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My boyfriend’s sister is best friends with his ex wife

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar LisforLeslie 1 week ago.

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  • #726573 Reply
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    Dame MD

    My boyfriend and I have been together for over four years. During that time, he and his sister were not speaking due to a fight they’d had a year before we got together. I only met her a year ago and she was very cold to me. He’s not close with her, but they text every now and then. She’s very close with his ex, who she knew during the 11 years they were married. His ex hates me and has threatened to physically attack me if she ever sees me in person, which makes coordinating holidays very difficult – they have three children together.

    I grew up in a house where Thanksgiving and Christmas were very important and we had a lot of traditions. In order to be with my boyfriend, I had to move across the country from my family, so I can’t celebrate with them. Travel isn’t possible right now.

    I always try to coordinate holidays so that my boyfriend gets time with his kids (which usually means going to his ex’s house where his sister usually spends holidays) but also spends time with me. Sometimes, we have the kids over and have our own day, like our own Thanksgiving on a different day, and then the kids celebrate with their mom and extended family on actual Thanksgiving and my boyfriend and I spend the day together. I think this is a good compromise. I don’t want to rob him of a holiday with his children, but I don’t want to miss out on them with my BF, either.

    This year, his sister bought a house with her new husband and they have a baby. She lives two hours away and texted my boyfriend a few days ago to invite him to Thanksgiving at her house, saying she’d already invited his ex and the kids. I was furious.

    My BF’s mother (who absolutely loves me and has always tried to include me whenever she can) was also furious, and talked about skipping Thanksgiving because of this. The sister’s husband even agreed and thought I should be invited over the ex, but the sister refused to listen. My BF told his sister he wasn’t gonna leave me alone on Thanksgiving and he couldn’t make it, and she said “Understandable. See you next time.”

    Now, I’m terrified she’s going to ruin Christmas and every holiday for the foreseeable future. What should I do? The only way I can talk to the sister is through Facebook but I feel like maybe I should. I don’t particularly want to be friends with her, but I don’t see why she should control all the holidays and get the chance to exclude me so she can invite the ex.

    My BF doesn’t want to fight with either his ex or his sister – the former because of their children and he feels guilty about leaving them, the latter because they just reconciled last year and fighting again would upset their mother. I just don’t know what to do. I want everyone to have holiday time, but no one is fighting for me.

    #726574 Reply
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    Dame MD

    ADDITIONAL POINT: the children like me very much and have no problem spending time with us, so that’s not an issue.

    #726587 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    Do not contact the sister. This is something that your boyfriend has to work out with his sister. There may be a good reason why he didn’t speak to his sister for years. She may try to control his life too much. Let the two of them work it out or not. If you message her she will go ballistic. She would love nothing better than being able to go off on you so don’t give her that opportunity.

    #726595 Reply
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    Essie
    Participant

    You can’t manage all of this stuff. It’s not your job to manage your boyfriend’s family relationships and when and how he spends time with his children. It just isn’t. He’s an adult, and he needs to do this himself.

    You’re making this all about you, and it’s only peripherally about you. At heart, it’s a dispute between your boyfriend and his sister and his ex-wife, and he needs to sort that out. For whatever reason, his sister loves getting under his skin, is willing to use his kids as weapons, and his ex-wife is happy to help her. Yes, that’s awful. Yes, they’re terrible people. Are they your problem to solve? NO.

    Go ahead and plan a nice Thanksgiving. If the sister’s doing lunch, you do dinner. If the sister’s doing dinner, you do lunch. Invite the kids. Invite his mother, if you’d like. Or do it the next day, or Saturday, or whatever. Holidays get complicated when there are kids from a previous marriage. Roll with it. Be creative.

    #726598 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    The sister sounds like a big ol’ drama queen – stirring up shit and creating conflict. That his mother, kids and brother in law are all like “WTF?” is a sign that they’re not standing with Sis.

    The easiest way for your BF to manage some of the holiday stress is to have the holidays either at his mother’s house – her house, she controls the guest list or have it at your house. Again, your house, your guest list. Ex is not invited and he can call her up and say that she’s not invited.

