Be Nice…


    I’m sure that I have mentioned in previous posts that I haven’t always had the closest relationship with my sister.  There are many reasons for that which I could go on for days talking about.  Perhaps the reason that stands out the most in my mind is the fact that we are extremely different individuals.  We have always been very different people from as far back as I can remember.  I’ve always been the one who consistently kept it all together and my sister has always been the one who was repeatedly in trouble with my parents growing up and who always got involved in everything that she wasn’t supposed to.

    Obviously, some things have changed now that we are both adults.  Now that we are mothers, our priorities have changed.  However, some things never change and we continue to be different and to have different priorities with regards to parenting, relationships, and life in general.  Despite this, I am committed to forging a better relationship with her and I take advantage of any opportunity that arises for us to interact positively.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure if this is ever going to work because something always stands in the way of us moving forward, namely her boyfriend.

    I’ve tried to have a good relationship with him over the last seven to eight years that they have been together for the sake of preserving the relationship with my sister.  I understand that he is her partner and that I have to accept him if I want to continue being involved with my sibling.  I’m not going to list all of the various reasons why I have always been leery of him for the sake of respecting my sister’s privacy.  I will, however, go on to say that he has never made any kind of an effort to be a part of my family.  We have tried to include him in all of our family functions only to have him behave rudely or to just not attend at all.  At this point, I am just tired of his nonsense.

    Let me give you an example of his behavior when we all get together.  A couple of months ago, I called my sister to let her know that I was going to pass by her house to pick something up that she had of mine.  I was about twenty minutes away from her and I advised her to keep her phone close by because I was going to call her when I arrived in front of her building so that she could come downstairs.  She asked me if I wanted to come up because she was cooking dinner and would love to have us over to eat.  Of course, I willingly accepted and was excited at having yet another opportunity to spend some positive and productive time with her.

    After we arrived, she proceeded to tell me that her boyfriend was at the supermarket grocery shopping with his mother and that he would arrive shortly.  Honestly, I couldn’t care less where he was because I was more interested in spending time with my sister and my nephews.  That’s exactly what we did, we talked while she was cooking and the boys were playing video games.  Sure enough, he arrived after awhile and greeted everyone.  A few moments later, he proceeds to put his jacket on and tells all of us that his mother dropped her medication in his car and that he had to leave to take it to her.  I didn’t see any problem with that and thought nothing of it as he left the apartment again.

    The thing is that he never came back.  We ended up spending the whole evening together and we left her house shortly after midnight.  Before we left, I told my sister that I felt that her boyfriend had come up with an excuse for leaving because he was unhappy that we were at the house visiting when he arrived from grocery shopping.  She promptly responded that that was not the case and that his mother is just a pest who is constantly calling him to ask him for help.  I really didn’t push the issue because I didn’t want to get into it with her so I thanked her for her hospitality and left.

    The following morning was my birthday and my sister called me to congratulate me.  During the conversation she put her boyfriend on the phone so he could apologize for having been rude the night before and not returned to eat dinner with us.  I just kind of listened and told him it was fine because I didn’t even feel that it was worth my time and energy to disagree with him.  He knows that I will continue to try to be cordial to him because I want to have a good relationship with my sister so it is almost as if he is the one who is holding all of the cards.

    I should probably add that he engages in this kind of behavior whenever we get together for any family event.  He always comes up with an excuse as to why he cannot attend and ends up arriving at the end of the gathering just to pick up my sister and my nephews.  Most recently, the excuse that they have come up with for his absences is that he is a different religion than we are and doesn’t celebrate birthdays or any other holidays, religious or otherwise.  To me, this is a lame excuse because he only seems to use this “religion card” when it comes to avoiding celebrations with our family.  It seems that he has no problems attending celebrations or recognizing holidays when it comes to getting together with his side of the family.

    Sadly, I regret that he seems to wield a lot of influence over my sister and it seems to be affecting the amount of time that she spends with us.  Most recently, she sent my sons and my brother’s sons presents through the mail.  I asked her why she was having their presents sent through the mail when she could just come over and deliver them to the kids in person.  Her response was that she ordered them online and that she wanted the kids to get them and enjoy them as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, I think she did this to avoid coming around because he is succeeding in pulling her further and further away from her family. 

