Was I right to offend my Sister in Law?

(468 Posts)
DiamondsAreGirlsBestFriend Sat 23-Oct-21 17:58:50

I am ten years older than my sister in law. She's married to my youngest brother. I've known her for about 20 years. They got married about 15 years ago. I met her parents at the wedding for the first time, so I have known them since then, but known them well for the last 10 years. I have always got on with SIL, although we don't have much in common we will exchange pleasantries and be polite when we meet at my parents house and at family get togethers on my side. I can't imagine we'd have ever been friends other than the fact she married my brother, but my brother and her seem happy.

Ten years ago DH and me were househunting. SIL told me of a house across the road from her parents that was going to be coming up for sale. We went to visit it, fell in love with it and managed to buy it without it having to go to an estate agent. So we became neighbours with my SIL's parents.

We got on well with her parents, particularly my DH who is a Manchester United fanatic and so is SIL's dad. So they hit it off.

About 2 or 3 years ago, SIL had a falling out with her parents, particularly with her mother. She never came out right and told me but it became really obvious when her visits to her parents stopped. She told my mother a little bit about it (very little) and my mother told me the small bits and pieces she heard. I knew things weren't rosy between my SIL mother and my SIL. None of my SIL's siblings speak to their mother and my SIL was the last one of her siblings to fall out with her. I don't know if she talks to her father anymore, but all I know is that she hasn't been around theirs in over 2 years. And hasn't been round ours either because she hasn't been coming up this way. Her husband and kids haven't either.

SIL's parents haven't spoken of this fallout either. My brother, whose married to SIL has kind of 'referred' to it without coming outright about it. But I am aware that something's gone down and there seems to be family estrangement between SIL, her parents, the siblings. All a bit dysfunctional it seems.

Last Christmas in the pandemic I asked my own mother what was my SIL and my brother doing for Xmas. She told me that they were staying in their own house. So I decided that lump that, I am asking her parents over to my house on Xmas day. They came over, had a great time, no harm done.

Since then, SIL has been a bit frosty with me. It's subtle but there is a definite cooling off or frostiness. My brother, her husband, said she was very hurt that I had decided to "getting into the middle of family business between her and her parents", that I had "taken sides", "interfered where I shouldn't have" and "caused SIL to have a very upsetting XMas day"...that "her parents were at yours purely because she (SIL) didn't invite them to her house". Essentially I am getting accused of interfering.

Am I wrong? I have no regrets. Last Christmas I thought "sod that" and asked them and gave them a nice dinner. If there own daughter isn't going to invite them to hers, then why shouldn't I step in? I am thinking of asking them again this Xmas to mine. Should I feel guilty? My DH loves talking ManU with SIL's father, they get on very well despite the age gap.

What are your thoughts on this? I am the unreasonable one or is SIL?

OP’s posts: |
zurala Sat 23-Oct-21 18:01:06

They're your neighbours and you like them, you can ask whoever you want to your house. I think she's being weird. How does it affect her?

MissConductUS Sat 23-Oct-21 18:03:46

It affects her as she sees it as taking sides in the dispute, which is daft of course. YANBU.

DiamondsAreGirlsBestFriend Sat 23-Oct-21 18:04:24

@zurala I don't know. Does she feel I have replaced her or that I am showing her up for not going to her parents house? Why should she have a monopoly on who her parents are friends with. It's like she feels that if she isn't friendly with her parents then I shouldn't be either, maybe?

OP’s posts: |
girlmom21 Sat 23-Oct-21 18:04:57

You being friends with them and them being her parents are completely unrelated.

You don't know what the family issues are so you're not getting in the middle of anything.

Not everything is about her.

IveGotASongThatllGetOnYNerves Sat 23-Oct-21 18:05:20

Tbh if all of your children have removed you from their lives the odds are you have been a seriously shitty parent.

In your shoes I would say to sil I am not taking sides. I actually have no idea what has gone on. Nobody has told me the history here and I haven't asked because it is not my place to ask.

FFSFFSFFS Sat 23-Oct-21 18:05:30

You are being so unreasonable!! You feel that you have the right to judge her for not inviting her long er for Christmas!!?? You have no idea why they’re estranged!!! It is totally not your place to “step in”!!!

There’s no reason to stop talking to your neighbours - but you have way crossed a line here!!


DiamondsAreGirlsBestFriend Sat 23-Oct-21 18:05:46

I should add also that she found out last Xmas they were coming to mine from my mother, who let it slip. Her parents hadn't told her. But that shouldn't matter should it.

OP’s posts: |
Disfordarkchocolate Sat 23-Oct-21 18:05:56

YABU. She's right. Without knowing what has happened you publically supported her parents.

