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Sister in law ignoring pregnancy and being even more strange than normal!

(155 Posts)
creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 10:37:19

My DP's sister has always been cold and emotionally vacant (not the closest family but generally like each other's company). We have been together many years but I don't feel any connection to SIL despite the time. She makes it very hard to get close to her. We have always made polite small talk, ie, work (hers not mine), a new car, holidays, home improvements etc but nothing more.

I was pregnant last year, to which she said 'that's nice'. I then had a miscarriage and was hospitalised, we didn't hear anything from her. It was another 3 months before she got in touch, still never mentioning me or asking how I was.

I am pregnant again now and when DP told her she again said 'that's nice', DP said it sounded like he'd told her we were getting a cat. I've since seen her for the weekend and she didn't asked how I was, when it's due, said congrats, nothing. She acted increasingly strange over the weekend, ie, sitting out in the garden alone while the rest of us sat indoors and chatted; and picking at food in the restaurant, looking at the ceiling and not saying a single word to any of us.

Since returning from the weekend, she has tried to make contact by emailing pictures of her new car (with no words in the email), which DP ignored for a couple of weeks because he was so fed up with her. Last week he replied by email and sent her a pic of our scan. She hasn't replied. Do you think she's playing a tit for tat game and waiting to reply for a couple of weeks, or does she just have a major behavioural problem? And is this the weirdest SIL you ever heard of?! I've searched previous threads but none of SIL problems seems to be like mine.

PS. She has no kids, no motherly instincts, and married to a man much older than her.

Rosencrantz Mon 07-Oct-13 10:40:28

I wouldn't worry too much about it.

There's probably plenty of other things going on, distracting her. Maybe your pregnancy makes her terribly sad she's got none of her own, maybe her marriage isn't ideal, maybe she absolutely hates children. There's no way of knowing.

All you can do is keep being nice to her. She's not being mean to you, she's just a bit uncomfortable and unhappy - and frankly she's allowed to be if she's worried with a bigger, personal issue.

NotYoMomma Mon 07-Oct-13 10:44:51

does she have kids?
is she ttc?
maybe she herself has had MC and is struggling with it all?

end of the day you wont know unless you have a rather uncomfortable chat about it

it could be something as simple as she doesnt really care but when it comes to women and babies, you just never know

NotYoMomma Mon 07-Oct-13 10:44:52

does she have kids?
is she ttc?
maybe she herself has had MC and is struggling with it all?

end of the day you wont know unless you have a rather uncomfortable chat about it

it could be something as simple as she doesnt really care but when it comes to women and babies, you just never know

AngelsLieToKeepControl Mon 07-Oct-13 10:47:07

I don't think sending her a scan picture was the best idea tbh.

She may not be able to have children for one reason or another. She has made it pretty clear she isn't really interested in your pregnancy. Forcing her to look at scan pictures isn't on, especially as you just don't know why she is acting as she is.

Can you not just share your pictures and news with people who are interested and want to see/hear all about it?

Congratulation on your pregnancy thanks

DukeSilver Mon 07-Oct-13 10:49:05

I'd say she's jealous and very sad. Be nice to her, don't mention your pregnancy (I know this is hard).

BranchingOut Mon 07-Oct-13 10:51:44

Is she of an age when she might be TTC? Obviously, I know that could be any age, but if she is 25-35 then she might definitely fall into that bracket.

So any of the above reasons might apply.

Also, in fairness, I did not understand what mc might be like until I became pregnant and began reading parenting fora - and I would consider myself a fairly sensitive, wised-up person. So she really might not understand what you have gone through.

PicardyThird Mon 07-Oct-13 10:53:14

Important lesson that many are fortunate enough never to have to learn: you never, ever, ever know what is going on 'behind the scenes' with a person's fertility or otherwise. Pregnant women, understandably caught up in their own happiness, often misinterpret others' apparent lack of enthusiasm to match their own as snubbing them. Often they are struggling with hidden grief. Infertility and miscarriage are not things people are encouraged to grieve openly about.

The sending and showing of scan pictures should always be done with caution and circumspection. You are happy and that's wonderful. Please don't make the mistake of assuming everyone else needs to reflect back your enthusiasm in equal measure.

Take it from one who's been on both sides (2 dc, 5 mcs).

Overtaken Mon 07-Oct-13 10:57:26

If she's married to a man much older than her, maybe he doesn't want children. Maybe she does. Maybe she acts like she has no motherly instincts because it hurts to show that she has, when she can't have what she wants. Maybe they've had miscarriages. Maybe they just haven't had any luck trying.

You don't know what you don't know - but it certainly sounds like she is upset or distant rather than spiteful.

Sending her the scan pic was potentially cruel. You don't need to force people to be happy for you.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 10:59:37

I like that you're all being lovely and sympathetic towards her, but I find it hard to feel that way.

She is pretty much past the age of conceiving, and not ttc to my knowledge.

To not send a pic when we sent to other rellies would have been a bit weird/rude (we have no reason to think there is an issue there).

She also sent a pic of her car, to which presumably she expected us to reply with nice comments, so a pic of a scan should illicit the same response surely? (sending a pic of her car was her way of breaking the ice and communicating, without having to speak/type any words. Also we live far away so can't physically show other in laws).

Also I don't know why she would come long to a weekend when we are visiting other (lovely) rellies and come and sour the atmosphere. None of us felt we could mention the pregnancy when she was around.

Also miscarriage came with added complications that dragged on for months and she pretended I didn't exist all the while.

pokesandprodsforthelasttime Mon 07-Oct-13 11:04:06

What everyone else has said.
It doesn't sound like you're listening though hmm

Inthesunnygarden Mon 07-Oct-13 11:05:21

Hi, sorry to hear your experience with your sister-in-law. I have a Sister-in-law who cut us out when I was pregnant. We were recently invited to her wedding (but not with any attempt to be reconcilled) I hope it works out for you. She may come round once you have the baby. I had infertility issues for a long time, but was never like this with people. I saw all babies as lovely and very welcome. However, some people can't do that, which is sad and selfish.

Squitten Mon 07-Oct-13 11:06:16

It sounds like you are trying to force a response that she will not give and YABU for that.

Family she may be, but she is not obliged to gush over your pregnancy. The fact is that you DON'T know what's going on behind closed doors - there could be many reasons that she feels uncomfortable or is having a negative reaction to it. Or she just might not care - not everyone does, especially if she is not interested in having children herself. We have some friends who really don't like children and, whilst they would never be quite as rude as to actively ignore me with a giant baby bump, I think it's equally polite to change the subject and talk about other stuff with them.

Accept that, for whatever reason, she is not interested in your pregnancy and just leave it alone. That's not to say that you should actively hide the fact if it comes up around other people but it's not hard to just not talk about it with her.

Be considerate, even if she can't be.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 11:07:50

Firstly I'm sorry for your loss.

I think when the first adult child of a family announces a new baby is on the way there is an expectation on all sides that the rest of the family will gather around and be excited for them. This expectation can make people feel awkward for many reasons. Your SIL may feel :
1. The chit chat and questions about pregnancy are best not entered into considering your last pregnancy did not go to term.
2. That having a baby is a lifestyle choice and one she is not interested in and perhaps she doesn't want to fake interest, in order to keep everyone else happy. Maybe general societal expectations about having children or being interested in them piss her off and her only way to vent is to ignore your pregnancy.
3. Perhaps she feels a little jealous because undoubtedly her brother and you will get all the family attention as nothing can trump a baby. So if she doesn't have a baby she will always have to step back and let the pregnant mother/the baby/the grandchild get all the attention and her life and cars/trinkets will not create as much interest.
4. Maybe she is squemish about pregnancy and is just not that interested.
5. Maybe she wishes to validate her lifestuyle choices by not showing interest in yours.

At any rate it is simple common courtesy to show interest in other people's lives and she is behaving rudely. You wont win any battle. My advice is to simple remain distant from her.

NotYoMomma Mon 07-Oct-13 11:08:40

'as far as you know'
'past child baring age'


just share it with other people then, you can't force her to be delighted and as you said you DON'T KNOW the reasons behind it

why get so irritable over one person? I bet she might have wanted kids but that ship has sailed and she might be mourning it?

you moaned she ignored you, and then ignored her back over something unrelated (petty of you were really bothered as it could have opened the communication channels)

Rosencrantz Mon 07-Oct-13 11:11:41

OP, you're not listening.

For whatever reason, she isn't interested in your pregnancy and you can't force her to be. The atmosphere is soured because something has made her uneasy. You have to respect that she isn't as excited about the baby as you are. And you will never know the reason why, it's private.

MissStrawberry Mon 07-Oct-13 11:12:36

I would carry on sending things to those family members you know are interested and not to her. If she is hurt/bothered by not receiving another scan picture or whatever you will soon know, If she is hurt by receiving a scan photo then you won't hurt her again.