    I’m not really sure what to do at this point.  My gut tells me to just keep trying to maintain communication open with my sister despite the fact this is not being reciprocated by her.  I know for a fact that I will always be on the losing end of this situation because having her boyfriend in her life is more important than anything else in the world to her.  It’s just very difficult to constantly have to humble myself around him in order to keep the peace when I know that he has no interest in putting any effort in on his part.  I love my husband and I understand the whole concept of “standing by your man” but not when the man is deliberately trying to separate you from your loved ones due to his issues with being controlling and manipulative.  I’m not sure how long I will be able to continue being nice…

© 2011, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Ugh, I’m sorry you have to deal with stuff like that. Luckily, my sister has an awesome boyfriend who is my daughters’ ‘uncle’

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  2. BalancingMama (Julie) says

    This sounds so familiar! My SIL’s husband has always been that way. He even no-shows for Christmas and birthdays. It upsets my SIL so much. Now, after a bad fall this summer, she is a paraplegic and he’s a no-show 90% of the time. She lives with her mom b/c he wouldn’t even learn how to take care of her. Anyway, you are smart to be wary of that behavior – he is selfish and rude. But I don’t think there’s anything you can do but avoid issues with him and support your sis if/when he lets her down. Sigh.

    • Julie, I feel that he is really rude too. He has always been treated well when he has shown up to family functions so he can’t use that as an excuse for his poor behavior. You are right in saying that there really isn’t much that I can do about it at this point. In order to preserve whatever relationship I have with my sister, I have to put up with him right now…

  3. Maria, I am sorry you are going through this. My sister is also the polar opposite of me and we have similar issues. I have often found myself making excuses for her or giving her the befit of the doubt that her intention and rationale are different from what screams most obvious to me (even when my husband tells me that she is being difficult). I go through my ups and downs with her because as the old adage goes “People need people more than their pride”. I would do anything for her and have in the past. Unfortunately for me, she usually puts me last in terms of spending time. (She is of a different religion.) Most of her time is divided between her work, her religion and her friends that are in her religion. It drives me nuts!!! Sometimes months will go by before we spend any sisterly time but I take it as I can get it and always and find myself wanting so badly to preserve this bond.

    The really odd thing is that she and my husband have a lot in common (favorite foods, habits, even allergies!) We all joke that they are twins and laugh about it. Sometimes, he gives me insight on my problems with her and tells me plainly that I need to try not to put myself out there for the rejection all the time. And he is usually right. So, I find that it is necessary that to continue this very important relationship and not break the bond I need to be like the tides. I allow myself to ebb and flow. I’m available to her sometimes and sometimes I make myself “unavailable”. During the ebbs, she ends up missing me a lot and it’s a happy time to hang. lol

    Ultimately, I know that it is within her control and she is capable of making her own decisions. When she chooses to not make me her priority or allows things and people to interfere with our time together I am reminded gently and sometimes bluntly that I must hold HER accountable. I want to protect my little sis from the scrutiny but I COME FIRST. In order to feel good and want to make this work I admit to him and myself that she is always able to decline an invite with someone else or not attend an event to spend time with me. This realization provides relief because I mentally remind myself of her responsibility and thus forgive her for her imperfections simultaneously.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: your sister obviously loves you, but for her life experience she is choosing to stray away and allowing herself to be led by her man. She doesn’t have to go along with it. For this reason, she is culpable. He is no doubt a jerk at times lol but, she loves that jerk and puts herself there for her own personal reasons (Maybe because she has insecurities, lacks the ability to assert herself or fears losing him). It is up to HER to respond the way she does though.

    Either way, I give you credit for “being nice”. It’s NOT easy. And, don’t forget to forgive her. After all, she forgives you your imperfections too 🙂

    • Desiree, like you, I have learned that I have to be flexible in order to continue having a positive relationship with my sister. Although I have conformed to the boundaries of how we interact, I can’t help but wish that we could have a conventional sister relationship. This is probably why her boyfriend’s interference is even more of a sore spot for me. I feel that it is difficult enough trying to have a relationship at all without adding the extra drama that he brings to the mix. My husband has always respected his position and not gotten in between my siblings and I. In any case, I always forgive her because blood it thicker than water.

