I really hope you can help me. What am I doing wrong?? I have been married to my husband for almost 7 years and problems started shortly after we got married. My husband had kids before we got married and one of his kids is from his previous marriage with very controlling woman (his ex). When we got married I immediately fell in love with his entire family and hoped we all could be one big happy family. Unfortunately his sister (who was always very sweet to me) is and has been pretty close with his ex. And, of course, as she doesn't mind inviting her husband's ex to her house because of the mutual child involved, she didn't think much of inviting her old friend (my husband's ex) and her new family member (me) to her parties like baby shower, etc. My husband and his ex do not get along very well, but kept in touch because of the child. She didn't make it easy for him to be able to see his daughter very often either. However my sister-in-law was able to get his daughter and visit her any time because of their close relationship, she also has her own daughter the same age, so it was important to her to have access to her niece as they were growing up together. However, it was always hurtful for my husband to see their close relationships after his ex-wife cheated on him. When I came into the picture it was also hurtful and awkward to hear her stories about ex, see pictures with them hanging out together or socialize at the same parties. Problems started when I didn't come to my sister-in-law's baby shower (invitation got lost in the mail according to her), but I told her that I wouldn't have come anyway, because of my husband's ex. My husband and I tried to explain to her that it's hurtful and disrespectful toward us. She got mad at us and told us that she does it because of her niece. She is the only one in the family has real access to his daughter. And every time the ex gets upset with my sister in law she doesn't let her see the niece either. She also mentioned she tries to have good relationships with everyone. And they do live close to each other unlike us. We had a big falling out with my sister in law after we found out she and her family were also spending the New Years eve and Christmas (aside from our family gathering) with the ex and stopped talking for almost 2 years, though she kept calling my husband. I couldn't find the piece because of this and finally wrote her a letter trying to resolve everything. She said that we are her family and she always loves us and wishes we could have friendly relationships. I explained to her that I too wish we could be closer and I am not against them being friends, but she has to consider feelings of everyone involved and there is a line she has been crossing. I also told her that as long as she remains "family ties" with his ex in stead of friendship, we couldn't be in the same family. She didn't answer to that but started calling more and tried to rebuild the relationship with our family while still kept the same close relationship with the ex. Confused with her behavior I emailed to her last September asking to meet with me one day and have a talk, hoping to see where we are standing and set clear boundaries. She said she will let me know when she is available, but to this date (7 months later) we still haven't met. She acts like nothing has happened and she loves us, she calls us often and when we do meet at someone's party we have a good time, but her husband still has the worst attitude toward us because of this issue and nothing between their family and the ex has changed. Moreover they visited ex during the Christmas holidays, but they still haven't been to our house despite the fact that my third child (her nephew) was born around that time and we invited them to visit us around holidays. She said they were busy and still says she is going to come visit us sometimes soon and we are going to meet, etc. It's already April... I am really confused by her behavior and don't know what else to do. It seems like she really wants us to have a close relationship, but all my attempts to bring us closer and remove "the wall" between us fail every time. I really would love us to be close, I like her a lot and family is everything to me, but as long as this issue remains unresolved I don't see it possible. But more than anything I just want to understand her behavior, this whole situation, am I wrong for being upset, what I am doing wrong and how should I act? Thank you so much in advance.
Hello, I can assist you with your question. Welcome!
Your situation sounds very difficult, but not uncommon with situations such as this
I do not sense you are doing anything wrong- you are very wise to set those boundaries
The woman you describe is a "pleaser" only tells people what they want to hear. She may have a big fear of confrontation. Her agreeing to set a time to see you only to "avoid" it all together.
It sounds like you and your husband are on the same page about this one?
yes, we are
That's important that you have the support of your husband
How does this affect you- where does it have the most impact for you?
I really want to have a piece in the whole family. I want our kids grow up together and I am the only child in the family so hoped we could be close and I would gain a sister, but in stead it hurts me to be close to her, because of my husband's ex
The ex creates a toxic environment for you- have you decided you can not be around her?
It sounds like you are experiencing loss- loss of what you had hope the "family" would look like.
Unless you can get an honest and clear answer/answers from your sister in law, you are left wondering- do not have enough information. She does not sound like one to commit- again pleasing, doesn't want to rock the boat. Tells you what you want to hear- likely tells the ex what she wants to hear etc. It does not seem like too much of you to want the peace you describe- but does not sound like everyone is on the same page. Is the sister in law the one link to all of this- or is there someone else? It's very difficult if you sister in law is not being upfront about this- you are left to "fill in the blanks"- to figure out what is really going on. It took courage for you to speak up and set those boundaries- but is also may mean a great loss for you- when you hit a wall with your sister in law. It sounds like this has changed little through the years- and for some reason she has attached herself to the ex.
Are you still there- sorry to interrupt if you are still typing
If there is no way for you to tolerate your sister in law having a relationship with ex-cutting off ties may seem like your only option. Certainly talking to her, writing to her again may be worthwhile- knowing you've tried everything, before you decide to have to cut those ties.
yes, it seems exactly like you discribed. His ex hates me with passion, she didn't like that her daughter liked me and blocked me from contacting her daughter on social sites. But I think most of all it hurts that she is still considered a family, where I wasn't prepared to share my spot with her and be a "second" sister-in-law, it feels very disrespectful and hurtful, almost like my sister in law disregarded the whole divorce and regardless of what she did, she still remains a family. It's only her and her family acts like that. His brothers don't want anything to do with my husband's ex. Also she acts like that only toward my husband's ex. She doesn't act like that with her other brother's ex, though 2 kids are involved there. And I am prepared to accept the fact that we will never be close. But her actions confuse me. One day I think she does, so I try hard, but then I am left disappointed and hurt. I just want to pick something and stick with it. So I am trying to figure out what does she really wants, what is really going on and how should I act at this point.
