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Man's SIL makes a move on him; 'My wife is devastated and we are taking legal action.' AITA? UPDATED 3X OVER 2 YEARS

Man's SIL makes a move on him; 'My wife is devastated and we are taking legal action.' AITA? UPDATED 3X OVER 2 YEARS


When this man is concerned that his wife's sister has put his marriage in jeopardy, he asks the internet:

"My (37M) wife’s (34F) sister (29F) tried to kiss me and now my wife is spiraling. Help me. AITA?"

Sorry for how long this is, tl;dr at the bottom. As the title says, my wife’s sister made a pass at me at a recent family gathering and I have no idea what to do. For context, I think my wife “Jenna” is absolutely gorgeous but she has some really negative body image issues.

This is in large part because of her sister “Mary” who is very conventionally attractive, as opposed to Jenna’s more unconventional but (imo) striking beauty.

Mary was a successful model until a couple years ago and now works in the fashion industry. In our early days of dating when I would tell Jenna she’s beautiful, she would always say “just wait until you see my sister”.

When I did finally meet her family, she would randomly press me for weeks to talk about her sister, whether I thought she was more attractive than her, etc. I always told her the truth, that I think Mary is attractive in a boring way, and that I think my wife is much more beautiful and interesting to look at.

She wouldn’t let it go until I confronted her about how uncomfortable it made me and asked her what was going on.

This is when she told me that she always had a chip on her shoulder about her looks because of being compared with her sister growing up. They fell into the classic “smart one/pretty one” dynamic their whole lives.

She also said Mary had a habit of being flirty with all of her exes, and warned me that it would happen to me eventually.

She then started sobbing and begging me to not cheat on her with her sister, to which I forcefully said I would never cheat on her with anyone, let alone her sister. I’ve been crazy about my wife since day 1 and there’s literally no woman on earth who could come close to her.

I honestly didn’t believe her about the flirting at first, I assumed it was just an extension of her insecurity, but I was wrong. Whenever we get together with my wife’s family, Mary always finds ways to touch me and make little innuendos/comments about me or my body.

It’s super uncomfortable for everyone, especially my wife, and I’ve called her out on it before. She’ll cool it for a while but eventually start doing it again. It’s been six years of this, and every time it happens my wife is upset for days and I have to do a lot of reassuring.

Onto the current problem. A few days ago we were at my MIL’s birthday party, and Mary asked me to help her grab some things from the garage.

As soon as we walked into the garage, she turned and pressed me up against the door with her whole body and started trying to kiss me. I immediately pushed her off and asked her what the f she was doing.

She started giggling and saying she was just “doing what we both have been thinking” and kept insisting “you know you want to”.

I told her she was out of her mind and ran out of there. I went straight to my wife and told her we were leaving.

The whole ride home she was asking me what was wrong, I wasn’t sure whether to tell her because I knew how much it was going to hurt but I also thought Mary would probably try to spin it as me making a move on her so I knew I had to just say it. I told her everything and she cried the whole way home.

For the last several days Mary has been calling and texting my wife doing exactly what I thought she would do, even telling my wife that I said she (Mary) was “the hottest girl I’ve ever seen”, which I had to assure my wife a million times that I did not and would never say even though she believes my account of the situation.

She’s been a complete wreck the last several days, she’s hardly eating, she pulls away from my touch when I try to hug her or just hold her hand, she says she feels “hideous” and “disgusting” and I don’t know what to do.

This is the lowest I have ever seen her, and it hurts to see how much she’s hurting. I have no idea what to do to help her heal from this. Reddit, what should I do?

Tl;dr: My wife’s sister tried to kiss me, and this is triggering deep-set body image insecurities for my wife. How do I help her?

My in laws definitely enable her behavior, she’s the golden child, they brag about her constantly (even though my wife is literally a neuroscientist). Their mom was a pageant queen and she was their dad’s much younger trophy wife. Honestly we may have to go no contact with all of them.

I got a few requests for updates so here it is. I first want to thank everyone so much for your advice.

It was extremely helpful and gave me a lot to think about. I’m especially thankful for the folks that asked me how I was doing.

I realized that I have literally never had a chance to check in with myself after these things happen, and I’ve actually been holding a lot of frustration and resentment about it all.

I’ve been harassed for years and it has either been brushed off or it’s been eclipsed by the impact it has on my wife. I don’t blame her for it, but this has been a good lesson in me not burying my feelings for the sake of others, even for her.

I also want to clarify a couple of things that came up. Several people asked about how my wife’s family feels about all this, and I explained in a comment that her parents are toxic and treat Mary as the golden child...

even though my wife is a freaking neuroscientist, amazingly talented musician, speaks three languages fluently and another two conversationally…

my wife and her family are seriously the only people who don’t seem to understand how exceptional she is. I remember meeting one of my wife’s family friends and talking to them about her research, and they said, “oh wow, her parents just told us she works at a university.”

