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Post Wedding What to do (Part 2)

Posted by AutumnBride (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 9, 04 at 14:00

Thank you to those of you who took the time to give me feedback on the original post. I had decided to keep my distance from my SIL, but continue to send cards during the holidays.

Well, there has been a recent developement which has been wondering if I need to change my tune. SIL is now pregnant with her BF's baby. The baby is due in late January. According to MIL, they are planning on getting married before the baby is born.

SIL called DH last week to tell him about the pregnancy. She did not ask about DH or me, although they haven't talked to each other in months. She didn't even mention that they were thinking of getting married.

I am wondering if I ought to extend myself more then I planned because she is going to have a baby. DH is worried that I am just going to get hurt, but understands how I feel. I think that having a baby is such a happy thing, but his sister is still her - meaning she isn't going to magically change just because she is having a baby. She is still selfish and hostile. And, now she is permanently connected to her BF, who my DH and I cannot stand to be around.

Do you think that the upcoming baby and marriage changes things or do you think that I should still stay distant? Is there away that DH and I can still try establishing a relationship? We agreed that we both think that our feelings matter - that in order to have a relationship with them we would need to talk to them about why we all haven't been talking - namely talk about what happened at our wedding. We don't want a big white elephant in the room all the time - and we think that if we just pretend everything is okay that we are telling them that we didn't care (by omission, we are letting them think that nothing bothers us) - which is very wrong. We don't want them to step all over us again.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Post Wedding What to do (Part 2)

I think it's admirable of you and your husband to want to attempt a reconciliation with your SIL. However, I don't see any indication that thing will be different, unless she undergoes an epiphany of some kind and that's probably not in the cards.

Don't put yourselves in the position of being hurt again. As Dr Laura used to say when people kept being hurt by the same person, "Why do you put an alligator in your bathtub and then are surprised when he bites?"


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RE: Post Wedding What to do (Part 2)

There is a third possibility. You don't have to make, let alone "announce," any major or permanent "policy change." I think part of what's giving you trouble here is that you are sort of thinking you need to have a policy at all. Maybe you don't.

Does hearing the news about the baby, if not the engagement, make your heart glow a bit? It sounds like it: you wrote, "I think that having a baby is such a happy thing." Then maybe you want to express your warm feelings with a call, a note, a little gift. When the baby comes, do what the spirit moves you then, too (sounds like that baby is going to NEED a great aunt and uncle). Even the marriage -- see how you feel when the time comes.

Does this make any sense? Instead of deciding something like, "we'll send cards but not call," just call or not call and write or not write as you wish as time passes. It seems to me that setting something in stone, as it were, is just making it harder for you (and they probably aren't even aware of it).

I understand why you and your fiance want to get your feelings about what happened at your wedding off your chest. I have to tell you, though, that in my experience, these conversations rarely pay off, and certainly not with people like these two. I am afraid the result will not be at all what you hope or expect -- in fact, it may be just exactly the opposite. These people do NOT sound like there is the remotest chance of their getting it when you try to explain how you felt and feel. And that will just leave you more frustrated and upset than before. Ask yourself: can you really picture them hearing you out, really listening, and then saying something like, "Oh, you know, we really have been so ashamed about what we did that day -- I feel so bad that it hurt you -- won't you please forgive us?" Much more likely that they will get very defensive and even go so far as to start a nasty argument that starts something like this: "Oh, sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Perfect, I guess we didn't live up to your stuck-up little tea party expectations. And by the way, YOU didn't consider OUR feelings when you ..." [insert something totally made up]. Time will never make what they (especially he) did right, but it will make the experience less sharp and less huge for you two. And I don't think you need to worry that your silence on the subject will be taken to mean that you condone their behavior or that you are inviting it to happen again. It just means you are being the bigger people.

I wish you good luck. You and your husband are approaching this with a lot of thought and maturity. Sounds like the rest of the family could use a bit of that! :-)


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RE: Post Wedding What to do (Part 2)

Thank you for the advice! I wrote a short and polite email to my SIL congratulating her on her pregnancy. She wrote a short email back basically saying thank you for my kind words. I think that I will follow Gellchom's advice and just play everything by ear - not necessarily have a hard stance, while still doing as Blueheron suggested - not putting ourselves in the position of getting hurt again.

I am optimistic that things will work out, but I am also prepared for the worst. I actually don't have any expectations as far as if we were to address the "incident" with them - but when/if we do talk about it with them we are going to be prepared that it might (most likely) cause a big rift.


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RE: Post Wedding What to do (Part 2)

My advice is the same.

Extend yourself when you are ASKED.

Treat her, until she indicates differently, like a distant cousin: friendly but distant.

If MIL asks you to help w/ a shower, do so cheerfully and willingly. But don't OFFER anything.

Your SIL has told you (not in words) how she feels about you. Listen to her.

Doesn't mean you have to hate her to create negativity. But don't try to force positivity either. Remember that you are the in-law, and her closest relationship is w/ your DH. Let him be point on this.

Basically, back off. Don't have any expectations here. Don't initiate or expect an "exchange."

I think Gellchom's advice is absolutely great. You have an immediate positive reaction, share it with her. Just DON'T EXPECT IT TO BE AN EXCHANGE. Drop her a happy note, buy her a baby present, coo nicely at the baby when you're there.

Don't push, don't expect. If things ever DO warm up, let bygones be bygones. Don't hold onto that wedding debacle--let it go. Focus on what your goal is--a nicer relationship w/ her. Forgiving her without asking for her repentance is going to go a LOT further toward that end than insisting that she hear how disappointed and hurt you were.


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