Post # 1
I’m looking for a little advice/perspective on a situation that has been bothering me a lot lately.
My husband is the oldest of 5, and his youngest sister is 19, and engaged. We’ve been together for about 5 years, so I’ve known her since she was 15 or so. We were always close – it’s a close family, and she always struck me as a sweet, awesome girl, and I really enjoyed spending time with her. That is, until she met her boyfriend/fiance a few years ago…
He isn’t someone that I would have chosen to be with myself. In the first place – he is away in the military, but they have never actually spent any real time together, other than on 1 week vacations – they originally met online. Since meeting him, she has become completly tied to her phone/computer – she no longer spends any time with friends, and only interacts with the family when he is not available to Skype chat with. When he is on vacation, he comes to the family home and sits around playing video games. He is seemingly incapable of holding a conversation without using racist/sexist/homophobic language, a fact which is making me increasingly uncomfortable. I’ve tried to politely point out that such things shouldn’t be said, but he doesn’t seem to get the picture. He also likes to show his affection for my sister-in-law by physically overpowering her – I’ve seen him put her in chokeholds, and throw her down to the ground and hold her there. Her brother’s are particularly concerned about this physical stuff, but no one wants to be negative, and it’s hard to know what to say.
They got engaged last summer, with the idea that the wedding would not be until after she graduates from undergrad, in Spring 2014. She has immediately plunged into full-on wedding planning mode, coming home from school every weekend to look at venues/go to bridal shows/plan. She has started asking me to participate in these wedding activities – last weekend it was wedding dress shopping. I found a way to decline, but I’m not sure how effective that will be in the future.
I don’t like this guy, and I think she is making a horrible mistake, and I don’t want to be involved in this wedding stuff. I also know that the more I am forced to be around her wedding stuff, the more likely it is that I am going to say something that I regret – I don’t want to start a family war, but I just can’t support this. Does anyone out there have any advice on how to maintain distance when you just don’t approve?
Post # 3
What does the rest of her family think of her engagement/wedding? Are you the only person who does not approve? I don’t think there is really much that can be done; she is an adult and can legally make her own decisions. It’s a tough situtaion because if you guys stage like an “intervention” it will probably only drive her away and then she’s stuck with this stinker on her own. I’d say have a heart to heart with her (or have mom talk to her, if they’re close & her mother feels the same way you do) and just be there for her when this relationship implodes.
Post # 4
@DaneLady: My husband and his brothers all think the guy is a jerk, but they are not the sort of family to intervene. I get the impression that my Father-in-Law isn’t thrilled with him, but my Mother-in-Law LOVES planning weddings, so she is happy to go along with that. I don’t feel like it’s my place to say anything, really, but I don’t want to give the impression that I think this is a good idea. I guess I’m just wresteling with the idea of where the line is, and how to best keep my distance without upsetting people. I’m under no illusions that we can get her to change her mind about this guy.
Post # 5
Yowzers, that’s tough. How would your husband feel if you actually sit her down and say (gently but directly) that as much as you love her, you don’t think he is the right guy for her because he is physical with her and his attitude makes you uncomfortable. Tell her you would rather not become involved with wedding planning because it puts you in an uncomfortable situation, given your feelings about him and their relationship. You know she is an adult and capable of making her own decisions, and therefore she is capable of making her own mistakes. You can be there for her as a SIL and not necessarily support this particular decision. KWIM?
Post # 6
I’m going to PM you – because I’m in the EXACT same situation (eerily so), but don’t want it in public on here…
Post # 7
@greenmint: This is a situation that I am also familiar with and there are no easy answers.
I think that the brothers should speak to this dude in a “you push my sister to the floor or get physical with her again in front of me or I hear about it, you and I are going to have a problem” sort of way. I don’t advocate violence, but seriously. This should not be allowed to happen, particularly in front of the family who, by their own inaction, are agreeing with his behaviour.
I think that you can also speak to Future Sister-In-Law about her. That you are concerned about her. That she has cut off her friends. That she doesn’t look happy when her Fiance pushes her to the floor (that situation actually makes me feel sick). That she can always come to you if she needs to, etc. If you talk about her Fiance, she is just going to defend him and dig in her heels.
IMO she has what she wants. She loves him. She’s given up her friends, etc. for him and now he has proven his devotion to her by asking her to marry him. I’m very glad that she intends to finish school.
IMO you are going to have to walk a careful line with the wedding. If you decline all her invites or excitement she is just going to cut you out. Explaining to her that you don’t approve is just going to get her back up and she is going to be more determined to prove you wrong. I would try (and I know how difficult this is) to walk the line of being supportive of her, but not of this choice, KWIM? So, maybe I would go wedding dress shopping with her, but I wouldn’t be part of the wedding party…that kind of thing.
Post # 8
I’m sorry I didn’t say this before, but I really feel for you. It sucks when you care about someone and they make choices that are generally not in their best interest…speaking as someone who has fallen on her face often (OFTEN) in the past, some people just need to figure this stuff out for themselves.
I think that the fact she intends to finish school before getting married is a really good sign. A lot of things could change in the next 2 years.
Post # 9
@ArwenBride: Thanks for your thoughtful response. I should make it clear – the physical stuff is all in the guise of “playing” – it’s not that he is beating her in front of the family. But, we (me and my husband, and his brothers) all think that he “plays” too rough. And, coupled with the way he talks about women in general, it just concerns us that it could escalate to actual, spousal abuse/violence at some point in the future. It’s kind of a hard line to walk. The thing is – he goes on and on about how my SIL is his “princess”, and then in the next breath talks about what an f****** c*** his own mother is. One of my biggest concerns is, what happens when she stops being his princess?
And, I know exactly what you mean about having to let people make their own mistakes – I am continually thankful that I didn’t end up with the person I was with when I was 19.
Post # 10
I know it’s awkward, but someone needs to say something. I’m in a semi-similar situation where everyone kind of looks to the person to their left to say something, but no one will. It is awkward and we all know the girl is making a mistake, but no one will speak up, for fear of rocking the boat and pushing her into his arms.
I think that the brothers need to say something to the guy, and that you can talk to the girl about her and her feelings. Don’t even bring him into it.
I agree with everything @ArwenBride: has said… it’s practically like she knows me.
Post # 11
he is her choice and although he sounds like a immature prick she doesnt seem to be abused in her relationship. i can only suggest although you dont support the marriage you should support her – being military she will be moving away and living with him once they are married, let her know she will have a safe place to land when/if it falls apart. goodluck, its nice that you care about her so much
Post # 12
@greenmint: Her brother’s are particularly concerned about this physical stuff, but no one wants to be negative, and it’s hard to know what to say.
Wow. When you see him throwing her around, that’s when you say something. That’s when a brother steps in and beats the ever-loving shit out of this douchebag.
No one wants to be negative……….so wait till he moves her away, she’s isolated, far from friends and family, and he can do whatever he wishes.
I can’t believe the parents/siblings aren’t clamoring over themselves to stop this farce.
Post # 13
I don’t approve of my SIL’s engagement as well. For different reasons. I just had to remove myself from the situation. I don’t really interact with her outside of extended family events now. I know I will say something I regret if I pretend to be happy for her.
Good luck. I wish I had better advice for you, but so far removing myself from the situation has been working for me.
Post # 14
Yep same situation over here but its not your place to tell her. If you like HER then i say go to one show or venue and leave it at that. They sound like a bunch of kids horseplaying, harmless, but not what mature adults do. Say something if it bothers you so much! If not youre going to have to avoid her until they break up or get married!!