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Can I improve relationship with SIL/PILs after I did awful thing?

(56 Posts)
CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 16:25:49

Have NC. I have written this post and deleted lots of times- finding it v hard to post and trying to keep it short and not put in too much stuff to justify myself.

When I was at sixth form college I had a horrible boyfriend and low self esteem. I also had a male friend (MF), who confided in me his girlfriend (I'll call her Sarah) was pregnant- he was panicking. We got drunk and slept together. It was a horrible thing to do and I wish I could give my 17 yr old self a shake. Everyone at college and in my town found out, including Sarah- I become a social pariah and was v happy to leave town and go to uni miles away in the north.

A year later, MF came to the town where I was studying, for work. His DS had been born, MF was still with Sarah, and he would go home to visit them on weekends. However, they found long distance too hard and split up after a year. Sarah lived v near MF's mum, and saw her daily, and was v close to other family who were of course v involved with DS, their grandchild, and MF kept returning to hometown to see DS regularly.

When MF had been single for about 6 months we got back in touch and began dating. After a few months MF told his parents and sister we were together. Sarah found out, and understandably was v angry. She told MF's sister what I had done years before. Things were very difficult, but after a couple of years of me dating MF, Sarah agreed I could meet her DS (then 4).

Years later, MF and I are now married (I'll keep using MF though for continuity). We have DS EOW and are happy- DS and I get on well. However, Sarah is of course still a big part of the family and very close in particular to SIL.

My worry is that SIL doesn't like me, because of what I did to Sarah all those years ago. She is pleasant but there are lots of small cutting remarks (inc Facebook, sorry), or things we are left out of. ILs are generally a very close family, who holiday together etc, and I/we are treated noticeably differently.

My fear is that my relationship with SIL is ruined forever, and that MF is left out of family things because of me. I also worry that when we have children they won't have the same relationship with their cousin that my DSS does.

Can I do anything to try to repair things with SIL? I am so sad and angry with myself that maybe I ruined my relationship with my in laws by one stupid night in sixth form

JennaRoss Fri 20-Nov-15 16:27:57

Wow so it wasn't a great thing to do but you were 17 - IMO they are being a bit ridiculous

Tournesol Fri 20-Nov-15 16:31:04

Why don't you suggest to SiL that you go for a drink and just tell her xactly what you wrote here?

What you have written is very heartfelt and hopefully she will see that people do silly things when they are young but now you make her brother happy and you want to have a good relationship with her.

Good luck!

Namechangenell Fri 20-Nov-15 16:31:15

MF (your now DH) is the one they should have an issue with, if anyone. You were the free agent at the time (and you were only 17!), he was the one who cheated. Sounds like you and MF were sort of destined to end up together. Hopefully you can all get along and move on. But they def shouldn't be applying double standards. He was a cheater, you weren't.

KeepOnMoving1 Fri 20-Nov-15 16:32:16

You were only 17 but that really was a terrible thing to do, and now you're back together so they might even think how convenient. Sorry that doesn't help but you know first impressions do last.

Preminstreltension Fri 20-Nov-15 16:33:20

Agree with Jenna. MF didn't cover himself in glory either but somehow it's reflecting more on you.

It sounds like this was years ago - I don't think you need to feel under the shadow of it all these years later.

CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 16:33:31

Namechange, thanks but I wasn't free- had the horrible boyfriend. Although I don't feel guilty for him- he was genuinely awful awful awful (rape, EA etc) - just glad to be shot of him.

Epilepsyhelp Fri 20-Nov-15 16:34:08

How absurd that she and they are still holding this grudge. You need to forgive yourself and hold your head up high - it was a teenage mistake and you cannot keep feeling dreadful about it. You weren't the reason they broke up, you didn't have an affair, you made one mistake.

His family sound unreasonable on this issue and if I were him I would be having a very serious conversation with them.

eloquent Fri 20-Nov-15 16:34:10

They are being very harsh on you. As others have said, he was the cheater, not you. Although, I'm not sure I'd want to be close with such a family.

CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 16:34:20

Keepon I know and that's exactly what's happened- but can I do anything do you think?

ILiveAtTheBeach Fri 20-Nov-15 16:34:53

Oh blimey, why would they care all this time later? Are you absolutely sure that's the reason? Couldn't the distance be a factor? I take it the family were all at your wedding, and if so they can't be that mad at you. Everybody makes mistakes in life. You were 17! And if anything, MF was more in the wrong than you. He cheated. You didn't.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 20-Nov-15 16:35:42

How as the wedding?

CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 16:37:12

Everyone who says it was a long time ago- I know you are right, but I feel like it is still affecting stuff. And I think it's easier for SIL to blame me than MF- I think Sarah must have blamed me not MF as well. I don't mind taking the blame, I was a very stupid teen- but just struggling with knowing how best to act going forward.

CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 16:38:53

Wedding was fine. They are a very middle class family- everyone is civil and polite all the time. No rows allowed. That's why (IMO) the digs are very subtle. I also don't think a "frank" conversation woul go down well because they don't really do emotions/confrontation.

CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 16:40:06

I guess my real qu is- if you felt your SIL had done something awful, is there anything she could do to redeem herself?

KeepOnMoving1 Fri 20-Nov-15 16:42:35

I think you just have to accept that this is how they choose to behave and they might or might not change their minds. Yes it's not nice that they have kept a grudge but given the circumstances and you are now married they might have come to their own conclusions. Also maybe they feel more protective of Sarah as she is the mum of their gc.

Buttons23 Fri 20-Nov-15 16:46:21

If I had a sil who slept with my brother when he had a pregnant girlfriend I have to be honest I would find it hard to like her or my brother! Mind you I think our mum would murder him first. It's a shitty thing to do, especially if you are genuinely friends with the other woman.

However it has been some time and I would accept that the brother made a mistake and has now married the woman. It's a difficult situation, I can understand where you and other posts are coming from but then I can also understand the sil.

Just keep it light and friendly, your sil will get over it. Perhaps your oh should have a chat with her. Regardless how she feels, you are now part of their family and so will your children be when/if you have them.

RatherBeRiding Fri 20-Nov-15 16:48:21

If they are holding a grudge after all these years then I think that his family, SiL in particular, are just rather childish and not very pleasant. There's not a lot you can do to change that particular mindset. I would just continue to be pleasant and friendly towards them but don't get too involved with them. You could respond to all the cutting remarks by asking SiL, very wide-eyed and innocently, to explain what she means. "Why do you say that SiL?" with a big smile. But that's what I'd do because it might lead to an even bigger rift but me - wouldn't give a damn if they are being so petty. Might not be a brilliant idea if you think you can improve things with them.

Is your DH aware of an atmosphere? Is he bothered about being left out of "family things"? If not then try to let it wash over you. Block her on FB and disengage.

CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 16:52:33

Buttons I don't dispute it's a shitty thing to do, but to be clear I wasn't friends with Sarah (not sure if that was what the end of your first para suggested).

It's interesting that some people clearly see exactly where SIL is coming from and others are taking a different view- I guess I know I did a shitty thing, but as I can't undo it probably all I can do is keep trying to be a good family member to ILs.

itsmeohlord Fri 20-Nov-15 16:53:44

How long ago ware we talking - surely they can get over this by now and move on.... You were 17 for God's sake, little more than a kid.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 20-Nov-15 16:55:12

I suspect They are a very middle class family- everyone is civil and polite all the time. is your reason.

Some people struggle communicating with people that they know have breached the social code. For a very middle class family, cheating is quite possibly seen as being not the done thing, and they may struggle to be more than civil to you because of that. Cheating when you both had partners, and one was pregnant, probably makes it worse. You were young, and it's almost irrelevant now, but they may feel that it demonstrates a fundamental difference in values, morals and behaviours.

I had a boyfriend with a very middle class family who didn't warm to me, even after eight years, because my parents were abusive and I was in foster care. They just don't see that as being "normal", it's not part of a life that they want. They were civil, but detached.

Buttons23 Fri 20-Nov-15 16:55:49

Could no I actually meant the sil being friends with Sarah.

CouldClarissaExplainItPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 17:00:45

Ahh I see Buttons, sorry.

Anchor I fear you may be right- can't give details as would out myself, but friends suggest that other factors like class difference play a part- I just can't get past the fact that it comes down to what I did though.

Lauren15 Fri 20-Nov-15 17:05:13

If that were my brother and sil, I'd understand we all make mistakes when we are young. As long as you are warm and polite to your ILs and treat your dh and his son well, which you clearly do, then they have no right to have a problem with you.

Whatevva Fri 20-Nov-15 17:06:00

I think you need to forgive yourself and not read anything into their comments, however meant.

You can't change the way they think and it will do you no good to go round trying. Put it behind you. SIL holding onto other people's hurts for ever is her problem.

As others, have said, it is MF who cheated, they were young, it was not a good relationship to bring a baby into which they are both responsible for etc etc. There are lots of faults. All round. Don't take them all on and be a doormat/scapegoat.

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