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 07-Oct-13 11:14:26

maybe she just doesn't really have much interest in children and maybe she just doesn't want to be best friends with you.

cestlavielife Mon 07-Oct-13 11:15:47

she has "always" been in your words cold and vacant - so why would she suddenly change over a baby or anything else?
your expectations are too high. just leave her be.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DontmindifIdo Mon 07-Oct-13 11:19:33

You assume that she doesn't have DCs out of choice - that she's not suffered MCs herself because she's not "motherly" - it could well be she's not motherly because she's been aware she can't have children for a long time. Personally, I found other people's MC reminded me of mine.

Anyway, that might not be the case, she might not have DCs because she's never wanted them, if you are right in this, is it not obvious that someone with no interest in having DCs themselves might have no interest in other people's? The "that's nice" like you are buying a cat could well because in her mind, it's about as interesting as you getting a cat. Something you've decided to do that she has no interest in at all.

You can't have it both ways, it's either something she's no interest in (in which case her lack of interest is exactly how you should expect her to behave, not strange) or it's something she would like but can't have, (in which case her behaviour is completely understandable and you might want to rethink your pushiness over wanting to discuss details of your pregnancy with her).

You don't sound like you like her, best you step back and accept that not everyone is like you rather than getting grumpy when they aren't.

I think you need to understand that whilst your pregnancy is exciting and special to you it may be very upsetting for other people.

My best friend used to talk endlessly about how tedious children were, and was really quite nasty about mothers who emailed pictures of their babies. Turned out she had been undergoing unsuccessful IVF procedures for 5 years. She was my best friend but had never told me. She told no one.

You have no idea what is going on in her life. Be sensitive. I'd hazard a guess that the baby issue is a whole big can of worms for her.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 11:27:12

I'm not trying to force a response from her as 6/7 weeks have passed and sil and dp haven't spoken a word. That bothers me.
Also the pregnancy was not mentioned in her presence for the whole weekend.

I definitely don't want gushing/delight, I don't do that myself, I'm a very measured person. What I want is to be able to talk freely with my mil about it without feeling awkward.

I also don't just expect her to revel in my happiness but thought she might have a sympathetic word to say when I went through sadness, but nothing.

I supposed I'm most concerned about where this will go/how it will end. And I do totally take on board that there may be deeper issues going on here. I will take that into account with her in the future (and won't be sending her any pics).

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 11:28:17

If you want to relate to everyone you know only about your forthcoming baby (congratulations!) some people, for a variety of reasons, won't be able to relate to you at all.

I found the opposite when I was pg: some people found it hard to talk to me about anything else, people in the office wanting to start every day with an analysis of my figure, etc and I wanted to shout "I'm still here! Talk to ME! Like you did before!" Since coming on mn and reading threads like this, I realise everyone was just being nice and treating me how they think pregnant women like to be treated.

It need not be that she is heartbroken about not having children (though she could be). It may be that she is as utterly baffled as you would be if ALL she wanted to talk about from now on was her new car, and she found you incredibly rude if you thought that you might talk for a few minutes about what is going on in Egypt instead.

MadBusLady Mon 07-Oct-13 11:28:37

Is it really true that "None of us felt we could mention the pregnancy when she was around." or is that just what you think? Sounds a bit weird to be discussing such a thing en masse while the person concerned sits in the garden.

You sound a lot like you want to be told she's eaten up with secret jealousy. Well, maybe she is. Or maybe she just isn't interested in babies or pregnancy, and doesn't understand that miscarriages can be very traumatic, and is a bit rude about responding to email.

Either way, haven't you got better things to do than work yourself up about her?

BranchingOut Mon 07-Oct-13 11:30:12

'past the age of childbearing' - do you really think that your pregnancy throws up no emotions for her? Really? hmm

I was pregnant when I was working in an environment where there were a number of single women without children, ranging in age from late twenties to 50+. It did make it difficult at times and, while people were polite, I received almost none of the excitement/cooing/attention that you might expect for someone expecting their first baby. It cheesed me off, but I had to recognise this and apply some basic human empathy to understand why that might be the case.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 11:31:19

I am rarely thrilled with other people's pregnancies.

And I wouldn't have dreamed of imposing my scan pictures on anyone, not even my mother. I wasn't even that bothered about them myself tbh, a blob of what looks like mashed potato in a black bag. Gee whizz, stop the world, someone got pregnant.

As others have said, even if your pregnancies aren't upsetting for your SIL, it does rather sound as if you and your dh are baby bores.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 11:32:08

PS It's not her with the behavioural problem btw.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 11:33:04

I overhead some childless friends having a laugh about another friend who was either a parent/expecting. At any rate this other friend must have expected some sort of special treatment because of her position as a mother. The childless friends were joking that what did people expect, there words were something along the lines of 'yippee I've got a uterus, look at me'.

Just gravitate towards the people that are excited by the same things as you and be polite to everyone else.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Mon 07-Oct-13 11:34:23

I don't understand how you can be so sure your SIL isn't feeling a certain way and is just "being weird" when she doesn't communicate with you much, especially recently hmm

At best she simply doesn't care about your pregnancy (other peoples' kids are really not that interesting, and I say that as a mother myself). At worst she's hurting because she for whatever reason, hasn't/wont have children of her own.

Best to just leave her be and not send her any more pics of your scans. My mum, sister and some of my friends loved seeing mine. Other friends and my MIL didn't give a shit about the scan pics (meh) and my SIL looked pained when I showed her (I didn't know at the time she'd just got told she had virtually zero chance of getting pregnant naturally).

Inthesunnygarden Mon 07-Oct-13 11:34:26

I wanted to add, don't worry about her and what she thinks. Just enjoy your pregnancy. Don't be put of talking about your pregnancy when you are with family. Its a lovely time, make the most of it.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 11:34:49

As I said, there was zero mention of the subject the whole weekend. The only mention at all of pregnancy to her was an initial phone call (then scan pic a week back).

I personally think the jealousy is the last emotion she feels and I certainly do not want her to feel that. I think it's more about an inability to express emotion.

I find it sad for dp that he is having a baby (her niece/nephew) and she isn't happy for him/us. His is pretty hurt by it.

MadBusLady Mon 07-Oct-13 11:36:33

What this thread interestingly shows is that childfree women come under a hell of a lot of scrutiny in these situations; their responses or lack thereof always have to mean something, in a way that childfree men's responses never would.

That's probably enough by itself to make anyone rude and prickly, whether or not they're also concealing traumatic sorrow.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 11:42:18

agree with justbecauseican - what makes you think your scan pictures are interesting for everyone, apart from you and your husband of course, but emailing them to everyone is a bit hmm tbh, as is expecting everyone to respond in the way that you think they should.
Possibly that is why she sent you a pic of her car.
It sounds as though you have never liked her and are using this to demonstrate to the rest of the family how 'nasty' she is.
Maybe you are nasty.

Orchidlady Mon 07-Oct-13 11:42:48

Really you sent a scan pic to someone who clearly has no interest in your pregnancy, for what ever reason. Its sounds like you are rubbing her nose in it. I am mother but I also find baby talk extremely dull. Sorry I think you sound very inconsiderate OP

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 11:43:27

But it's not just any old person having a child, this is her brother.

I am late to having children. Have never been bothered about it myself until now. I find other people's kids messy and boring. Am anything but a baby bore!

So I guess the conclusion is because my family is excited I expect his to be (or at least say congrats to your own brother).

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 11:45:22

so what if it is her brother - for all you know he treated her like crap while they were growing up?
my brother has three children i believe and i have no interest in any of them.

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 07-Oct-13 11:46:42

" I find other people's kids messy and boring"

maybe, so does she.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 11:46:55

MadBusLady I totally agree,

Creamcarpet, your dh will just have to accept that is the way SIL is. Just accept her for who she is, don't pine for someone you want her to be. He is a pretty lucky guy to have you and a little baby on the way. Very few people get absolutely everything the way they want it to be.

My in-laws have 0 interest in babies. There are not that interested in our children (the only grandchildren) at all. MIL and SIL are pretty wrapped up in their own lives (selfish arseholes!). In some ways it is an ease as I can live my life without really thinking about them at all, I don't have to be invested in them, as they are clearly not invested in us.

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 11:48:06

She sounds socially quite odd anyway, so I'm not sure why you expected her to change just because you're pregnant...?

VenusDeWillendorf Mon 07-Oct-13 11:58:35

Easy Burberry, that's a bit out of order.....

Maybe SIL isn't a very empathising person - is she very high functioning? Maybe she's got Aspergers, and finds it difficult to show emotion, and just sticks to facts.
Sending you a pic of her car would make me think this too.

Sounds like she's made her choices in life, whether forced on her by circs and age etc, or that she's just concentrated on her work and relationship.

Whichever it is, you're pregnant and pleased with that, and she's pleased with her life.

Some people are emotionally involved with others, some are not. Your DC may be more like her than her brother, in which case you'll need to get some strategies together, but if not, you'll not have to do much with someone like her. Relax!

