

I think it's a barbaric things to do to a child and if she is upset by hearing that pov, then so be it.

quoteunquote Tue 17-Sep-13 16:15:49

Just say sorry I upset you with my point of view.

wannaBe Tue 17-Sep-13 16:26:39

I don't get this notion that we should respect someone's decision because it's religious or cultural. Either something is wrong or it isn't - child mutilation doesn't suddenly become something else just because it's done in the name of religion.

I wouldn't apologise. She asked for opinions and she got them, she can't throw her toys out of the pram just because she didn't get what she wanted to hear.

And since when was pregnancy an excuse-all?

I'm thinking

"Hi XXX just want to check in and say that I hope we won't be on bad terms going forward. I'm sorry you find my view offensive but it's how I feel. I'm sure it will suit us both not to discuss it further. I do think though, for your own sake that you should look into it more before you agree".

I know the last bit is a possible can opener for worms! But she's going into this blindly and I don't think that will benefit my future nephew!

geekgal Tue 17-Sep-13 17:27:38

Sounds good OP, leaves it to her to accept or not without compromising your opinion. Hope it all goes ok for you!

Thank you geek!

BrokenSunglasses Tue 17-Sep-13 17:36:20


It would be unreasonable to apologise for something that you are not sorry for, and that you would probably do again.

If your sister didn't want your opinion, she shouldn't have asked.

BrokenSunglasses Tue 17-Sep-13 17:40:40

She really does need to know what's involved with circumcision. A muslim but non practicing and very westernised friend of mine has had both her sons done because it was what her DH wanted. She had to hold down her screaming babies while it was done, as all they has was a little bit of numbing cream which she doesn't think had any effect. She found it quite distressing, and now that her youngest is a toddler, she still wonders whether she did the right thing.

mrsjay Tue 17-Sep-13 17:46:10

waltermittymissues I think your apology to her is fine and I do think your sister needs to realise what she is going to do to her baby , fwiw I agree with you I just don't think it is worth falling out with your sister over, if her husband is overbearing she will need her family , even if you don't agree with her

Brokenglasses - she had to hold down her baby!?! shock

waltermittymissus - are they going over there purely for the circumcision? Completely agree with you on this one.

eurochick Tue 17-Sep-13 17:50:58

I wouldn't apologise. I have no problem forcefully explaining my views on circumcision to anyone, pregnant or not! I suspect she is behaving this way because she is unsure about her decision and is being defensive because she doesn't feel that she is on solid ground.

Jolleigh Tue 17-Sep-13 17:51:13

I wouldn't apologise. But I'm a stubborn cow and have previously gone 6 months without talking to a family member rather than offer a token non-apology.

Maybe if she's toward the end of the pregnancy, buy the little one something nice, give to your sis with a cuddle, don't say a word. An amicable stalemate will let her know not to ask opinions on a subject when she can't handle them.

I'm pregnant and would definitely know if I was being apologised to genuinly or simply because hormones apparently stop me from being an adult and capable of hearing what needs to be said.

Thank you all for your comments.

mrsjay you're right, I don't want her isolated, especially in view of his seeming rather dominant.

broken I too have friends who have opted not to have their boys circumcised and whilst I understand it's importance in Islam, it hasn't bothered their husbands!

They're not devout Muslims but then, neither does BIL seem to be!

PaperSeagull Tue 17-Sep-13 17:55:01

I wouldn't include that last sentence. In fact, I probably wouldn't phrase it as you did. I would probably say something more along the lines of, "I'm sorry if what I said upset you. That was never my intention." If you give a "sorry, but" sort of apology, it can sometimes be worse than no apology at all. But if you are sorry for upsetting her, albeit inadvertently (which is the truth, right?), then say so. It doesn't mean you are compromising your beliefs in any way.

SamG76 Tue 17-Sep-13 17:56:46

WMM - my only issue with your apology it that it suggests she hasn't already looked into it, which suggests you believe she does things unthinkingly.

I'd be offended if someone had asked whether I'd "looked into" anything I said I'd do. It sounds as if you're saying she'll be a crap mum. And even if she hasn't looked into it, but has trusted her husband, it may be a bad idea in terms of their relationship to back out of it now.

Sorry lots of x posts!

