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Why are they always together?

(87 Posts)
Ihatehashtags Mon 22-Apr-19 00:09:00

I’m guessing there will be two camps here on MN but long story short it really irritates me that every single time my MIL comes for a visit she brings her sister.

It’s not 50% of the time, it’s literally every single visit.(we live 2hrs from her) We aren’t close to her or her kids, and never have been and I find it really changes the dynamic of the visit.

MIL also never asks if it’s okay but just turns up with her. Her sister is okay but it’s just another bed to make up, another lunch to make etc. it also means that because of the extra body we (our family and MIL) can’t ever go in one car together so the MIL and the sister take a separate car if we go out and do anything. This is the type of thing I’m getting at when I say it changes the dynamic.

My MIL and I aren’t overly close and I think her sister coming all the time has a part to play in that.

It’s my daughters party tomorrow and Ive got SIL and her three kids staying and MIL and now the sister too! There actually isn’t a free bed. They also aren’t the types to offer to help with anything either.

Thoughts AIBU? I have a bit PMTish so it could be that as well confused

Floosey Mon 22-Apr-19 00:12:29

Maybe she needs the security. A lot of people don't go anywhere without their partner. You don't mention her partner so maybe her sister is the equivilent.

Annoying but it isn't going to change even if you kick up a fuss so just accept it as you would a partner.

Ihatehashtags Mon 22-Apr-19 00:19:31

@Floosey no she is happily married.

Ilovemypantry Mon 22-Apr-19 00:23:41

If your MIL is happily married to your FIL why don’t they come as a couple instead of the MIL’s sister?

Redskyandrainbows67 Mon 22-Apr-19 00:24:35

There’s something weird going on here.
Unless it’s for practical reasons like she can’t drive there’s something emotional. Is sister really your oh’s Mum?! Is sister lonely? Is mil not happily married and not actually told you?
Can’t you just ask mil?

Expressedways Mon 22-Apr-19 00:24:47

Maybe MIL doesn’t like coming on her own and the sister is your DH/DP’s aunt so you’re being a little unreasonable to object to her visits I think. However, what’s far worse and is so incredibly rude is that they don’t ask in advance and you get 2 guests when you were expecting 1. You may have to accept that they come as a package deal but your DH should have a word and say they’ve been inconsiderate and that in future can they tell you in advance if the Aunt is joining so you know how many beds are needed and can plan food accordingly etc. As for tomorrow, tell them there isn’t a spare bed and they can work out between them (since they’re all the same family by the sounds of it) who will be sharing or going home. It shouldn’t be your problem to solve.

SleepingStandingUp Mon 22-Apr-19 00:39:59

Why doesn't your FIL ever visit?

Weenurse Mon 22-Apr-19 00:46:06

Let them sort out sleeping arrangements. Good luck with the party

MitziTheTabbyIsMyOverlord Mon 22-Apr-19 00:46:35

There's so much that seems odd here. So, sorry for the questions, but..

Why doesn't FIL ever come on these trips?
Does MIL not much like children? Is MIL-DSIS fonder of them?
What's their relationship like?
What's your DH's take on it? Did he see much of his aunt when he was growing up? What does he say about their relationship?
Is there anything OTHER than you and your family? EG MIL and her DSIS live rurally and your family live somewhere with great shops that FIL wouldn't want to spend time in?

Just about the only concrete thing you've said is that bit about the two cars when there's an extra person. So could MIL be manufacturing some distance for some reason? But then, why doesn't she bring her DH (FIL/GP!!!!)?

The bedroom situation isn't your problem to solve as the MIL-DSIS wasn't invited. So she goes home (or they both do), or they share a bed (double or single???) or one of them is on camp bed/cushions on the floor or a sofa!

The priority is your DD's party.

Oh, and they COULD be helping out... just assign them jobs!

OwnerOfThatChocolateBar Mon 22-Apr-19 00:47:11

Damn rude. Your husband needs to tell his mother that the invitation to stay was for her and her only, not whoever she feels like bringing along.
It would be completely different if it was just meeting for a meal or something but to invite someone to stay/dine at somebody else's home is just bloody rude!!

churchthecat Mon 22-Apr-19 00:49:41

Does she ask to bring her?

