Post # 1
Well girls, I have to keep it anonymous so I am telling the board–I HATE MY FUTURE BROTHER IN LAW. My Fiance sister just announced her engagement. She is super smart–graduated from and Ivy League school–could be a brain surgeon if she wanted. Instead she is going to marry this guy with a lot of money. So what you say? Well, he punched her about 2 years ago. He has gotten counseling, but should I forgive him? Should I welcome him into this family? My Fiance HATES him! Should we go to the wedding? Do people change?
Post # 3
Should I welcome him into this family? NO
Should we go to the wedding? NO
Do people change? Sometimes, but how many "accidents" will she have before he does?
I am usually a forgiving person, but I would never forgive someone who abused someone I loved.
Post # 4
I think you should hold him at arm’s length, but be civil to him for your SIL’s sake. You definitely don’t have to forgive him or like him or invite him over or even talk to him very much.
Should you go to the wedding? Yes. You should do everything in your power to be there for your SIL. Same goes for your Fiance. If she’s in an abusive relationship, chances are her husband will try to isolate her from everyone who cares about her (they are threats to his control.) Even if you hate the guy, stay in your SIL’s life as much as possible because she will need you and her family.
Post # 5
I have nothing to add except that I think MissSnapdragon is completely right. You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer…
Post # 6
I think in this circumstance it is important to show support, but going to someone’s wedding is showing that you approve of the marriage and wish to celebrate it with the couple. Ella, you should ask yourself that when you are approached by the couple when they do table visits, will you be able to say to them that you are happy for them?
Post # 7
Niki, I see what you’re saying, and in almost any other circumstance I’d agree with you. Obviously going to the wedding could imply an approval of the marriage which Ella lacks. But the way I look at it is which would be more harmful: falsely conveying to SIL that she approves of the marriage (which is speculative–who knows how SIL will interpret it) or falsely conveying to SIL that she and brother/FI won’t be there for her when she needs them? (which, granted, is also speculative but I say err on the side of safety…)
Post # 8
I am so confused??!!!??! I want to be there for my SIL. Her parents approve and want everyone to be happy. They even say that the shrink says "Men in their early twenties often have psychotic episodes." Should I believe that? We are just bummed. We hopped they would break up. I don’t know what to do 🙁
Post # 9
Oh, Ella! (((hugs))) All you can really do, I think, is support your SIL and be there for her as much as you can. Don’t lie to her and tell her her husand is great if you think he’s an abusive creep. Just be her friend.
I have never heard that men in their early 20s "often" have psychotic episodes. Honestly, if he really did have a psychotic episode then he could very well have a mental illness–which is not very common and certainly not what "often" happens to young men just as a part of life.
If he’s not mentally ill and just an abusive a-hole, the last thing he or SIL needs is people like her parents and his shrink making excuses for him and invalidating her. You could be the voice that sticks up for her when she needs it, or even just an open ear when she needs someone to hear her and no one else will…
Finally, as a caveat I feel compelled to say that the one incident you know about, if it happened in isolation, does not automatically indict him as a horrible person. It may be as the shrink apparently said, and it’s a one time episode, or maybe he is mentally ill. I don’t think you can know for sure based on what you’ve told us, so I don’t think you should jump the gun and accuse him of anything. I wouldn’t get involved in the middle of their relationship–your SIL needs to live her own life, and make her own mistakes if need be. And you don’t need to assume that he is definitely a horrible abuser–he may not be. But…he may also be. And even if he only hit her the one time, it could be part of a pattern of verbal abuse which can be just as damaging and just as isolating.
You can help your SIL by being there for her, by listening to her and just keeping an eye open for anything that doesn’t sit right, by taking her seriously and being nonjudgmental. You could also educate yourself about abuse so you know what warning signs to watch out for.
Your SIL is lucky to have you, you obviously care a lot about her. Good luck.
Post # 10
I have to add, that one of my brothers is not attending my wedding. We have always had a rough relationship as siblings but at the holidays it exploded. I have, for my own sanity, come to terms with this. On my wedding day, one of my siblings will not be there. I am going to be fine. However, after the wedding, this will be hard to except and perhaps unforgivable. So be cautious when making a decision not to go to the wedding. You will want to be in your SIL’s life to support and love her, however, if you decide not to go to her wedding, this may be difficult in the future. Good luck and offer her all the love and support she needs!
Post # 11
You should absolutely be there to support your SIL.
Like Jenniferb, my Fiance has a sister (his only sibling) who we are uncertain of wether she will come to our wedding (there’s no real reason, she’s just one of those people that flakes on all family events and falls off the radar regularly). It crushes my Fiance that she may not be there to enjoy this wonderful celebration in his life when he flew out to walk her down the aisle just months ago when she married her girlfriend.
Personally, I would make an effort to get to know this guy and see what he’s all about. Be there to support her, IF things go south in any way, she will need your support and strength to make tough decisions. The worst thing you could do is distance yourself, especially if your SIL is indeed in an unhealthy relationship.
Post # 12
Wow. I have to agree with everybody who votes that you really need to go to the wedding. And you really need to try to be there for your Future Sister-In-Law. Sometimes (sadly) smart women are not so smart – and maybe this incident was a one-time thing, and the guy is really okay – and maybe she’s headed for a really bad situation. I would definately reserve judgement on the guy – I don’t think that you have to welcome him with open arms – and maybe it’s a good thing for him to know that you will be watching what happens. But in order to do that, you have to be involved, right? You have to have enough contact with her to see what’s happening. People who are in abusive relationships get good at hiding what is happening, so you really need to have more than casual contact with her if you want to be able to see what’s really going on. People who are abusers do try hard to isolate their victims, and you don’t want to play into that. Unfortunately, nothing you can say to your Future Sister-In-Law will probably change her mind about her Fiance, so as hard as it is, the best thing is just to be there for when she ends up in trouble again, and will maybe listen. Although certainly I hope that doesn’t actually happen.
Post # 13
Yes. You definitely need to go to the wedding so that if she gets caught in a desperate situation and needs somebody to turn to, you’ll be there in her mind as somebody that supports her. It’s rough going — I’ve been to a wedding where I wasn’t happy for the couple (but for much less serious reasons), and just had to keep reminding myself that I was there for when my friend needed me in the future.
Post # 14
I am the type of person that gently voices my concern, so that the person I’m supporting knows where I stand on the relationship. (Gentle is the operative word here… you can do these things in a really kind way).
Then, go to the wedding and be there for her. The reason is that she won’t shut you out if you’ve been there for her, and haven’t bagged on the guy.
I’ve had two friends and 1 sibling go through abusive relationships. They’ve all come out on the other side, but they’ve said that it was nice to know that I was non-judgmental and that they could come to me without fear when things were bad.
Again, when that happened, I tried to be gentle, consistent and firm.
I’m afraid if you shut your SIL out, it will be harder to maintain that openness.
Just my 2 cents.