They are apparently only travelling there for the circumcision and it won't be done for 'a few years' which, I believe, is a tradition. Makes it all the more horrific IMO.

They will, however, travel after baby is born to visit with his family so I don't know what way he'll come back!

He tends to be pushy for them to move there but so far she's refused.

I feel uncomfortable if I'm brutally honest. There were very few of us at her wedding (big family) because they picked high season in Turkey and people just couldn't afford it.

There was NO compromise. It was on that date and that was final, even though she'd have had at least 12 more family members there if they'd waited a few months.

Also, there's been no talk of any sort of celebration here with her family that missed out. And they wouldn't even consider being married here as his family wouldn't like it.


But if you are sorry for upsetting her, albeit inadvertently (which is the truth, right?)

I don't know to be brutally honest. I don't like to see her upset because she's my sister but she has form for being "upset" if things aren't going her way.

Sam I take your point but the truth is she knows nothing about Islam. Seriously. Nothing. And she knows nothing about circumcision or how it will be carried out in Turkey.

That's not me trying to be offensive. It's just a fact.

And I don't think she should be mutilating her own baby on the say so of a man she's been married to for three months and only really known about six!*

* I say this because their relationship was mostly carried out via Skype and her visiting Turkey three times for two week stints.

MortifiedAdams Tue 17-Sep-13 18:01:33

At your last few comments id be wary of the baby actually being taken to the dads home country confused

At your last few comments id be wary of the baby actually being taken to the dads home country

My parents are terrified they won't come back sad

My step mum was married to a turkish guy before she married my dad and he told her if they'd had a son he'd have taken him back home with him and kept him but that he wasn't bothered about their child seeing as they had a girl. shock

I would make sure your sister knows you will support her if she needs you, I understand the fiery sibling relationship can make that hard but I'd look to the future and be aware things may well go tits up.

MortifiedAdams Tue 17-Sep-13 18:04:13

It is a scary time.

All the more reason for you to have a bit of humble pie, just to keep that link with her. Agree she needs to read up.on the topic, but she still has time to decide.

PaperSeagull Tue 17-Sep-13 18:08:14

Well, if you really aren't sorry you upset her, I would say don't bother to offer an apology. An insincere apology, or one that sounds more like "You're wrong and I'm right" couldn't possibly improve your relationship with your sister.

SamG76 Tue 17-Sep-13 18:10:08

WMM - so either they split up in the next few years, in which case presumably she will forget the Islamic stuff, and it won't be an issue, or they will still be together at that time, in which case the marriage will have "proved itself" and she will have had time to look into it. In either case, I don't think there's any benefit in falling out over it now...

kilmuir Tue 17-Sep-13 18:13:55

Its an horrific thing to do. You should educate her if she doesn't seem to know much about it. It is her child too not just husbands, why does he get final say.

why does he get final say

Why, indeed!

Paper don't get me wrong, I don't like to think of her as's just, if she was really, truly happy with her decision would it bother her so much, to the point of storming out, when faced with a negative reaction?

Incidentally nobody is happy about it but they'd rather discuss it behind her back!

I've sent the text but omitted the last part. Just said, please make sure you're happy to do this.

PaperSeagull Tue 17-Sep-13 19:00:45

Well, she might be upset even if she is very happy with her decision, depending on how the conversation went. I have been in situations when family members have clearly disapproved of some decision I've made (not related to circumcision!), and I have felt hurt and upset by the way they expressed their disapproval even though I know the choice was right for me. Family relationships are so damned complicated! smile

lljkk Tue 17-Sep-13 19:23:30

It depends exactly what OP said.
I wouldn't have got into an argument with my sis about it.
The sis doesn't mind, that's different from her having no say.

The sis doesn't mind

She doesn't know anything about it. From what she was saying there had been no discussion. He said that his son was being circumcised and that was it.

She asked what people thought. I told her I don't like it. She asked why, I told her.

lljkk Tue 17-Sep-13 19:36:24

It sounds like the circumcision might be the least of her ill-informed decisions.

Well, quite. We're not supposed to talk about it though.

I've bitten my lip so much by now that I'm surprised it's still attached. She's an adult who is perfectly entitled to make her own decisions, good or bad.

But I draw the line at keeping shtum about genital mutilation of children who aren't given a choice!