Focus on those who make you happy, and don't try and teach the pig to sing, it wastes your time, and annoys the pig, as they say in Zen Buddhism.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 07-Oct-13 12:00:48

"I find other people's kids messy and boring"

So do most people, even those with children. And to be fair, even people who are baby orientated will find the pregnancy far less interesting than the parents-to-be.

I know you are excited and want other people to share in that, but your SIL isn't interested. It's disappointing but that's how she is.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 12:01:50

Venus, you are accusing Burberry of being out of order, but then you compare SIL to a pig and the OP to some Zen Budhist! Hardly fair! lol.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 12:04:52

I might be accused of drip feeding now, sorry. But dp and sil's younger half-brother has ADHD and Aspergers.

But I'm not nasty, I'm not a baby bore, and I'm not deliberately rubbing her nose in anything. I, or no-one else, has said a word to her about the whole thing. Previously I've only ever had a pleasant, polite relationship with her, albeit distant, and no-one treated anyone like crap while growing up.

Suppose I feel a bit sad for dp and worry about where this is going/if they'll become even more distant/if it's going to be even more strained when baby comes along.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 12:06:00

god that line about Zen and the pig is pure nasty.
I have zero interest in my brother's children because he spent our childhoods physically and emotionally abusing me - maybe the SIL here is the same?
Needless to say he has denied all that since.....the social climbing twunt.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 12:08:25

What's that got to do with it OP?

Ragwort Mon 07-Oct-13 12:09:08

But if she has always been cool and distant towards you, why on earth would you expect her to change?

I think it is massively intrusive to send a scan picture to anyone, who is really interested in a scan photo? I wasn't even interested in my own. grin.

Personally I think there is nothing worse than gushing and cooing all over a pregnant woman, I hated people referring to my pregnancy.

Yes, out of politieness it would be the social norm to say 'congratulations' but it doesn't sounds as though your SIL in bothered about social niceties.

Enjoy your pregnancy with your DH, don't let SIL worry you. smile.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 12:09:29

I missed the bit about her sending you a pic of the car in response to your scan pic.

I like the cut of her jib. Is she a MNer? She sounds fab.

Lostinspace1 Mon 07-Oct-13 12:10:49

Oh jeeze....even my mother didn't respond to my scan photo when I emailed it to her. Initially I was a bit peeved, but then I got over it as she's made other positive comments and thats what I've focused on rather than getting annoyed. Your SIL has done the same in her own way by saying 'thats nice' which might be a big step for her, you never know. Give her a break and move on.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 12:11:05

also your thread title makes it clear that you have never liked her, yet you expect her to be all excited and so on?

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 12:11:06

I also agree with Burberry. My husband has about 12 nephews and nieces. Some of them I like, some are complete PITAs.

Just because there is a vague DNA clumping that brings about a "family" doesn't mean we have to get on with them. Go figure when it's just someone that someone you share DNA with has decided to marry.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Mon 07-Oct-13 12:12:49

Maybe she would have liked children herself but hasn't been able to?

MaryPoppinsBag Mon 07-Oct-13 12:13:39

Maybe she just didn't know how to talk to you about your miscarriage. Some people don't and years ago it wouldn't have even been mentioned.

It's seems like you have never spoken to her about her not having children, so you don't know if she ever wanted any or not.

Maybe she thinks you ought to have, but now you are pregnant you expect her to be all over you. When you clearly don't have that kind of relationship.

Pregnancies like weddings I think are wonderful to you when they are your own. But when they are other people's and you've got over the first few friends doing it (either getting wed or preggers) they are a bit same old same old and boring.

HomeHelpMeGawd Mon 07-Oct-13 12:15:24

1) Here's a mantra I've always found helpful: "it's rarely about you; it's usually about them".
2) If your DH wants to, he can always be direct with her, and ask her why she's not said anything about the baby. Best done by him, though.

CloudyBayDrainageSystem Mon 07-Oct-13 12:15:56

Why the hell are you escalating all of this?

She clearly didn't tick all your boxes in terms of entertaining your expectations, she clearly is never going to be your best buddy, and you clearly have never had much in common. So bloody what? Getting all shirty because you want her to be someone different than the person she is only makes you look like the unreasonable one.

You can't change her, you can only change how you react to her. And if you react by getting upset then that's your issue, not hers.

Personally, I have to spend time with someone who bores me rigid. Who witters on and on and on about fluff. Who talks endlessly about characters on TV soaps even though she knows I don't watch TV. I probably zone out in much the way your SIL does. And when I was dealing with my fifth, sixth and seventh miscarriages I can assure you that I'd have avoided talking to someone about their pregnancy even if their waters broke in front of me.

Seriously. It's not her. It's you.

Viviennemary Mon 07-Oct-13 12:18:07

Why on earth would you send her a picture of your scan. It's your pregnancy. Why should she be interested in a pregnancy. Some women aren't, even if they have children of their own. Or maybe she is sad as she would like children of her own. Who knows. I don't think it's sad and selfish not to want to know about other people's pregancies and babies. It's probably the only way some people can cope with things in their own lives.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 12:22:25

JustBecauseICan - I was answering Venus' query about Aspergers. I'm not implying there's any connection.
Scan/car pic situation - it was the other way round. She sent a pic of her car first, not in response to scan pic.

Kewcumber Mon 07-Oct-13 12:24:48

I am pregnant again now and when DP told her she again said 'that's nice'

What do you want her to do? She (in her own mind) has congratulated you. You have admitted that you have previously had a distant though pleasant revolving around polite small talk.

I don't understand whats changed.

I'm so glad my brother and sister didn;t email me scan photos I was childless then and wouldn't have had a clue what to say except perhaps "thats nice"!

I think you are overanalysing someone who really isn't that interested. Maybe she will be when the baby comes, maybe not but I don't see the need to make it into a big deal.

KalevalaForMePlease Mon 07-Oct-13 12:24:56

Oh dear OP, looks like you have committed the mumsnet crime of expecting members of your family to be interested in you or polite to you at social gatherings. I especially love the fact that it was suggested that you're the one with behavioural problems!

Your sil may not like children, she may be suffering from some deep rooted trauma or tragedy, but you don't know that, because she has no relationship with you and seems unwilling to try and form one. She has been quite rude in her treatment of you, and you are right to consider that odd, and be worried about what kind of relationship you will realistically have in the future. It's no crime to be disappointed when people don't even bother to take the time to show an interest in you, or anything in your life, whatever that may be. Try not to let it get to you too much, you can't force a relationship with someone, so I would stop even expecting anything from her. Congratulations on your pregnancy, and good luck!

Kewcumber Mon 07-Oct-13 12:26:44

FWIW my brother and sister didn't know about my fertility issues either until I got as far as (failed) IVF

MissStrawberry Mon 07-Oct-13 12:28:51

Some people just aren't interested. DH and I are very sad his brother doesn't show any real interest in our children, is very generous at Christmas and birthdays, but we would rather have more time and less presents. He hasn't even called to see how our child did with the 11+ but then he never does call to see how anything went so we accept things are like they are and that won't change. We embrace the two older ladies who are interested in what our children are up too and I think of them as my family.

Kewcumber Mon 07-Oct-13 12:29:17

Kalevala - I don;t think its a crime to want your family to be interested in you. But this SIl hasn;t been previously - why would you suddenly expect that to change. It may be rude/cold etc or it may hide bigger issues but its hardly unexpected from what OP has said.

I didn't even bother to get a copy of my own scan pic, let alone expect anyone else to be interested hmm

It's not even YOUR sister, it's your partner's. Forget about it. It's not your problem, or even your second-hand problem.

THERhubarb Mon 07-Oct-13 12:43:27

OP, you've taken a bit of a bashing here.

I think that whilst it's natural for you to be excited about this pregnancy, particularly given your sad miscarriage, and for you to want others to share in the excitement, you have to understand that some people are different.

She may have a tragic backstory that you don't know about, this is true. But she may also just not be interested in children. I have many friends who have made a conscious decision not to have kids. They aren't interested in them at all. Now I can sympathise with this because before we had our happy accident, we weren't planning any of our own and had no interest in them either. If someone showed me a picture of their scan I'm afraid I probably didn't even feign interest. To me it's the equivalent of someone showing off a picture of their cat or dog or car even.

Perhaps your SIL doesn't have great people skills. Perhaps she had no idea what to say to you after your miscarriage so didn't. It's a normal human response - people say that even good friends tend to avoid them after a death because they just don't know how to respond to such a tragedy.

You need to cut her some slack here. She has tried to convey you the message that she isn't interested in your pregnancy and you have taken offence at that. But really, that's not her problem is it? She has no kids and no maternal instinct, so she has very different interests to you. You have clashing personalities. That requires a lot of sensitivity on both parts.

