Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “My Boyfriend is Way Too Close with His Sister-in-Law”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My boyfriend and I have had a passionate, whirlwind relationship for the last nine months. We do everything together, and, if he is not with me, he is with his brother and sister-in-law. When I first met them I noticed there were many sexual jokes between my boyfriend and his SIL, like my boyfriend accidentally getting her pregnant for child support, etc. He explained it as “their humor.” Even his brother would encourage the jokes. I expressed my discomfort, and he said it would stop. He even agreed to keep physical distance between him and his SIL.

Everything seemed to quiet down for a couple of months. But then one day my boyfriend and I were talking and his phone started going off with messages from his sister-in-law. He told me that she is one of his close friends and they talk all the time. I never knew they were so close. Well, slowly he has started spending more time messaging her and playing games with her into the night when I am over. (My boyfriend’s brother has to go to bed early, so the SIL gets bored and blows up my boyfriend’s phone). Once, it was 11 at night and they were playing games and talking. I was pouting a bit, so I asked him if he would text her hello from me. I was feeling left out. He told me he did not want to. After I begged, he agreed to, but then she never responded. I have since called her and texted her many times, and she won’t respond.

I am finding myself becoming increasingly jealous over her and hurt. It’s not even so much that he is friends with her — it’s what I feel like is a lack of respect for me. I’m not comfortable with my boyfriend having a female best friend, but I would still be upset if this was happening with one of his male friends. In this particular case I do not believe that my boyfriend would ever dishonor his brother by having sex with his SIL though.

My question is: what are appropriate boundaries and how to I get my boyfriend to understand how his relationship with his SIL may not be healthy for us? Is is common for SILs and BILs to be so close? Help! — Jealous of His SIL

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

192 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser March 20, 2013, 9:17 am

    I suspect that most members of this community will disagree with me but I don’t think that the intimacy that your boyfriend shares with his SIL is appropriate, I don’t think it will change no matter what you say because they are, and will always be family, and I personally would bow out and find a boyfriend whose primary intimacy with a woman is with you.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 9:52 am

      Nope, I agree. Thier relationship is weird. I can’t imagine texting my BIL through out the night and playing games and making sexual jokes. WAY crosses the line in my mind.

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    • avatar

      mf March 20, 2013, 10:05 am

      I agree with you. I’m all for sexual humor, but it’s weird that this guy is making sexual jokes with another woman right in front of his girlfriend. And the fact that the SIL won’t respond to her texts is really fishy.

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      • avatar

        bethany March 20, 2013, 10:46 am

        But why would the SIL reply to her texts? What is the LW even texting the SIL about?

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay March 20, 2013, 12:07 pm

        If the boyfriend is such close friends with the SIL and brother, then it just seems like she might be slightly open to getting to know the girlfriend too. Maybe not, but at least being polite would be reasonable.

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      • avatar

        bethany March 20, 2013, 12:13 pm

        I’m all for being polite, but I can’t understand what sort of text the LW would have sent to the SIL. it just seems weird to me that she would text her.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 12:41 pm

        Yeah, nothing is more annoying than texts that just say — Hi! SUBTEXT. I’m a whiny, vapid, needy and insecure person and you’re talking to MY significant other…

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      • avatar

        Rachel @ Reality Chick March 20, 2013, 4:40 pm

        That’s what I thought… I don’t blame the letter writer for feeling as she does. Her BF is pretty much in emotional affair territory.

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    • avatar

      Amanda March 20, 2013, 10:20 am

      Ewww I just thought about making hypothetical sexual jokes with my BIL and I threw up in my mouth. I consider him my brother and that is just too gross, not to mention so disrespectful to my sister.

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey March 20, 2013, 9:24 am

      Well, I definitely agree with you. And FWIW, I think this would be different if it were a mom or sister or aunt or something. Giving attention to a female family member he’s biologically related to and grew up with might be annoying, and they might have had to discuss boundaries and attachment issues, but giving attention to his brother’s wife is NOT the same, and that’s where a lot of the red flags are blossoming here.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl March 20, 2013, 9:22 am

    LW -So you BF of less than a year has a close and friendly relationship with his SIL. They are not hiding their friendship and in fact your BF’s brother joins them in their humor….HOW DARE THEY!!!! Seriously lady, they are friends and have been friends long before you came on the scene. I think at the heart of it is that you don’t like him having close friendships with other women. And while yes it is shitty that he was talking to her while hanging out with you and that she has not been more friendly – in all likelihood your jealousy has been apparent. So put on the big girl panties and either deal with the friendship or walk away.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 9:25 am

      I agree. And I don’t buy for one minute it wouldn’t make a difference if this were a male friend. Further, if she were being truthful about that, then why is he not allowed to have friends?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 20, 2013, 9:30 am

        LBH – two things. 1) In LW’s defense, I don’t think this BF is not allowed to have friends… And 2) I had a dream about you last night! I dreamt you emailed me your itinerary of an upcoming trip to Thailand and you also linked a picture of a new bathing suit you bought for the trip – and I replied “bitch”! But when I hit reply I was able to read your real name, and it was Ann Rex. (Weird.)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 9:34 am

        Just was a weird line about her feeling this way even if it were a male friend. Like, that’s what you do with friends, spend time talking and playing.

        OMG MY REAL NAME IS ANN REX!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 20, 2013, 9:40 am

        No, I also agree that I doubt she’d feel this weird if he were spending time with a male friend. But the second part you said, “further….”, I don’t think she ever said he’s not allowed to have friends. She just said they spend all their time together. …. Maybe that’s the problem, maybe they need to spend some time apart so the time they are spending together is more quality – and he’s not texting his SIL during that time. I dunno, I’d be annoyed about this too, but more so because he’s not including her.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 9:43 am

        All true.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 20, 2013, 10:08 am

        Agree on all points. It is definitely all about the fact that this is a girl and he makes sexual jokes with her.

        I’ve noticed a theme on here. Are people just never allowed to make sexual jokes to people their not dating these days? Have those gone out of style? I love making inappropriate jokes at all times. I had no idea everyone in the world was out there getting all butt hurt about it.

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      • avatar

        Desiree March 20, 2013, 10:19 am

        I guess everyone has a different comfort level. I make tons of sexual jokes with my female friends. Not as much with my guy friends, but that’s just the dynamic of my friend group.

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      • avatar

        Girodet March 20, 2013, 11:23 am

        For me it isn’t just the sexual jokes but all of it together. It sounds like the LW doesn’t live with her boyfriend. Taking that into account the boyfriend spending there time together playing with his SIL is a concern. The refusing to text hi was a real red flag for me. Why would he refuse to do that? I also think it is okay for LW to try and get close to the SIL which the SIL is refusing to do. The SIL is the boyfriends family and it makes since for the LW to want to get close to his family. There seems to be a weird threesome relationship here that the LW is trying to understand. If it was me I’d MOA.

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      • avatar

        artsygirl March 20, 2013, 2:54 pm

        I don’t see it as a red flag personally. She wanted to show that a) she was physically with her BF at the time and therefore b)metaphorically peeing on him to show ownership to the SIL. Seriously, the LW is not comfortable and obviously is insecure so she needs to end the relationship.

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  • avatar

    bethany March 20, 2013, 9:23 am

    I feel like this letter is overly dramatic. I mean, is he playing Words With Friends before bed on his phone with the sister in law and occasionally IMing through the game, or is he sitting up at night playing some game online where he’s actively talking to her for hours? If it’s the former, totally normal, IMO.

    Also, how long has he known her and how long has she been in the family? If your bf is younger than his brother and SIL, then it’s possible he could have known this woman for 10-20 years, which would make his closeness with her 100% understandable and normal.

    Personally, I think you’re overreacting to the closeness of their relationship. If my boyfriend of only a handful of months told me to lay off talking to a family member so much, I’d have a real problem with it. His relationship with his family members is what it is, and it’s likely not going to change in the way you want it to. If you’re not ok with it, then I think you need to MOA.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 20, 2013, 9:27 am

      I am so fed up with LWs and their lack of specificity these days. Do they not realize the agony it puts me through?!

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 20, 2013, 9:40 am

      WBS. I also imagined him playing words with friends. So maybe it’s more of a problem that he won’t put down his phone when he’s with other people, rather than that he’s talking to the SIL. Even if they’ve only been friends for 3-4 years, it’s still longer than he’s known the LW. How dare his brother marry someone his family would actually get along with! The nerve!