Retroformica Tue 17-Sep-13 19:48:02

Don't apologise but do chat to her

lljkk Tue 17-Sep-13 19:53:51

I humbly submit that choosing a father for her child who she doesn't know well, can't easily communicate with, and whose cultural expectations she doesn't being to understand, might have much greater life long impacts on the poor boy than the appearance of his penis.

But I get that it's just a generally awkward situation.

I humbly submit that choosing a father for her child who she doesn't know well, can't easily communicate with, and whose cultural expectations she doesn't being to understand, might have much greater life long impacts on the poor boy than the appearance of his penis

Completely agree and have said as much! This is the first time my mother has specifically asked me to apologise though!

No reply to text!

Got a reply from BIL telling me not to contact my sister again until I'm ready to apologise and support their decision.

I said that if my sister wants to stop contact then SHE can tell me, not him.

He responded along the lines of: she's my wife so I can speak for her.

I replied with: she's been my sister a hell of a lot longer than she's been your wife so she can speak to me herself.

She won't answer her phone.

MortifiedAdams Wed 18-Sep-13 08:59:16

This is quite scary.

He is isolating her.

Maybe she was more upset than I realised and he's trying to protect her. <clutches straws>

quoteunquote Wed 18-Sep-13 09:47:29

Don't let him isolate her, look at the long term,

support their decision

Their? and interesting demand that you must support,

Just offer an apology for upsetting her, but state that you will have to agree to disagree on the chopping bits off babies circumcision.

I've text her again saying:

XXXX I realise you must be upset since I haven't heard back from you. I don't want to fall out with you over this. It's something we disagree on, let's just leave it at that. Please let me know that you're ok.

Larrygogan Wed 18-Sep-13 09:57:10

Jesus, OP, circumcision is looking more and more like a minor aspect of a problematic marriage to a domineering man. Do you think your sister overreacted to your view on circumcision because she is feeling shaky about her marriage? From what you say, she barely knows him.

Mumsyblouse Wed 18-Sep-13 10:12:24

It's a shame that this issue of circumcision was allowed to escalate really at this particular time, because there can't be any agreement and it's not even happening right now- I have a friend who circumcised all of her boys, I don't agree with it, but we don't discuss it as it is entirely up to her and her husband what she does with her own family. I think you did the right thing by texting her and offering the hand of friendship. Her husband does indeed sound like he's pretty controlling and trying to establish himself as the head of the household from the off, and she will need your support in the future if this is the case. Try not to let a disagreement over a cultural practice be the focus of all this- if you can maintain some contact with her (not through him, the twat), it would be so much better.

mrsjay Wed 18-Sep-13 10:20:14

OH walter I hope she is alright he sounds a complete and utter tosser and she sounds as if she has given him control already (or he has taken it) and the baby isn't even here yet sad

I'd put money on her reaction being because she hasn't really had a say one way or the other.

In a way, it does pale in comparison to what could be going on here but I think it's a pretty good example of her handing over control of her life to this man.

The truth is, she doesn't know him well. How can she?!

She said once before that he's 'traditional'. Read: controlling and misogynistic!

God, when I think of some examples even before he came here...her nearly starving herself in the lead up to trips to see him because "he'll go mad when he sees how much weight I've put on" and when discussing how lovely her hair had been when it was short "I can't go over there with short hair, he'll be furious" sad

I pulled her up on it every time. And I always misunderstood or took her up wrong?!

Perhaps this is why she turned so hostile when discussing the circumcision. I'm the one who causes 'problems' at every turn by questioning things or pointing out that they're not ok.

beepoff Wed 18-Sep-13 10:33:40

Oh god this is really upsetting. I would arrange to meet your sister alone so you can "apologise properly" and make it up to her, maybe take her for tea and cake, as an excuse to have a proper chat to her about what's going on. This does not sound healthy or right at all.

