Trouble in Paradise
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When to Sever Ties?

My DH and I have been married for 4 years in Sept. For 3 of the last years, his brother and SIL have been obnoxiously mean and rude towards me. It all started around Christmas 3 years ago. My grandmother had just passed and I flew home to go to the funeral. I returned Christmas Eve. On Christmas day, we went to his family's celebration, even though I had been crying all morning and was upset. Apparently when his SIL said "Merry Christmas" to me, I only half smiled in reply. (They all knew about my gma) She contacted my husband a week later and told him via text that I was "constantly standoffish, seemed like I was mad all the time, and that I really disliked them." My husband and I were completely floored. I had always been nice to them. I had organized numerous events for the women in the family. According to my MIL, this same woman had said we were a fun couple to hang out with. We went out with them often to wine tastings, baseball games, and family dinners. We invited them over to our house all the time. It came as a surprise considering every time we would go to their house, his SIL would leave to "go shopping, to a book club, etc." or she would be in a completely different room doing laundry or dishes. She hardly spoke to us when we would come over. My DH claimed this was always her behavior even before we met and it wasn't anything personal. As a result, I got stuck babysitting their kids while my DH and his brother would watch sports or play a game. She came to our apartment twice of all the times we invited them, despite living 2 miles apart. I explained to her that I was saddened by my gma's death, but had gotten my feelings hurt over a few minor things they had done. I even said, "It's no big deal. I would have gotten over it, but since you asked..." Fast forward a few days...the real reason for the text came out. His brother and SIL had been having conflicts with another SIL in the family married to a different brother. Those two had marital problems that the other siblings couldn't stay out of. I happened to be friends with the SIL that no one liked because of the marital problems. The real reason for the texts? They were mad that I was friends with the other SIL and made gross accusations that I was "telling her things the family said about her." The truth was she was reading her husband's emails and texts between family members. They threatened me, taunted me, and gave me an ultimatum stating that if I continued to be friends with her, I could not have a relationship with them or their children. We finally had a telephone conversation that resulted in a lot of yelling and eventually working through everything, or so I thought. A month later, my mom asks me why she is blocked on Facebook of all things. When I looked, my DH, myself, and all of my family members had been blocked by these two. When my husband asked his brother about it, he denied it. They then said they did it before they confronted me, then later said it was done after we talked and "worked things out." I wasn't that upset about it, but more for the fact that they lied. I continued to be cordial but politely declined invitations to go out in my spare time. Eventually my DH decided to have another conversation with his brother about it, stating "we are both upset," which WE were, that resulted in 2 more emails being sent. These emails accused me of "negatively impacting relationships" and have "knee jerk assumptions" about them. Nothing about my DH. His brother attacked me for not accepting the invitations and us not coming to certain family functions (which actually had nothing to do with them). We didn't speak for a few months and eventually decided to let it go, inviting them to a party we were hosting. My BIL and his wife refused to attend unless we had yet ANOTHER conversation. During this conversation they both yelled at me and basically repeated the emails they sent. I explained to them that their actions were impacting my marriage to the point where I started seeing a therapist. I told them my marriage was my priority and I needed to protect it. I said that any functions we didn't attend were not necessarily to avoid them, but because we were working on strengthening our relationship. The response from SIL was "You were so busy finding yourself, you couldn't put yourself in anyone else's shoes." At that point, I told them that we could continue to be cordial, but I did not want to be best friends and that I felt if my marriage had real problems outside of the ones created by their drama, I thought they would hang me out to dry and I needed to focus on my marriage. (This was said after observing their destructive actions in the other SIL's marriage). Fast forward to every event we have seen them at since that conversation, we have always been friendly and cordial. I would bring little gifts for their kids and try to play with them. We gave them Christmas gifts. We attended all family functions we were invited to, including the kid's birthdays (of which were the only things they invited us to.) SIL on the other hand, won't stay in the same room as us, won't speak to us, won't even say hello back and turns her back to me if I do stand next to her. They haven't attended anything we have hosted, despite being invited every time. When I went to their kid's birthday at their home, I was completely ignored. It was horrible. I felt like vomiting the entire time I was there. I have cried after every family function we go to, and yet continue to go. The therapist I talked to told me she almost never says this but that I should stop trying because SIL is crazy. She didn't speak to her own sisters for years. Still, I messaged her to see if we could meet up and talk to try to resolve this after a year and half of this insanity. She replied back in a way to let me know she had deleted my contact info and then didn't respond after. My DH called his brother and talked to him. Turns out, she didn't even tell him I contacted her. BIL said he was afraid to bring it up, as it would start WWIII. We finally did meet up and my DH and I said we didn't want to rehash the past, but just move on and be cordial. She was hostile from the moment she sat down. She said to me, "the relationship never worked, it's not working now, and it never will so why would I keep banging my head against the wall. Honestly, I'm comfortable just seeing you guys a few times a year." My BIL was the quietest I've ever seen him and sat with his mouth hanging open before saying "That's not what I want." We explained that their 3 yr old daughter didn't even know our names, and she said nothing other than "I will try." They left after 20 mins of conversation. The next time we saw them, her behavior was worse. In the past, she would at least say hi to my DH and sit in the same room, but now she won't even do that. BIL has started to attend some things we host without her, but makes very little effort. We have seen them a few times since the last time we spoke and she clearly doesn't want to move on. At this point, I think we should stop trying. Stop inviting. Stop talking when we see them. What's the point? I'm tired of trying to make it work. To top it all off, BIL, has talked to other members of the family including another out of state brother who wants to put in his 2 cents without knowing all the details because we didn't discuss it for a very long time. My DH finally told the out of state brother what really happened and our final conversation (6 mos after it happened). His response was, "Oh. The other SIL said that? I didn't know that." Of course not, because BIL isn't going to let people think his wife is nuts. We briefly discussed it with my MIL and FIL, but not in detail. They are pushing us to keep trying. Everyone else in the family knows about it, I'm sure, but doesn't ask or discuss it. At least not around me. My MD started me on antidepressants. I would cry all the time for no reason when I never had before. I was thinking of harming myself every day when I never had before. My DH and I were fighting constantly over basically nothing. I seriously considered divorcing my DH partly because he was guilty by association and I feel I can never get away from them and partly because when it all started I felt he did little to stand up for me. When they yelled at me, he said nothing. His excuse? "I'm not going to yell at my brother's wife." So it's ok for him to yell at yours? It has completely changed the way I view my husband. It definitely created a distance that wasn't there before. He still wants to make an effort and invite them, but I don't want to. I am distrustful of everything they do and say. The level of hypocrisy that they demonstrate is abhorrent. In fact, an email was sent to the other SIL with marital problems by the one we currently have problems with telling her she needed to forgive because that's what the bible says. And yet, when we are actively trying to move forward, make amends, and apologize for any wrongdoing on our part that upset her she refuses to move on and forgive. I have never received an apology for ANYTHING they have done and said to me, but have apologized on a few occasions to them for any offensive thing I may have done or said. So...when do we sever ties seeing as SIL has pretty much already done it? When will my DH finally come to his senses and realize this is not getting better?? I have never had conflict like this before with anyone and I don't think I can keep being the nice guy for much longer....Sorry for the long convoluted story. 

Re: When to Sever Ties?

  • Could not read the whole thing, paragraphs are your friend.

    This is a husband probelm not an in law probelm. Your husband is allowing his family to treat you like this, as are you. Cut your ties now, and if H cant or wont cut ties with him as well.
    Counseling might help.

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