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle March 20, 2013, 9:41 am

      ” I mean, is he playing Words With Friends before bed on his phone with the sister in law and occasionally IMing through the game…” <—yeah, that's the situation I'M picturing, at least (which is totally normal). If she wants him to talk to her instead, then she should just say that—but Jesus, leave the rest out of it. I agree, she sounds completely over-dramatic.

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  • avatar

    csp March 20, 2013, 9:34 am

    LW – I think you are completely over reacting. I mean, this is family. If you become his wife, you will deal with her for the rest of your life. This is not a battle I would fight.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay March 20, 2013, 10:28 am

      I think that’s the point. I doubt the LW wants to spend the rest of her life alone at night while her husband texts sexy jokes to his SIL.

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      • avatar

        csp March 20, 2013, 11:17 am

        But her example is from one night. This happened one night that she felt ignored. it seems silly. She felt like she had to stake her claim because they were playing Words with Friends?

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay March 20, 2013, 12:02 pm

        True, I assumed her point was that it happens a lot, but it looks like she never said that. If it’s only happened once, then it was a poor example to use…

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 20, 2013, 3:21 pm

        Actually her example is for the night that she was pouting, and wanting him to text her Hi from her, but this “Well, slowly he has started spending more time messaging her and playing games with her into the night when I am over.” makes me think that he is actually texting her all of the time.

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  • avatar

    Miss Terri March 20, 2013, 9:36 am

    Wow, LW – I agree that this sounds like an unacceptable situation. And as a few people have mentioned (and I have learned the hard way) you can’t change other people’s behavior. You may have to cut your losses on this one – and find a boyfriend that makes YOU his priority! Sorry, but I think you are banging your head up against a wall on this one….

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  • avatar

    Sasa March 20, 2013, 9:36 am

    Regardless of the whole SIL factor – your boyfriend sits next to you texting someone all evening and you have to beg him to include you? No, it doesn’t sound like he respects you very much.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle March 20, 2013, 9:37 am

    I think you should ~stop~ focusing on the friendship itself, here. Don’t tell your boyfriend things like, “Oh, I didn’t know you two were so close…it’s weird how often you’ll make sexual jokes to each other…” & instead, express your feelings about the phone etiquette issue. If you guys are hanging out together, he shouldn’t CONSTANTLY be on his phone. It’s rude. And you’re allowed to say that you’d prefer him to cut down on the phone-game playing thing.

    JUST say that, though. “Hey, I want a bit more of your attention when we’re together.” You can ask for attention. That’s basically what you want anyway, right? Don’t blend that simple desire in with jealousy—since that seems to lead to petulant pouting & passive-aggressive “Tell her your girlfriend says HI!” statements. You don’t need to do that. Just ask for what you want, & I bet he will give it to you.

    Now, apart from all that actual advice…I have a few questions. Like, why have YOU been calling & texting the SIL “many times”? If you’re weirded out that your boyfriend’s close to her, then I bet *you* aren’t close to her at all, right? If I were her, I’d find it a bit weird that my husband’s brother’s girlfriend was—as you nicely phrased it—“blowing up my phone” for seemingly no reason. I mean, what even were you texting her?

    So, I dunno, chill out a bit. Yes, I’d also be upset if the person I was with ignored me in favor of his/her phone. But the rest of it? is not something to dwell on. Telling your boyfriend that one of his familial relationships isn’t “healthy” for his 9-month relationship just…won’t work in your favor, let’s say.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 20, 2013, 9:42 am

      I agree that it’s weird that the LW is trying to constantly contact the SIL. I mean, they’ve been dating 9 months. Not 5 years. Like why are you blowing up her phone? As of right now she might see you as some temporary girlfriend and doesn’t want to put in the time and effort to get to know you until things look more serious. Sometimes family members don’t want to get to know every Susie or Sally that their brother in law brings home.

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    • avatar

      CaraM March 20, 2013, 9:50 am

      I definitely agree to frame it in terms of the boyfriend always being on his phone instead of talking to the LW — that’s a great way to get at the problem without seeming like the LW is policing his relationship with his SIL.

      I’m not 100% sure what I think about this letter though. On one hand, I think making sexual jokes with his SIL about him getting her pregnant is pretty strange… but maybe that is just their sense of humor! Does he joke around like this with the LW? Or with other friends? But, they’re probably known each other a while and if their relationship doesn’t bother the brother, I don’t know why the LW is letting it bother her.

      But, definitely stop calling and texting the SIL! It is a little weird she hasn’t responded to your calls, but maybe it’s because you keep trying to contact her so now she’s a little freaked out? If you’ve only been dating for nine months, she might very well see you as “temporary” especially if she’s been friendly with your boyfriend’s exes.

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    • avatar

      csp March 20, 2013, 11:28 am

      I totally agree! I think everyone deals with too much phone attachment. I know that if my husband doesn’t like what is on TV, the phone shows up and he will totally zone out and shut down. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love me, it just means that he doesn’t like Fashion Star.

      I also agree about accusing him of wierd family relationships will not win her friends.

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  • avatar

    pamplemousse March 20, 2013, 9:49 am

    MOA. If you have to lay in bed with your boyfriend at night while he texts this woman, and she refuses to communicate with you, something fishy is going on. I disagree with the comments that state you should treat the relationship differently because she is “family.” If your boyfriend spend have every night texting his mom while ignoring you and she refused to talk to you, would that be any less disconcerting?

    Even if they aren’t having sex, this is weird behavior and a totally justifiable reason for leaving someone. Tell him you feel it is inappropriate, it weirds you out, and if he gets defensive or makes more promises he doesn’t keep (saying he will stop and then continuing on), MOA.

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    • avatar

      pamplemousse March 20, 2013, 9:53 am

      *spend = spent
      *have = why are you in the middle of my sentence?

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 20, 2013, 10:24 am

      I agree with you. It doesn’t matter who he is constantly texting, it is a mark of disrespect and a symptom of a larger problem. However, the fact that it’s his SIL who is presumably reasonably close to his age and ISN’T related to him raises the probability of a sexual dynamic. I dunno, it all just seems weird to me. In my experience, guys don’t communicate that constantly with ANYONE unless there are romantic or sexual feelings involved.

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    • avatar

      csp March 20, 2013, 11:35 am

      But it isn’t every night. it is one night. And they were playing a game together. assume it was Words with Friends. You would break up with a boyfriend for playing words with friends or Ruzzle or Whatever?

      Honestly, the SIL might not realize how significant thier relationship is. When my brother was dating and he had a different girlfriend every year, I found it annoying that these girls would text me. Heck, I hate when my SIL’s boyfriends friend me on facebook. Then it is stupid when they break up and I have this random guy on my news feed. Plus, the LW obviously doesn’t like the SIL so her texts and calls probably come off as super fake.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl March 20, 2013, 11:43 am

        She only gave that one night as an example, she didn’t say it only happened once.

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      • avatar

        csp March 20, 2013, 1:17 pm

        See, I read it that she had no idea that they were texting and playing video games together so it didn’t happen before. Otherwise, she would have known that they texted.

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  • avatar

    oldie March 20, 2013, 9:52 am

    I don’t see anything wrong with a guy having a female best friend, especially since you describe her as a safe best friend. His brother, who knows the two of them better than you do, also finds their friendship safe. I don’t your expectation that your bf and you will do everything together without interuption from his friends is realistic. You say you would feel equally disrespected if he spent this time with a male friend. This suggests that you may well be overly clingy, since you indicate that your bf spends plenty of time with you and gives you plenty of attention. You just get bent out of shape at any intrusion into that time together, even though that time is almost all the time, leaving your bf little time for his friends.

    You describe most of your 9 months with bf as whirlwind and super passionate. That does have to fade a little with time. Life settles down to normal. You can choose to be the most integral part of your bfs life, or you can choose to lose that by trying to hog 100% of his attention for yourself. If you think about it, you should realize that the 100% doesn’t work.

    At first it seemed strange that his SIL wouldn’t respond to you, but she likely hasn’t escaped your attitude toward her.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle March 20, 2013, 10:05 am

      “At first it seemed strange that his SIL wouldn’t respond to you, but she likely hasn’t escaped your attitude toward her.”

      Yup, that’s what I’m guessing too…I mean, aside from the vibe she’s likely giving off in person—she made the boyfriend send a “My girlfriend says hi text” in the middle of whatever game or conversation he was having with the SIL, and now she’s calling & texting her. I feel as though the SIL is expecting some big confrontation & is attempting to avoid it, maybe?

