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to be really uncomfortable about this?

(105 Posts)
poetscorner Tue 23-Nov-10 09:29:12

Have namechanged just in case....

DH's sister died just under 2 years ago. She was 40 and married. Everyone coping OK with it (as much as you can anyway). BiL met someone else which we are very pleased about. He rang this morning to say he will be coming to visit just before Christmas. Only he said 'we' not 'he'. He's been hinting at bringing his new lady to visit for a while, but has never actually come out with it before. There wasnt a question from him about whether we would find it acceptable or even difficult, only about whether we'd be at home.

Neither my DH nor I are particularly close to him, he lives hundreds of miles away in Scotland, although I hope we have been very supportive of him during the grieving process. He's a nice enough guy, but I think this is a huge ask of us (as does DH). Would be more than happy to see him at family functions and keep in touch, but as for bringing his new partner to our home, nope. DH feels uncomfortable about it, I feel uncomfortable about it, and how on earth will the poor woman feel?

Dont think he has much insight into how other people feel about things at all as he blithely told me that he wanted to introduce her to 'MiL' (as in late wife's mother). When I said she (MiL) might find that really difficult, he couldnt see it at all.

Should we just say yes to this visit, when actually I think we really want to say no? And if we say no, how on earth do we do it?

PS just to emphasise, its not about wanting him to remain single at all, its just that DH was really close to his sister, and I was too. Pleased that he is moving on but dont want to be particularly involved in them as a couple. Does that make any sense?

CrazyPlateLady Tue 23-Nov-10 09:35:21

Is he coming to stay at yours or just popping in for a visit?

If he is coming to stay, tell him it isn't convenient to have guests at this time as you are very busy and you are also uncomfortable having someone to stay that you don't know.

He is being a bit insensitive seeing as your DH was close to his sister. Do you still keep in touch like that with BIL? I can't see your MIL being happy either. He doesn't really think does he, that his dead wife's family may fell awkward about this!

kreecherlivesupstairs Tue 23-Nov-10 09:36:41

Why would you be having your BiL over for Christmas. I can understand it if he was your DH brother, but your late SiL? It all sounds a bit strange to me TBH.

poetscorner Tue 23-Nov-10 09:40:49

Coming for the day CPL, but to be honest, I think we'd feel the same either way. Have said I'll let him know for definite later in the week whether we are around (obviously wanted to talk to DH first) but I think he will keep pushing it in the future if we just make an excuse this time.

He's not coming for Christmas by the way, its just before Christmas.

Unrulysun Tue 23-Nov-10 09:41:32

I think you should be honest with him. And you personally are probably best placed to do that as you're not a blood relative.

You've already suggested that MIL might not be comfortable with this so you could call him and say that actually you've done some thinking and, while you're happy for him and want to see him, you don't think dh is ready for this and in fact he might never be ready for this.

YANBU - there's no obligation to grieve in a certain way, no time limit and no obligation to have people in our lives.

ttalloo Tue 23-Nov-10 09:43:15

YANBU - it sounds a bit odd for him to want to introduce his new girlfriend to his dead wife's family over Christmas.

TotorosOcarina Tue 23-Nov-10 09:45:32

I don't understand why he is visiting?

If he was your DHS brother then yes of courss, but his late sisters husband bringing his new partner confused

I don't understand why he would want you to eet her?!

I'd just ring him and tell him your christmas plans have changed and you won't be able to accomodate him this year.

TotorosOcarina Tue 23-Nov-10 09:46:09

*meet her

fel1x Tue 23-Nov-10 09:46:33

It sounds like he thinks of you all as part of his family still and he still wants to be close to you and probably just assumes you will be happy that he has been able to find someone to love again.

It also sounds like you and your DH's family are coming at it from the opposite pooint of view. DH's sister was part of your family, not him and now SIL is sadly gone, you dont want him around or his new GF reminding you of your loss.

Its very sad all round. I think if you really dont see him as family then its best to be blunt and just tell him as it sounds like he thinks aa lot of you all (and still thinks of MIL as his MIL etc) so it would be cruel to just keep putting him off and stringing him along tbh

fel1x Tue 23-Nov-10 09:48:15

I suppose I am putting myself in his shoes. I am very close to my DH''s family and have been part of their family for over 12 years. If anything were to happen to DH then I'd hope to still always be a part of their family iyswim

earwicga Tue 23-Nov-10 09:51:00

Well yes, I think you are being a little unreasonable. The chap obviously still thinks of you all as family. I would think he is feeling guilt for 'moving on'. I think he wants to travel hundreds of miles to get a sense that you all approve of what he is doing. He didn't stop being a member of your family automatically when his wife died.

stretch Tue 23-Nov-10 09:53:32

Agree with fel1x.

madonnawhore Tue 23-Nov-10 09:53:50

I don't understand what everyone's not understanding.

He wants to keep contact with his late wife's family which is perfectly normal and nice, but now he's in a new relationship and wants to include his partner in pre-Christmas socialising.

Two years is a very respectful time to have waited before finding a new partner. I honestly don't see why you wouldn't just be happy for him and welcoming towards his girlfriend.

My dad is in your BiL's position (similar time frames too) and I would be very very upset with my mum's side of the family if they displayed a similar attitude to yours towards him and his partner.