Whereas my parents literally introduce her as “the family genius” to everyone. It makes me so fg angry to think about how her asshole family has stolen her shine her whole life. She’s literally a Renaissance woman but all they care about is looks and money.

Some folks asked me why I would ever put myself in a situation alone with Mary given everything she’s done. I have no good answers for that other than I never thought she would actually try to do anything.

That possibility just didn’t exist in my head. I realize now that I should’ve seen this would happen eventually, and that I should’ve been less concerned with keeping the peace and more concerned with shutting Mary’s shit down before it escalated to this point. Hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, onto the update. The night I posted, I told my wife that if she wanted to try to repair her relationship with her sister I would respect that, but that I don’t feel comfortable being around her for the foreseeable future.

I said Mary has obviously been deeply jealous of my wife her whole life because she is a hollow, ugly person whose entire value has an expiration date while my wife actually has substance.

I said that I think her whole family is toxic and has done nothing but put her down her whole life, but that only she can decide whether she still wants them in her life.

I also told my wife that while I don’t blame her for her emotional reaction, her insecurity is something that she needs to work on for our relationship to be healthy. What Mary did was assault and she's been harassing me for years, but I have consistently put aside my own feelings about this problem because...

of how it affects her, and that has prevented me from getting the support that I need, too. I told her that her reaction only serves to punish herself and me for her sister’s behavior, and there’s no reason to give her that kind of power.

I also told her something that a commenter said that really resonated with me: the only people who have ever considered her second best are her and her family. Everyone else sees her for who she really is.

She was crying the whole time and agreed that she needed to go to therapy to work on her insecurity. We were able to find a therapist who specializes in body image/self-esteem issues to work with her individually, and we’re looking for a couples therapist too.

My wife sent a message to her parents and sister that explained exactly what happened and told them she would reach out to them if she ever feels ready to repair their relationship.

We blocked all of them everywhere but Mary has of course been spamming my family and our friends with nonsense, claiming I attacked her, I’m a drug addict, I abuse my wife, all kinds of bullshit that thankfully nobody believes.

My wife is still down in the dumps but I can see that things are getting a little better. She’s eating and sleeping more and she’s cuddling with me in the mornings again which is nice.

Now I’m planning a surprise getaway for us this weekend. We’re going to one of our favorite places and I’m going to wine and dine her and try to make her feel like the goddamn queen she is.

I want to thank you all again for your help. You really helped me understand the severity of the problem and again, thanks for helping me connect with my own feelings about all this. Y’all are the best.

Tl;dr: Wife & I are going to therapy. We’re going no contact with her family for the foreseeable future. I’m going to woo the hell out of my wife this weekend.

The only genius thing I’ve ever done is marry her. I’m a pretty average dude tbh so I have no idea how I snagged her. Sad to think her low self-esteem probably played a part but I do work hard to be a good husband every day.

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a loo at some of the top responses:

cookiemonster writes:

NTA. Sister needs validation that she is better than OPs wife. I presume she is single and even though she’s attractive, she doesn’t understand why her “less attractive” sister has the kind of man that she thinks she deserves more.

So, both of the sisters have low self esteem because they’ve placed too much value on their looks. Sister didn’t work on her substance or dates the wrong kind of men, and wife worked so hard to be someone impressive in a career that she became a neuroscientist.

OP, your wife has the brains and beauty, her sister only has one of those and is so very jealous of your wife that she has always gone after her men to make herself feel like she has greater value. I hope your wife can learn to love herself as much as you do.

histmake writes:

Go no contact. Under no circumstances should you post on Facebook that Mary attempted to SA you and is now pretending you find her attractive, but that you actually consider her one of the ugliest people you have ever met.

Absolutely do not tell Mary and her parents that only a shallow person might consider someone like Mary more attractive than your brilliant and stunning wife and that you felt sorry for her because, as everyone knows...

pageant pretty fades with age and poor Mary really has no other talents, but since she attempted to SA you, your sympathy has faded.

Just quietly cut them out of your life and remind your wife that she has something Mary will never have: YOU. She also has integrity and a brain, so that is three things right there.

veggibox writes:

Straight up tell your wife that you SIL is a rotten, festering, soulless cretin on the inside so it matters not her physical features.

Also, your wife needs to NC her dumb bitch sister... probably years ago. She needs to block her number and go to therapy because her sister has been abusing her for yeeeeeears. This instance was merely the final chip on an already very very cracked vase. It is shattered and you do not have the glue she needs. A professional will.

If you haven't, explained the situation in detail. Leave nothing out. Ask her why you would have immediately left if you were actually interested in her sister. Remind her this is her sister's MO so she cannot be trusted.