What if there is no bed space?

managedmis Mon 22-Apr-19 00:52:43

To share the driving?

Rachelle11 Mon 22-Apr-19 00:56:58

Where is your fil?

LongTermHold Mon 22-Apr-19 00:57:34

Does the sister live nearby? And where is FIL? And what does DH think?

julensaor Mon 22-Apr-19 01:37:48

she loves her, she needs her, just accept it? She could be bringing a FIL along and you'd still have to make space for him, so, just let it go, maybe, the minute you accept that's the way it is, you might find the good in it.

PregnantSea Mon 22-Apr-19 01:37:58

Let her bring her sister, I know it's annoying but I think asking her not to would do more harm than good.

However you should causally tell her to bring a blow up bed or a camping bed as there aren't any beds free. There's nothing wrong in that.

Ihatehashtags Mon 22-Apr-19 01:45:14

@MitziTheTabbyIsMyOverlord haha yes there is a lot that is weird for sure!

Where is FIL? Well MIL is split from my DHs father but is remarried. He hardly ever comes. Not sure what he’s up to but probably tinkering in his shed or working on their garden.

My MIL is one of those that I think likes the idea of grandkids more than she actually likes spending time with them. They are really well behaved kids but she seems to find most things about visiting us annoying. Just to give one example she was annoyed their swimming lessons were so early so she couldn’t sleep in (they’re at 9am). I guess she is quite “it’s all about me” with most things.

No my DH didn’t see much of his aunt growing up, no she isn’t fonder/more invested in my kids than MIl.

My DH is an extremely laid back person who doesn’t notice much. He knows his mum is hard work but he hates conflict so would never say anything.

They live in a city the same size as ours with the same shops.

Yes you are so right! They COULD be helping but will try to get out of it. There is a long list of things I could tell you about her previous actions but basically she is very selfish.

Also I think my SIL is the golden child and MIL definitely prioritzes her kids over our kids, but they do live in the same city so I can kind of understand that.

MitziTheTabbyIsMyOverlord Mon 22-Apr-19 01:53:37

If it pisses you off, there's no obvious explanation and it doesn't benefit you, your DH or your DC then STOP ACCOMMODATING IT!

At the VERY least, make a few pass-agg comments... "oh, wasn't expecting both of you..." Tone of huge suprise "hello MIL-DIS - I wasn't expecting to see you" etc.

I LOVE that you've not got enough beds.

Let that one hang.

Just explain the problem ("ooops, not enough beds") and DON'T try and find the solution.
See what they come up with.

Extra points if it makes you laugh!

Ihatehashtags Mon 22-Apr-19 01:55:25

@julensaor well if she was helpful and didn’t expect constant cups of tea or actually brought a token bottle of wine with her (for example) I’d not mind as much. But she never does and is happy to have a weekend away being waited on and all expenses paid so to speak. My husband and I are both very busy. We work full time have three kids, a large country property that needs work in the weekends to keep it looking semi decent. To give you an idea of the type of thing they do, we moved into our house a couple of years ago, we were frantically cleaning and painting day and night for weeks to get it done before our carpet got put in. We had no power on, no toilet etc so I’d packed us a picnic basket, thermos etc. they both turn up bang on lunchtime. As did my parents who kindly bought pies and sandwiches with them because they knew we had literally been up all night painting. The MIL and Aunty bring nothing (except takeaway coffees only for themselves) , want a tour, and then act put out that there isn’t any food for them. My parents were so angry about it.

echt Mon 22-Apr-19 03:09:51

OP, your posts imply you haven't actually ever brought it the attention of MIL and SIL that they are out of order, so why should they change?


