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do I offer support to my SIL even though she hates me? Or do I say nothing and keep out of it?

(20 Posts)
wannaBe Tue 07-Oct-08 17:16:37

bit of background.

SIL (dh's sister) has never really liked me. It didn't really become apparent until we had a row concerning ds about 5 years ago (have posted about this before) but even before this I think there were signs she never really liked me. Suttle things like I didn't get invited to her hen weekend, even though she was bridesmaid at my wedding...

But after this row we never really had a relationship. If she calls to speak to dh she doesn't really speak to me if I answer the phone, we don't see each other apart from once a year or so so there really is nothing there iyswim. It was only recently that dh said to me that she never liked me from the start (we've been together for 13 years).

I have nothing against her, I do think she can be a bit shallow and selfish and although she has trates I don't like I don't dislike her iyswim.

Anyway on Sunday she rang my dh to tell him that she and her dh have been ttc for about 18 months and that they've been told they have to have IVF in order to potentially have a baby. Having been through the experience of not being able to conceive I really feel for her, and wouldn't wish what she is going through on my worst enemy. Things are made slightly more difficult for her by the fact that my ILs don't approve of IVF, so although they obviously haven't voiced their disapproval she knows their feelings and knows that they don't approve of what she is doing so most likely won't feel that she can rely on them for support.

A part of me wants to speak to her and say that I have an inkling of what she is going through, and although I personally haven't been down the IVF route, (my personal choice though and has no bearing on what other people do imo) I am here if she needs any support/someone to talk to.

But given she hates me is she just going to see that as intrusion? Should I just keep my mouth shut and never mention it?


shubiedoo Tue 07-Oct-08 17:18:22

That's a hard one. What does your dh think?

Dropdeadfred Tue 07-Oct-08 17:19:15

can your DH not offer her that support and tell her that you voiced your genuine sympathy for their situation too? that way he can judge her response...?

wannaBe Tue 07-Oct-08 17:19:35

just to add, although we don't see each other regularly she and dh still have a good relationship and the not seeing each other relates more to the fact we/they tend to have commitments on weekends which means we never really get together. And we live totally different lives - we have ds and she doesn't have children and it wasn't until recently that she even wanted them.

JuneBugJen Tue 07-Oct-08 17:20:59

SO hard. Trying to figure out the IL's position as well...they sound v odd.

I wish I had sent a little card to my DH's friends wife (who i am kind of friends with) but didn't because of a person who was going thru IVF here on MN told me not to when I had this same dilemma (although in this case I like her!). I saw this lady recently and told her this, her eyes welled up and she said she would have loved a card as sometimes she felt so alone.

Don't know if that helps.

TheProvincialLady Tue 07-Oct-08 17:21:15

If you only see her once a year and she doesn't speak to you when you answer the phone, I don't think it is likely she will suddenly start phoning you over this. Her dislike of you and her behaviour over the last 13 years have set the standard for your relationship and now she has lost out on a potential means of support...her loss. I would imagine she has other people in her life that she can turn to in these situations and I would keep out of it TBH. Not in a nasty way, but if she doesn't like you then what else can you do?

hecAteTheirBrains Tue 07-Oct-08 17:23:47

She doesn't like you, you don't like her - whatever is going on in her life doesn't change who she is or how she's behaved. Since your question was WWYD - my answer is - I'd leave her to it and carry on with my own life.

blush I know, I'm a horrible person! I just don't generally care about people who are awful to me! grin

wannaBe Tue 07-Oct-08 17:24:54

well ILs are catholic and they just don't agree with it iyswim, life beginning at conception and all that.

I do hope mil will come round, and I guess it will depend on whether sil confides in her about it or not iyswim. if she doesn't then they don't have to think about it I guess.

yomellamoHelly Tue 07-Oct-08 17:27:51

I think I'd send a card (with dh's consent) offering an ear if needed and saying what you've said here. Keep it brief. Then it's down to her. Seems like the right thing to do to me previous history or not.

wannaBe Tue 07-Oct-08 17:28:33

she's never really been awful to me - I guess it's just a case of you can pick your friends but can't pick who your brother marries ... grin.

The row was more a combination of her not having a clue about babies and ds being my pfb blush it was a row between the whole family but it was never really resolved - everyone just got on with their lives and went back to normal, apart from fil who didn't speak to me for two years but that's a discussion for another thread...

PortAndLemon Tue 07-Oct-08 17:31:12

I might drop her a line to say something like "I know we've never been close, but I've found that sometimes it helps to talk some of this stuff over with someone who isn't close and can just be an objective listener. So if you ever want to do that, I'm here."

Upwind Tue 07-Oct-08 17:34:32

I'd play by ear and offer her support if the opportunity arose. Trust your instincts on this one.

Tortington Tue 07-Oct-08 17:35:12

she might see it as gloat ing - be careful.

wannaBe Tue 07-Oct-08 17:45:20

yes custy I had thought of that.

On Sunday I said to dh that we really need to go and see their new house (were supposed to go last year but they got flooded and both have had things on since) and he said maybe we should sort out a weekend to go, but then I said that maybe it was bad timing given we haven't been before.

I think I'll just stay out of it.

purpleduck Tue 07-Oct-08 18:12:49

I think if I could send a short note with GENUINE intentions, and truly not be worried about whether or not she replies, etc then I would. Just in the interests of sending out an olive branch.

Freckle Tue 07-Oct-08 20:06:41

Does she know that you know? Or did she just tell dh on the understanding that he wouldn't pass on the information? Did he make it clear he would be telling you?

I only ask because, as it's such a sensitive time for her, sending a note might stir up trouble if she didn't really think that dh would tell you.

wannaBe Thu 09-Oct-08 14:24:28

well, I spoke to MIL today and she doesn't sound nearly as unsupportive as seems to have been suggested. I know that she had previously had her views on IVF but think that maybe now that it's her own daughter having to go through it she just wants to support her in whatever she has to do.

Mil did go into how hard it must be for her to see other people's children though, and said how difficult her own sister had found it to see her dc when she was having fertility issues, she never said anything directly but I did kind of read from that that Sil will find it hard to be around my ds (even though he's nearly six now) so me thinks we'll just stay totally out of the equasion for now.

Lurkinaround Thu 09-Oct-08 14:37:53

I don't know the whole story but part of me would want to offer support as you now have something in common (unfortunate that it should be such a heartbreaking subject though) and it could mark the beginning of a better relationship.

It depends though. There are people in my family that I would offer support to if they were going through stuff I had experience of and there are others that I would just think 'Ah well, that's unfortunate but I'm keeping well out of it.'

newgirl Thu 09-Oct-08 14:44:10

I think in your heart you want to be kind to her so i think you should send her a card - i wouldn't actually listen to what dh has to say on the matter - they tend to want an easy life and not to get involved in female relationships so he probably wouldnt say much about it

if i were you id write her a card and say 'dh told me about the treatment coming up and i wish you masses of good luck and support and do call if i can ever help in any way'

- that keeps it positive without expecting a phone call or a huge heart to heart

blinks Fri 10-Oct-08 08:35:28

I cast one vote for the card with polite offer of support...

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