Neolara Sat 23-Oct-21 18:07:32

I think you probably should have realised that asking your sil's estranged parents for Xmas dinner was potentially going to be seen as making a point of some kind. Even the way you have written it here (If there own daughter isn't going to invite them to hers, then why shouldn't I step in? ) suggests that you don't approve of her actions. I imagine you don't know the details of why sil is no contact with her parents. I think you have very publicly taken their side against her and I'm not surprised she is hurt.

Luckytattie Sat 23-Oct-21 18:08:21

Well would you have invited them if they were "just" neighbours?
I don't know why you had to invite them to yours for Xmas. I do think it crossed a line tbh.

LittleDandelionClock Sat 23-Oct-21 18:08:55


I am on your SIL's side @DiamondsAreGirlsBestFriend If I was her (and your brother) I'd be quite hurt.

I think she is understandably hurt and feels betrayed. And you don't sound like you care a whole lot.

It does sound like you have taken sides, and tbh I would be giving you a wide berth if I was her.

KayKayWat Sat 23-Oct-21 18:09:30

Her reaction is somewhat predictable but it's not up to you to define your friendships based on her quarrels.

CagneyNYPD1 Sat 23-Oct-21 18:09:42

You have every right to ask who you want into your own house, Christmas or not.

But, something about this situation really doesn't sit right with me. All of the siblings have fallen out with their parents over the years and are now all estranged from the parents. All the siblings, not just your SIL. Does that not make you think that this might be really quite serious? And if so, you could be opening some very deep wounds for your SIL by having such a close relationship with her parents.

Motnight Sat 23-Oct-21 18:10:14

The red flag is that none of your SIL's siblings are in contact with their parents.

It's absolutely your decision to stay in contact with your neighbours. But this of course is going to impact on your brother and SIL. You must see that. You have clearly made your choice (by inviting them for Xmas you actually put yourself bang in the middle of it all).

Luckytattie Sat 23-Oct-21 18:10:58

You've basically made yourself a busy body and have taken responsibility to host these people but I don't buy it's out of the goodness of your heart.
You've done it to be some kind of hero/rescuer.
Sounds like you have issues tbh.

DiamondsAreGirlsBestFriend Sat 23-Oct-21 18:11:00

@luckytattie to be honest we are friendlier with them than we would have been purely because they are kind of related to us through SIL. Otherwise we wouldn't have been living in that house, let alone been socialising with them in any way as there's quite the age gap

OP’s posts: |
Luckytattie Sat 23-Oct-21 18:12:38

You didn't buy the house because of a semi distant relationship with your SILs parents.

RandomUsernameHere Sat 23-Oct-21 18:12:51

You're completely within your rights to ask them round, but this definitely comes across that you've "taken their side".

Sh05 Sat 23-Oct-21 18:12:58

Just have it out with her. Tell her the truth that as you don't know what's happened between them you don't see why you should stop inviting neighbours to yours.
Whatever's happened is between them, they are your neighbours and have become your friends and she can't control your friendships.

Monsterpumpkins Sat 23-Oct-21 18:13:36

Isn't it school age appropriate behaviour to fall out with someone just because someone else has?
Op surely can make her own decisions who she spends time with? If the deal of the fall out was so bad sil should have told op...if it had any consequences to op. If not, not her circus etc...

TidyDancer Sat 23-Oct-21 18:15:44

I would see this as inviting your neighbours round for Christmas dinner rather than anything else. But the estrangement in the family may be based on serious stuff that they don't want to discuss, so it might be harder for your SIL than they are willing to explain. You haven't done anything wrong, but you should bare in mind that there's likely to be a very good reason all the children have nothing to do with the parents.

1FootInTheRave Sat 23-Oct-21 18:16:39

They're your friends and neighbours independently of sil by the sound of it.

Don't like the way you justify inviting them 'as their daughter didn't'.

Also, bigger issues at play considering that all their children are no contact.

I think without context it's difficult to say. I'd be conscious that there may be significant issues that you are unaware of.

DiamondsAreGirlsBestFriend Sat 23-Oct-21 18:17:59

OP here - yes I know that there are serious issues in the family and have been privy to some over the years, but not specifically what's gone down between SIL and her parents.

OP’s posts: |
User27569 Sat 23-Oct-21 18:18:01

YABVU. There was no need to stop talking to them or seeing them but to invite them for Christmas if a very public declaration to your entire family. You have interfered in her business - you should not have got involved. Now you've already soured your own family relations once, you might as well continue to make them worse though and you sound determined. Your poor sister in law.

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