On your part, you could have made the effort and said something nice about her new car and in return she may have made the right noises about your scan picture. But I agree with others, don't include her in the pregnancy when she clearly doesn't want to be. It makes her feel uncomfortable and no-one should be made to feel that uncomfortable that they have to sit outside.

Change your attitude towards your SIL and you might find her a little easier to get along with.

pictish Mon 07-Oct-13 12:45:36

I agree with heartisaspade there. She has put it in a nutshell really.
Why are you even concerned about this?
Bil (dh's brother) wasn't remotely interested in any of our pregnancies beyond a vague 'oh...congratulations'. It never occured to me to take it personally - he isn't obliged to give a toss, and he didn't.
Never bothered me!

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 12:45:54

I know I know, I don't know what I expected really. This is standard from her.
What is confusing though is that when she found out we were coming to visit she tried to book in the same hotel as us (although couldn't as it was fully booked), so she wants to see us and have a relationship, but then won't speak about important life events.
Honestly, I really don't want anything to revolve around me. I just want the conversation to flow naturally, and not feel like there's a big elephant in the room next to us and there's 'that thing that no-one speaks of'.
I also acknowledge things could be far worse. I've read some in-law horror stories on here and some of them are nightmareish.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 12:51:44

Cream carpet you sound very pleasant.

How about giving sil and your dh space to talk about the things that they have in common.

Or if the pregnancy is off the agenda, what do you have in common with SIL, what common ground can you work on?

THERhubarb Mon 07-Oct-13 12:53:00

creamcarpet it sounds to me as though she is trying, in her own way. I think you need to accept that she is not interested in the pregnancy or in babies. Make time to see her without your other friends being there and simply try not to mention the pregnancy. You could even acknowledge her feelings by saying "Look, I know you aren't interested in baby things so I promise we'll steer clear of the subject as best we can."

To be fair, when I was pg it was a relief to be amongst friends who didn't keep asking me about when I was due or how it felt. They treated me just the same as ever and I was very grateful for that. In turn when with these friends dh and I steer clear of talking about the kids and don't expect them to pretend to be interested at all. I don't take offence whatsoever, just like they wouldn't take offence if I didn't ask how their dog was or feign interest in their varying sporting competitions.

We all have different interests and passions but we are all able to be discreet when together and make time for the interests that we do share - each other, drink and a great sense of humour!

HormonalHousewife Mon 07-Oct-13 12:57:34

You know what I'm not all that interested in other peoples pregnancies either.

If a relative sent me a scan picture or a car picture I wouldnt reply either - is that so unusual ??

But I do agree with you she could have and should have been more sensitive when you had your MC. That was plain odd.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 12:59:38

it is not odd - before i had children I would have had absolutely NO IDEA what to say or not say to a woman who had suffered a miscarriage, it was just awkward and embarrassing and probably best not mentioned.....

Spanglemum Mon 07-Oct-13 13:00:37

Congratulations on your pregnancy.
I'm an adoptive parent who also buried two babies and had two other pregnancy losses, even now many years later I'm not that interested in other people's pregnancies.
You do know that Aspergers/ASD (and ADHD) have a familial component? If there is a brother with Aspergers maybe she has it too, but has never been diagnosed. As someone else said, may be she thinks she's done nothing wrong. If she's always been like this and it is something like Aspergers she's not going to change any time soon. People with Aspergers don't always understand the rules of social communication and make mistakes without wanting to.
Like other people have said, enjoy your pregnancy and I hope everything turns out well for you, but I think you just need to accept she is how she is.

turnaroundbrighteyes Mon 07-Oct-13 13:01:03

Just sounds like she didn't know what to say to you after the miscarriage for fear of upsetting you. Then when you announced you were pregnant again assumed that you would be scared of another miscarriage so didn't dare raise the subject. All the looking around feeling uncomfortable could have been down to that and her taking her lead from you in not discussing your pregnancy.

I can imagine behaving similarly when younger and pre-pregnancy.

If you've never had a close relationship where you discuss feelings it isnt likely to happen unless you all make the effort to open up (and she wants to!). Alternatively just appreciate each other for how you are. She certainly doesnt seem unpleasant, just not giving the responses you'd like without being told you'd like them..

Isetan Mon 07-Oct-13 13:02:01

I might be accused of drip feeding now, sorry. But dp and sil's younger half-brother has ADHD and Aspergers.

Seriously! What reaction were you hoping the above statement would get from us "Oh she must be on the spectrum thats why she isn't doing cartwheels". If she is on the spectrum then you could have worked out for yourself that her underwhelmed response might be connected.

Theres not enough information for us or you to speculate as to whether SIL is on the spectrum or has issues relating to conceiving. She appears disinterested, which she is entitled to feel, whats more confusing and annoying is why you can't/ won't accept that.

Your pregnant, congratulations. Pregnancy, childbirth and raising a child will give you enough to worry and think about without you actively looking for drama.

pantsonbackwards Mon 07-Oct-13 13:11:29

It doesn't sound as though this behaviour is unusual for her at all so i don't understand why you are surprised.

Aspergers or something sounds like a possibility but even if there is nothing diagnosable (did i just make up a new word?) this is how she is. You can't change her.

You would probably be best off accepting her for how she is.

You say that she tried to book a hotel and so wanted to see you. Don't dismiss that interest and you shouldn't punish her for being the way she is by not commenting on her car pic.

I feel bad for her.

KalevalaForMePlease Mon 07-Oct-13 13:12:33

I suppose so Kewcumber, I guess the thing I was referring to was the staring at the ceiling while at dinner, the escalating of the detached behaviour that the OP mentioned. Yes, of course it may be that she's finding it all hard to deal with, but because she's made little effort to build up a rapport with the OP, it's hard to say if that is the issue, or if the issue is that she's just actually quite rude.

I just don't think it's fair for people to be saying that the OP is at fault for even having the temerity to expect a positive response from her in the first place. What I picked up on is that the OP is worried about what this will mean for future family relationships, and whether the sil will have a close relationship with her child. There's nothing wrong with worrying about that. But I think essentially what everyone is saying is that you can't force this; if sil doesn't want a relationship then there's nothing to be done, accept it and try not to let it get to you.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 13:13:09

Isetan - I wasn't expecting anything (and why I didn't mention it in original post). It was in response to someone else's query about Aspergers.

I also refused to rise to being told I may be the one with behavioural problems, I'm nasty, I want it all to revolve around me, I want drama etc. I won't get outraged by assumptions.

LittlePeaPod Mon 07-Oct-13 13:26:03

Firstly appologies as I have not had an opportunity to read the thread so sorry if I am saying anything already said.

I always find these threads a bit surprising especially the assumption that you SIL may be having fertility problems because of her lack of interest in your pregnancy. From what you say your SIL isn't maternal and so I am not sure why it's surprises you she has little interest in your pregnancy (congratulations by the way flowers). I know that sounds awful but some people just have no interest in kids. I used to be one before falling pregnant. Pregnancy and baby conversations used to bore the crap out of me 27weeks pregnant now and they still do if I am totally honest Also maybe she was sat outside because everyone was talking babies? Was the pregnancy dominating the conversation? Sometimes when we fall pregnant we don't always realise that all we talk about is the baby and baby related things. Totally natural, we are expecting after all. If the conversation was pregnancy/baby dominated and she has no interest babies etc. it would explain why she was looking at the ceiling and not engaging in the discussion. I wouldn't let it bother you Op. At the end of the day, I am sure you have your own friends, other family members that may be much more excited for you. I do have to say though. I have never found other peoples scan pictures all that enthralling. For example I never understood why they post them on FB but each to their own. I know you want your SIL to start cooing and wowing about the scan / pregnancy but to be fair not that many people are that interested in other peoples scans/pregnancies. Most just tend to pretend!

It sounds like you would like a closer relationship with your SIL but maybe she isn't that interested in getting close in the same way you are. It doesn't mean she doesn't like you. She may just want that distance. My MIL is lovely and I love her to bits. BUT, she is constantly trying to get closer to me and pushing for the sort of relationship which would mean we constantly talk, go shopping and meet for lunch etc. Last night she even assumed she was going to come with me to do all the baby shopping I have left to do hmm . I don't think so, I want to go with my friends! So, although I like my MIL and don’t mind the odd dinner together and odd conversation, I have no interest in getting really close. That doesn't' mean I don't like her, I do.

THERhubarb Mon 07-Oct-13 13:27:24

creamcarpet I think it's normal of you to feel a little offended and put out by someone who refuses to share in your good news and excitement. Let's face it, we all tell white lies and have the good grace to pretend to be excited at times when actually we couldn't give two hoots either way.

Of course you want your SIL to be happy for you and you want her to play a part in your baby's life. That doesn't suggest you have behavioural issues at all! I think what posters are reacting to is the implication that because your SIL is not interested, there must be something wrong with her. Can you not see how this is implied, a little, in your posts? Especially in your opening post when you asked if she had a major behavioural problem.

