SIL problems...very long.

joepyeweedNovember 7, 2004

this has really bothered me for a long time. i dont think this forum will do anything but give me a place to rant and share my feelings. but my sister in law is a total loser and takes complete advantage of my husband's generosity. i know she has alot of problems, but sometimes i get really upset about her problems and how much they cost us and her parents financially.

shortly before we were married a little over 3 years ago, my husbands sister was going through a nasty divorce (abusive alcoholic husband). during the divorce she lost her job and almost didnt go through with it because she said she couldnt afford the attorney and live on her own without her job. my husband (fiance at the time) & I agreed to offer her to live in his house until she got back on her feet. After we were married, he moved into my house and she moved into his old house. For the first year my husband continued to pay all of the utilities and she never paid us a dime. after the first year, my husband told her she needed to take over the utilities and start paying rent. which she agreed. the bills were changed into her name. we never saw any rent money. since that time, she got a puppy which is not potty trained and the house smells like pee and poo - awful. she has paid us rent twice - and only half the amount that was agreed to. before she moved in, my husband had the entire house recarpeted so it would be nice for her. which of course is all totally ruined. when i tell my husband that he is no longer helping her but he is enabling her - he gets angry and tells me i am selfish. that we are not hurting for money and she needs the help. and he thinks that if he kicks her out she would loose her kid and may even commit suicide.

its also worse - for a long time i didnt bother me that much because i thought well at least we are saving his parents alot of stress by helping her. then i found out they are paying her car payments, her car insurance and she has a gas card and department store card that they are paying for. and they often buy groceries so her son has food to eat. they are both retired and on a fixed income and she is sucking them dry. that is when i really got pissed. she is getting rent free from us and her parents are paying everything else. damn how much crap can this woman be sucking... she is working part time - at Walmart but its not near the income she used to have as a layout editor at a national magazine. i think she is either doing drugs or gambling or just a complete loser... how can she need so much money from her parents if she is not paying any rent.

and it gets worse - a loser low life unemployed boyfriend moved in with her about a year after she moved in. and it gets worse - we got a call from the electric company saying that she owed around $1,000 in unpaid utility bills and that because we were the property owner they had to notify us before they disconnected her service. of course my husband bailed her out so she would have power.

she recently paid us around $100 for monthly rent that my husband felt guilty for taking. and this is a three bedroom house w/ full basement, washer, dryer in a nice neighborhood.

i want to think that i am a generous person and would like to feel good about being to help out his sister but i cannot help feeling angry, i cannot help feeling like she is taking my husband for a fool, and feeling like the whole family is enabling her to live the life of loser...

we are not poor but we are not overly wealthy either....the living room in our new house sits unfurnished because i dont want to finance anything while my husband has this other in house such a quagmire. we are going to be needing to purchase a new vehicle next year and i cannot help but think about how we could've use the three years of rent money to buy a car. i do know that we will never get any past rent. but i wonder how long can we let this go on and how can my husband stop being taking advantage of without feeling guilty.

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kellyeng

The problem is that your husband doesn't respect you and is choosing his sister over you. You are first - PERIOD. If he doesn't think you come first or that you are "selfish" then you don't have a marriage that's worth anything.

You need to talk to him again and tell him that his sister needs to abide by your (and husbands) expectations or she's out. If he brings up the selfish thing again it's probably time to call it quits. His sister is more important than you.

Sorry to be so harsh, but this is the reality.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2004 at 7:21PM
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jamie_mt

I think the question you might want to ask your hubby would be "is it more selfish to keep his sister under his wing, basically ensuring that she will never get back on her feet, or to start setting some rules and sticking by them so she is able to grow and become solvent again?"

IMO, it's very selfish of *him* to keep enabling her. Sounds like a co-dependant relationship to me (and I'm not a shrink or anything, so that is *not* a professional opinion) - paying her way and keeping her in his house is his way of feeling "godlike" - like she *needs* him in order to survive. Maybe he doesn't realize that he's doing it, but it's selfish of him to hold her back by allowing her to not pay rent, etc., IMO.

Sometimes people need that swift kick in the rear to get moving again - bailing her out when her power will be shut off and allowing her to live rent-free is *not* helping that at all. Your hubby must have a very low opinion of his sister if he doesn't believe she can survive and eventually thrive without his intervention. People usually live up (or down) to our expectations...there are exceptions, but for the most part if we expect greatness, they do well, if not, they don't. She needs him to believe that she *can* live a normal life, rather than his believing that she can't live without him.

Good luck - I have no real advice for you...but I hope your DH wakes up soon...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 10:35AM
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phyllis_philodendron

First, although it's a little late: don't rent to relatives. Even in the most well-meaning situations things can go wrong.

You are in a truly awful situation. Does your husband know his parents' involvement in the situation? Maybe he feels angry at himself for being taken for a ride for so long. Giving him an ultimatum might help, making him realize what his sister is doing to your relationship and bank account. Do her parents know what your husband has been doing for her? I'm sure they do. Maybe giving HER an ultimatum will help as well.

If you're ready to throw in the towel, perhaps you suggest SHE move in with your DH and YOU move in to the old house. Once there is new carpeting, of course.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 2:43PM
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raveann_98

How old is this slug anyway????

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 11:24PM
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kelly_cassidy

I guess I'm not so inclined to be as hard on your husband as the previous responders. He feels a familial obligation to help his sister, and perhaps his parents by reducing the free-loading off them. It sounds as though the sister-in-law didn't initially want to depend on her family, either, since you say the SIL was initially reluctant to go through the divorce knowing she couldn't support herself on her own.

Nonetheless, SIL may have gotten a little too comfy with the current situation. It's really up to your husband to decide he's had enough. Nagging may just cause him to get defensive. If he does show signs of pushing SIL back out on her own, I suggest a transition strategy:

Have husband (not you) tell sis he wants to sell the house and offer to get her set up in an apartment by paying the required deposit and the first couple of months rent. That gets her out of your husband's house and means that sis has to ask for each monthly rent installment after that if she can't make it on her own. Your husband will be able to get his equity out of the house in this seller's market and you will not be so tangled up in the SIL living situation.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 11:41PM
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joepyeweed

thank you so much for all the replies. i do agree with most of what has been posted. although he would choose me over her if forced him to - i just dont want to force him. he does love his sister and i would prefer to let the situation be until we can agree, rather than force his hand in a me versus her scenario.

the slug is in her forties with a teenage son.

i also think he does feel angry with himself and his sister for letting it go on for so long. but he is a very caring and very generous man. one of the many qualities that i love about him. but generosity has become enabling and he doesnt know how to draw the line...me neither, i guess.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 6:15PM
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chinacat_sunflower

excuse me for being the hard-nose here...

but since SiL obviously doesn't give a damn if she bankrupts her parents, destroys her brother's marriage, and leaves her son nothing to inherit but a really messed up view of the world...

suicide would be the most responsible thing she's done in the last 10 years.

your husband is a saint- but I'm also sure that there's a hard-working family who could really HONOUR that kind of deal, instead of taking advantage to it.

and I know it's hard- but he won't stop it unless you make him- and he'll never realize how much she's costing him (emotionally) until she's on her own.

I've got a friend like that- her daughter's a teenager now, and is the only reason her mom's had a place to live- and most of us have given up. the lassie's welcome any time- her mom's not allowed in the house, we've worked too hard to let some drunk pawn our stuff- even if that drunk used to be my best friend.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 3:38PM
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