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Sister marrying an arse, is there anything anyone can say or do?(46 Posts)
This may be more of a vent than a question as I strongly suspect that nobody can do or say anything but I'd value any other opinions or viewpoints all the same.
My sister, 34 going on 17, has two kids (2 and 6 months) with a man she'd only been with for 6 months when she found out she was pregnant. He seemed ok at first, bit rough and ready but generally alright, but has since started to show true colours. I am wary of giving too much detail so will be as vague as I can - he's a tradesman but has had no proper work for over a year. He did some for us, then some other members of the family and it was a nightmare. Think attitude, lateness, unprofessional and unreliable. Between us this overpriced 'work' cost just under £10,000. He also seems to fall out with all the suppliers etc too from what I can gather. Add to this he lies to my sister about why things have gone wrong which then causes problems as she gets arsey with whoever it involves (as he would do anything for anyone apparently - haha!)
To cut a long story short, she is determined to marry him. More so after attending our step sisters wedding (think they are just thinking of the big day rather than what they are actually doing tbh.)
Nobody in the family likes him with the possible exception of my mother, although I strongly suspect she isn't really that keen but tries more due to the kids. I think he's on the make myself (he clearly doesn't make himself employable and has previously made badly disguised comments about what our parents house us worth along with numerous other examples.)
I am sort of, with increasing reluctance, going along with their wedding plans (of which he appears to show minimal interest, its all via my sister) as I think telling her what I, and everyone else, think would simply push her away. She has to realise herself I think, but if anyone can think of a way to speed up the process id be hugely grateful!!
I think it depends how close you are and how likely she is to write off any warnings as jealousy/interfering/not underestanding what a smashing chap he really is etc. If you've always had an open and close relationship, then you should definitely try to be frank about your feelings (the chances are she won't listen) but anything less than that and she definitely won't take any notice and it could cause a rift.
Having been there, done that and got the t-shirt... I would say something. Say it reasonably rather than in a heated argument and say it the once rather than harping on about it. But, whatever happens next, whether it pushes her into his arms, she stops talking to you or whether they split up, your conscience will be clear.
My mum asked me a fortnight before my wedding if I wanted to cancel, was I sure I was doing the right thing? She was very calm and non judgy about it. I didn't take the advice and the 'out' (how much now do I wish I had?) but didn't resent her for it.
She waited until we got divorced to tell me that she wept when we got engaged .
Sadly I think you are right that if you say something then she will just cut you off. She clearly cant or wont see this man for what he really is, and as you say, is focussed on the big day rather than the marriage.
I think that all you can do is plaster on a smile and be there for her when he buggers off.
I wish my family and friends had told me how much they disliked my ex, it would have made it much easier to leave him. I was unhappy for ages. We had a house but no kids (thankfully). Everyone saying what a nice chap he was made me think I was unreasonable to not want to be with him.
Looking back now I can see he was emotionally abusive, but didn't really know about that at the time.
Wouldn't it be better to be cut off from this train-smash?
Ooh spooky, my sister did this down to the dodgy workmanship, but fortunately no kids. She was also his cash cow with an excellent job herself.
Just had to wait until they got divorced tbh. I think they lasted about 10 years but marriage only lasted about 4.
I'm not helping am I? I just really don't think there's much you can do. She knew deep down I couldn't bear him I think. Verbalising that would have just caused a rift I suspect.
Thanks everyone. Some very helpful viewpoints.
I get on well with her but we are not especially close. Very different types of people I suppose, interests outlooks etc.
I think telling her will just make her implode rather than be remotely sensible or rational (I do appreciate however that it would be a hard thing to hear though.) As I mentioned, she doesn't behave like a 34 year old professional who's also a mother of two, she's more like a teenager who flies off the handle and / or bursts into tears. However, can I sit there and watch them get hitched...?! (And why the fuck did I offer to go dress shopping - what an idiot!)
cognito do you mean me cut off from the train smash...?
Bogeyface's concern was that if you say something she might cut you off. I think that's a risk worth taking. Plaster on a smile and keep lying to the poor cow and, in some small part, you're responsible for the blood & snot-filled train-smash that is inevitably going to happen. Say something and she'll probably still be in the carnage... but at least you can say you were honest with her.