She may well have Aspergers (although not everyone who has Asperger's/Autism is socially inept) or she may not. I do not think it is fair to try and label your SIL in this way. As others have said, you may just need to accept that this is who your SIL is and perhaps you yourself, could have handled things your end a little more sensitively too?

I would far rather someone tell me straight that they weren't interested in my children rather than have them pretend. I can deal with honesty much better.

Give her a call, apologise for her feeling uncomfortable over the weekend (it may not have been your fault but no harm in apologising anyway) and tell her that you understand that she has no interest in your pregnancy or in children and that you will do your best not to try and drag her into any baby talk in the future. She will appreciate your efforts to make her feel more included and this may result in a closer relationship with your SIL.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 13:31:33

Thanks LittlePeaPod for your reasoned response.

In a nutshell, there was zero talk of pregnancies/babies in her presence, I am a private person and wouldn't dream of posting anything baby/scan related to fb, I love talking about anything other than babies (I am not interested in difference between a moses basket and a crib), and I just don't want any weirdness between dp and his family.

From some of the responses I've got it appears I shouldn't give a shit about dp's relationship with his family.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 13:38:59

Yeah, I do see how that was construed Rhubarb, I shouldn't have said it, I'm just fed up.

However I can't apologise for something I haven't done, ie, dragging her into any kind of conversation. We've talked about anything but that. She joined us for a weekend and hardly spoke to me or any of us.

LittlePeaPod Mon 07-Oct-13 13:43:09

It's fine Op, I was just been honest. I don't think people are saying you shouldn't give a shit about your DP's relationship with his family. I think it's more you shouldn't give a shit whether or not your SIL is over the moon or mega excited about the pregnancy / baby. The more you and your DP try to analyse the situation and force/expect her to be excited in the way you would like her to be, the more destructive this will be to the relationship as a whole. The only people that will be getting upset by this will be you and your DP. So maybe try focusing on those people that are excited and do want to share in the news and hear all about it. And with regards your SIL, just assume she isn't interested and carry on your relationship with her as it was previous to you getting pregnant. Talk about the pregnancy to your MIL and if SIL isn't interested she will take herself off or not listen, so what? You may find her attitude changes when the baby arrives or when the baby is older.

I think this is more about you and your DP accepting reality is your SIL isn't interested. Doesn't mean she is weird, strange and/or a nasty person.

Squeakygate Mon 07-Oct-13 13:51:12

I am going to throw a spanner in the works here but why should she be interested? Would you expect a bil to be interested?
It's just the way some people are - not that bothered.
My bil never asked or showed any interest in any of my pregnancies - years down the line he shows barely any interest in the dc.
It's just the way some people are.

THERhubarb Mon 07-Oct-13 13:55:55

creamcarpet she may have other things on her mind. Perhaps she didn't want to be a part of the weekend but was forced to be there? Maybe she's going through a bad time? Maybe she doesn't hide her feelings very well? Why not give her a call and say that you noticed she seemed quiet over the weekend and you wondered if anything was wrong. Thing is, by taking the initiative you are opening the door for her and allowing her to be honest with you about any issues she might have. Or if she is genuinely going through a bad time, she may well appreciate the fact that you have thought about her.

Playing games with her by emailing her pictures and waiting for a response is not the right way to go about it and I think that you realise this.

Yes we live in a world of computers and emails and texts but sometimes there is nothing better than picking up the phone and asking the obvious. It saves all this speculation does it not?

Orchidlady Mon 07-Oct-13 13:58:53

squeaky don't think you are putting a spanner in the works, it seems to be what most people think. Sorry op but you seem to have ignored most people posts and still feel totally justified in sending scan pic and expected a reation.

Isetan Mon 07-Oct-13 14:26:24

I don't get it, in your own words "My DP's sister has always been cold and emotionally vacant" so why is her continued 'cold and emotionally vacant' behaviour such an issue now. She hasn't changed but it appears your expectations have.

"From some of the responses I've got it appears I shouldn't give a shit about dp's relationship with his family". Theres no need to be petulant, as for any 'weirdness' between DP and his sister that is for him to negotiate.

I didn't say you had behavioural problems but your expectations in relation to your SIL response to your pregnancy are not matched, accept it and move on.

In your posts you have called SIL cold and emotionally vacant, weird and having problems. Out of the two you your SIL sounds much more likeable.

pantsonbackwards Mon 07-Oct-13 14:32:04

She joined us for a weekend and hardly spoke to me or any of us.

But it sounds like she had always been like that. She wasn't going to suddenly change because you are pregnant.

I think you need to adjust your expectations on her, based on what you know already.

eurochick Mon 07-Oct-13 14:36:36

I could be your SIL. I suspect I have reacted similarly to pregnancy announcements, for different reasons, at different times in my life.

For years I had zero interest in babies and couldn't have given a shit if someone told me they were procreating.

Then something flipped a switch and I desperately wanted kids. Since then I have spent years waiting for my husband to be ready to try and then more years of suffering of infertility and a mc. I would probably have been out in the garden choking back tears too. I recently spent the weekend when we found out that our third round of IVF had failed with my BIL and SIL and their gorgeous toddler. I drove back choking back tears for three hours and then sobbed uncontrollably when I got in. It was like the "look at what you could have won" cruel bit of a game show. If she had followed that up with a scan picture, it would probably have tipped me over the edge.

cestlavielife Mon 07-Oct-13 14:40:25

babies related or not are far more ineresting once they born and say six months old and really responding ?
op i would guess you dont even have a massive bump so it's not like anyone can see anything to comment on.
your scan pic is as exciting as, well, her car pic is to you...

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 14:55:43

Isetan - but she is cold and distant. That's not a slur on her character, I am just laying down the facts. Please tell me where I said she 'has problems'.

And I know you didn't say I had behavioural problems, someone else did. I was also told that I shouldn't give a toss about his family relationships by someone else. I can't help it if I do. If that makes her the more likeable one, then I stand corrected on being narked about it.

Congratulations on your pregnancy cream

Could it be that your PIL essentially emotionally blackmail her into coming along to these weekend get together, suggest she should book into the same hotel etc. It could be that she is basically disinterested in the whole relationship - not nasty, but only being polite for her parents' sake, and her reaction to your pregnancy is an extension of the same.

Emailing you a pic of her car without any text is the only odd thing I can see about her behaviour if she's essentially disinterested and going along with keeping in touch to keep her parents happy, rather than because she and your DP have ever had a close relationship.

In all honesty I have nothing much to say to one of my sisters, we just have nothing in common, and strongly disagree on the only topics that we both have an interest in. It would be much easier not to see her. She isn't a horrible person and neither am I but really we only stay in contact because my mother is master of emotional blackmail and trying to micromanage people's relationships and lines of communication so that they look smooth from the outside. Perhaps your MIL or FIL told your sister to tell you/ your brother about her new car. Its something my mother would do - "Why don't you call your sister about X. It would make me happy if you did. Don't talk to her about Y (usually an elephant in the room topic), you know you'll argue, and that would upset me" hmm

All conjecture, but then this is just an internet forum where nobody actually knows the participants wink

*sister in law not sister

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 17:29:02

I probably should change my expectations. I kind of knew things would be like this.

I suppose this post is more about dp than me. I don't overly care that me and her aren't close (we'll never have much in common but we do like each other on the surface), but I would like her and dp/future baby to have a good relationship. As it is, they're not really speaking. And the whole family, mil included, are the types to brush things under the carpet, if we don't mention something it will go away, which is why I can't see this situation righting itself any time soon.

I do appreciate opinions of people not involved so I will try and accept it the way it is, and encourage dp to pick up the phone to her. And I don't want people to think I'm judging her on this one event. I haven't gone into years of history but I'm only fed up with her now after years of odd stuff/conversations (totally unbaby related). I'm just venting and really just hoping someone would say, 'yeah me too'.

Boomerwang Mon 07-Oct-13 17:36:17

Sounds like me when I was severely depressed. My brother's wife went into labour at 30 weeks and his new son was on life support for weeks but did I ask how they were getting on, at the very least? No. In company I often had a desire to be alone as I couldn't match anyone else's social competence. In restaurants I would hover on the border of a panic attack unless I stared at a spot on the wall somewhere.

Get her drunk and try talking then. Sounds like she needs help.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 17:46:11

Ooh Boomerwang, you put a different slant on things. I've never thought of her as depressed, but maybe. But then again equally it could be that she just cannot broach the subject of babies/children for trauma reasons.

Her behaviour has definitely become more distant over the years, but it could have coincided with all our goings on I suppose.

She also cannot stand physical contact. Sfil has commented that he's learnt his lesson of trying to go in and kiss her hello or goodbye. Mil also said the same, she no longer tries to hug or kiss her as sil is so uncomfortable with it.

Cream I only have a second but didn't want to leave this. My SIL and I are much more distant than I would like. I don't understand her either. You are not alone.