FWIW I think you did exactly the right thing in telling her what you think of circumcision.

beepoff Wed 18-Sep-13 10:34:41

Just to add the proper chat should be focused on getting her to open up rather than you firing in with a list of everything that's wrong with her DH tempting though it is

mrsjay Wed 18-Sep-13 10:37:11

I am not sure what you should do then if he has always been like this should you just put up and shut up or keep shouting from the roof tops how controlling he is , it is her husband and all that but she can't think how he is behaving is ok or she maybe thinks he is manly and macho and just taking care of her, what a terrible position for a sister to be in to look at a loved one and see how wrong it all is

AwayWithTheFay Wed 18-Sep-13 10:39:19

YANBU OP your sis asked for your opinion and you gave it. I wouldn't be saying sorry but I suppose thats because I don't believe in circumcision either.
Maybe take her out alone (for tea and cake like Beepoff said) and ask her if that is what she wants. If it is then be supportive.

DameDeepRedBetty Wed 18-Sep-13 10:39:19


geekgal Wed 18-Sep-13 10:41:02

Whoa, only just saw the answer now, sounds very scary, what does your mum think of this? I'd be more concerned for her well being than you apologising if I were her, this really doesn't sound right at all!

mrsjay Wed 18-Sep-13 10:42:37

I think what beepoff said was a great idea give it a few days see if the dust settles and then take her out and listen to her you still do not need to agree with her or him it is him that wants you too agree , and just let her chat, women in abusive relationships do not want people telling them how wrong their men because it reflects on the woman if that makes sense,

kiriwawa Wed 18-Sep-13 10:43:15

This isn't sounding at all good sad

Do your parents/other members of your family get to see her without her husband?

lottiegarbanzo Wed 18-Sep-13 10:44:51

I'd have got extra cross if people had felt the need to patronise me with insincere agreement and apologising just because I was pregnant.

Thank you for the suggestions. I definitely think taking her out away from him is a good idea and I'll try it!

This text is the first time he's shown his hand so to speak, she's always been the one to speak up but it was never convincingly her opinion IYSWIM.

However, in light of the text and my suspicions I think I should put it to rest right now and just try to get her talking to see if she's ok. I will enlist my other sisters too.

Up to this point everyone has been silently worried but he's very polite and 'nice'. It's so difficult, the language barrier really does mean that we can't know him properly, he generally doesn't speak around us!

My mother and father are worried sick sad so they're staying quiet which, if you've ever seen a thread from me about my mother, is extremely unusual! She's not usually shy about forcefully criticising us or our choices!

After dsis left the other day I asked my mum why she wasn't opening her bloody mouth!

She's so scared they'll move to Turkey that she's keeping her head down in the hopes that if the boat isn't rocked, he won't convince her to move.

kiriwawa Wed 18-Sep-13 10:54:36

It sounds like your mother's perspective is entirely coloured by anxiety that she/you/the family will alienate your sister's husband and then he will shut the door on the lot of you.

The afternoon tea is a good idea. Keeping lines of communication open and making it clear you're on her side is crucial (although if you've always had a tempestuous relationship, it may not be you she chooses to confide in)

although if you've always had a tempestuous relationship, it may not be you she chooses to confide in

No it won't be, I'm sure. But she's much closer to my other dsis so I'll bring her along in the hopes that she will confide in her.

Try as I might, I can't think of a single time that she's been without him since he got here. That's weird, isn't it?

samandi Wed 18-Sep-13 10:59:37

He doesn't sound "nice enough" to me confused

kiriwawa Wed 18-Sep-13 11:01:16

Not ever seeing her on her own may or may not be weird depending on how often you see her. I rarely see one of my sisters without her husband because we live a long way apart and only tend to see one another at family gatherings. We do talk on the phone when she's not with him though. It's the supervising her phone that makes me very uncomfortable here

SooticaTheWitchesCat Wed 18-Sep-13 11:16:22

I think you really need to see her, apologise (even if you think you were right) and try to get past this issue. It really is her and her husband's decision and millions of children are circumcised so it's not such an unusual thing, whether people like it or not.

If she is in a difficult relationship then she will want to know her family are on her side should she ever need them, especially with a new baby on the way. If you can let her know you are there for her she is more likely to to to you if things go wrong later. If all everyone does is criticise her husband she will just be defensive and not want to talk to anyone.

AlansCatalanCat Wed 18-Sep-13 11:17:40

People need to understand that "sorry" is not confined to apology.

An apology is saying sorry after you have done something wrong. OP has not done anything wrong, so she has nothing to apologise for.

However we also say "sorry" when expressing regret which is NOT the same as apologising.