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 20, 2013, 9:57 am

    It does seem a little weird, and it seems like they are a little in appropriate, but only if the brother actually cares that they are spending so much texting time together. I don’t get why you would wanted to be included in his text though, that is also weird. I would get annoyed if I was sitting there texting one of my friends, and playing a game, and my wife just randomly wanted to get involved in the conversation, especially if she started begging me, I would be a litte weirded out by that! Then I would probably lose my mind if she all of the sudden started texting, and emailing this person all of the time after that. It seems very desperate, and a little nutso.

    This relationship isn’t going to work for you, because you need a lot of attention from your boyfriend, and he isn’t going to give it to you.

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    • beelzebarb

      beelzebarb March 20, 2013, 2:21 pm

      It’s the begging part that bugs me. I’ve done the “oh, tell him/her I said hi!” thing with my husband but not like LW describes. It’s more like when he’s texting with my stepdaughter or something.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    Iwannatalktosampson March 20, 2013, 10:04 am

    She probably didn’t respond after he texted her, “X says hi” because she took the hint. I’m sure you give off these hints that you’re annoyed all the time. Why would she give in to your fake attempts at being friends with her? I think it’s great that they’re so close and have such a good relationship. In the history of the world have people had sex with their SIL’s? Yeah. But it’s pretty far fetched for you to be worried about it. All of your behavior sounds pretty passive aggressive.

    But lets look at the facts. 1. You’ve told your boyfriend it makes you uncomfortable. 2. He’s ignored you and think you’re being ridiculous (I do too) 3. You’ve been unable to let it go.

    The conclusion to all of this is that you need to move on. He’s not going to stop being close with his SIL and you’re not going to stop being bothered by it. Move on.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar March 20, 2013, 11:58 am

      I agree. Every family has its own dynamic. Sign on or don’t – but it isn’t your place to change it. It seems to work for everyone else so if it not your cup of tea find someone else with a similar outlook to you. And I wouldn’t respond to texts from you either given your attitude – which I’m sure is no surprise to the SIL.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey March 20, 2013, 9:22 am

    I don’t think that “How do I get my boyfriend to understand how his relationship with his SIL may not be healthy for us?” is the most productive question to be asking in this situation. I think you should consider asking, instead, “Why am I in a situation where I even have to ask my boyfriend to tone down his weirdly inappropriate relationship with his brother’s wife?”

    You asked how you can get your boyfriend to understand what’s healthy because you’re probably unwilling to ask yourself about all of the red flags going on in this situation. Your intuition is alerting you that something is definitely off, but dealing what THAT can be difficult and scary, so you ask yourself something a little easier to swallow. But let’s get uncomfortable, and ask yourself the tough questions, because that’s what’s going to get you clarity.

    This situation would be suspect even if his SIL was just a random friend; the fact that she’s his SIL just adds another layer of weird to the mix. Forget the fact that she’s his SIL for a minute and look at the facts: Your boyfriend is putting a lot of energy into communicating with another woman in a way that makes you uncomfortable. You’ve asked him to tone it down, and he’s ignored you. You asked to be kept in the loop, and he’s ignored you. You have to whine and pout and beg to get your boyfriend to stop paying attention to the woman married to his brother, instead of the woman sitting in front of him.

    Your boyfriend may or may not be having a sexual relationship with his SIL. It wouldn’t be the first time that kind of thing happened. He may or may not be having a sort of emotional affair with his SIL. We can’t know that for sure. But what we CAN know for sure is that your boyfriend is definitely not very invested or interested in your relationship, and having to beg someone for attention is a clear sign that you’re not in the right relationship. Have the strength to listen to your gut, which has given you a lot of warning signs so far.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 20, 2013, 9:25 am

      Boom!

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 9:37 am

      So wise RR.
      Re your comment that it’d be suspect if it were just a random friend, but that its weirder bc its the SIL, I kinda think the opposite. If this were just some single lady, I’d think this was a little odd, but I’d feel comforted almost knowing that she married to the brother.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 20, 2013, 9:52 am

        Idk maybe comforted that it’s less likely a physical affair, but it sure sounds like an emotional affair. And I would certainly not stay with a guy who was in love with another woman, regardless of whether he was acting on it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 9:57 am

        So weird the differences of thoughts on here. I thought nothing of the behavior at all, expect that you should stop spending so much time on your phone when you have company.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 10:04 am

        See, I see it wrong from BOTH sides. Spending that much time on your phone- disengaged from real life and people who are trying to spend time with you is beyond rude in my mind. But making overly sexual jokes and talking late into the night with your brother’s wife is also inappropraite in my mind. Either way- this situation is yucky to me.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 20, 2013, 10:05 am

        The major red flag for me is that when she asked him to tell the SIL she said hi, he refused. That’s… odd. Makes it seem like more than a friendship.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson March 20, 2013, 10:12 am

        He probably refused because they were talking about something unrelated and knew the wife would be like – okkkkkay obviously they’re fighting about something – that’s strange. And wanted to avoid the drama the LW is intent on creating. She wasn’t saying Hi to say hi. She was saying hi to piss all over her boyfriend and claim him in case that wasn’t apparent to the wife – which yeah is awkward.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 20, 2013, 10:20 am

        Ok that’s the intent of the LW, but I’m not sure that if I were idly texting my friend and they were like “BF/GF says hi” I would assume that was the intent. I would probably be like “Hi BF!” and go back to whatever was going on.
        I would only feel like it was a territorial thing if I was projecting my own feeling that I was invading someone’s territory.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson March 20, 2013, 10:26 am

        But you’re assuming that the wife hasn’t picked up on the LW’s insecurity before now, which I highly doubt. They’ve hung out before. And if in the 9 months the boyfriend has never once said, LW says hi, yeah it’s weird. People are move perceptive than you think. The wife would absolutely pick up on the fact that this was a pissing contest and not a friendly hi

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 20, 2013, 10:36 am

        I agree with you—the boyfriend probably was like, “No, I’m not doing that” at first, because he knew how it would come off (& that it would be completely out-of-nowhere in the conversation) But she begs & pouts, so he does it anyway—and now the SIL definitely knows something is up, & feels uncomfortable. She probably stopped responding because clearly, waves were being caused between the LW & boyfriend.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC March 20, 2013, 12:31 pm

        But she said she never responds to any texts or emails she sends.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 10:19 am

        Hmm, I really only thought that was strange on her part. I loved Bagge’s comment about it.

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      • avatar

        ReginaRey March 20, 2013, 10:32 am

        My biggest concern with the whole phone thing isn’t that he was texting his SIL, but that he was completely ignoring her while doing so, and when she “begged” to be included, he ignored her some more. I mean, she shouldn’t have been “begging;” that’s ridiculous. But he shouldn’t have been utterly ignoring her and brushing her off, either. To me, the relationship sounds unhealthy and kind of immature, regardless of the SIL, if you’re having arguments like “OMG OMG please include me in your text convo!!!” and he’s all “Whatever. Leave me alone, you’re annoying.” Doesn’t sound like a recipe for deep and fulfilling love and commitment, ya hear?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 10:34 am

        It certainly doesn’t sound like a good relationship, but if my bf was begging me to be included in text convos, I’d probably tell him he was annoying too.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson March 20, 2013, 10:37 am

        YES THIS. I would not give in to a whiny childish attitude. I mean when you have a 4 year old aren’t you told that the more they whine the less you should be willing to give in because it teaches them that if they whine just a litttttttle bit more they will get what they want. I treat people based on the age they act.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 12:44 pm

        Exactly. Sometimes, people DESERVE to be ignored. Especially when they are being pouty. You don’t reward bad behavior. Although apparently if you don’t do so around here while in a relationship that makes you guilty of something nefarious.

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        ReginaRey March 20, 2013, 1:06 pm

        Mark, I agree that her behavior warranted him ignoring her. But the whole relationship is just a dud — she’s whining, he’s ignoring her and blowing her off (clearly doesn’t give one shit). Let’s all just MOA.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 1:23 pm

        Yeah, I also agree that she should MOA at the bottom of this thread for different reasons…

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow March 20, 2013, 11:22 am

        I dunno, I feel like if it was any type of affair (physical or emotional), they would be less obvious about it. He’s joking/texting/gaming/whatever with his SIL in front of his brother and girlfriend. Side note: I wonder how the brother feels about it?

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 1:06 pm

        The LW says he encourages the jokes and friendship.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow March 20, 2013, 1:21 pm

        Ah! Reading comprehension fail.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 1:24 pm

        Well, it was the tiniest aside.

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    • Amybelle

      Amybelle March 20, 2013, 9:39 am

      This x 10000000!