And to other posters - this is not AIBU!!!

Depression does not sound outside the realm of possibility either.

Boomerwang Mon 07-Oct-13 18:11:28

I couldn't do physical contact either. I couldn't pick up their first child when I visited them in hospital. I was afraid of him. He moved in his incubator and I jumped a foot in the air. My family never, ever hugged or kissed, or said the 'L' word. It was hard to start doing it as it felt very strange but I forced myself eventually, finding the courage to do it after not seeing my family for months. This was after I'd been on antidepressants for a while.

Earthworms Mon 07-Oct-13 18:49:40

Oh god I might be the sil here. Except i haven't sent anyone a pic of my car. I will do in future though. smile

I confess that though I suppose I like my sil, we are totally different perple. She is very nice, but We have nothing in common. Except that she married my brother, she isn't the kind of person I could ever imagine choosing as a friend. She, I think expected great excitement about her pregnancy, because it it she sort of thing that she would find an exciting and happy event.

I'm a bit meh. Babies are nice, but i live 100s of miles away.

Sorry op. I just don't think she's that into you!

piratecat Mon 07-Oct-13 18:59:17

cream, i know someone very like your sil, and it's very odd to 'get'.

it can make you feel upset, but tbh it really isn't worth hurting over. Congratulations, I hope your pregnancy goes well.

pantsonbackwards Mon 07-Oct-13 19:26:27


I always thought if i married someone with a sister it would be lovely as i don't have sisters so id get a ready made one iyswim. Unfortunately we are just sooo different. Im not a bigoted Sun reader for a start! Its a shame that we aren't close. We did in the past manage to be civil, but she started being quite horrible to me so now I've distanced myself and Im a lot happier.

I do think its a bit different to your situation as your sil sounds quite unusual with the staring at the ceiling etc, and depression or a social issue sounds likely. Perhaps discuss it with your dh?

UptheChimney Mon 07-Oct-13 19:28:20

Gosh, you don't like her, do you? Maybe she just doesn't like you? I'm sorry, but you really do come across as someone who expects everything to revolve around your pregnancy.

Calling someone 'cold and distant' isn't judging them? And what on earth is a maternal instinct?

One of my sisters, now with several children, so a mother, is very unmaternal. She was always a bit meh about the rest of ours' broods. She says now she's really only interested in her own children, because they're hers. She openly admits she's not really interested in children per se.

OTOH my best friend sadly (for her) didn't have children, but she is probably the most maternal person I know. She doesn't talk about it as it's really very very private to her, but she is an absolute natural with any child, and they know it.

Kewcumber Mon 07-Oct-13 20:22:31

I'm afraid my previously perfectly reasonable relationship with my brother has deteriorated since DS so hoping for a closer relationship after DC is pie in the sky I'm afraid in many cases.

Its not that I think you are unreasonable for wanting your DP and his sister to have a closer relationship but they haven;t and it doesn;t sound like they're going to. Disengage from it.

As Doris Day would say "Che sera, sera - Whatever will be will be" grin

mrswalker13 Mon 07-Oct-13 21:06:16

creamcarpet I have two SiL. Both behave in similar ways to yours: chat is always small talk, no big life stuff. I make a positive effort to include them - for example on my hen night - and often end up frustrated because I think they've had a crap time (don't talk to others, join in etc) But according to my MiL they love these events. They definitely love their brother but I've never seen them express it.

I think what I'm trying to say is I get it. I understand being irked by her reaction. But as many others have said, it is her reaction and you can't influence it. I'd tell your DH to keep up the contact. Hold the door open for her. She might surprise you, she might not. But by keeping the door open you'll be modelling the behaviour you want and in time, that's the example you'll want to set your DC.

InTheFace Mon 07-Oct-13 22:07:33

OP I think my SIL would probably say the same things about me (except that I might be younger than your SIL, and am married to someone younger than me).

My SIL is a vivacious, sociable, chatty, outgoing, warm, generous, open (unintelligent, blunderbuss, self-centered etc etc) woman. It's the best thing for my DB, and they are very happy together. It's lovely.

I am introspective, speak only when I have something useful to say, naturally averse to demonstrations of physical affection, measured in my thoughts, and mean everything I say.

The first time my SIL announced she was pregnant, I said "oh, brilliant news!" And that was it. It was brilliant news. "Brilliant" is quite a big thing.

I had shared my scans with my parents (as they wanted to see them), so my SIL did the same (with them and us). I had nothing to say other than 'good to know everything is as it should be'. I mean, what else is there to say that wouldn't be trite or more meaningdul coming from a doctor or my DB?

Some people just aren't effusive. I wish some people would be a lot less effusive, actually . Doesn't mean the sentiment isn't there. Just that people are different.

ImpOfDarkness Mon 07-Oct-13 22:25:15

I think you've had a rough ride on this thread OP. Your SIL reminds me of my sister. I don't expect gushing and fawning but it is hurtful when family don't even bother to feign an interest.

Canthaveitall Mon 07-Oct-13 22:55:21

She sounds a bit like my SIL. I have learnt to Ignore it. She is different and we shall never be friends so we are polite and respect each others differences. In my view she displays some very odd behaviour but I am past analysing and fretting over it. I give her as little as I can without being rude. Her and DH will never be close like my sister and I but that is in no way due to me.

I think you need to lower your expectations. This has been a massive help to me. My family are great with my kids but SIL barely acknowledges them. I now don't expect her to be interested and don't Chase her in any way. It's been cathartic.

People are just odd and sometimes that's it.

justanuthermanicmumsday Mon 07-Oct-13 23:17:09

I think the op has taken an unfair bashing here. I don't think she intended to assassinate her sil's character, she was simply trying to describe her behaviour and reaction.

I'm pretty certain I have social issues I think I have a fair idea how they were caused. But I hate being in large groups and being forced to speak. I hate small talk, although it needs to be done seems so superficial I can't do it. But I know this can be mistaken for being rude. I wouldn't blank people out, but I do have very few words, and think carefully before I speak weirdo right lol.

I tend to be reserved with emotions too but I do feel them all the same.

I think you should just invite her over for tea and be open with her. I suspect she may have issues other than social ones.

Btw congrats on your pregnancy I love children my annoying ones and other people kids too.

LessMissAbs Tue 08-Oct-13 01:52:39

Do you think she's playing a tit for tat game and waiting to reply for a couple of weeks, or does she just have a major behavioural problem?

I think she doesn't like you, and engages with you the minimum possible in order to be polite. tbh you don't come across as that likeable; you seem to think everyone should be the same as you.

Perhaps the SIL has a social circle outside her immediate family; I know I do. Personally, my SILs bore me; one of them is nice, the other not so nice, and I'm polite to them, but the thought of spending a weekend or a day or something with them outside Christmas fills me with dread. Because I want to do more things in my life than sitting indoors eating and talking about babies and cooking. Quite a lot of women feel like that actually and its surprising you haven't met one before.

ImpOfDarkness Tue 08-Oct-13 08:00:03

Maybe the other women she's met that feel that way are considerate enough to follow the rules of polite social interaction.

DeckSwabber Tue 08-Oct-13 08:29:42

Families are different and maybe your SiL comes from a family where people are not expected to be close. Maybe she worries about being intrusive. Maybe she finds it difficult to 'tune-in' to your family humour or conversation.

Maybe she thinks your family don't like her much and does her best to stay out of your way to keep the peace? What's her relationship like with her MiL?

If you get on on the surface, could you test the waters a bit by trying to spend time with her on her own, doing something that you might both like?

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 08-Oct-13 08:30:58

cream why does this matter to you?

diddl Tue 08-Oct-13 08:38:59

So, she was distant at a weekend, then got in touch & your husband responded by emailing a scan pic-now I find that odd tbh.

I think I would just have replied with "nice car" & left it to her again.

It seems odd to me that you are both so wound up by her when she is acting as she normally does.

LessMissAbs Tue 08-Oct-13 10:33:10

I wonder if she is trying to hint by her behaviour and the email that she finds the OP a bit self obsessed and dull? And is trying to remind her that other things in the world exists beyond babies?

Indeed cream why does it matter so much to the OP? She is pregnant, married, has a close family - what does it matter if her SIL is distant? Who is even that bothered about SILs?

I actually thought from this thread title that it was about a woman who wasn't accepting her own pregnancy. But it really is just all about someone not getting enough attention from one family member about her own pregnancy.

Emailing a scan to someone you are distant with is just plain odd.

DeckSwabber Tue 08-Oct-13 10:54:11

Emailing a photo of a car is pretty odd, for that matter, unless someone has specifically asked to see it.

ImpOfDarkness Tue 08-Oct-13 10:58:29

But the OP has said that she deliberately hasn't been on and on about it, hasn't plastered it all over FB, isn't expecting gushing. Honestly, not even acknowledging someone's miscarriage and then barely bothering with congratulations at the next pregnancy? I mean yes maybe she isn't fussed about kids herself, but given that this is her brother having what is clearly a much longed-for child, is asking her to show a polite interest really too much to ask? I mean how much off an effort is it to reply "aah what a cute pic" even if all you can see is a black blob?

