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How to be supportive to SIL but also honest?

(10 Posts)
BlingLoving Fri 26-Apr-13 15:30:56

I've just reread this. It's long. I'm sorry. But if you can face reading it, I'd love any thoughts. And even if you don't, writing it down has been quite helpful.

I get on very well with SIL and consider myself very lucky that DH's sister is someone I not only like, but can rely on. I'm pleased to say that she seems to feel the same about me. our relationship works I think, because we do act and behave like sisters in that much as I genuinely like her and vice versa and we are supportive but we probably wouldnt' be friends if we weren't related, IYSWIM?

Anyway, she has a long term DP, who is also a very nice man. Not someone I'd be friends with usually, but I like him a lot and think he's lovely. But... their relationship is terrible. They love each other, but are intrinsically very different.

She's very family orientated and close to her extended family, even though she doesn't see them that much. She's got a professional career that has taken her years to build and achieve and she works very hard to build it further for both her own personal satisfaction and because she needs the money to pay off years of student loans. She is gorgeous and sticks to this with a regime that requires lots of gym time, which she genuinely enjoys.

He is kind and loving but he's a homebody - happiest when they're at home just the two of them. He likes to cook big, heavy meals and spend hours eating together over the table. He has a fairly physical job, but works his 37 hours per week and no more even though he also has some major debts that need paying off. He has little family of his own and while he's great with her family, he doesn't really want to spend that much time with them. He is lazy - has started a few things since they got together which have then just petered out, even though she has given him lots of support, both emotional and financial.

The problem is that for various historical reasons, SIL tends to take responsibility for failed relationships and the rest of her family are quick to blame her too. So whenever they have a fight because he's annoyed she's gone to gym or he's resentful that she doesn't want to eat the pasta with cream sauce he's made, she takes it on and thinks its her fault for being so "difficult". And when she finds herself frustrated with his lack of energy and drive, she thinks that she is a nagging bitch who doesn't have the ability to accept someone for who they are.

She wants a baby, and time is running out for her, but is understandably nervous about having one with him.

My problem is that I want to be supportive of her, and be there for her. But I also want to tell her to move on and dump him. Not because he's a bad person but because he doesn't have the same goals in life as her. But I know I can't really do this and I don't know what to do?

nenevomito Fri 26-Apr-13 15:36:06

So they bicker - thats normal. Having differenet personalities, views, goals and the rest is normal too. Keep your nose out.

BlingLoving Fri 26-Apr-13 15:38:01

It's not bickering Babyheave. It's full blown arguments that leave SIL in tears at our house or her DP locked in a bedroom and refusing to come out while on a family trip. It's deep seated resentment on his part that she doesn't spend enough tmie with him and equally deep seated resentment on hers that he doesn't support her career and her efforts to get them both sorted financially.

nenevomito Fri 26-Apr-13 15:43:48

My advice is still to keep your nose out.

DoYouWannaDance Fri 26-Apr-13 15:45:37

Don't really have any advice but I do understand where you're coming from. My sil is in a similar relationship, unfortunately it's with my brother and they already have kids! We work together and she often has a moan about him. I don't really say too much, just listen and nod!

Mollydoggerson Fri 26-Apr-13 16:01:19

Can you encourage her to see herself as a good, nice person and entitled to be annoyed, encourage her self esteem, which her family seem to run down. Can you support her without criticising him, work on her having faith in her opinions.

HeathRobinson Fri 26-Apr-13 16:24:58

Encourage her to freeze some eggs, extend her decision time?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 26-Apr-13 16:25:15

My suggestion is to point out that she does nothing but moan about her partner and perhaps they're just not compatible as people. It's not a lecture or telling her to leave him, just a home truth. If she's decided she's getting old, wants kids and he's not perfect but sitting in the right chair when the music stops... nothing you can do.

MinnieBar Fri 26-Apr-13 16:34:20

What about:

- suggesting she posts on here
- asking her what she does get out of the relationship?

Would she have counselling to help with her low self-esteem?

BlingLoving Fri 26-Apr-13 16:36:46

Listen and nod. That's pretty much my approach. And lots of reassurance taht SIL is a good person

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