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    • avatar

      arod11 March 20, 2013, 9:58 am

      I used to skip over the Your Turns on DW because I felt like people didn’t give advice as good as Wendy’s, but now I read for your advice, RR! This is perfect advice, I agree 100%

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    • avatar

      SuzyQ March 20, 2013, 10:30 am

      “having to beg someone for attention is a clear sign that you’re not in the right relationship”

      This encapsulates the entire problem here. You, LW, are not getting what you need from this relationship. It sounds like you’ve been upfront about it and it hasn’t changed. MOA.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson March 20, 2013, 10:24 am

    This isn’t really about the LW and more a comment on the state of relationships in general – but I am getting kind of bummed out lately by the entitled level of ownership people seem to feel over their SO’s. It’s weird to me that anyone would feel like they could (let alone want to) dictate how another human spends their time. If this boyfriend wants to spend nights catching up with his SIL and playing on his phone and that makes him happy why is that a bad thing? He’s happy! If the LW can’t find ways to occupy her time at night why can’t we just say they are not a right fit instead the LW trying to change him. Leave him be! He’s happy. The husband is happy. The wife is happy. She doesn’t own him or his time.

    And who says the fact that we don’t want to spend every minute with our SO is a bad thing? It doesn’t mean the boyfriend doesn’t love the LW, it might just means it’s his way of unwinding at the end of the day. I do things without Ethan all the time and I need to do those things for my sanity. I need to see friends without him and work out without him and watch tv without him.

    I noticed the LW mentioned that they instantly became attached at the hip. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the boyfriend is out of the honeymoon phase and is coming up for air and wants to work on some of the relationships he let slide. Again, a good thing.

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    • avatar

      bethany March 20, 2013, 10:37 am

      I agree with you 100%. I don’t understand the idea that a girlfriend of NINE MONTHS somehow should be getting all his attention all of the time. I mean, sure if they’re out on a date or something, yeah it’s rude to be on your phone. But if they’re just sitting on the couch watching TV, a little WWF isn’t something to get your panties in a wad over.
      I don’t care who my husband texts. I don’t care who he talks on the phone to. And I certainly don’t want 100% of his attention all the damn time. I have a life, he has a life, and we have a life together. Those things don’t need to be mutually exclusive. There’s a happy place where you don’t need to lose yourself in another person.

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    • avatar

      Grilledcheesecalliope March 20, 2013, 10:56 am

      I think you have a different kind of relationship ideal than the LW. Some people want a relationship that still has a lot of independence. Some people prefer more closeness. I like to be first, I would get upset if I ever felt like my boyfriend had a friend who was more important to him than me. As long as I dont go overboard and refuse to let him talk to or see his friends, he accepts that and tries to make prioritizing me obvious. It seems like the LW wants to be more of a priority and is dwelling on the relationship with the SIL as proof that her bf is not prioritizing her.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 10:59 am

        But who says SIL is more important to him than the gf?

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        Grilledcheesecalliope March 20, 2013, 11:10 am

        She seems to think the SIL is more important. I agree with most people that they probably just need to moa, but I don’t think she’s controlling or immature for wanting to be his priority and wanting it to be obvious. I think they just have different ideas of what their relationship is and should be.

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      • avatar

        csp March 20, 2013, 11:43 am

        But he played video games with the SIL one night and suddenly she isn’t the priority.

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      • avatar

        Grilledcheesecalliope March 20, 2013, 11:56 am

        I’m not saying it’s true just that based on the way the Lw is reacting she seems to feel that way.

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        csp March 20, 2013, 1:20 pm

        See, I think she is saying. He told this sexual joke, I told him not to hang out with her and now I found out they text and play video games on the phone. Like he wants her instead of just chatting with family.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 20, 2013, 3:26 pm

        It is not just one night, the example was of the night she pouted, and wanted to say hi, but in the letter it doesn’t say it was one night, it says they slowly started texting and playing games with each other whenever she is over.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 20, 2013, 3:24 pm

        I think that if everytime they hangout he is texting his SIL then yes he needs to cut it out, and pay more attention to her.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow March 20, 2013, 11:34 am

        I think they’re important in different ways. One is a girlfriend, a romantic partner, a companion, whatever – and the other is family/friend. People fill different roles in our lives and they’re each important in their own way. One person might be more “important” in some ways and less in others.

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        Grilledcheesecalliope March 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

        True and that is probably how the bf sees it. Lw doesn’t seem to view it that way and honestly I wouldn’t either. My boyfriend texting someone else late into the night rather than spending time with me would annoy me, no matter who it was (unless there was some other reason). That wouldn’t make me insecure nor would it make him an ass it would just mean a difference in what we find appropriate.

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        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 12:03 pm

        Grilledcheese- I think you’re totally right. People have different definitions and expectations in a relationship. Some want to maintain a huge amount of independence, others want to be together 99% of the time and like, be the same person. You have to find someone who’s expectations are the same as yours.

        My fiance and I are together 99.9% of our free time. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Our couple friends spend maybe 20% of their free time together, and the other 80% doing their own things. That makes them happy. To each his/her own.

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      • beelzebarb

        beelzebarb March 20, 2013, 2:30 pm

        I agree. Plus I think it’s relevant that she says she was over at her bf’s place i.e. they don’t live together. When you don’t live with your SO, the main reason you go over to their place is to spend time with them.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 20, 2013, 10:31 am

      Idk, when you’re single you have the chance to do whatever the hell you want. And when you’re in a relationship you have to consider what the other person wants. Maybe he just got used to doing things his way, and needs a little nudge to get into the couple mindset?
      LW sounds a bit clingy, and if they are spending every night hanging out then sometimes hanging out is “gazing deeply into each others eyes over candlelit dinner” and sometimes it’s “sitting next to each other on the couch while I blog and he plays video games.”
      BUT… if he is lying next to her in bed texting someone (she claims gender doesn’t matter, so taking her at her word) and she feels that crosses a line, I think the mature thing to do is communicate that to him and suggest a solution. If “no texting after 10pm” is what the LW wants from her bf, she should ask for it. And if he doesn’t want that, then they’re not a good fit. I just think it warrants a try.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson March 20, 2013, 10:35 am

        “I expressed my discomfort, and he said it would stop. He even agreed to keep physical distance between him and his SIL.
        Everything seemed to quiet down for a couple of months.”

        She has expressed herself, and he is expressing himself through actions. She needs to move on and quit policing him. There are plenty of girls out there that would be thrilled that he has such a good relationship with his family.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 20, 2013, 10:38 am

        Ok I read the letter again and I think you’re right. She has asked, and he has answered. Not all answers are verbal ones. I’ll give it to you… MOA.

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      • avatar

        oldie March 20, 2013, 12:55 pm

        Nothing says he violated his agreement with LW. She asked him to not be so physically close to SIL. Texting and gaming on his cellphone is not physically close. Since she doesn’t say that he went back to what she objected to — sexual jokes and too physically close for her to be comfortable, I’m going to assume he took steps to correct that. Now she’s created a new boundary issue. He also can’t text or play internet games with SIL. I guess he gets to say hello to SIL at family functions, wave from a distance, and that’s about it.

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  • avatar

    SuzyQ March 20, 2013, 10:32 am

    Thefact that the SIL won’t respond to you means something – it means that you are being deliberately excluded from their relationship. If they had a simple familial/friendly bond, she would be bending over backwards to make you feel included and part of the family. Whether they have an intimate relationship that is sexually inappropriate or emotionally inappropriate doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day the brother will wise up and the shit will hit the fan. Do you even want to be around when that happens?

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay March 20, 2013, 10:40 am

    I’d say just MOA. At nine months, I think it’s still at the point where you “take it or leave it” in a relationship. Sure, you should discuss with an SO when something bothers you, but it’s not your job to change something they clearly don’t want to change. You can’t teach someone boundaries they don’t want to build.

    FWIW, I would be annoyed too. If my boyfriend spent an entire evening with me on the phone, I’d probably tell him to go home. (Though I don’t spend 24/7 with boyfriends.) I’d also find the sexual comments weird. It may not be objectively inappropriate, but everyone is entitled to feel uncomfortable by whatever makes them feel uncomfortable, and I don’t think it’s far-fetched in this case.

    I think this is one of many examples why a whirlwind romance is not a good thing. It gets blurry how committed you actually are, which in turn makes it hard to realize what you have control over or not. And you also get confused about what the relationship is actually like, aka, not always attached at the hip.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle March 20, 2013, 10:48 am

      You have good points about the whirlwind romance thing; you’re right, this relationship probably doesn’t have any legs, anyway. I find everyone’s different take on it interesting, though.