OP, I'm due in two weeks with a much-wanted baby after fertility treatment. My sister has said she won't be coming to visit, it'll cost her too much. I don't want gushing either, but yes, getting less interest from my own sister than I am from random work colleagues is very hurtful. I totally get where you're coming from.

UptheChimney Tue 08-Oct-13 11:03:49

How on earth are other posters reading the SIL's behaviour as "odd"? She just doesn't interact with the OP the way the OP would like her to. Sheesh!

Maybe I'm your SIL? I have very little in common with my SIL, who is obsessed with shopping and brand names and rarely reads a book. What we have in common is that she married my brother, and they're very happy. She's pleasant enough and we get on well when we're together, and I adore my nieces. I didn't meet my SIL until after they were married (they live a long way away) and just about the first thing she said to me was that she was so pleased to be joining my family.

Well, hmmmmm... you married my brother, my dear, but I think I'll judge whether you're part of my bit of the family ...

That sounds harsh, but it's being honest. Of course, I didn't say that to her. I was friendly, adored her PFB, and we generally get on. But if she weren't married to my brother, I'd never have met her. We move in such different circles, and have quite different values. I don't know how she feels about me, and really, unless she's outrightly rude -- which I know she'd never be -- I'm not that bothered. She rarely asks me about what I'm doing, preferring to natter on about her DCs PTA, but it's a functional relationship, and I don't feel we have to be close.

flowerpotgirl12 Tue 08-Oct-13 11:07:13

Me and my SIL don't get on, we have zero in common, when we see each other we are polite but that is as far as it goes. I have no interest really in her life as it is so completely different to mine and she feels the same way. I don't get invited to their home or her birthdays or hen do but in the same vein she wouldn't be invited to mine either.

I am pregnant and obviously told the family, my db rang to say congrats but not heard a word from her and not mentioned when I see her. but with our history I wouldn't expect her too, I want to experience my pregnancy with people who give a crap and I wouldn't both trying to waste my time in engaging her when she has no interest, it wastes everyone's time and upsets probably both sides.

Let it go and accept your relationship for what it is, polite and mandatory.

LadyVJJ Tue 08-Oct-13 11:10:32

Great post Imp! I also think OP has had a rough ride on here. And in answer to "why do you care what SIL thinks?" It's not that easy to ignore! I made an effort with my DH's DSis because they are his sisters and he loves them. Simples! Congratulation cream thanks

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 08-Oct-13 11:16:18

I agree it is a little unusual - but it sounds to me like the SIL is trying to give them her news.

I have perhaps a similar situation with my SIL.

so far I have been to her hen do, pre wedding drinks, wedding, new house celeb, baby announcements, christenings, dcs birthdays.

(and the events are very much about her)

and you are under pressure to go to e.g. first birthday: you receive a save the date card months in advance!

i am very happy with DP & i/we are not the marrying type - never have been.

of course in her eyes - big news for me (e.g. new house) - is not big news for her.

it is fair enough for her to say a wedding is more important than a new house for her, to me it isn't!

i am getting tired of it. DP has a serious condition which used to be fatal but now is manageable but not pleasant and life long. she brushes it off and shows no sympathy or interest.

i do and say enough to keep the peace but that's as much as i can do.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 08-Oct-13 11:17:53

lady And in answer to "why do you care what SIL thinks?" It's not that easy to ignore! I made an effort with my DH's DSis because they are his sisters and he loves them?

but the op is not caring for her SIL..

DeckSwabber Tue 08-Oct-13 11:36:16

I think SiL's interest in her new niece/nephew is more of an issue for your brother than for you, but it probably goes back to the wider family relationships.

I didn't expect my brother to be interested in my kids when they were babies (we are not close), and even now most contact is initiated by his wife. He seems to regard time spent with his own teenage nephews as a massive favour on his part.

I on the other hand want a relationship with my younger nephews so I just get on with it and organise to spend time with them. Its my choice and I'm not obliged.

PeppermintPasty Tue 08-Oct-13 12:00:55

Am I spectacularly missing the point here?....I have a sister who didn't give a monkeys about me being pregnant. She has thawed a bit since the children have got older.

Perhaps you come from a lovely supportive family OP, who delight in your happiness? I wish I did-it's normal in my family for (my) happiness to be sneered at (by my charming mother and sister-for years), so maybe you're just expecting too much.

As you might imagine, I have never ever shared with either of them my history of miscarriages. I'd be met with blank looks, and maybe an "oh dear".

creamcarpet Tue 08-Oct-13 12:29:01

flowerpotgirl12 - You've just said that your brother congratulated you. So then why would my dp's sister not congratulate him?

What is her relationship like with her family - becoming more distant. I don't take her behaviour personally, she's cutting herself off from all her family. Her M feels like she can't talk to her either.

As for her not liking me - well she never misses a birthday and invites herself to stay with us (we have never had a return invite, we stay in a hotel).

Why did he send her a scan pic - because they have a habit of communicating in pictures not words. She sent a car pic with no words, not even a 'how's it going?'. I always try and encourage him to pick up the phone instead.

Do I bore on about babies and stuff - not in the slightest. I believe in communicating though and pleasant family relations.

The aspergers things - I didn't mention because I don't want people to think I'm leading to that conclusion. However younger brother has it and dp displayed symptoms when he was young, but was never diagnosed and doesn't display symptoms now.

Her other 'nice' friends - she's never mentioned any friends. She seems to spend all her time with husband.

Me calling dp's sis cold and distant - this is based on me making a judgement from having known her for many years. I feel qualified to do this. I haven't said anything about her on here that her own brother, M or D wouldn't say. Whereas, my character has been judged on the basis of one thread on in internet forum.

Why am I posting about it - because I was hoping for people to contribute who speak from a similar experience.

Why am I bothered - because it's causing a rift. I asked him to call her last night and he won't. Together with a physical distance between us I can't see a good outcome.

And that's it! I can't explain myself/correct misread information any more without writing a book. I am thankful for all the constructive comments though.

creamcarpet Tue 08-Oct-13 12:54:04

Oh and I need to add. Her seemingly lack of friends - this is another reason why I believe the whole family thing is important, why I am trying to be caring towards her, and why I think this needs sorting out. Hence why posting in a forum, for advice

PeppermintPasty Tue 08-Oct-13 12:57:31

I don't think you can sort it out though, can you? It sounds like the family dynamic, and maybe you just have to let it be? I mean, what exactly could you do? Having it out with her, or whatever, would probably backfire.

flowerpotgirl12 Tue 08-Oct-13 13:02:58

because he is my brother, he didn't ring up my partner and congratulate him personally, and in her own way your sil did congratulate you.

You just need to accept what the relationship is and stop trying to make it something it isn't. She is not interested, that is the plain fact, stop trying to engage her in your pregnancy and taking it so personally that she isn't.

LessMissAbs Tue 08-Oct-13 13:06:34

flowerpotgirl12 - You've just said that your brother congratulated you. So then why would my dp's sister not congratulate him?

Because they're different people?

Why are you so interested in this woman's life? It really sounds very invasive. How do you have time? Do you not have a job, friends, etc outwith the family nest to occupy yourself with?

Do you think that when she married your brother, she married into the family, Mafia style, and is forced to be friends with you when she isn't that bothered?

She doesn't sound that bad actually. She doesn't miss birthdays, she keeps in touch, she just isn't the same person as you. And why should she be? You can choose your friends but not your family? Why tie yourself in angst ridden knots about someone who quite likely has a perfectly good life? Its very controlling on your part, and you assume that everyone else would like to be like you, when the opposite is quite possibly the truth.

Alternatively, the only "solution" I think, beyond trying to change her personality with a frontal lobotomy, is to kidnap her, lock her in a room with baby scan photos until she formulates the required response. Basically your post is about the fact that you don't like her very much, and you wish she was different. Unlikely to happen, so get on with your own life and stop judging those who don't want to be Stepford Wives.

LittlePeaPod Tue 08-Oct-13 13:24:54

Op I really think you may need to accept that this relationship will never be how you would like it to be. You need to accept this and stop focusing on it. You and your DH need to enjoy time with the people that want to spend time with you. And just keep the relationship with your SIL at the distance it is. If she is there fine and if not, well whats the big deal. No point in forcing something that isn't going to happen. The more you push for this the more she will probably pull away.

I also don't understand why you assume she has no friends because she doesn't speak about them. She may well want to keep her lives / relationships seperated I certainly don't tell my in laws about my friends or what I get upto when their not there. None of their business. Even if she doesn't have friends, this may suit her. Its no ones business but her own. You seem to be focusing a lot of energy on your SIL.