    There really shouldn’t be this tug of war. The sister and the Ex are crossing an unspoken boundary: When the kids are with the mom on holidays, they spend time with her family. When the are with you, they spend time with your family. My folks were divorced. I spent every Thanksgiving with my Dad and Stepmother. I spent High Holidays and Passover with my mom. Christmas was usually with my mom because we both had off at roughly the same time (she was a teacher in a different school district).

    #726599 Reply
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    ktfran
    Participant

    1. DO NOT CONTACT THE SISTER. That will make things worse. Others are right, it’s you boyfriend’s problem to manage.

    2. In theory, I agree with ListforLeslie. Unfortunately, adults often suck and it’s the children that end up paying the price. And unfortunately, that’s what’s happening in this case. The sister and ex are making it so this guy has to choose between his children and his girlfriend.

    That really, really sucks and I’m sorry that’s happening to you LW. And now because the sister is being an asshole, the mom is brought into the mix. Do you really want everyone, your boyfriend and his parents, to choose you over the children?

    Until your boyfriend can get a handle on his sister, I strongly advise you to continue celebrating on an alternate day. Two hours really isn’t that far, so Friday, they could all come back and spend the holiday in town. Your boyfriend should also get a jump on the Christmas Holiday and invite the family over before the sister can get in there. The only reason I’m advising this is because there are children involved. Don’t let them miss seeing their father because his sister and their mom are horrible, petty people.

    I do get that it really sucks for you LW. Especially since your family is so far away. That makes it doubly worse.

    #726607 Reply
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    Ale
    Member

    I think this is a case of “it is what it is”, you either accept it or move on. She will never like you, no matter what you do. She will always try to get between you two. You need to work through this as a couple together, but your bF has to be the one to address this to her, not you.

    #726609 Reply
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    Northern Star

    Wait a second. If I understand you correctly, the kids normally spend holidays with your boyfriend’s ex at the ex’s house, and your boyfriend’s sister attends. And then you celebrate on a different date. So this year, the sister is hosting and inviting the people she always spends her holidays with plus your boyfriend’s family. Right?

    Why didn’t your boyfriend simply respond, “OK, sis, Dame MD and I will be there. Let us know if we can bring a pie!”

    And what do you mean, “no one is fighting for me?”

    Everyone except the sister and ex-wife are taking your side. Your boyfriend is turning down spending a holiday with his kids for your sake. The kids’ grandma is thinking about skipping Thanksgiving with her grandchildren, too. Everyone is going to experience a lot of hurt for your sake, as far as I can see.

    Your boyfriend should have a custody agreement that spells out who gets which holidays since this will undoubtedly come up again.

    #726618 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    @NorthernStar – you can specify which holidays the kids spend with parents but the sister in law is throwing the wrinkle in here and it won’t have any effect on an agreement.

    Scenario 1: Kids are with their mother. You would expect that the mother would go to her parents or siblings, etc. Instead, she’s going to her ex_SIL – aka the Father’s family. So while the Father gets the benefit of having his kids for the holiday – it’s under very uncomfortable circumstances.

    Scenaro 2: Kids are with their father. If they are planning to go to the Sister’s for the holiday, she can invite the ex wife / kids’ mother and have the same result.

    #726623 Reply
    Dear Wendy
    Dear Wendy
    Keymaster
    #726625 Reply
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    Northern Star

    LforLeslie, if the boyfriend has legal custody of the kids for specific holidays, he simply doesn’t have to go to his sister’s house, ever, since he doesn’t like or trust her (and the feeling’s mutual).

    Scenario 3: Boyfriend or boyfriend’s mom hosts the holiday, and therefore the ex isn’t invited.

    #726635 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    @NorthernStar – that’s why I recommended having holiday dinners at his mom or his house. Families have patterns. Everyone goes to Aunt Maggie’s house for Thanksgiving and Aunt Sally does Christmas. In this case, it would appear that the sister “owns” Thanksgiving.

    Successfully moving it – and keeping the family together since that seems to be the desire, takes a little planning and fortitude.

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