Alicewond Mon 22-Apr-19 03:16:29

It’s a bit odd, but then I come from a large close family, I’m fully used to and aunt visiting turning into a family reunion of second cousins. Maybe it’s a culture or region thing? I would see it as normal but others maybe wouldn’t. Maybe she thinks it’s normal, speak to her about it

blackcat86 Mon 22-Apr-19 03:19:02

It is quite disrespectful to just turn up with an uninvited surprise extra house guest but your MIL seems to have form for being thoughtless. I think that you need to start calling her on her behaviour and asserting your boundaries. Read toxic in laws by Susan forward

julensaor Mon 22-Apr-19 04:32:17

@Ihatehashtags, fair enough, trust me I know about unhelpful household guests who expect to be waited on when you have kids to manage and (their kids too) I guess you are feeling it this weekend with SIL and kids also staying. I was only responding to your initial question (let the aunt come and assume she will come from now on); the issue seems to be how often and guest or no guest cleans up, helps out etc. If they come say twice a year then I think I would just say nothing, but if more often:

Get your DH say to her, het mom could you and aunty x mind the kids so we can have a night, need some time apart from the kids and some time together?-would ye. mind mind having the place in good order when we get back because we might be hungover. We desperately need some regular nights out (or hashtags is leaving me)

Dana28 Mon 22-Apr-19 05:01:51

You wouldn't invite your mil without her husband would you, so just look at the sister as being an alternative plus one

floribunda18 Mon 22-Apr-19 05:32:00

An alternative plus one

It isn't a wedding.

MaybeitsMaybelline Mon 22-Apr-19 05:43:07

So they actually only come for a free weekend away in the country don’t they? You know, probably in and amongst their city breaks, or shopping breaks.

Only they have to pay for those.

floribunda18 Mon 22-Apr-19 05:49:25

I would stop treating them like guests and get them to muck in. So if they ask for cups of tea, ask them to make it, and make you one as well. Instead of them expecting to be fed, ask them to bring food or buy a takeaway.

ilikebeckerinmyoldage Mon 22-Apr-19 05:49:38

I'd start saying no when she asks to come stay. I wouldn't be making up extra beds, and I wouldn't be making them lunch. This should be up to your dh anyway. Id keep myself busy when she does come, if she asked about lunch/tea I'd say 'help yourself to the kitchen'. And then I'd head out.

Acis Mon 22-Apr-19 06:19:52

If the aunt has only just invited herself for the party tomorrow, surely you need to say What a shame, no beds, will you be staying in a hotel?

crispysausagerolls Mon 22-Apr-19 06:36:11


JenniferJareau Mon 22-Apr-19 06:37:36

It’s my daughters party tomorrow and Ive got SIL and her three kids staying and MIL and now the sister too! There actually isn’t a free bed.

What did MIL say when you told her there was no free bed?

MrsElizabethShelby Mon 22-Apr-19 06:50:10

How sure are you that she is actually your MIL sister?

Flyingaddict Mon 22-Apr-19 07:15:25

Have you ever asked her to just come on her own?

Dishwashersaurous Mon 22-Apr-19 07:16:00

Just say that there’s no space. Have you actually said that there isn’t room

itstheweekend2 Mon 22-Apr-19 07:17:02

How sure are you that she is actually your MIL sister?


Dishwashersaurous Mon 22-Apr-19 07:17:14

With some people who need to use words of one syllable and state very clearly what is needed. Eg on this visit mil can just you come as isn’t space for x

NancyJoan Mon 22-Apr-19 07:24:51

It’s definitely weird, or at least selfish and bloody annoying. It’s definitely not your PMT that’s making it so.

LongTermHold Mon 22-Apr-19 07:28:33

YANBU. But you have a DH problem.

Seriously, he should have spoken to her: about the sister; about the lack of beds; about the lack of contribution of food; about the lack of help.

Missingstreetlife Mon 22-Apr-19 07:51:59

Don't invite them, go to theirs for lunch. Learn to say no, and ask for what you need

Boysey45 Mon 22-Apr-19 07:55:54

Just scale back MIL visits and say you can only accommodate her not SIL and could she bring some alcohol and a dessert etc.
I think you need to put your foot down and put up some boundaries. I wouldn't be waiting on them hand and foot and its wrong that they don't either bring something or take your family out to eat.
Basically you are being used as a hotel.