I really am struggling to understand why you want to force this relationship. Let it go! Let her be who she is and move on.

creamcarpet Tue 08-Oct-13 13:26:01

She's not married to my brother!! That's it, I give up

ImpOfDarkness Tue 08-Oct-13 13:28:12

FFS, that is ridiculous LessMissAbs. It's not like she's demanding the SIL organise her a baby shower or go pram shopping. Expecting someone to have the courtesy to respect social niceties to the extent of congratulating expectant parents is hardly massively invasive.

LittlePeaPod Tue 08-Oct-13 13:28:39

Have you considered that whilst you are spending so much time stressing about this, talking to your MIL, DH and whomever else etc. Trying to push for the relationship etc. your SIL is probably happily getting on with her life?

ImpOfDarkness Tue 08-Oct-13 13:29:34

Op I really think you may need to accept that this relationship will never be how you would like it to be

That I do agree with. I hate to say it, but with people like your SIL and my sister, lowering your expectations is the only way to go.

THERhubarb Tue 08-Oct-13 13:32:51

creamcarpet YOU pick up the phone. How about that? Don't rely on your dp to do it for you. YOU pick up the phone, you say that you noticed she was quiet over the weekend and you wondered if she was ok.

That's it.

A small but simple solution. I understand she is not your sister but she is now part of your extended family, this issue is clearly bothering you more than your dp so the solution lies with you and it is really that simple.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 08-Oct-13 13:35:10

I really am struggling to understand why you want to force this relationship.

yes - I am too.

OP you are wanting her to behave in a different way - but she probably feels the same about you. this is not terrible! you are just different people!

stop making this into something.

DistanceCall Tue 08-Oct-13 13:54:40

Your husband's relationships with his family are his business, OP. It's good that you care about it and support him as he needs, but ultimately it's his business. Not yours.

If your sister-in-law isn't interested in your pregnancy, you can't force her to be. Nor can you force her to be polite or nice or anything, for that matter.

You say that she is cutting herself off from the family by leaving conversations, etc. It may be that she is socially awkward. But cutting herself off? Why don't you all just ignore her when she does that? If she's sulking, then she'll realise it doesn't work. If it's just that she's not interested in the conversation and cannot make small talk easily, then she won't mind.

I really think you're making a mountain out of a molehill here.

LessMissAbs Tue 08-Oct-13 13:58:07

She's not married to my brother!! That's it, I give up

Another tantrum in response? You can understand people's confusion, if you describe your DP's sister as your Sister in Law. While she might not be married to your brother, she isn't your sister in law either.

Now, if your husband was ignoring your pregnancy, you might have real problems. But I honestly cannot see what difference it makes to your life whether your SIL is somewhat disinterested in your pregnancy.

You're not one of those people who has a joint email account with their partner, are you? Otherwise, how do you know about the detail in the emails sent between brother and sister? Don't you have anything else to fill your time?

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 08-Oct-13 13:59:23

OP whats yours and your DHs relationship with SIL's DH?

do you think he is as much of the family as you?

UptheChimney Tue 08-Oct-13 14:15:25

Oh dear, maybe I'm just socially inept or unfriendly (actually I'm neither) but I really really cannot see what the OP is so upset about. And to me the OP comes across as very judgemental.

ImpOfDarkness Tue 08-Oct-13 14:20:27

While she might not be married to your brother, she isn't your sister in law either

huh? isn't your brother's sister usually referred to as your SIL?

Otherwise, how do you know about the detail in the emails sent between brother and sister?

Maybe he, uh, talked to her about it?

TheABC Tue 08-Oct-13 14:31:47

My BiL is just the same - no interest in his nephew, no "congratulations" sent when born, not even a single word spoken about DS when on the phone. It's as though DS does not exist. I find it annoying and hurtful (would it really have been so hard to send a text?), but I appreciate he is not going to change and I save my energy for people who do care.

ImpOfDarkness Tue 08-Oct-13 14:34:35

^ that should say DP's sister not brother's sister obviously!

KitZacJak Tue 08-Oct-13 14:34:38

I think it is a bit out of order not to sympathize about a miscarriage, especially as you are a family member and the baby would have been her niece or nephew. Also, it is strange not to show a bit of enthusiasm for a new pregnancy.

However, as you know what she is like it is just one of those things. I think you just have to accept her the way she is. It doesn't sound like she does it out of malice.

My brother has Aspergers and we know what he is like and therefore don't expect a lot in terms of social niceties. He doesn't have a partner or much of a social life so even though he can be a bit off we are in fact very important to him!

pantsonbackwards Tue 08-Oct-13 14:47:44

Peppermint. What a lovely mum and sister you have sad

DeckSwabber Tue 08-Oct-13 14:50:54

huh? isn't your brother's sister usually referred to as your SIL?

errm - that would make her your sister too.

The person in question is the OPs partner's sister.

pantsonbackwards Tue 08-Oct-13 14:51:58

There's a few posters on here who are determined not to understand op and are twisting your words as much as possible.

Unfortunately there are twats on the internet.

(wonders about a twat test for internet licence possibility)

Ignore. smile

ImpOfDarkness Tue 08-Oct-13 14:52:45

Yes, I corrected two posts later deckswabber smile

DeckSwabber Tue 08-Oct-13 14:53:39

Sorry Imp. Being slow myself today.

DeckSwabber Tue 08-Oct-13 14:57:06

She acted increasingly strange over the weekend, ie, sitting out in the garden alone while the rest of us sat indoors and chatted; and picking at food in the restaurant, looking at the ceiling and not saying a single word to any of us.

She sound very unhappy from this description. She does make some contact, enough to be polite.

I'd reach out to her if you want to be closer.

pantsonbackwards Tue 08-Oct-13 14:58:15

Another tantrum in response? You can understand people's confusion, if you describe your DP's sister asyourSister in Law. While she might not be married to your brother, she isn't your sister in law either.

Of course she's her sil! Loads of people don't get married these days but still refer to their long term partners siblings as bils and sils! You're just being pedantic and goady.

Not necessary, not the point of the thread, and frankly pathetic to pick apart little details about that because you've come to a conclusion in your head about what sort of person you think the op is and so now are picking on her. Not nice and bullying behaviour.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 08-Oct-13 15:22:29

on the general topic of ILs: people have different views:

1) my sil believes she became part of my family the day she married my bro.

2) dp & I have been together over 15yrs but I think of his dad/brothers as his family, not our family. I would not see marriage as changing that.

I like his family and we get on and I am not offended by the fact he matters more to them than I do. so if they want to talk/email him and not me - that is fine. I enjoy the contact I have with them.

on the other hand, my sil perceives e.g. me emailing my bro as excluding her. i perceive her as controlling and self centred and my bro as weak and respond by pulling back from both of them.

they think i am not interested in a relationship with the DNs. i think they don't show any interest in DP or I, so don't want us to have an actual relationship with the DNs, it just something they can say we are doing wrong.

InTheFace Tue 08-Oct-13 16:09:42

Huh? You said (7th line in penultimate post before this one) that "she seems to spend all her time with husband". So she is married or not?

I can't tell what you're after OP. Do you want us to say that her behaviour is wrong and yours is right?

If so, you will see a strong seam of posters who say she is just different. Which, by definition, means there is no right and no wrong.

Personally, I think you feel slighted by her aloof manner. You may not need to be the center of all attention, but I think you don't like being irrelevant, which it sounds like you largely are for her. The thing about DH being upset is a smokescreen: I am oretty sure that he would just let matters be if you didn't make this am issue.

cjel Tue 08-Oct-13 16:53:52

She was trying to get in touch by sending photo of car and you ignored? isn't that cold?
Her and her DH may be going through such awful times that she is depressed or struggling.
She did congratulate your dh she said 'thats nice'.

You were bursting to talk about baby at weekend but didn't and felt you had been good not doing that>
You and H sound as if you are children still. He ignored her when she was clearly unhappy at the weekend away instead of trying to see if he could help? and she had tried to make contact by showing her new car - which is what you said you used to discuss pre your baby, then he sent her baby picture and no words and moans because she hasn't answered him?
I'd say get a grip you sound like a self obsessed PITA.
I'd keep my distance if you were my SIL.

PeppermintPasty Tue 08-Oct-13 16:57:21

Ah, thanks pants. I'm a Stately homer, albeit a lurker for many months on that thread.

MN has taught me such a lot. My sister is under the FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) as far as my crazy mother is concerned. Mother, dear of her, put the phone down on me when I told her I was pregnant with my first child!!! Course, that was imagined by me, so she tells me these days grin

Ironically though, I get on very-nicely-thank-you with my SIL, her being no blood relation 'n'all.

The point is op, that you have to let this one go I think.

pantsonbackwards Tue 08-Oct-13 17:22:44

Peppermint. Oh yes FOG! I've been a visitor to statelyhomes. My dh has so much FOG he can't see his own nose.

PeppermintPasty Tue 08-Oct-13 18:37:38

Ha, direct him to that thread!! grin

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