She got her license and a car about three years ago and has never once called me to go out for coffee, lunch — nothing, not even a walk. The only time she has called me is to ask for a favor. It became quite clear she was not interested in a friendship and was a user.
Anyway, the turning point in our relationship came five months after my husband and I were married. I had just had surgery and was at my mother-in-law’s house, where my BIL walked right past me as I went to greet him in the foyer. He went straight to the fridge and popped a beer. My MIL and SIL joined him at the table. I was sitting on the couch and the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife! I was so uncomfortable in so many ways — mind you, I had just had surgery! To ease the tension my MIL asked what I was watching on tv, and when I told her, “Millionaire Matchmaker,” my BIL said that I was a gold-digger! Cheryl didn’t say a word — she just kept eating! I had always been so kind to her, and to him as well, so this was shocking, and I lost all respect for them. I have distanced myself ever since.
I have heard that she is pregnant and I’m going to congratulate her, of course, but would still like to keep my distance. I’ll attend the Christening and birth, and major events like that, but, I do not plan on attending her baby shower. Thoughts? — Hurt by SIL
So . . . you have “heard” Cheryl is pregnant, but this hasn’t been confirmed by her or her husband? And you’re already thinking about skipping a baby shower that you haven’t been invited to for a baby that is still just a rumor at this point? My thoughts are this: You really need to try to let go of the resentment you have over the seeming rejection and disrespect you feel you’ve received from your SIL. She’s family, and, whether you like it (or her) or not, she, and this child she’s maybe carrying, are going to be part of your life as long as you both are married to brothers. From what you’ve described, she’s never actively done anything to offend or hurt you; she’s just failed to reciprocate the invitations you extended to her when you were first getting to know her. And you feel that she should have defended you when your BIL called you a gold-digger? I mean, maybe she didn’t hear him. Or, maybe you didn’t hear him correctly. Or maybe they have such a relationship and dynamic where she doesn’t feel comfortable or safe standing up to him. The fact is SHE wasn’t the one who called you any name. The only “crime” she has committed is not inviting you out to lunch or coffee or whatever you think she should be doing to properly thank you for all the nice things you’ve done for her. For all you know, she doesn’t invite anyone to do anything. Maybe she’s still depressed . . . or depression comes and goes and prevents her from forming the kind of relationship you wanted to have with her.
I get that your feelings are hurt, but to plan so far in advance to skip a baby shower that, again, you have not yet even been invited to and that is probably months away anyhow just screams of stirring drama to me. It’s like you’re LOOKING for a way to try to hurt Cheryl back and, since this might be it, you’re grabbing a-hold and running with it. Slow down, sister. Take a deep breath. Play it by ear. See how you feel in a few months. Maybe there will be a shower and maybe there won’t be. Maybe just you will be invited and maybe it will be a co-ed thing and both you AND your husband will be invited. Are you still going to skip it if he goes? And do you plan to skip the kid’s future birthday parties, too? Because, just like your SIL, this baby (if there even IS one), will also be part of your life as long as you’re married to his or her uncle.
There will be the “major events,” sure (oh, and by the way, I definitely wouldn’t be planning to be at the birth of this baby unless explicitly invited by Cheryl. Many women would rather have their toenails pulled out one by one than have in-laws present at the hospital when they’re in labor, especially in-laws who have been “keeping their distance”); there will also be less major events, like family get-togethers that your husband will probably want to attend. Your deciding now that you won’t be there and putting in motion actions that might ensure that you won’t be invited is just . . . immature and petty and attention-seeking. Why don’t you take it occasion by occasion and invitation by invitation and play it by ear and discuss with your husband and check in with your gut. If you really can’t stomach the idea of showing another shred of support towards your SIL when the time comes, even if it means making a quick appearance at some shower where you can eat a pastry and down a mimosa in the time it takes to watch an episode of “Modern Family,” then make some gracious excuse and send a gift with your MIL. But don’t start making grand statements NOW about how you’re going to totally ghost Cheryl forever and ever because she never invites you to coffee. That’s just childish.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].