to wonder if I can rescue this family relationship?(18 Posts)
To cut a long story short... Before DH and I got married I got on really well with my SIL, in fact I've been with DH 20 years. For most of that time she was single and hung round with us. Then seven years ago she met her (now DH). When she met him I had just had DC1 - but we had moved out of London and she still came to see us quite a lot. After a year they got engaged, and around the time she told us she 'wasn't trying but wasn't not trying' for baby with him. Then a few months later they get engaged and that is when the shutters come down, at family gatherings she suddenly becomes hostile towards me. When I asked how the baby making was going (I was attempting to be sensitive as I have friends who spent years and £s having IVF) she cut me off and told me she wasn't trying for a baby until after they got married (when she would be 40) In the meantime I have our DC2; I had asked the question because being totally idealistic thought it would be nice if we could try and have babies together so the cousins were the same age. Believe me - I was really really treading on eggshells when I asked.
In the meantime she is quite aggressive towards me at family dos - completely different from how she was with me before..
Anyway she and her DH then went to a fertility clinic (they didn't share the ins and outs) but a few months later she was pregnant with her DC1. She then started trying for DC2 and sadly had has had several /mc (she is mid 40s). Thankfully she is now pg with DC2. Now, thing is I am hoping that after she has DC2 we can be friends again. Last week I demaned that DH talk to her and find out if I had upset her. Her reply was that I was a bit 'bossy' at family dos and sometimes talked down to her. DH thinks that is BS but he didn't say anything to her; he says I'm extremely placid and in fact she picks on me. I'm not very assertive hence asking for MN opinion! Thing is - is this relationship with SIL salvageable - I go a bit OTT now trying to be nice and coax a conversation out of her. But we have a big family do this year and I'm going to have to work with her. How do I cope. I feel a bit sad and wondering what I can say to make things right. Maybe I need to speak to her.. Or maybe my efforts to be extra nice are silly?! She has tried to meddle with my relationship with my MIL (her mum) as I get on very well with my MIL and FIL -while she hardly sees them; could that be the problem. WWYD?
Of course it is impossible for us to know how you come across in family meetings. But that whole thing of wanting to try to have babies together- I'd have been very uncomfortable with that even if there hadn't been any underlying issues (as there may well have been for your SIL). It sounds very full-on, not least if you asked in front of other people.
Cory of course I didn't say that!!! That was what I thought - and why I asked her (as we were actually trying for DC2 anyway). Goodness no - I think that's a red herring in my post. Just some background and explaining that I did feel close enough to her to think like that! I simply asked her if she was still trying for a baby or wanting to hold off until the wedding, she had seen my morning sickness and how bad it was - and we talked about that!
.. and how it wouldn't be great to have morning sickness when you are preparing for a wedding....
I think that 1. You should get this moved to relationships and that 2. You should let her know that you want to repair the relationship. Perhaps take her to lunch one day?
It could be that whatever fertility issues they had caused her to change towards you. It sounds like she told you about the not trying but not preventing in the excited expectation that she'd probably fall quite quickly.
In the event that she didn't but that they didn't tell you the full picture (not that there was an expectation too) you probably put your foot in it along the way, not intentionally but just in conversation which hit a nerve. Perhaps the 'how's the baby making going' question was the straw that broke the camels back for her.
I don't think it was necessarily unreasonable to ask as she had told you in the first place but obviously it hit a nerve.
I think I'd just contact her and say I'm sorry if I've ever hurt your feelings or been inadvertently insensitive and id love to be friends like we used to be once again.
And then leave it with her, stop creeping to her. If she can't say actually you did x and just wants to be off with you then don't feed her drama
You say you arent bossym but you demanded your dh ask her what the issue was. It doesnt sound placid.
The talk of babies probably pissed her off if she was dealing with possible infertility.
I have to say (i know you didnt day it to her) but i find hoping you can plan babies at the same time a bit odd. Is it possible you come over a bit intense? And this is the problem.
Yes Mimi she had told us she wanted a baby just a couple of months before - and then she got engaged and that's when she went funny on me. All before I made the 'are you still trying?' question.
She also claims to DH she 'can't be bothered with small stuff (she used another word which I won't write here)' yet has picked on me for things I have said - comments about the price of cameras - which were most certainly small stuff. I'm going to stop the 'creeping' though, no good for me... and makes me feel small too.