So I agree that OP can go ahead and say "I'm sorry that you were upset by my views". This is not an admission that she is in the wrong, so I'd go ahead on those lines. If they take it as an apology, no matter, you know what you mean. I would be very worried about sister and would feel I needed to stay onside for her.

Absolute radio silence despite several attempts to contact her, including standing at her front door for bloody ages! <sigh>

alwaysontop Fri 20-Sep-13 16:01:03

YANBU she asked

alwaysontop Fri 20-Sep-13 16:03:48

Sorry just read full thread - hope you can get hold of your sister as it sounds like she needs you good luck

Preciousbane Fri 20-Sep-13 17:22:45

I think the whole situation actually sounds bad and the circumcision is the least of it.

I cannot imagine my DH ever having the temerity to reply on my behalf about anything.

beepoff Sat 21-Sep-13 10:56:27

Hope you get hold of her OP. good luck.

No, haven't managed it so I enlisted the help of my mother!

Bought some blue babygros as a peace offering. She's in mum's today and usually I would be too but parties this afternoon!

Mum has spoken to her. She's basically throwing a strop and has said she won't speak to me until I apologise for saying such horrible things?!

I asked what horrible things and was informed that I shouldn't have talked about circumcision in detail (I didn't!) as she didn't want to know the ins and outs. shock

So now, I'm rather pissed off again to be honest!

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 11:58:30

Could you swallow your pride and apologise without reservation. I think that there's a lot at risk here.

claraschu Sat 21-Sep-13 12:09:15

When I was pregnant, my sister informed me (unasked) that if we circumcised our son she would never speak to me again.

We were never intending to circumcise anyway (hadn't even really considered it as a possibility even though my husband is Jewish and circumcised).

Well I wouldn't ever say I'd never speak to her again, that's more extreme than anything I would or did say.

Vivacia no, I'm afraid I won't be doing that. Firstly, I haven't done what she said I did. Secondly, if she doesn't want to hear the details, why on earth would she have it done???

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 12:28:28

I am with you 100% walter. I agree that circumcision is wrong. I agree that your sister should inform herself about things that will be done to her child. I agree that the power in their relationship is wrong.

However, from what you've said I would be seriously worried that your sister is getting in to an abusive relationship with this man. I would feel that this man is coming between me and my sister. And he'll try to come between me and my niece/nephew. I'd be fighting him at his own fucking game and in this for the long haul.

Hmm, I see your point Vivacia - and actually, I think the cracks are already starting to show with other people in my family.

My mum told me that she asked dsis to hang on to hers and dn's passports when they go over there.

She doesn't trust him either.

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 17:44:24

Any change today?

She never turned up to mum's so parents are driving over this evening.

This is insane and seems to have spiralled out of hand really quickly!

Gingerandcocoa Sat 21-Sep-13 18:05:10

OP, I must say I agree with Vivacia. There are times when it's much, much less important to be right than to do the right thing. And the right thing here seems to be for you to get closer to your sister, so you can help her. I cannot imagine how angry you must be, but she's your sister and it sounds like she's being dominated by this horrible man and really needs your help (even though she doesn't know/accept it yet).

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 18:32:12

Are things out of control? I hope it's just a misunderstanding over times or one of those days when you're running behind or... I'm clutching at straws.

What I mean is, it's gone from a difference of opinion to her not speaking to me, him telling me what to do and my mum panicking about her moving to Turkey!

It's just overwhelming!

I've texted again (because she won't pick up!) and asked her to phone me. I said I want to sort things out and I respect that this is her child and therefore, her decision! Here's hoping it's enough to get through.

Gingerandcocoa Sat 21-Sep-13 18:47:36

OP if an apology is what is going to take to get her to speak to you, please consider apologising. You're ABSOLUTELY NBU in not wanting to apologise, but I think this is potentially much more serious than you previously imagined.

If your sister is potentially being manipulated by this man, you really can't expect her to be reasonable in any way...

I really hope this isn't as bad as it looks though, and that things will turn out ok for you and most of all for her and her unborn baby.

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 18:50:32

That's what I was driving at. Your parents and perhaps you are suspecting the worst, but it could be down to something simple such as she's left her phone in the car.

Text from him:

We will contact you when we've made our decision.

What. The. Fuck?

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 19:59:16

Is there any where you can bump in to her or blatantly track her down?

