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what about sister in laws?

Started by womaninbloom, December 07, 2016, 08:21:59 am

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I am new to this site and have so appreciated reading the blogs.  The women on this site are so supportive.  It is refreshing. 

I searched this site for some advice and tips on how to connect with my sister in law and I have not been able to find any blogs related to this topic.  Am I missing it?

I have 1 brother, he is 5 years younger than me and we have always been close through the years.  He married his high school sweetheart who is about 8 years younger than me but who I obviously have known for a long time.  I was away at college when they started to date so I never really saw her much in the early years.  They have been married for 15 years now with 3 children and each year I hope that I can somehow connect with her.  We are cordial with each other and respectful however there is always a feeling of disconnect.  I admit I had hoped she would be "the sister I never had" however obviously by now it seems like we will be family but not real friends.  I wish I could say that my brother and I are just as close however we are not.  We love each other dearly and he is a wonderful man and father however the distance that has been placed between our families has begun to take it's toll.

I would love to have some advice on how to more forward.  I do not want to look back at things and events I can not change.  I realize I can not change my sister in law however I would love at some point to learn how to find more of a friendship.  I am willing to change my reaction to this situation however I have just run out of ideas and to be honest, I am getting tired of trying.  Obviously things could be worse and I may just need to accept the relationship as it is which is not horrible however now it is affecting my relationship with my brother and my parents and can't let that happen.


December 07, 2016, 08:41:50 am #1 Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 12:34:43 pm by luise.volta
Welcome, W. We ask all new members to go to our HomePage and under Open Me First, to read the posts placed there for you. Please pay special attention to our Forum agreement to be sure you find WWU to be a fit. We're a monitored Website.

I stated this Website years ago as a forum for issue with adult children and extended families. You are right, most of the issues seem to be with adult children but not all.

My experience with two sisters who married men that I couldn't relate to, which is not the same thing, I realize, was that our closeness ended. I was the only one interested in working on it and one person can't do it.  Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hi, WiB
In reading your post, I wonder if something specific has changed in your family for you to say: "now it is affecting my relationship with my brother and my parents and can't let that happen."  Could this be just a natural change, perhaps temporary, as when people become more preoccupied and busy with their careers and family?  Perhaps your brother and sis in law's children are becoming teenagers with the added angst/stress that causes them and it is affecting their interaction with you?  Or is something going on in your own life presently that makes this unrealized expectation more painful for you now?   

In my own experience, I was never close to my ILs.  We continued to meet at family gatherings and were cordial and supportive of each other, and that seemed okay with everyone. 


I'm willing to bet that if after that much time you haven't developed a close friendship with your SIL, that it's not going to happen. Is she polite and respectful to you, but just not close? You admit you had expectations for her, but she has no obligation to fill them. There is nothing you can do to make someone have a close relationship with you if they are not interested.

My answer would be to focus on your relationship with your brother and leave your SIL out of it. If he wants a closer relationship between you, your FOO and his family, it's his job to make that happen and maintain it. It's also entirely possible he's ok with the way things are, and pushing him or her for more may backfire. My MIL wants a lot more of our time than my DH is willing to give even though he knows she's not happy about it (and I get the blame for it). Her being pushy about didn't do the relationship between her and myself any favours.

I have a good, but not close, relationship with my SIL. I am and always have been open to having a closer relationship with her, but I know that it has to happen organically, and neither side pushing it will help. We recently suffered a family tragedy, and I can say I've gotten much closer to my brother and his family as a result, but it's through my brother that that has happened, not my SIL. He is happy, and she is supportive of him, a great mother to their kids, polite and respectful to our family, and that's really all I could ask for.


Having a cordial, respectful relationship with your SIL is a very positive thing. Is it possible she is very busy, looking after her three children, therefore she doesn't have time for close friends of her own. Some people are like that by nature, their main focus in life is their DH and children.
Perhaps as her children grow up, she will be more inclined to gravitate towards you for friendship? She may well have more time in her life then, to meet up with you, for coffee, or even a meal. Time can cure a lot of things. It is good that you can get along amicably and have a good relationship with your DB. Please cherish that.


WIB, welcome. I also tried to be friends w/my SIL but she wasn't interested. It's hard to maintain a relationship with a male relative whose spouse is standoffish. I feel your pain.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I have two SIL's that are hubby's Sisters, and I will tell you, we get along fine but there is no closeness.  Nothing wrong...we are just totally different.  We will never be close simply because of our differences.  And that is perfectly ok.  We do talk, and have a fine time at family events but that's it.  And I do understand your feelings.  I have no Sisters and was hopeful that I could be close with the SIL's.  But the differences are vast between us and I figured out quick, that was not going to happen.  And really, it's not them, it's me.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Thank you all for your replies and for some very good advice.  I never had a sister and I have many close friends who do have sisters so I was hoping to have a SIL to share family life over holiday get togethers but also for all the stuff in between.  I thought when they had their children that we could share more but that never happened.  Anyway, since writing my original message my heart felt heavy and so I decided to open up to my DB and we talked about how we could stay better connected during these busy years.  We had a good conversation and I was proud of myself that the conversation had nothing to do with my relationship with my SIL.  I realize I can not "create" closeness and that I can only change the way I look at the situation.  I have to change my " I want to fix everything attitude" .  I agree with Pen that it is hard to maintain a relationship with a male relative when the spouse is not interested.  I will continue to try and foster my relationship with my DB and try not to allow my SIL feelings to get hurt along the way!


Do you feel complete with this thread? We can close it if you would like.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Yes, the thread can be closed.  Thank you!