There is a good "love letter" format to consider using that comes from the book Men are From Mars Women are From Venus by XXXXX XXXXX The format is useful when one is trying to clearly express one's emotions to another- not just male/female couples. It uses "I" messages to express how you feel- starting with the anger, resentment, loss, and finally to the sadness-
Trying to figure out what's is up with your sister in law is a "crap shoot" other than for some reason she has attached herself to the "ex".
Your energy may be best spent on those relationships that are more positive, supportive, and loving. This starts to feel like "mind" games- if she's not willing to be straight forward with you on this.
It hurts when it may feel like sister in law has chosen her over you- sister in law may truly believe you all "should" get along- when that is not realistic. She may struggle in setting boundaries- some people really do not set good boundaries- sister in law may be one of them. Her actions may confuse you because she has trouble setting boundaries- only telling people what they want to hear vs. giving you honest answers. Having those answers would really help you it sounds like- but she may not be willing to be honest about this. That's why you feel so powerless, helpless to make sense of this- you do not have the sister in laws honest answers- wishy washy. This is likely a lot less about anything you did and more about sister in law having trouble setting boundaries. Some people have to learn to set boundaries- but have to be willing to learn or to take that risk. Support for you to share your emotions about this loss is important- as hard as it is- do not blame yourself for this one- you sound like the only thing you've done is care- have a desire for that "sister". It's a loss when it does not feel that way. It's almost as if the sister in law keeps the "ex" in the picture when all you want is to be done with her- it's "history" right? Remind yourself you have done nothing wrong- most important- but do process those feelings of loss. It can feel like a death when we have to cut ties in a relationship- not easy for sure!!
The ex is "controlling" she may have her "hooks" into your sister in law- and for all these years. Your sister in laws underlying intentions could be to try and hold the family together with the child involved. Trouble letting go, but is not understanding where you are coming from for some reason- keeping the peace again! If sister in law is unwilling to talk openly and honestly about this you are left whirling- confused. Does it mean cutting those ties to take care of yourself? Maybe
I do need to run in a couple minutes- is this info. helpful at all? There are not always "easy" answers when it comes to love, relationships, family- so many dynamics and layers involved. Finding a place to continue to process this is good- I'm glad you posted today. Your feelings are just that- they are not right or wrong- just how you feel- and identifying those emotions and processing those may be the best you can do.
That's what I thought... thank you so much for this answer or confirmation of my thoughts! I think I am past that point of dealing with loss. I've been miserable and depressed about this for while and now I am just ready and ok with anything, just wanted to make sure that I wasn't wrong (or selfish) for feeling this way and that I really couldn't do anything anymore before I settle I guess. I think I can keep the cordial peaceful relationship, just will know to keep the distance and have appropriate expectations. Thank you very much for your help!!! It HELPED A LOT!!!
Glad to help- take care!
Let me know if I can help again- can ask for me if you'd like
thank you. how do I do that?
Thank you for your post- do appreciate it.
You put my name at start of a question Jean N/20 plus counts
I definitely will if I need any more help. Thank you! Have a good one!
Please rate my answer ok or higher so I can get credit Much appreciated!!
You have a great day too!
Thank you! I forgot to ask one more thing that bothers me in this whole situation. I am questioning my own actions and wondering if I am wrong in this situation because my sister in law and her husband act like I am the "bad guy". I mean we have resolved the issue over the letters for the most part with my sister in law to the point that we are talking again, but her husband won't even talk to me and has the worst attitude when we are at the same event, but for the most part he just tries to avoid going to events if I am there. Which makes me wonder if I am wrong by acting this way. Afterall it's kind of jealousy and not a good feeling. Thank you again!
I guess, what I am trying to ask is am I a "bad guy" for putting her in this position to choose between her friend and family kind of. Thanks.
Yes, I tried this point of view and would probably be satisfied, but then I see my sister in law visiting the ex, spending Christmas together and having a close relationship with her, while making excuses to even visit us and her newborn nephew. And that hurts, because it feels like she picked her over me or may be just tolerate me to keep ties with her brother. I realize I can't make her like me and not like the ex, but it doesn't change how it feels that she is still only family to my husband and the ex and I am just someone she has to deal with.
So I blame her for being inconsiderate and disrespectful, but then blame myself for blaming her. Afterall, she is nice to me, it's the actions (her being closer to ex, than us) that hurt me. But do I even have the right to expect that?
Thank you so much for your help! It really helped me to see the situation more clear. It is her right to choose who she wants to be close to and it is my right to choose if I want to be close to her. I let her know about my feelings and also let her know that I don't blame her, but can't be close to her because of this. Not sure she is able to validate my feelings, because she just kind of stopped talking and didn't answer anything. But I do feel better about getting it off my chest and I did tell her, I am still here for her if she needs me. Thank you, I do feel better now. I just accepted the fact that I won't have the family I've always imagined, not right now anyway.