SpeckledyHen Mon 22-Apr-19 07:56:29

I never understand these type of threads - why don’t you simply ask her why she always brings her sister along ? Better than asking a lot of strangers to speculate .
As for the AIBU aspect - no your aren’t BU in the slightest IMO . I wouldn’t want an extra uninvited guest turning up expecting to stay overnight .

Mememeplease Mon 22-Apr-19 08:03:54

Some people need very simple, but very direct instructions. I'd be doing that.

BookwormMe2 Mon 22-Apr-19 08:07:07

When you're arranging these visits, why don't you simply say that you can't accommodate the aunt on that occasion (or rather get your DH to, seeing as it's his family) and that you'd really like to see your MIL on her own. If she refuses or still turns up with the aunt in tow, send them to the nearest hotel and don't invite again.

Margot33 Mon 22-Apr-19 08:09:05

It's a little rude to bring an uninvited guest. Perhaps stop inviting her? Visit her instead? Be she asks to stay over just say sorry not enough beds and transport for your sister to come.

AppleKatie Mon 22-Apr-19 08:12:22

Is it as simple as MIL doesn’t feel up to the drive?

Constance1234 Mon 22-Apr-19 08:15:45

It sounds like this has been going on for a long time and as you’ve never said anything they probably think you are perfectly happy with the arrangement. It is odd I agree, but what is even odder is that you and your DH have been putting up with this for so long!

JessieMcJessie Mon 22-Apr-19 08:26:13

Why did she have to get up because your kids were going swimming?

Gwenhwyfar Mon 22-Apr-19 08:59:53

"Maybe it’s a culture or region thing? I would see it as normal but others maybe wouldn’t. Maybe she thinks it’s normal"

I don't come from a particularly close family, but I don't find it abnormal at all. The MIL comes with her DSIS who is DH's aunt and the DC's great aunt. It makes as much if not more sense for the great aunt to be there than MIL's husband, as he's not DH's father.
I have very fond memories of staying with my great aunt as a child and of spending time with my GM and great aunt together. She didn't stay over at ours, but she could have done as she could have shared a bed with GM if GD hadn't been there.
The issue with the car would be exactly the same if MIL's husband had come, wouldn't it? I don't see why that's such a big problem.

Gwenhwyfar Mon 22-Apr-19 09:01:21

"How sure are you that she is actually your MIL sister?


What? You think she's a secret lover? You think the DH doesn't recognise his aunt? This is a bit mad.

RB68 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:16:55

I bet its just for company on the journey and they have never thought about the impact on you at all

DuffBeer Mon 22-Apr-19 09:20:02

You have a nice big house in the country. This is why she is tagging along, cheeky mare. It's a nice little break away for her, isn't it!

Really your husband should be dealing with this, but that doesn't sound likely if he hates confrontation.

Just limit the visits to once every 2-3 months if you want to keep the peace. Or outright tell the sister via your MIL that she isn't invited if you don't care about offending them.

JessieMcJessie Mon 22-Apr-19 09:27:26

Does MIL-DSIS have family and GDC of her own?

woollyheart Mon 22-Apr-19 09:52:13

Tell them that they are family and it isn't a hotel, so they are expected to muck in. So, in future, they make their own cups of tea, contribute food/drink to the events and are expected to help with children.

That might make her sister think twice. It sounds great for them at the moment! Like visiting the wealthy relative at their country estate.

EL8888 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:00:03

I think that's odd and poor manners by them. Especially if they expect to stay over. The fact she won't ever help fuels my theory about bad manners -is that hard for them to do some washing up or refill some drinks. Your MIL and AIL sounds self absorbed and idle

femfemlicious Mon 22-Apr-19 10:18:10

I think its time for you to just speak up. Next time ask them to pop to the supermarket and buy some easy to prepare food. Ask them to babysit and then go out with your hubby. Don't make the beds simply put the fresh bedding on the vefs and they can change it themselves .

They are family and it's not a hotel.

MrsElizabethShelby Mon 22-Apr-19 10:21:00


*"How sure are you that she is actually your MIL sister?


What? You think she's a secret lover? You think the DH doesn't recognise his aunt? This is a bit mad.*

Not really. She wouldn't be the first or the last to have a beard.