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  • avatar

    Amanda March 20, 2013, 10:42 am

    Over dramatic, insecure, jealous girlfriend + boyfriend’s weird relationship with his brother’s wife = Relationship FAIL

    MOA

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    • avatar

      bethany March 20, 2013, 10:49 am

      Exactly. The LW isn’t going to change, the BF isn’t going to change, this isn’t going to work. There’s no need to complicate it any further.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle March 20, 2013, 10:46 am

    OKAY, I find it fascinating how split everybody is on this letter, & I just want to say one thing in regard to the “sexual jokes”— don’t you guys think it’s more likely the LW is over-reacting about this? (The SIL’s husband/LW’s boyfriend’s brother is TOTALLY cool with it & “encourages” it, remember)

    My read on the situation is that the SIL, boyfriend, boyfriend’s brother (can we start giving them fake names? This is ridiculous) have known each other for a long time, have a close relationship, & are comfortable enough to make allll kinds of jokes. And instead of understanding that dynamic, all the LW sees is her boyfriend being sexual with another woman. It’s indicative of a warped kind of perception, in my opinion.

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    • avatar

      Sasa March 20, 2013, 10:54 am

      It’s possible. But it’s also possible that the brothers’ relationship is strange – that they lack healthy boundaries with each other, but they are so used to it that they think it’s normal. And the brother’s wife may be playing along with this, while the LW as a newcomer to this little circle sees it (correctly) as weird.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 10:57 am

      I agree Fab.
      I’m surprised at the accusations of sexual or emotional affairs with so little details. Female + texts + jokes should never equal OMG Emotional Affair!

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 11:16 am

        But the boyfriend is choosing to interact electronically with his SIL instead of physically and emotionally with his girlfriend who is in the same room as he is. That is a red flag. Now, if the SIL was having an issue that the boyfriend was helping her with, I could understand. But, if it’s just playing games and texting back and forth, it shows he’d prefer to spend his time doing that with his SIL than with his girlfriend. That does say something, although it might be more about the girlfriend than his relationship with his SIL.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 11:51 am

        That’s not a red flag to me at all. I don’t give my bf my undivided attention for every moment we’re together, nor did I when we lived apart.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 11:56 am

        How long have you been with your boyfriend? The LW is in a short-term relationship still.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant March 20, 2013, 12:00 pm

        I’d say nine months is long enough to stop expecting your SO to give you their full attention every minute you are together. It sounds like they don’t live together but are starting to spend a lot of nights together – I think at that point it’s okay not to spend every waking moment being engaged with one another.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 12:29 pm

        I never said he needed to give her his full attention, but if she’s being accurate, this isn’t an isolated situation, and he’s doing it more and more over time, despite her being bothered by it.

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        ele4phant March 20, 2013, 12:41 pm

        I dunno I think they just have different expectations about what it means to be in a long term relationship. Yes he’s focusing on her less than the beginning pf the relationship, but in my opinion that’s normal and to be expected. Nine months sounds about right for the honeymoon phase to end and “normal” life to resume somewhat. So it totally makes sense that the amount of texting, game playing and all around not staring deeply into each others eyes is decreasing somewhat.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

        I’m with elephant. Did you give undivided attention to boyfriends at all time 9 months in? Just seems like a bit much.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

        I’ll add, if they were at a restaurant or something and she was being ignored, that’s a different story. At years together, I’d consider it rude if I were on a date and was being ignored most of it.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant March 20, 2013, 12:29 pm

        Yeah I agree. I’d still get pissed if my bf and I were out doing something date like and I got ignored. But chilling on the couch or hanging out in bed before you turn the lights out? Totally okay to not focus on one another for a bit. I mean if he LITERALLY refused to acknowledge her presence each and every time she wa there – okay that’s weird. But focusing on something else but still responding if she tries to make a comment or asks a question, or gives he his full attention part of the evening. That’s fine, I’d even say unreasonable to deman otherwise

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      • avatar

        MMcG March 20, 2013, 1:18 pm

        Maybe the LW and the bf are in the transition/starting to stay over at each other’s place stage, and rather than communicate the bf just switched into a coasting mode, and the LW was still at romance stage??

        If I came over 1-2 nights a week to spend time with my “newish” bf I would expect to not be treated like this (I mean if you don’t want to play with me in bed, what’s the point of me packing an overnight bag and being here?), but if it was more regular 4-5 nights per week and they do some separate things during that time and switch off making dinner… then yeah please talk on the phone or do whatever.

        Either way, MOY – once you get weird vibes about family, you’re probably not going to get over it, so just call it a day 🙂

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    • avatar

      Girodet March 20, 2013, 11:12 am

      Sexual jokes between a BIL and SIL is just weird. I guess even if the LW boyfriend was making sexual jokes in front of her with another woman would be weird to me. Even if it isn’t weird to everyone I still think it is okay for the LW to think it is weird. Now take the LW out of the equation altogether. The relationship between the BIL and SIL would be suspect. This is how affairs happen. The brother might be cool with the relationship between his wife and brother, but he could just be plum clueless.

      I understand that they are close, the BIL and SIL, however it seems they are making a point of excluding the LW. The not wanted to text hello is the biggest sign to me. And the fact the SIL is flat out ignoring the LW. The LW is trying to get to know the SIL which seems like the healthy thing to do. In fact I think that is the advise that is always given when a boyfriend has a close girl friend.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 11:24 am

      I think it really depends who you are though. I mean some people are totally fine with sexual jokes in any situation, other people aren’t comfortable with them 99% of the time. I personally don’t feel comfortable having conversations that include jokes of a sexual nature with pretty much anyone other than the person I’m having sex with. Other people don’t mind making sex jokes with the cashier at Wawa. It’s just a difference of comfort.

      So, it’s not that I’m over-reacting, it’s just that my comfort level is different than yours (and others). The same could very well be true for the LW.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 20, 2013, 11:36 am

        I mean, of course it’s her right to feel uncomfortable if she’s just the kind of person who doesn’t like sexual jokes—but I think she needs to be understanding of those that do, & realize that it doesn’t always equal something inappropriate? If this is the way these 3 interact with each other, it’s not her place to try to change that.

        Others disagree, I know, but I just feel like there’s a difference between setting boundaries & then actually like, trying to dictate the way someone interacts with his or her friends. The latter is pretty policing behavior.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 11:47 am

        Yeah, I’m thinking these two are just mismatched in what they each feel is appropraite. The BF and family is cool with the joking and close contact/interactions. She isn’t. I think they should just part their ways, it’s only been 9 months.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl March 20, 2013, 11:53 am

      I’ve known all my BILs for a long time and would NEVER think of flirting with them, that would be gross and disrespectful the my family. The SIL likes the attention she gets from the LW’s boyfriend, to the point that she is excluding the LW from their relationship.

      I wouldn’t waste my time on this dude, he is disrespectful. Maybe the LW is being a drama queen and is clingy, but the boyfriend has a screwy relationship with his SIL.

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      • katie

        katie March 20, 2013, 12:49 pm

        ha, see, this is a perfect example of different perceptions- you think that sexual jokes are flirtatious. Fab specifically said “is it weird to make sexual jokes” and you automatically replaced jokes with flirting.

        sexual jokes dont automatically mean flirting. and i dont mean that your perception is wrong, but i would *never* make that jump, ever.

        so funny.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl March 20, 2013, 1:14 pm

        Either instance is inappropriate.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck March 20, 2013, 2:07 pm

        That’s just your opinion, though, and it clearly isn’t shared by the LW’s boyfriend. In my family, no one would think twice about some flirting or joking with someone’s husband/wife, unless it would make the other person uncomfortable. Clearly, SIL is fine with it and shares their sense of humor, so I don’t see any disrespect happening there. If the LW can’t learn to deal with it, that’s on her. It is not her place to tell her boyfriend that his family’s sense of humor is wrong, and it’s certainly not her place to try to change it.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl March 20, 2013, 5:10 pm

        Just like your opinion is your opinion. My opinion isn’t wrong just because you don’t agree with it.

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      • avatar

        Liquid Luck March 20, 2013, 5:57 pm

        I didn’t say that your opinion is wrong, just stating that there are other possible ways to look at this situation.