Vivacia Sat 21-Sep-13 19:59:32

And have you heard how your mum's got on with driving over there?

I'm going to go to her job on Monday.

This is ridiculous.

Can't get h


Can't get hold of mum.

Mum and dad have been in to chat to her.

They just said they didn't want to get involved in fights between siblings but that they don't think we should be falling out.

Said he was very polite, offering tea etc...

In the meantime, he's texting me telling me they haven't decided yet?!

Anyway, I think I should leave it there for now. She's speaking to parents which is good and as much as I am worried and want to be there for her, I'm not going to play his little game!

hermioneweasley Sat 21-Sep-13 21:17:48

What is her husband's background?

- is he from a city or a small town or a village?
- is he educated?
- are any if the women in his family educated? Do the women wear a headscarf?
- is he turkish or Kurdish?

He's from a very small village which doesn't look very affluent!

He went to school but not third level.

His younger sister is in school, not sure about the older one but I think she works.

His older family members definitely were headscarves. Not sure about the younger ones. Though one of the original bridesmaids wasn't allowed to be bridesmaid on the day because of the dress she wore the night before!

They're Kurdish.

Inertia Sat 21-Sep-13 21:32:53

Crikey, this sounds like a scary situation for your sister to be getting into. He is forcing decisions about their child onto her, and he is trying to cut her off from her family. TBH this has moved way beyond rational responses.

I think it's a really good thing that you gave her your honest opinion about circumcision- it may have at least planted the seeds of doubt in her mind, and it might open her eyes to the fact that her husband's views are not the only valid ones. To be honest I'm astounded that she expected everyone to be singing the praises of genital mutilation of a small child, and I'm even more amazed that you are getting the blame for telling her what circumcision actually involves! It's not as if you've invented the practice FFS, it's what her and her husband want! If it upsets her to hear the details of what happens, then how the hell is she going to cope when they actually start chopping off bits of her baby?

Is it definitely her insisting on the apology, or is her husband giving out some shit about you disrespecting him or his culture ?

hermioneweasley Sat 21-Sep-13 21:38:09

Oh dear, that doesn't sound good. At all.

The Kurds tend to be more religious, conservative, less educated and the women much less powerful than in Turkish families. For example, any "honour killings" I have ever heard about in Turkey or among "Turks" in the UK are actually Kurds. I am aware that this sounds racist, but it is a reality that the ethnic Kurds have a very different culture to Turks.

Does the husband have a job or assets or anything in Ireland which would make him want to bring his family back here?


No, he has nothing here. In fairness, he has been trying to get work but it's Ireland in a recession! Difficult is an understatement.

He has been very vocal about wanting to move back home though even from the start of his being here.

And, weirdly enough, I don't think they've registered their marriage here yet and his visa runs out before Christmas if they don't register it.*

*this is according to other dsis. I don't know for certain.

hermioneweasley Sat 21-Sep-13 22:37:48

Hopefully we are all worrying unnecessarily and they just have a lovely visit with his family and come back.

dedado Sat 21-Sep-13 22:59:19

I may have missed the info, but how and when did they meet? Was it a holiday romance? Is your dsis a bit naive or inexperienced in relationships?

jessieagain Sat 21-Sep-13 23:07:52

I think you should say you are sorry that you upset her.

jessieagain Sat 21-Sep-13 23:23:16

I just read the thread. It sounds very stressful. So he doesn't have a job and they haven't registered the marriage?
It certainly sounds as if they are headed for turkey.

They met when she went on holidays, yes.

She tells people they've been together three years...

Prior to him moving here they'd only spent probably 6 weeks actually together!

She's not inexperienced by any stretch but naive and I hate to say it but desperate.

cjel Sun 22-Sep-13 00:09:36

hope you manage to see her at work - just to be a friend, the more 'normality' she has the less he will be attractive hopefully.

dedado Sun 22-Sep-13 01:03:50

Just thinking aloud, but his disinterest in learning English or getting a visa must be a concern for you all. Do you know if any family or friends have spoken to your sister about her views on possibly living in Turkey? I assume that she'll get a true picture of what it'd be like if she visits as a wife and mother rather than just a girlfriend. Hopefully once the baby arrives she'll get a good dose of protective mama bear hormones and become more assertive about her child.

ukatlast Sun 22-Sep-13 01:26:09

I think your Mother should have her and baby's passport to prevent her being removed from UK against her will.
Make sure she knows she can leave him at any point - presumably they can move back in with your Mum?
I am at a loss as to why someone would seek a partner over the internet like this and it blunts my sympathy for your sister somewhat. It doesn't mean she doesn't need protection from him though..she likely does.