Dh 'aunt' could have been around for longer than him.

MrsElizabethShelby Mon 22-Apr-19 10:21:22

Oh bold fail.

Singlenotsingle Mon 22-Apr-19 10:26:52

Tell her you've got a house full this time. They'll need to get a hotel or Airbnb.

Butteredghost Mon 22-Apr-19 10:30:37

It's a bit weird. Not sure what to advise as personally I would hate this! But your complaints seem to be mainly related to bed numbers and hosting wise, and for these you would be in the same situation if MIL brought her husband, which no one would say that was weird. So is the sister that much more work?

I think you have to put this back on your DH. This is his family. Leave all the bed sorting, food prep, hosting and MIL- complaints-listening to for him. Or only do as much as he would do for your family in that situation. If he then thinks it's to much work, he can bring it up with MIL.

Horsemenoftheaclopalypse Mon 22-Apr-19 10:37:39


I think it sounds awful.
I wouldn’t be actively inviting her round or encouraging contact.
I’d also have said SIL is coming there aren’t enough beds for you and your sister re: the latest visit. I also would not be giving up my bed for them.

I’d also stop making cups of tea etc and just show her where it is and say “help yourself”
All dinners would be cheap/easy stuff like pasta pesto and jacket potato and beans too.

W0rriedMum Mon 22-Apr-19 10:39:30

I think the real issue is that it's going on for so long, it's the norm.
I'd say your MIL is ringing her sister to say "Oooo we've been invited back for a party/picnic/weekend", and perhaps doesn't even realise her sister isn't invited.
You need to get it back to an invitation basis, and make it clear the invitation is just for MIL. Then you can specifically add in the aunt but only when you phone/text/mail her. Don't go back to having MIL as the middleman.

Thatsashame Mon 22-Apr-19 10:40:49

My nan brings her friend when she visits. Doesnt bother me. They know what space we have and cant magic up more. But nan doesn't like travelling alone in her 70s and my grandad passed away

Ihatehashtags Mon 22-Apr-19 11:15:31

Thanks for the replies everyone! They turned up today and hovered around the kitchen. Taking your advice I said “right well I’m going to jump in the shower then I’m heading out to do groceries ” help yourselves to whatever you like. They looked a bit crestfallen 😂😂

Ihatehashtags Mon 22-Apr-19 11:28:33

Yep the Aunty has family of her own and also has grandchildren too. It’s so co-dependent. And today Mil started asking me about a health issue I’m front of her sister and they both looked at me expecting me to answer. I just looked at MIL and said I’ll talk about it later then walked away.

MRex Mon 22-Apr-19 11:38:34

My DM will do this; I invite just her and she casually drops into conversation that there are 5 coming, having invited a sister, an aunt, a niece, my dad etc. She tries to bring food and they'll help lay things at the table, but they don't clear up. I'm now grateful that they don't all stay over!
One time I said very clearly it must be just DM coming, so she did come on her own, but she clearly wasn't comfortable and kept talking about everyone else, so I haven't tried that again.
Sorry, that's not helpful, but I can empathise that is annoying getting the extra visitors.

femfemlicious Mon 22-Apr-19 11:43:36

Ihatehashtags well donegrin.

You may find they may want to come round less now that it's not like a holiday in a hotel.

Also you won't even mind them coming now that you are no longer their skivvygrin.

Keep up the same energy!

Mousetolioness Mon 22-Apr-19 17:18:39

Ahhh... Could the issue be that you have a large country property?

And MIL and her sister regard it as a mini holiday, in pretty much the same way anyone who moves to the country finds themselves 'hosting' assorted friends and family who otherwise wouldn't make the effort to visit and who are happy to be waited on hand and foot (if they're selfish sods).

That's one possible take on it...