        I originally took your post as you stating he was disrespectful as if it were a fact, which is what I was trying to point out. On a second reading, I could see how it could be read as your opinion specifically, so I’m sorry if that is how you meant it and I misunderstood.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph March 20, 2013, 10:11 am

    I’m pretty torn on this letter.
    On one hand, it seems like it could be harmless with a bit of drama queen spin from the LW. From this POV, then they probably could do for a serious chat about boundaries. “I know you need time with your friends but I need some attention too. Can we agree that after a certain hour/on a certain night(s)/whatever constraints make sense to them we both put our phones away and spend some quality time together?
    But on the other hand, the LW is there and we’re not. If she’s getting bad vibes about it… well sometimes those bad vibes are you picking up on something actually being off. And his not wanting to text her “GF says hi” and their sexual jokes do seem inappropriate behavior for a guy and his BROTHER’S WIFE.
    So, basically, it could be something or it could be nothing. If you have that gut feeling that it’s not ok, then I say go for it. Tell him you think their relationship is inappropriate and he can either set some boundaries to make you more comfortable or you can go your separate ways. (And if he says “separate ways” then you probably dodged a bullet.) If you really think it’s just about setting some time apart from his phone and it wouldn’t matter to you if this were a man or woman he was texting at night, then go with option A. Ask him to set some time with you apart from his phone and see if he can stick to them.

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    • avatar

      Sasa March 20, 2013, 10:34 am

      I agree that different interpretations are possible, but there’s definitely something unhealthy about this situation – if it’s not the relationship between the SIL and her bf, then it’s something about the LW’s own relationship with him. It all sounds so awkward. But regarding the SIL-BF relationship, It’s weird to me that the bf had previously agreed to keep “physical distance” from his SIL after LW expressed her discomfort What does this mean? And I would definitely be bothered by the sexual jokes if they happened regularly. Saying “I could get you pregnant buahahah” to your SIL? Just weird. Weird. It definitely depends on the context, but if the LW was so bothered by it, could it really have been harmless?… Anyway, either there IS something inappropriate going on with bf and his SIL, OR the LW is very much bothered by something her bf sees as completely normal behaviour. Either way it’s not a good situation.

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 11:12 am

    I can see this as likely being one of two things:

    (1) high maintenance, jealous LW who is making this situation seem worse than it actually is. I actually thought it was odd that the LW described her relationship as “passionate and whirlwind”. That has a dramatic feel to it.

    (2) the boyfriend is crushing on his SIL or they are having an affair. Like other commenters said, this wouldn’t be the first time it happened, and if they were having an affair, you might be the coverup to keep his brother from getting suspicious.

    I don’t know which one it is. Or, maybe it’s exactly as presented but nothing inappropriate is going on between the boyfriend and SIL, but they are just close. I do find it a bit odd, though, especially the sexual joke component. If neither are like that with others, then I find it more than a bit odd.

    If it were me as the LW, and I wasn’t being dramatic and making this worse than it actually is, I’d just watch the two of them interact. I’d watch how he looks at her, and how she looks at him. They way they look at each other, their body language, etc. might give you a clue. Do they seem more like brother and sister (although no brother and sister make sexual jokes about each other), friends or wannabe lovers?

    Even if it’s nothing more than platonic, the LW needs to decide if this is a dealbreaker. And, if it is a crush, I’d seriously think about ending the relationship because the SIL is always going to be a factor. If it’s more than a crush, definitely MOA.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 11:15 am

      Idk, if I were having an affair, I surely wouldn’t be as blatant as this guy is being.

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        PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 11:18 am

        I disagree. If he and the SIL were flirty with one another and then later started an affair, they’d continue with the same behavior as to not draw suspicion from anyone.

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        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 11:53 am

        I guess, but if the only proof of an affair is having conversations with someone and playing games with them occasionally, then Peter really should leave me quickly. You know what I mean? There’s just no proof of that at all. They just seem like family who is friendly.

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        PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 11:55 am

        I didn’t say those are proof of anything. There’s a lot more to this than that, but as I stated, it is a possibility. One possibility.

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        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 11:58 am

        But couldn’t you say that about anyone though? Like, of course its a possibility, one of a million possibilities.

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        PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 12:23 pm

        I meant one possibility about what is going on. I think it’s more likely that she’s exaggerating the situation due to being jealous and insecure, or he is crushing on his SIL.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay March 20, 2013, 12:04 pm

        Some people just aren’t very smart. Or they think they can just tell their girlfriend/whoever that they’re being crazy. I don’t necessarily think they’re having an affair, but it’s not far-fetched that he might have a crush on her.

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      • avatar

        MMcG March 20, 2013, 1:23 pm

        Completely disagree – sometimes the more obvious you make/do something the less obvious it is, because you have built in the excuse of “they can’t be doing that so openly”

        I also feel this way about other things FWIW… whether trying to sneak liquor underage, smoke weed, shoplift, whatever it has been my experience (as a passive observer of course;)) that the more open you are about it, the less likely people get suspicious or even think something is wrong.

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  • Heather

    Heather March 20, 2013, 11:12 am

    On one hand, I can see where people think the LW might be overreacting just a slight bit.

    HOWEVER. I still think, if we’re taking the LW at her word, the relationship that her SO and the SIL share is inappropriate. She’s MARRIED to his BROTHER. I find that weird. There’s nothing wrong with being friends, but when there’s marriage involved, I mean come on, have some boundaries.

    And even that wouldn’t be a big deal, but it obviously makes the LW uncomfortable. I don’t get the sense that she feels ownership of him (although I will say some of the things she says come off as strange, like about texting the SIL all the time and whatnot).

    The biggest problem I see here, LW, is that you expressed your feelings to him and he has essentially ignored you. I mean yes, he didn’t do it for a little while. But he went right back to it again after you had told him how it made you feel. I think you have your answer there. If you stay with this guy, it sounds like you’re going to have to tolerate his weirdly close relationship with the SIL. If you can’t handle it, I think you should MOA.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant March 20, 2013, 11:25 am

    I have no idea if your boyfriend and SIL’s relationship is inappropriate or not, but I do know you are uncomfortable with it, have expressed that to him, and through he’s actions he’s told you it’s not going to change. So your only two options are to a) accept that and let it go or b) move on and find someone who’s friendships don’t make you uncomfortable. There is no third option were you stay together and he changes his relationship to his SIL.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar March 20, 2013, 12:32 pm

      Exactly. Some things you accept or don’t.

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  • avatar

    ktfran March 20, 2013, 11:54 am

    My conclusion from reading most DW letters and the comments:

    There are A LOT of insecure people out there.

    Please bash away if you must.

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

      Or maybe there are a lot of people who have been shocked and horrified by the behaviors of others. My two favorite cousins both married people who seemed nice. Then, my male cousin’s wife left him for his best friend of 25 years (after this cousin and his wife had had two children together). My female cousin was 8 months pregnant when she discovered her husband was having an affair. When she confronted him, he BEAT her. These are extreme examples, but they both happened in one family. If a person experiences fire often enough, that person is going to be pretty damn suspicious when he/she sees smoke. I know that the end of my cousins’ marriages left me pretty skittish about marriage for a few years.

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      • avatar

        oldie March 20, 2013, 2:29 pm

        Yes, there is a lot of shocking and horrifying relationship behavior out there. The solution to this is not to be jealous/paranoid about whomever you date/marry and try to beat them into line. The solution is to date/marry someone you like as they are, who doesn’t appear interested in trying to mold you into something you aren’t. Then to trust that person. You can’t spend your life worrying that your relationship will replicate the horror stories you see out there or read on DW. The other lesson is that when you encounter a deal breaker, MOA. Don’t be a drama queen an pout, beg for behavior changes. S/he he is who s/he is. Accept it and rejoice in it or MOA. This woman is 9 months into a relationship and going nuts over what may or may not be problematic behavior, because her description is less than clear. It is clear from her comments that her ‘problems’ started 6 months or so into relationship and were really a reaction to things that were there from the start. So, either decide you can live with how bf thinks/acts or MOA. More arguments, more texts to SIL, more clinging and pouting — none of this will change a thing. Expecting 100% togetherness and attention are setting letter writer up for trouble. Get a semi-independent life — activities, hobbies, friends, her own family. If that isn’t her style, what is left but MOA.

        Maybe LW hasn’t told us the whole story and has fudged how she feels. Maybe she isn’t sure that bf and SIL wouldn’t do anything sexual. Maybe she wouldn’t really react this way if it were a male friend. Maybe she and bf don’t really do everything together. But… if they do do everything together and she would be this upset if he were texting/gaming with a male friend, then she is on the clingy/controlling side and needs to deal with herself. It certainly sounds like they must spend every evening together. She says they do everything together and when he isn’t with her, he’s with brother/SIL. Now he doesn’t physically get together with brother/SIL, per her instructions.

        She doesn’t mention any activities that the two of them do separately, apart from his interaction with brother/SIL. Sort of a narrow bore existence for each of them. After 9 months is it unnatural that he is a little bored spending every non-working minute with her?