Seconding the Kurdish compared with Turkish view that hermoine mentioned, I posted about my stepmum's ex husband further up thread and he was actually Kurdish.

If this was my sister I'd be very worried for her.

She has said that she won't move but not terribly convincingly!

Also, once they got there with my nephew, whose to say what would happen?!

He said he wanted to learn English and I found out our local library had lots of courses etc for this. He hasn't gone to one. Not one. They're free!

She met him on a holiday with her friends and then went back a couple of times. Next thing, they're engaged. Sometimes even she can't understand what he's saying.

She would 100% be able to move in with mum and dad or any one of us. I'd take her in in a heartbeat!

I haven't seen his village or where he lives but dsis who would be closest to her was there and she was quite taken aback by it but then, she's a creature of comfort and in all honesty, I don't think it's fair to judge too harshly when standards are just not the same!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 22-Sep-13 12:31:19

I think the most important thing to ascertain here is whether the baby has a passport and can actually be taken overseas. Equally, what is the DP's immigration status? Surely he'll have to leave the UK once his visa runs out? There used to be a loophole whereby it was possible to get married on a tourist visa (10 years ago - I know someone who did it) but not sure if this exists now? If it doesn't, married or not, he won't be able to stay (and personally, I'd be questionning the legality of the 'marriage' in the first place).

Whilst I absolutely don't agree with the way the sister is being treated by her partner, if he has been brought up in the culture described here, in a very (by our standards) backwards village, he won't see anything wrong with how he's behaving. TBH, your sister has been ridiculously naive and needs to realise that if the baby does go to Turkey, there's a high chance he won't come back.

Having travelled extensively in Turkey, I'd also like to add that there is a huge difference between the city and the countryside. Cities like Izmir, Ankara, Istanbul and so on are extremely westernised, have excellent universities, cultural scenes etc. However, the further east you go, certain areas can be like taking a step back in time and understandably, the level of support and intervention in the event of a crisis (ie a child needing to be found) will just not be there. There was an article in The Guardian magazine yesterday about parents abducting their own children - often the father and often the child being taken to a country whereby the father had more rights than the mother. Some of the cases were heart breaking. Your sister would do well to read it. She needs shocking out of her inertia.

AlansCatalanCat Sun 22-Sep-13 13:01:37

They are in Ireland, not UK.

YY we're in Ireland though I'm sure the laws are similar if not the same.

They married in Turkey so he has a spousal visa AFAIK. However, in order to stay here it must be registered here and as yet, to my knowledge, that hasn't happened.

Maybe that's been the plan all along and she's not willing to tell us.

I love my sister but she has issues with jealousy, self-esteem and, in all honesty, basic bloody common sense sometimes!

I'm very worried but then, I have been from the start.

AlansCatalanCat Sun 22-Sep-13 13:26:31

Yes, I just mentioned it in case there are any variations in the law.

Thank you Alans

Vivacia Sun 22-Sep-13 16:23:09

extremely westernised, have excellent universities, cultural scenes etc

I get what people are saying about cultural differences, but to say that having academia and a rich culture is a result of being westernised seems fairly ironic in this context.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Sun 22-Sep-13 19:34:48

Vivacia - simply meant to illustrate that the whole country can't be judged by the actions/behaviour of one man who appears to originate from a more rural (and hence traditional) area.

Vivacia Mon 23-Sep-13 03:39:36

Absolutely, just challenging the idea that academia and culture, in one of our most ancient civilisations, means that it's westernised.

cjel Mon 23-Sep-13 08:01:40

Morning, are you going to try and see her today?x

Literally just back in my car. She works a couple of minutes from dc school so I nabbed her on the way in!

She couldn't talk for long and was already about 15 mins late from our chat so I didn't get into anything too heavy.

As soon as I saw her she burst into tears sad then I just felt awful, and yes, I apologised profusely because I'd rather be a hypocrite and have her safe tbh.