I agree with Kate this may well be the problem. But do I understand correctly that she has been off with you for 6 years? What is her DH like? How did she try and meddle in your relationship with her parents?
kate this has gone on for years and I finally said to my DH 'please please ask her what I have done'. She was the one who was talking about babies...
I know of other friends who hoped to get pregnant together - but they didn't discuss it with each other at the time. I supposed it could be creepy but I wouldn't even think of such a thing now i'm older and wiser and have comforted friends through fertility issues. I am asking how I go forward, not backwards...
She told my sister that my FIL had told her he thought I hated him. This was told to my sister in my back garden days after having DC2 - I had had a c-section and was on the mega painkiller stage/with sore boobs.
My sister thought it was the oddest comment. My FIL is strict with DC1 and we have had friendly debates on it. My sister only told me about this when I asked why SIL would be so off with me. She said this is weird but maybe you should know and told me what SIL said. I brooded on it for a while then asked both MIL and FIL if they thought I hated them, FIL said 'what the? I have never thought that.' thing is I was never best buddies with SIL, because we are different personalities but we did get on. I will be honest, she is three years younger than me and she has always been very hard to get along with, it's just that when we were younger I was a lot more like a desperate puppy wanting to get along with everyone and at that point we were friendly. Maybe these are her true feelings and she has only tolerated me so far. Her DH is competitive but very quiet. He never says hello or goodbye, and seems very shy. The reason I'm, upset about this is because my own family have been split by an inheritance issue 9on my dad's side) and I guess I'm looking to my DH's family to fill that void. Which can't be done really can it. You can't choose your family and maybe I have to accept that, suck it up and move on...
She sounds difficult in general and what she said about your FIL was just weird. Is her DH competitive regarding money, lifestyle etc? I don't know your circumstances but could there be a bit of jealousy on his part? Anyway, you have a great relationship with your PIL and you won't change your SIL so I'd stop going out of your way to be nice to her and just be polite when you meet.
As someone who had suffered infertility I am afraid your "how is the baby making" comment would really pissed me off especially coming from someone pg and complaining about their morning sickness. Likely you have been much less sensitive than you think.
I would leave it, she isn't your number one fan but there hasn't been a major fall out. Be pleasant when you see her at events and leave it at that.
I also think you may be coming across and somewhat intense and also intrusive. I have this problem with a relative who always wants to put herself front and centre of anything out of the ordinary that concerns me (especially if I'm upset, troubled, worried etc). She doesn't think about what I might want - only what intends to do for me - whether I want her to or not.
The idea of someone wanting to have a baby 'with me' would be, quite frankly, horrifying. I would suggest you need to let her set the pace. You asking questions about what you've done to upset her, how to make it better it again etc - again - for me - would make me run in the opposite direction.
I like personal space and personal privacy. Maybe you overstepped hers?
2014 I made that comment/question 6 weeks after she said she 'might' be trying for a baby, I didn't ask her if she was pregnant just that - as she had subsequently got engaged and planning a wedding - would she be still wanting to get pregnant (I was mindful of the fact she was 39 but I said nothing and just listened). In fact I tried to be sensitive and let her 'off the hook' by saying hopefully you wouldn't have morning sickness like I did when I got married. The other thing is that I have PCOS. My SIL came to the hospital with me for check ups a couple of times (I was a guinea pig for trials of whether certain contraceptives/diabetic drugs). The tests were to see if the drugs (used for other things) would improve my hormone levels. I wasn't trying for a baby, in fact I was 25 and offering my body up for experiemental treatments. Thing is she knows about all that. It - she willlingly offered to come with me and we would go for a drink afterwards. I did in the end get pregnant easily with both DC - but only because I was so aware of my own cycle!!! My sister said to me she thought it strange SIL never asked for advice from me (I never ever offered it!) having seen the treatments I had. I was always open about them.. Anyway - if I pissed her off then I'm starting to think she has a problem with life and not just me...
TwitterQueen maybe - but she doesn't think twice about telling me how to do my job and how to parent, in a much more bitchy and under hand way. I' think though also my MIL is telling me how she worries about her, because they don't speak much and maybe I've adopted some of that and have maybe appropriate my MIL's role with her? I am really close to my MIL - so yes I'm backing off now!
You have asked via your husband what the problem is, you've had an answer. Leave it now.
mouldy yes - I know. I think what has happened is that all the issues with my father's family has meant I'm now piling expectations into other parts of my life and trying to fix them - when there is nothing wrong. I have a lovey DH, two healthy children, a great sister, nieces, nephews and my dad is not so bad.. Making problems where there are none!
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