Can't believe I'm the only one who thinks YABU.

Vallhala Tue 23-Nov-10 09:54:33

For some it works, but that is, I think, dependent on the strength of relationships before the family's loss.

My Nanny had a brother, Jimmy, who she lost in the 1940s when he was just 22. He had been engaged to Dink and the couple and my then courting Grandparents used to spend a great deal of time together. When Jimmy died, Dink kept in touch with my family and in time met Arthur, whom she later married. All their lives Dink and Arthur were part of our family and regular guests to family events, despite the lack of blood relationship, and both were much loved.

If there was a similar closeness with BIL I would feel sad for you all that he and you didn't feel able to continue that and some good come out of the tragedy of an early death, as we experienced, but it's far harder in your circumstances.

Perhaps the answer is to rule nothing in and yet nothing out? To say that you feel it is early days yet, you hope he understands and that you are as a family still grieving and find it all hard to come to terms with, but in time, well... who knows?

Weta Tue 23-Nov-10 09:54:48

Not saying you shouldn't feel uncomfortable as I think we all feel differently in these situations, but just wanted to give another perspective.

My aunt (blood relative who my immediate family were very close to) died 10 years ago and her husband fairly quickly got together with a divorced friend of theirs. We all still consider him part of the family and are really pleased that he is now able to enjoy his freedom after my aunt's long illness, and consider that his new partner has also joined the family.

It hasn't been an easy process for her, and his daughters found it difficult to begin with, but for the rest of us it hasn't been that big a deal.

I suppose it would also depend if there were children - and therefore cousins/nephews/nieces involved ?

If he's always been Uncle BIL then he's probably keen to keep that relationship going - a little bit of contact with his late DW's family, people who will remember her birthday like he does, her silly mannerisms etc. It's almost nice that he is reinforcing to the new woman in his life that he did have a wife and her memory and family is important to him.

Perhaps you should let them have this visit and then it will give you the justification you need to stop future visits or even encourage more !

CrazyPregnant Tue 23-Nov-10 09:55:22

My aunt died a few years ago and her husband hasn't met someone new yet, so although I don't know how I would feel being introduced to someone new I just wanted to say, I think it's quite sad to see all the comments along the lines of "why is you BIL coming to see you, he's not your DH's brother"- as if a life time of being family through his marriage to your DH's sister means nothing. I think of my aunts husband as being part of our family- as do the rest of my family. He was our uncle/brother in law/son in law for 25 years of marriage to my aunt- why should he not be considered family anymore just because she died?

2blessed2bstressed Tue 23-Nov-10 09:55:39

On the other hand - he was part of your family while his wife was alive, and I think it's actually lovely that he still wants to be part of that family. Do you and your dh have children? Is he not their uncle any more?
I can quite see why you might find it very difficult, and he is being thoughtless, but perhaps if you had a proper chat about it, you could clear things up about how you're all feeling.
I just think it's a shame that he's basically being shunned now, when perhaps he's trying to maintain a bond with you all as a link to his wife. Maybe without realising, he's looking to you for approval about his new partner?
If his marriage was a happy one, he's possibly trying to recreate that, and being part of your family was a big part of that.
I hope this doesn't cause you pain.

poetscorner Tue 23-Nov-10 09:55:57

felix thats not really how it is. Yes I think he still sees himself as part of our family, but we actually do still see him as part of ours and we are all genuinely pleased that he has met someone. Its not a case of not wanting him around, I think you're being a bit unfair. He has been to stay with us since her death, and we have spoken on the phone regularly. I think/hope he would say that we have been very supportive. Its just that in terms of him and his new partner we feel uncomfortable with being part of their new family life (he's going to move to live with her and her children). Its hard to explain, but hopefully you can see what I'm trying to get at.

As I said, we are all fine with him having a new love, thats good news.

CrazyPregnant Tue 23-Nov-10 09:56:54

lots of cross posts saying the same thing as ine! Too slow!

NotAnotherBrick Tue 23-Nov-10 09:57:40

I think YABU. Why should you feel uncomfortable about it? Do you all think he should stay single for the rest of his life because his first wife died?

Thank goodness my step-sibling's mother's family didn't feel this way about my mother, my brother and me!

I think you're being very unreasonable and not in the slightest mature or grown up about this. Of course you'll find it hard, but that's no reason for him to stay away and/or hide his new girlfriend from you.

warthog Tue 23-Nov-10 09:58:04

i think he still feels a big emotional bond with you all and he's seeking your approval.

i understand where you're coming from.

i think the best thing is to talk to him on the phone and just say how you're feeling. would meeting somewhere neutral help? if so, suggest that.

2blessed2bstressed Tue 23-Nov-10 09:58:39

x posts with lots of people blush took me a while to figure out what I wanted to say.

NotAnotherBrick Tue 23-Nov-10 09:58:42

X-Post - I still think you're all being entirely unreasonable. If you're happy for him to have another girlfriend, why can't you be happy to meet her?

madonnawhore Tue 23-Nov-10 09:58:56

If it's serious enough for him to be moving in with her, and you want to keep him as part of your family then you're going to have to deal with his new relationship sooner or later.

Are you just going to ignore the new woman forever? Will you only ever see him and not her? This refusal to acknowledge what is obviously a massive new part of his life doesn't seem very healthy to me.

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