I asked what was going on with her, she said she's overwhelmed with everything so I asked with what and she said "I can't handle anymore pressure over this, I just want to enjoy my baby".

Now, maybe I'm being paranoid but I don't think she's really had any pressure from us and can't help but wonder where else it's coming from.

There was a giant alarm bell ringing for me because when I said that nobody meant to pressure her, and we all just wanted what was best for her and dn, she said "well everytime one of you says something like that, it's me who has to deal with the shit afterwards". That's not good is it?

I walked her into work where her manager (who is lovely) sat her down with a cup of tea. I asked did she want to come home but she said she'd rather stay there.

I told her I wouldn't say anything about it again and just asked her to keep in touch. The she asked me not to say anything to anybody but I really think I should!

I feel like fucking punching him to be frank. But then, I haven't really helped either so I'm just as bad. sad

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Mon 23-Sep-13 10:24:53

Walter I think you really have the measure of this situation and the BIL. I'm really glad you got to speak to her face to face, not with BIL acting as your SIL's keeper. I think if you can maintain that somehow then your SIL has a better chance of eventually seeing the light/standing up for herself when she really needs to.

Thanks Tension

I feel really uneasy but at least she's speaking to me!

Glad you managed to talk to her in person.

All you need to say to others is that you have apologised and want to be there for her and enjoy your new nephew when he arrives - it's true and supportive and draws a line under her getting upset with you for speaking your mind.

Try to just be there for her. When she holds her little baby boy she may very well change her mind about having him circumcised.

If this was my sister I'd be telling her I would always be there for her no matter what. It sounds like she is under a lot of pressure from him and the going no contact with you all for a bit there sounds more like his influence than her decision to me.

BlingBang Mon 23-Sep-13 13:33:41

Can't belive how naive she has been but it's done. I really think you should let the circumcision thing go. It's not that big a deal and many, many folk see it as completely normal, to her husband it is and to call it barbaric is quite an insult to him and his family and could really alienate him and with that you sisiter when she might need you most. She possibly has much bigger problems and I think you should not ruffle any feathers over this so you can be there to support her and influence her if she really needs your help in the future. I think you really need to pick your battles here.

hermioneweasley Mon 23-Sep-13 15:08:51

It must be so frustrating. It's so obvious to us that he's controlling and wildly unsuitable, you must want to shake her to make her see it!

Yes I absolutely do. But I'm very aware that it will just push her further towards him.

Vivacia Mon 23-Sep-13 17:25:34

Well done Walter, I'm so pleased you've made contact. Just keep that bond and don't let this bully get I between you and your sister and nephew.

I really hope your sister realises how cruel and ridiculous this circumcision would be once she holds her son.

Thank you Vivacia. So do I!

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Sep-13 14:21:50

I'm a bit late to the party here but here it goes:

Kurdish, under-educated, rural - these are not hopeful signs but they don't mean that your BIL is a horrible evil person and that this marriage is dead in the water.

Your DSis is pregnant for the first time and needs support. If you have any valid reasons (other than "He might want to go back") why you think this future baby will be kidnapped while in Turkey for his circumcision years from now, then slowly prepare for that day. Cooperate with your sister to make sure that never happens.

What I see on this thread is that you have been judgemental about their choice to circumcise their future son, had a tantrum about a matter that frankly is none of your business, got all paranoid that your future nephew will be kidnapped years from now, and nearly fell out with your sister.

I'm sure you think you are justified in these actions, but do try to see it from your sister's point of view.

I wouldn't have married this man, based only on his background, but your DSis has and you need to back off and give their marriage a chance. Meanwhile, support your DSis and help her steer her marriage in the right direction, if at all possible.

Tasmania Mon 30-Sep-13 14:30:05

Seriously - circumcision these days is nothing major. Catholics often get circumcised, too, which was ONE reason my mum wanted it for my brother. Dad didn't really think it was necessary.

At the end of the day, the decision was taken out of their hands, and he had to be circumcised for medical reasons aged 5.

I even attended the operation (weird, but bro wanted me there). In the hands of an able surgeon, it's not a big deal.

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 18:12:29

Seriously - circumcision these days is nothing major.

No man would be fondling my son's penis, let alone cutting the skin off, due to someone else's religious belief.

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