AIBU - help with SIL as house guest(168 Posts)
I need some help with DH's family. Have name changed as this is outing.
Currently live with DH, DD (12), DS (7) and DN (soon 21). DN lost her mum to cancer aged 16, her mum was DH's twin. We became her legal guardians but she stayed with her best friend's family before moving in with us age 18 as she wanted to finish her education in the country DH and his family are from (12 hr flight, so not local). Whilst her mum was ill DH spent over 6 months of the year with them which I encouraged and supported and have no regrets (we didn't have the money for us all to go). After DN moved in with us we realised job prospects and transport links were limited and so rented out our own house (3 beds) and rented (4 beds) that meant DN was able to get a job in local city as good bus route.
Fast forward a few years and now DH's other sister (SIL) wants to get care work here. Working two week stretches with time off in between (don't know how much). She expects certainly some of that time off to stay with us. SIL is an alcoholic with bipolar, she can be wonderful but also tricky. She's been living with her father who told DH it had been a nightmare. In the 18 years I've known her she has never managed to be independent, always relying on a man to support her with sporadic work in between. I could write volumes but this is already lengthy.
Our home life: DH works crazy hours and essentially isn't here during the week and when he is he's working. I work full time at DS's school (term time only), hrs 8-4.30 (including short travel) and am also studying. During the week it is like being a single parent I do everything except walk the dog which DH does. I struggle with change /sharing my space and find it stressful having guests for more than a day or two. DN has recently acquired new boyfriend, I'm delighted as he seems lovely and she's so happy but that is another person in the mix!
DH feels we have to support SIL who is destitute but he's also anxious about how it will play out. He thinks I'm uncharitable being anxious about having her and not wanting it to be too often (the idea of coming home from work to someone other than DH, DN and our children fills me with horror! I know this is my problem and pretty unreasonable).
Aibu to ask for your advice on how to cope? How can I seem charitable but protect myself (I've never had MH issues but can see myself careering over the edge). How do you cope with someone regularly staying on your sofa? What boundaries should I set? I need help on supporting someone with MH but not for sake of mine!
If you read all that thank you and sorry, did not want to drip feed.
I don’t think it is fair on your children or you to move an alcoholic into the house.
Jeez. You’re not being uncharitable or unreasonable. Just say no. You literally don’t have the space for her in any case.
Just tell your husband NO it is bad for your mental health, family life and no doubt your marriage.
Why do you have to take her in at all. She is a grown adult who should be able to look after herself. Apart from the obvious reasons you don't have space. Your husband needs to grow a set and say no. You can offer to help her find her own place but I wouldnt go any further. You have enough going on.
I hear the Ecuadorian embassy may have a spare room now, perhaps she could stay there for a bit?
Thank you for reading all that!
So one of my boundaries can be if she drinks she's out?
Not having her at all is not an option.
This is an absolute NO from me. Think of how it will affect your children. They can't just pootle home and relax, they will be forced to hide in their rooms, your relationship with them will be distanced, your mental health will suffer etc. She's not your responsibility end of. Yes help her with advice for her condition, take her to appointments etc, have her over for pre arranged visits but anything else nope, not a chance.
Not having her at all should certainly be an option. Why isn’t it?
I think the 2 situations aren’t the same. You had a bereaved teenager to support and nurture into early adulthood and I assume the long term plan is for her to move out and become fully independent. You did a really good thing despite having your younger children in the mix.
This is not comparable to your SIL she’s an adult, she’s not your dependant, you’ve got your own children to think of, and that’s before you add into the mix the mental health and alcohol issues.
You’ve done a lot to support your in-laws and really you and dh should be thinking of yourselves for a while now dn is getting older/independent
It would be a no from me before the mental health/alcohol issues but tbh those alone would be enough for me to say no - it’s not fair on your dc to bring this into their lives.
I thought if someone had health issues we should help them out and at least give them a chance (there's NO WAY I would let her compromise my children). I think DH will insist on us helping at first (he says I have no idea as I've led a privileged life which is somewhat true).
I am so glad people think I'm not uncharitable, I really thought I was being a horrid person.
No boundaries, just NO
that would seriously tip me over the edge
Support is having her over for dinner once or twice a week
If she drinks, she’s out needs to be spelled out and stuck to. You are actually helping an alcoholic drink if you let them manipulate you. You help them by strong boundaries. I know this as I’ve been sober for 6 years. A family member isn’t and has been removed from my house due to drinking. It puts your children at risk. Have a look at enabling. You need to be so careful. Personally, I wouldn’t but if you have no choice please be careful xxx
You have 3 children who you have to put first.
Of course not having her is an option! You already have a houseful. Don’t allow her to stay, it’s as much your house as your dh’s and this for me would be crossing a very serious line. Her own father says it’s been difficult living with her. Why should she be allowed to impact on your and your dc’s lives? She’s an alcoholic. I think it’s time to put down your foot, OP.
Are you scared of your dh’s reaction if you say no?
Where will SIL sleep? Or to phrase it differently, which of the kids shares with the alcoholic?
Berthat - that is how I feel. DN was starting life and had been through a great deal. When she got home after her last trip home she said her half sibling may want to move over here when they become an adult. I expect we'd be in a similar situation but I'd welcome them as they have had a similar rough start.
I think DD will move out before DN as she's very settled!
No, sorry, you should be able to say no to this. You've said not having her at all is not an option - what has your husband said about this then?
No! No! No! Will she be helpful? No, she'll be an extra burden and she'll cause problems. Will she get a job and contribute to the finances? No , highly unlikely! It sounds as though this is a cultural thing in DH's family, to move family in? Well, it's not the culture here.
Cheeeysoup - not scared as in threatening. He's just said no and that I've no idea what it's like. He made me feel uncharitable.
Is she moving from another country to the one where you are living? Would she even be allowed to come and work there?
If shes an alcoholic then it's only a matter of time before shes going to cause a problem. And then what? Is your dh really going to kick her out ? Nope, you're going to be stuck with an even bigger problem.
If her own father said shes a nightmare to live with, then ask your dh why should you have to put up with her.
This will cause greater issues for you and your family life if she lives with you. Nip it in the bud now and make it clear to your dh.
Possibly a bit of a cultural thing.
She has a British passport.
If she's on form she could be helpful.
Fuck that! Tell your damn husband if he's so dead set on this asinine idea then he changes his career around so he works nights/weekends whatever to accommodate the family member he wants there-notice how his suggestion makes you and the children take on the bigger burden while he's noticeably absent? Is this the example he wants for your children to emulate? Put your foot down and don't be a doormat someone needs a level head in your house and he isn't being one
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