I wish I could work out if she suspects he's taking the piss / rude as everyone says he is and so on or not. I suspect she would be all defensive about him and ratty with everyone else.
Talking would DEFINATELY cause a rift unfortunately. I am now wondering if it would be possible to get her to realise things by herself (I wondered about this before when she kept asking me - I used to work at a wedding mag - what invites and so on I liked, I kept asking what HE thought but it turned out each time he wasn't interested.)
Once it's said, it's said. That's the beauty of the truth. No matter how defensive, ratty and rifty she gets over it, it's out there. She won't wake up to this chancer by herself because she's got her desperate bridal goggles on and she's not listening. But one day, like a lot of us up-thread, she may not actually thank you for your honesty, but she will be less annoyed with you than with all the simpering, lying, confetti-throwing, so-called friends that said ... 'he's a lovely bloke, babe!!!'
Hmmm.... Need to think this through
Oh, and there are barely any friends coming to the wedding anyway as he falls out with everyone, and so subsequently she does too. It's mainly family but they are, I suppose, in similar quandaries as me. Makes us all sound like a lot of timid idiots doesn't it? I'd like to think we are not, it's just some things are harder to bring up than others. And what good would it do anyway (to bring things back to the original question.)
No wise advice, except that I am watching a similar train crash in front of me.
I feel too strongly to pretend. So I've had to take the only avenue open in my case: which is to say, quietly, that I do not endorse or support the relationship. I won't be participating in any weddings.
So he is persona non grata to me, but if my family member wants to go ahead and be wife number xx, she's free to do so, without any further interference from me.
I'm not suggesting what I'm doing is good or right, it is just the best I can do in my circumstances. In distancing myself it also means that, when she realises what the problem is, there is someone she can come to who loves her, and has not fallen for his 'great guy' act.
How you act though, depends entirely on your family, your nature, and how you read the situation.
Needless to say, some aggression has come my way for failing to toe the 'nice' line.
"he falls out with everyone, and so subsequently she does too."
A feature of abusive relationships is that the dominant partner will gradually isolate their victim by offending friends and family, making themselves unpleasant, picking fights and setting up false 'me or them' choices.
When you tell her, therefore, make it clear that, even if she throws a strop and cuts you out of her life, you're available if she ever needs you. Keep that 'EXIT' sign lit for her.
It's not as volatile as your situation sounds, this is more of a drip drip drip. He is making less and less effort but is, relatively, ok with my sister and the kids. He is cocky more often than outwardly rude, although he has had his moments there too.
When he was doing work for us, for example, he said he was coming on, say Monday morning and wouldn't be there by 12. We'd text and ask where he was if he was still coming and get 'no ha ha' in response (not great when you're paying through the nose, or even if you weren't.) Then my sister would get her knickers in a twist as she'll hear we are being unreasonable and demanding.
I agree with the pps who recommended raising the issue calmly and then not again. Sure, she probably won't listen but it may sow the seeds of doubt in her mind.
Apparently everyone in both families and all our friends knew or at least suspected that exH was a workshy alcoholic fantasist. No one even mentioned it. I certainly don't blame any of them for my own mistakes but I lost a lot of respect for everyone who knew and didn't try to warn me.
You can't, she'll realise in her own time, it could take years. Your story pretty much describes what happened to my sister and I am so glad I never got too involved, telling her he was an idiot wouldn't have made any difference, she still would've have married him and I suppose so will your sister.
You just need to be there for her when it comes to an end and in the meantime be as supportive as possible without telling her how to live her life.
'Sistersaurus, rubbishfiance falls out with lots of people doesn't he? And there were all those repeated misunderstandings when he doing that work for the family... Do you think that's just chance, or do you think he behaves in difficult ways? If someone had doubts about him, because they love you and want you to be happy, would you want to know?'
I dunno, something like that?
I think I would say something along the lines of 'DS I love you dearly, and want you to be really happy. I will do anything I can to help you, and that means helping plan your wedding, and trying to make sure it's the day you dream about. But you need to know that I think you're making a huge mistake in your choice of partner. I know you don't want to hear that, and hope that time will prove me wrong, but I don't believe it will, and I will always be there for you'.
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