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    • landygirl

      landygirl March 20, 2013, 12:13 pm

      Who isn’t insecure? Some are more extreme than others but it’s a fact of life.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 12:46 pm

      I am consistently amazed by the level of insecurity around here regarding romantic relationships…

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 20, 2013, 11:56 am

    “Everything seemed to quiet down for a couple of months. But then one day my boyfriend and I were talking and his phone started going off with messages from his sister-in-law. He told me that she is one of his close friends and they talk all the time. I never knew they were so close. Well, slowly he has started spending more time messaging her and playing games with her into the night when I am over.”

    If they talked all of the time I would think you would have been aware of that from the beginning unless he was hiding it for some reason or just ignoring her when he was with you and now he has quit ignoring her.

    The LW says that he is texting late into the night when she is over which tells me she isn’t spending every night with him but sometimes stays overnight. I can’t imagine a guy who would prefer to spend his night texting his SIL than spending it with his girlfriend of nine months. At nine months he shouldn’t be able to keep his hands off her and if he would prefer to spend the time texting I think they are done. In general, I think a relationship works better if you leave the phone and the computer out of the bedroom. It’s one thing to text with someone while watching TV and quite another to do so while you are in bed with your SO or to stay up texting rather than going to bed with your SO.

    I think the SIL as good friend is slipping over the line into an emotional affair. I also find it odd that the SIL turns to the BF so often. Doesn’t she have any other friends or hobbies or favorites shows to catch up on. She seems too emotionally dependant on him.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr March 20, 2013, 12:52 pm

      Yeah! Everyone is saying it’s too short a relationship for her to be this possessive, which may be true, but it’s also way too short a relationship for her to come over and already have him be so blase about having her in the room that he just wants to text this other woman all the time.

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  • Lyra

    L March 20, 2013, 12:04 pm

    The relationship between the sister in law and this guy does seem a bit strange…I don’t have any advice on that, but I have some other concerns.

    “My boyfriend and I have had a passionate, whirlwind relationship for the last nine months. We do everything together.”

    In a healthy relationship, you do NOT do everything together. You have your own friends. You have your own hobbies. A significant other should not become your entire life; he or she should enhance your life. Honestly, go out with friends at least once per week. Find an individual hobby that separates you from your boyfriend. That should give you some perspective.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 12:07 pm

      “In a healthy relationship, you do NOT do everything together” I disagree. A lot of couples, myself and my fiance included, do just about everything together and are happy and have a healthy relationship.

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        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 12:12 pm

        But you also go out with your friends alone sometimes, right? Or have hobbies that you are into and he isn’t?

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        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 12:16 pm

        Honestly, not really.

        My friends all live 900 miles away so I usually only see them when the two of us visit the area, so we both go out. Most of his friends live about 400 miles away so the same visit/both hang out stuff happens. Here in FL, we hang out with the same small group 99% of the time both of us are there. The only hobby he has that I don’t participate in is playing video games. I do crafty stuff that he doesn’t participate in- but he’s usually playing video games while I craft so we’re in the same room and interacting.

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        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 12:18 pm

        Do you think it’d be different if you both lived near friends? Also, do you literally do everything together, like going to the bank, grocery shopping, etc?

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        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Yup. We run errands together, go to the vet and doctors appointments together. Like EVERYTHING. I don’t think it would be different if we lived in the same town as either of our sets of friends. When we stared dating we lived by his college friends and I was there probably 75% of the time when they hung out- and we’d only been dating a few months at that point. We just like being together all the time.

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        ele4phant March 20, 2013, 12:45 pm

        Oh man. I know you are happy in your relationship so this isn’t a comment on you guys, but the thought of being with my bf, or with anyone, that much makes me shudder. I need time alone to just be in my head or else I go crazy.

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        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 12:56 pm

        Haha, I don’t take it as an insult or anything. I understand we’re a little out in left field, but we’re happy. We do usually have one week night to ourself when the other is working their second job. Like tonight he works and I’ll be home alone, the reverse happened Monday.

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        ele4phant March 20, 2013, 1:06 pm

        Oh, we’ll that’s not so bad. I also assume that even if you guys are together most of the time, there is probably a lot of time where it’s more of just being in the same place at the same time, but you’re actually both doing your own thing and not interacting ALL the time. I can handle that, but when bf wants me interact all the time there’s a certain point where I’m like “Nope, I need quiet time for a bit now.”

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        Grilledcheesecalliope March 20, 2013, 1:45 pm

        GG this thread has been super interesting. My relationship is more like yours and so are my friend’s relationships. We all kind of just hang out together, and do most things as a unit. My boyfriend does SCA by himself because the thought of dressing up in medieval clothing is too much for me, and I watch reality tv alone but thats about it. I think it’s fine as long as neither person feels smothered.

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        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 2:43 pm

        My best friend and her husband are similar to us- most of the time they come as a unit. I find it fascinating that some people are SO independent while in a relationship. It’s just weird to me! But if it works for them, then good for them.

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        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 12:19 pm

        We litterally spend 99% of our free time together. We both work from home most of the time so we spend our “not free time” together too.

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        ele4phant March 20, 2013, 12:18 pm

        I agree that abstractly it’s not unhealthy for couples to do everything together. Lots of people like you and your finance prefer things that way. Other people like my boyfriend and myself want some autunomy. That’s fine too. The problem is when someone like you tries to date someone like me. You might feel insecure, unloved or ignored while I’d feel smothered. It’s not an insurmountable challenge but it requires a lot of work, communication, and sacrifices on both are parties to make it work.

        My hunch is that’s what we have here between the LW and her boyfriend. Neither is “wrong” but they have pretty different opinions about what it means to be a partner in a serious relationship.

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        GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 12:23 pm

        Yes. Exactly. You have to be on the same page with your partner. Neither option is right or wrong, but you have to have the same expectations.

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        kerrycontrary March 20, 2013, 12:57 pm

        I’m with GG. We don’t do everything together but we do a LOT together. Like most weekends we’re together the entire time, except for exercising, and I feel no need to spend time with friends during that period. We just prefer to hang out with each other over anyone else most of the time. Like I have more fun with my boyfriend than most of my friends. We both make time to do things with friends occasionally, and he’ll go on guy’s trips (camping, bachelor parties, etc…) and I’ll do stuff with my family or see friends from far away. But I’m pretty comfortable just hanging out with him. I also think it depends on your relationship model. Like my parents do all their hobbies together and they share most of the same passions. So they golf together, go to hockey games, watch sporting events. My sister and her husband are the same way.

        Whatever floats your boat though. Some people need more autonomy, some people don’t.

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      • Lyra

        L March 20, 2013, 1:18 pm

        Kudos to you, GG. I have two friends (who are married) who have a similar situation and they make it work. Obviously every relationship is different! 🙂 I personally couldn’t do it. It seems like with this LW she is with her boyfriend so much that she has become super clingy because of it.

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        Milla March 20, 2013, 8:33 pm

        I’m the same— my partner and I do just about everything together. Most of our friends are mutual (there are a few that aren’t, but we don’t spend a ton of time with them). Of course, sometimes we’ll just hang out in the same space together while we’re doing different things. We both work the same type of job, though (teacher and writer) so we have a lot of personal and professional interests in common.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 20, 2013, 12:08 pm

      You can say the same for the SIL. She shouldn’t be spending so many evenings on the phone with her BIL. She should have hobbies and friends and other things to do too.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl March 20, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Yes!!

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      Eagle Eye March 20, 2013, 9:58 pm

      Huh, after reading through these replies, i guess my boyfriend and I do actually spend the majority of our time together, we live together and I work primarily from home, and he works from home frequently, and we’re both grad students so, we generally work all 7 days a week.

      Also, apparently we also do things out together a bunch, like even with our friends…especially since our friends on his side are mostly coupled and my friends just work all the time…

      Huh, I honestly never really thought about all of that time we’re spending together…

      We’re going to be doing long distance for a couple of months starting next fall, maybe it’ll be for the best…

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 12:14 pm

    Its pretty funny that as divided as the comments are about appropriateness or not, everyone’s basically all in agreement about MOAing.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl March 20, 2013, 12:26 pm

      Yup.

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  • avatar

    Amber March 20, 2013, 12:31 pm

    YES, this is weird.

    NO, it probably won’t change.

    IF it’s a dealbreaker, MOA.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 12:37 pm

    You know, honestly? Why don’t more people just break up then try to change fundamental things they don’t like in their partner. Pretty much every other letter here is just another relentless variation of this same boring and tired theme.