Flyingaddict Mon 22-Apr-19 19:16:55

So have you ever actually asked mil in private just to come on her own?

dragonara53 Tue 23-Apr-19 17:59:49

Why do people put up with shite from in laws? I've been married three times and there is no way I'd put up with half of what some of you put up with. I find all the excuses you write ranging from funny to ridiculous. If you soon like what they say or do then stop seeing them. There isn't a law that says you must have cf in laws at your house all the time. I'm a mil and I don't want to be at anybody's house except my own. But then I'm a miserable grumpy old bitch. 😂😂

Mitzimaybe Tue 23-Apr-19 18:31:43

Well done OP, keep it up. Bright and breezy and matter of fact. Don't wait for them to offer to help, give them instructions. "Right, we still have lots of things to do for this party. MIL - the balloons are over there, can you blow them up please? Aunt-IL, grab hold of the other end of this banner and hold it up while I fix it in position" or whatever.

Mitzimaybe Tue 23-Apr-19 18:33:10

Oh and if anyone is pandering to them then it needs to be your DH, not you. They are his family and if he won't put his foot down with them, then any inconvenience needs to fall on him, not you.

Yesicancancan Tue 23-Apr-19 18:36:25

Why were you, sorry how, were you up all night painting with no power on ?

ForalltheSaints Tue 23-Apr-19 18:39:31

Well done OP for making the first step. Your DH should be doing more, or indeed start doing something to end this though.

It may be company on the journey or kindness to a lonely MILs sister, or an excuse for the MILs new DH not to come, or any of the other ideas suggested. Regardless, it is not what you want and it is your home.

Downthecanal Tue 23-Apr-19 18:39:46

She feels the divide between you 100%

My mil is very similar

Alsohuman Tue 23-Apr-19 19:01:52

I'd assume as there's no FiL the aunt comes off the substitute bench and treat her according. Presumably if MiL had a new partner you wouldn't mind her bringing them, how is this different? And obviously they should muck in.

Tistheseason17 Tue 23-Apr-19 19:09:24

Well done for telling them to help themselves!

Romax Tue 23-Apr-19 19:26:46

But all the inconveniences you list would apply if she brought her husband. And you presumably wouldn’t begrudge that?

BingandFlop2019 Tue 23-Apr-19 19:31:15

But OP - WHYYYYYY haven't you said anything about her bringing an extra guest?

ShowMeTheKittens Tue 23-Apr-19 19:55:55

You would need to get your OH to do something. And it would cause a total stink. Maybe suck it up or make them subtly uncomfortable like having insufficient bedding . Or tea. Or heating. Or ask them to sleep in a tent. In the garden.Or take them camping and ensure it's a bad weekend.

Gwenhwyfar Wed 24-Apr-19 07:34:37

"Not really. She wouldn't be the first or the last to have a beard.

Dh 'aunt' could have been around for longer than him."

A beard that you pass off as your sister? Come on. People in the family would know the sister. There would have been people alive when DH was a child who knew them as sister.
This suggestion is just insane.
I thought the suggestion that the aunt was actually the mother was very EastEnders, but not impossible, but passing your lover as you sister for decades and nobody knowing...

missyfafa Wed 24-Apr-19 07:41:22

Crying with laughter that this thread is turning into a conspiracy theory about lesbian aunts and beards.

ralfeesmum Wed 24-Apr-19 10:40:37

"A couple of oddballs" doesn't even come close to describing this weirdy set up......

mummmy2017 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:03:24

So where are they sleeping?

UCOforAC12 Wed 24-Apr-19 11:38:48

It'll be for company. Which is rude and suggests you and your DH's company isn't enough.

You're playing a blinder keep going channeling your inner MN!

Ihatehashtags Wed 24-Apr-19 12:37:20

Hahaha everyone’s responses are cracking me up! I actually raised it with my OH and told him I think the whole thing is fucking weird, why isn’t his step FIL coming, why isn’t the sister hanging out with her husband, how the sister being there changes the vibe of the visit and how it was pissing me off. He agreed!! Next step is to decide what to do about it! Someone randomly asked how we were painting with no power. We borrowed a friends generator and we hired flood lighting.

woolduvet Wed 24-Apr-19 14:58:40

Where is aunt sleeping

ohfourfoxache Wed 24-Apr-19 18:57:00

Well done op grin

You never know.....get them to muck in and they might not come back!

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