  4. Incredulous1 says

    Maria..I am just now following/getting to know you on social media so forgive me if I take some things I read on your blog the wrong way.. ;)Anywho.. after reading this..I can totally relate…to your sisters brother! Now before you ban me for life hear me out…my hub’s fam (and I’ve been married 16yrs) annoys me when I have to deal with more than one of them at a time…so you guessed it..I do my best to steer clear when a bunch of them are together (read: holidays). This is for more than a few reasons but I keep it civil with them and do me. I don’t keep them from seeing my hubs or our child but if I don’t have to intermingle I don’t. I’m sure they resent me to some point but I have to do me in life. Granted we do live in different states so getting together isn’t a frequent thing so that’s in my favor. They’ve never done anything to me but their meddeling in the other siblings lives I think, contributed to their divorces (my hubs is the only one of 3 kids still married and ironically we are the only ones removed from our hometown). I will not allow that to happen and I feel if I get too close..inevitably it could! So that being said just support and be there for your sister REGARDLESS of the dude. Be her shoulder when needed and that will matter more than anything. Thanks for hearing me out…

    • Hi, there. Let me begin by saying that you never have to worry about being banned from commenting on my blog. I pride myself on encouraging free speech and being against censorship. As a result, everyone is allowed to comment here regardless of the whether they agree with my point of view or not. Actually, it was helpful to be able to view this whole situation from a totally different perspective.

      Believe me, I totally understand the fact that your husband’s family annoys you. If you have the chance to read through my blog you will see that I have serious issues with my Mother In Law and avoid her like the plague. The issue for me here is that I feel that my sister’s boyfriend makes her choose between staying with him and attending family functions. You stated that you never keep your husband’s family from seeing him or your children.

      I’m fine with the fact that her boyfriend doesn’t want to be around our family. The truth of the matter is that I couldn’t care less about him and it is my sister and her children that I care about. So, at the end of the day, I don’t care if he chooses not to come to family events. What does bother me, however, is that he influences her not to attend by making things difficult whenever she is slated to come around with the kids.

      Thanks so much for sharing your honest feedback with us and I hope you will return and disagree with me often. 🙂

  5. Ugh, sorry you have to go through this, chica! And unfortunately, for the sake of maintaining a relationship with your sister, you’ll have to continue to bite your tongue about/around him. But I think you and your family should take it as a blessing when he doesn’t attend family events, instead of seeing him as rude. That way you have your sister’s undivided attention without her worrying about how he’s doing being around the family. It’s sad that his influence makes your sister feel like she has to choose between staying home with him or attending. But just maybe, if she saw that his absence didn’t bother the rest of you, she might feel more comfortable coming without him more often. It could be that the times she doesn’t come is because she doesn’t want to see everyone’s annoyance. It’s not a great situation, but we do what we can to preserve family bonds as much as possible.

    • I don’t think that she is trying to avoid dealing with everyone’s annoyance because I feel we do a good job of keeping it all together. However, you may be right and we might be giving off some of our annoyed vibes without even realizing it. You are so right about preserving family bonds and that is exactly why I’m still reaching out to my sister whenever I can. I will continue to bite my tongue and “play nice.”

  6. Maria, normally in this situation I would probably say it’s not worth maintaining a relationship if it bothers you this much. But this is your sister! My sister and I are polar opposites, but no matter what we go through, we fight for each other’s love. If there is one relationship worth biting your tongue for, your relationship with your sister is worth it. Pray about it. Pray some more. Things will work out for the best.

    • Oh, I am definitely praying over it, regularly. I desperately want to have a good relationship with my sister. I’m just kind of at a loss on how to do that after all these years. Maybe some divine intervention will show me the way…

  7. rockitcherry says

    I have been reading some of your posts and I can totally relate. This one though, I just want to say, maybe your misjudging him? I don’t know, this is the first post I’ve read of yours that deals with your sisters husband, so I don’t know all the details.
    My husband has a sister and they are five years apart. My husband has never ever gotten along with his sister. Ever since I came into the picture my in laws have blamed this on me. They say I’m manipulating and controlling him too. But I promise you, I do not. My husband doesn’t listen to anyone about anything, definitely not me. They know he’s hard headed but they still blame me for everything he does they don’t like. I have tried so hard to have a good relationship with my sister in law, mostly because they treat her like the queen of Sheeba and I feel if we can get along with her they will be a lot happier. Well recently I’ve realized that his sister is not going to change she is lazy, rude, entitled, hateful, everything that seems to define the younger generations. I have even tried to tell my husband when she does good or nice things, thinking maybe he will warm up to her a bit, but he doesn’t care. She’s only nice to people when she can get something out of it. So, that being said, just think about what your blaming him for and think about whether or not this could really be your sister or if it really is him? I’m not saying either way which one it is, I just know a lot of what you’ve said about him in this are the same things my in laws try and say about me and its not true.

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