    That said — this whole letter is just so fucking needy and pathetic. And truth be told? It could be a mountain out of a molehill. They text! They joke! (Sometimes sexually!) Gasp!! They play video games! He tires of her whiney, relentless need to be included into every and all of his conversations. (Surprise, surprise…)

    MOA. You probably annoy your BF as much as you annoy me. Trust me, LW, that’s NOT a good thing.

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    • avatar

      Amber March 20, 2013, 12:48 pm

      who doesn’t annoy you, though…

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      PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 12:52 pm

      “Why don’t more people just break up then try to change fundamental things they don’t like in their partner.”

      Because most women really think they can change what they don’t like in a man. I know men don’t usually think this way.

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      • Lyra

        L March 20, 2013, 1:20 pm

        YES. You can’t change someone, but unfortunately that was a lesson I had to learn the hard way…

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        ebstarr March 20, 2013, 1:42 pm

        Is it necessary to get sexist over this letter? PLENTY of men stay in relationships where they are hoping their girlfriend will stop her outside flirtations. Or, if we want to stick to dumb stereotypes, plenty of men hope to change their partners’ weight, sex drives, clothing choices… How many men could you have possibly met to think this doesn’t happen?

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        PFG-SCR March 20, 2013, 1:54 pm

        There is a key difference. Women get into relationships even when they are hoping to change the guy. Most guys don’t start a relationship with a woman that he wants to change. If she changes later, he might hope she changes…back to the woman who had when the relationship first started.

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      • avatar

        ebstarr March 20, 2013, 1:57 pm

        OK, I guess it is necessary for some! Let’s agree to disagree.

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      kerrycontrary March 20, 2013, 12:52 pm

      I actually agree with you BGM, for the first time in a long time. I think a lot of people do try to change fundamental things they don’t like in their partner. I’m just not sure his texting/phone habits are a “fundamental” part of who he is. I more think of those things as in likes/dislikes, passions, long-term goals, values, family relationships, etc…But who knows.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 12:58 pm

        It’s NOT the texting that’s fundamental — but rather the strong friendship he has with his sister-in-law.

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        ReginaRey March 20, 2013, 1:36 pm

        I think his texting habits here are a reflection of his values. Namely, his external texting habits make it pretty clear that internally, he’s not interested and invested in the relationship the same way she is. Fundamentally, he’s not into it. Fundamentally, she’s at the very least got some maturity/insecurity issues at play. And fundamentally, they’re incompatible.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 1:41 pm

        I guess… but lately. Everybody I know texts FAR too much. It’s absurd, really. And most texts are so illiterate, too. And banal. It’s like the notes we passed around in grade school really.

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      • avatar

        oldie March 20, 2013, 4:33 pm

        But her level of commitment seems to be 100% focus on each other 100% of the time. It will be difficult for her to find a match who accepts that. So, they’re together all of the time and he spends some of that time texting and playing games. Does that really mean he’s not invested in the relationship? He may be 100% invested in the relationship, but unable to focus upon LW 100% of the time. YOu are saying that being the neediest and least independent partner in the relationship makes you the most invested. This isn’t necessarily so. It can be just a matter of differing styles and needs. One can be absolutely committed to a SO and not content to spend 100% of one’s focus on them. One might even call that healthy.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark March 20, 2013, 4:46 pm

        Yeah, I agree. Somehow, I picture them watching some dreary show that she picked. He gets bored, starts texting… AND suddenly, he’s not fully emotionally invested. Nevermind, that she was watching TV…

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 20, 2013, 1:02 pm

    Family parties are just going to be weird now so just MOA!

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  • avatar

    Janie4 March 20, 2013, 1:33 pm

    LW, I can’t say whether or not your boyfriend is inappropriate with his sister in law from a romantic sense. However, I would look at it from another point of view. You mentioned that she often texts your boyfriend or plays games with him after her husband goes to bed and she’s bored.
    Even if there’s nothing romantic there, she’s demanding your boyfriend’s time because she wants to be entertained, and can’t (or would rather not) do it herself. And he’s doing it.

    So your boyfriend is faced with a choice – hang out/pay attention to you and meet your need for emotional connection, or communicate with her and meet her need for emotional connection. He’s choosing her. it’s probably not going to change. He is choosing to prioritize his SIL, as a friend who he enjoys communicating with, over you.

    If possible, take the romantic angle/SIL angle out of the question. Can you accept that on nights you two are together, he will choose to be communicating with his friends as opposed to you? What do you think he’s supposed to be doing instead, and why do you think that?

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  • avatar

    cdobbs March 20, 2013, 1:38 pm

    the only thing that raises a red flag is that the SIL didn’t respond when the boyfriend texted hi from the LW and she doesn’t respond to her texts either….does the SIL know that the LW doesn’t like her? She either knows the LW does not like her or maybe she has feelings for the boyfriend

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  • theattack

    theattack March 20, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Everybody look at my adorable kitten avatar. That’s all I have to say about this letter. Perhaps your boyfriend wouldn’t text his SIL so much if he had a litter of kittens as cute as mine. There’s your answer. Adopt all the tiny baby cats!

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 1:46 pm

      Ahhhh, cutest thing ever!

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      GatorGirl March 20, 2013, 3:17 pm

      LOVE IT!

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    • avatar

      Caris March 20, 2013, 8:58 pm

      I would def adopt all the tiny baby cats if I could D:

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  • avatar

    lemongrass March 20, 2013, 1:46 pm

    If, by 9 months into a relationship you need to write in to an advice column- MOA.

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  • mandalee

    mandalee March 20, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Hmm, I’m torn on this letter. On my hand, the LW could be totally inventing this inappropriate relationship in her head based on security. On the other hand, I’ve witnessed firsthand a very strange situation like this in my own family, so I honestly believe anything can happen. My dad’s male cousin (on the other side of the family so technically no relation , but still weird) and my female cousin (on my mom’s side) would always make inappropriate jokes and spend all this time together. It was just kinda how they always were so no one really thought it was weird, hell even he was even part of her wedding, close with her fiancé, and so on. Well, it came out 6 months after their wedding, that the non-related cousins have been sleeping together, and my female cousin flied for divorce. Straight out of some redneck soap opera, but apparently, it happens sometimes lol

    So, honestly, who knows. But if there is this much drama 9 months in, MOA, inappropriate SIL relationship or not. It doesn’t sounds like there’s a healthy base to begin with.

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG March 20, 2013, 2:25 pm

    This is weird. I would never have what appears to be a very private and intimate (whether sexual or not) relationship with my Brother-in-law. That would hurt my lovely sister’s feelings so bad. Plus, gross. I bet that the LW isn’t the only one feeling strange about this whole arrangement.

    But, beyond all that? How could this LW not be annoyed? Our cell phone culture has gotten so out-of-hand! Can we all step away from our phones!? Unless you are a teenage kid or in a long distance relationship, you really shouldn’t be spending all night texting. This guy sounds disrespectful, rude, and annoying.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet March 20, 2013, 3:06 pm

    Just chiming in here to say that I am NOT the LW in case anyone was thinking that! The timelines are pretty close and obviously my boyfriend and I spend a lot of time with his brother and future SIL, so, I had to say.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 3:11 pm

      Whoever smelt it, dealt it.

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      • sobriquet

        sobriquet March 20, 2013, 3:14 pm

        Noooo, if my boyfriend had that kind of relationship with his SIL I would have moved on ages ago!

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        lets_be_honest March 20, 2013, 3:15 pm

        Haha, I was only teasing you. And yea, from what you’ve said, I can’t imagine you’d be cool with that. (and I wouldn’t blame you, since she sounds crazy-pants)

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  • avatar

    Beth March 20, 2013, 6:48 pm

    I see both sides, I really do, but when you have to pout to get attention from your significant other, or have to pout to get him to do something, that is not good.

    I don’t think you are upset about the SIL, I think you are worried about your relationship with your BF and are trying to find an excuse.

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  • avatar

    Anonymous April 5, 2017, 7:27 pm

    A year ago I’d have probably agreed with alot of you and said it’s nice that they realy get along and seem close untill I recently went thru the same situation iv been with a man 9 months and hI’m and his SIL talk all the time and tell each other when they are sad or depressed and generally are each others confidantes and for a while she realy took me in and called and text me alot then that stopped and it seems like when she knew he was getting serious about us she would give him advice to try and get him to move closer to them and give me space and my partner confessed they had slept together 11 years ago several times and I dragged it out of him that he has had feelings and loved her for years now so now my perspective on this has changed if u think something is inapropriate between these two run darling and seriously don’t look back

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