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SIL birthday question--long-ish

Going to try to make this short. Background: I don't particularly like my SIL (husband's brother's wife). She has not done anything particularly nasty to me, but gives unsolicited "advice" (in the vein of "how to make your relationship as awesome as mine"), makes comments about how my husband and I lived together before marriage, etc. Whatever, live and let live, just be cordial when I have to see her and ignore her the rest of the time. That's what I would LIKE to do, but she sends me incessant emails trying to set up times to get together (just the two of us or all four of us). I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I really just have no inclination to spend more time with her than I need to and don't really understand what motivates her to constantly bombard me, when I feel like I've made it clear that I'm not really into being buddies.

So, this year was a milestone birthday for me and she and husband's brother (although I'm not sure he even knew, haha) got me a gift.  Until this year, they have never acknowledged my birthday, which is on the same days as BIL's. This is totally fine with me--I only mention it because it makes me think that the gift was because it was a "milestone" birthday.  Her birthday is coming up and I'm unsure now whether we are obligated to buy her a gift.  I'm happy to get her one on her milestone birthday as well (which is not this year).  It would also be different if it was a small token gift, but she tends to go a bit overboard and spend near $75 for gifts (birthdays, xmas, etc.).

 I'm sure I sound like a horrible a$$, but I'm really just not that wild about spending almost $100 on someone that I don't particularly care for, and institute some kind of tradition where we start doing this every year. Frankly, I'm at an age where I really don't need anything, and I'd really rather them keep their money for themselves.  Is it completely flameworthy of me to only buy her a gift for "milestone" birthdays, or do I really need to get her one this year since she got me one?  My husband seems to think we need to get her one since she got me one, but I really would prefer not to add one more person to the "birthday present every year" list.

Sorry this is such a lame question, I realize how stupid it is as I type it.  TIA.

Re: SIL birthday question--long-ish

  • If you all haven't done gifts in the past, dont' start now.  I'm w/ you- I would assume it was because this was a milestone.  So for her next milestone, get her a gift then.

    I am just not the kind of person who feels gifts have to be reciprocated.  if you dont' want to start this tradition, then DON'T start it. 

    And really- the point of gift giving is to give something because you genuinely want to.  To reciprocate just to reciprocate loses the whole point of gift giving.

    I would stand firm.  Tell DH you will reciprocate - on her next milestone. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • imageEastCoastBride:

    I would stand firm.  Tell DH you will reciprocate - on her next milestone. 

    Another vote for this.
  • imageBunMom90:
    imageEastCoastBride:

    I would stand firm.  Tell DH you will reciprocate - on her next milestone. 

    Another vote for this.
    Ditto
  • Thanks all, this makes me feel better.  Now if only I could get her to just leave me alone except on every other Thanksgiving and Christmas! Tongue Tied
  • imageEastCoastBride:

    If you all haven't done gifts in the past, dont' start now.  I'm w/ you- I would assume it was because this was a milestone.  So for her next milestone, get her a gift then.

    I am just not the kind of person who feels gifts have to be reciprocated.  if you dont' want to start this tradition, then DON'T start it. 

    And really- the point of gift giving is to give something because you genuinely want to.  To reciprocate just to reciprocate loses the whole point of gift giving.

    I would stand firm.  Tell DH you will reciprocate - on her next milestone. 

    Yup. 100%.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • imageLaVieEnRose0309:
    Thanks all, this makes me feel better.  Now if only I could get her to just leave me alone except on every other Thanksgiving and Christmas! Tongue Tied
    I was on the other "end" of a very similar situation (although I don't consider myself annoying - others might disagree Wink).

    I got married to my H and his sister and her husband live very closeby so I thought we'd become BFFs and hang out together, etc. She didn't.

    I put myself out there a lot of times, inviting her to coffee, movies, girl-dates, etc, and she kept either not replying or not being able to find the time. I started feeling really, really rejected and even a bit hurt, and ultimately angry at her. Finally, I figured out that she just wasn't interested (with help from my lovely H) and that it had nothing to do with me, it was all her. She's just not the type to have close friendships.

    I don't know if this is how you are, but I will say that the best advice I can give anyone is to be true to who you are. If you don't want to hang out with her/talk on the phone with her/be mandated to listen to her lectures, etc, don't. Just disappear or ignore or plain old don't be there. She'll get the message. It might take a while, if she's particularly thick, but she'll eventually get it.

  • Yes, I keep hoping that she will get the message, but it doesn't seem to work.  I'm really not a mean person, and I do have close friendships, but she is just not someone I would ever be close with outside of having to see her because we're in-laws. We share very different worldviews, and she is extremely patronizing towards me and my relationship with my husband (although we have been together for more than twice as long as they have, which would suggest that I know how to have a relationship ;) ).  I have tried excuses, ignoring, politely declining, etc. I think she just has an idea that because we're in-laws, we must be friends (she even wrote on a card once about how I was her new sister...which...just....eh.) It takes me awhile to get close to people, and it's like TOO much too fast, super overbearing, and very uncomfortable.  My husband and his brother are not close either, so it's not like I am personally preventing some amazing relationship.

     I think we just have different ideas of how in-laws should be. It doesn't help that I've had some seriously trauma in my own family this year, and her pressuring me to be "sisters" just makes that pain a little sharper and pushes me further away.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice, and sorry for the rant. I've been kind of at the end of my rope about how to deal with her!

  • against the grain

     I think you should give a gift more in line with the price range of gifts you would like to exchange in the future. I'm of the opinion that siblings and sibling in laws should exchange, looks like this is the start of it, so you should give her a gift around 25-35$ or under 50. Then for her milestone, give a gift you feel is equivalent to what she gave your for your milestone

  • What about taking some flowers instead? To keep the peace at home?
  • imagevjcjenn1:

    against the grain

     I think you should give a gift more in line with the price range of gifts you would like to exchange in the future. I'm of the opinion that siblings and sibling in laws should exchange, looks like this is the start of it, so you should give her a gift around 25-35$ or under 50. Then for her milestone, give a gift you feel is equivalent to what she gave your for your milestone

    YOU think family should exchange.  Even if her SIL is of the same thought, why does that now require the OP to start doing something she doesnt' want to do?   Why is your way "right" and hers "wrong"? 

    I really don't see how this "looks to be the start of it".  If the OP doesn't want to take part, she doesn't have to and nothing has to "start".

    imageLaVieEnRose0309:

     I think we just have different ideas of how in-laws should be. It doesn't help that I've had some seriously trauma in my own family this year, and her pressuring me to be "sisters" just makes that pain a little sharper and pushes me further away.

    Maybe use this to talk to her.  Tell her that you appreciate she wants to be "like sisters" but that you aren't in a place in your life to develop that kind of relationship.  You're happy to see her at family events, but that you ask that she respect that this has been a hard year for you and that this pressure to form a close relationship is actually painful right now.

    But, by the way, I think another poster said something about flowers.  I actually think that could be a great compromise w/ your DH.  It's not really a gift, but it's still acknowledging her b-day. 

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Even though you do not want to be BFF with her, I would acknowledge her birthday in some way.  I like the flower idea.  Or since you said that she is always inviting you out, go out with her for her birthday.  If during your next birthday, she gives you another expensive gift, you should be upfront with her.

  • I would buy her flowers or a bottle of wine, but never more than that.  We do not buy gifts for adult birthdays.  Why do adults need gifts for birthdays?  I honestly can't believe people do this!!!
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • This is how I feel. I wish we could all just agree to not get each other any gifts and keep our money!
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