Her sister has some freaky jealousy of your wife (maybe her intelligence or very striking beauty?).

No loving, caring sister repeatedly chases their sister's exes. She is so gross. Someone should tell her she is so so gross because she needs to know how nasty she acting.

But fr, get your wife to a therapist because Mary has fd her up with her (Mary's) shitty behavior. So gross. So so gross. Wtf is wrong with Mary?

grace5 writes:

What happened was your sister-in-law cannot stand the fact that her sister is happy. SIL has an intense superiority complex, but seeing your wife happy, “win,” it’s some thing that cracks that complex within her.

So your SIL needed an ego stroke to prove to herself that she could steal your wife’s happiness away if she wanted to, that she was still superior. Bare minimum, you guys need to go no contact with that snake. She tried to sexually assault you. No this is none of this is okay.

Update 1:

So I guess my original posts got reposted onto TikTok and some other subs here on Reddit so I’ve been getting tons of messages asking for updates. It feels like things are mostly settled, and I’m really hoping this will be my final update.

First I want to say that I’ve gotten so many questions about who Mary is, and I’m just not going to say.

Suffice it to say that she’s never been household name famous, but she made a living solely on modeling for about a decade from what I understand, so she must have been popular enough that fashion people might know her. I really don’t know how that whole world works.

But imo it doesn’t matter how many names you drop, you’re not famous if you don’t have a Wikipedia page.

Also got lots of comments that (mostly) jokingly called me a simp, and I can’t argue with that. I totally am a simp for my wife. She’s the coolest. I hope you all find a love that makes you feel this way!

Okay, I think that’s it. Here is the actual update. My wife loved the getaway weekend, we had a blast and by the end of it she said she felt like herself again. For a few days after we got back things were really quiet, so we were hopeful that Mary had finally given up, but I felt uneasy about it all.

Many of you warned me that Mary would try to interfere with my work and while I initially dismissed it, I figured I would reach out to my boss just in case.

I’ve been working at the same company for almost 10 years and she’s heard me vent about Mary before so I didn’t have to explain too much. My boss just reassured me that she knows my real character and would let me know if Mary tried anything.

As you predicted, Mary did try to contact my boss a couple of days later, and the following is a recounting of what my boss told me. Apparently Mary said that I needed to be fired because I was a predator and claimed to have “proof” that I assaulted her.

My boss said that was a very serious accusation to make and asked Mary to explain what proof she had. Mary claimed there was a camera that caught the whole incident, and my boss asked her to send the video.

Then Mary got flustered and said the police had it, so my boss asked her to send over a copy of the police report. Then Mary said it had a lot of private information in it, so my boss asked her to redact the private information and send it over.

Then Mary said she didn’t feel comfortable with that, and my boss told her that she could not take action against an employee based on word of mouth from a stranger. Then Mary shouted at her about victim blaming and hung up.

Unfortunately that was not the end of it. Last Wednesday, Mary somehow sent an email from my personal email account with a d pic (not mine obviously) to the entire office. My best guess is that I must have left my email logged in on one of my in-laws’ devices, she’s definitely not smart enough to actually hack me.

I had to apologize to everyone on staff and thankfully folks were surprisingly understanding. It’s actually been kind of a nice bonding experience with my coworkers, I honestly didn’t consider myself to be super well-liked in the office but it feels like everyone has been going out of their way to be kind to me and it means a lot.

Anyway, at this point it was clear we had to escalate things legally. I really wanted to avoid it but she forced my hand.

My wife and I have a lawyer friend who helped us draft a cease and desist letter outlining her continued harassment and the material and emotional damage this is causing us.

My wife then sent a message to Mary and my in-laws with a copy of the letter and made it very clear that we would pursue criminal and/or civil proceedings if her harassment continued. My wife’s mom then called her crying and begged her to “just let it go” and “leave Mary alone”.

My wife calmly explained that Mary is the only person responsible for this whole situation, and that their parents have always enabled her awful behavior. She also said something she later regretted but I think was pretty badass:

“Mary is going to stick you two in a nursing home and steal your money the minute she has the chance, and you deserve it.” After the way her mom reacted, my wife is firmly settled on cutting off her family completely.

This happened on Friday, and on Sunday Mary’s best frenemy “Anne” sent my brother a message on Facebook to say Mary is going to leave us alone and to please not sue her.

I told my brother not to respond, then just sat and enjoyed the idea that Mary was out there somewhere freaking out about the potential of having to actually face the consequences of her actions. It must be such a strange feeling for her.

Since then, we haven’t heard a peep from the grapevine. It feels like things are finally starting to go back to normal. My wife is starting therapy next week and we’ll be starting couples therapy in a month or two; she wants to do some work on herself first.

She’s also taking a short leave from work to rest and recharge. I’m so proud of her for standing up for herself with her family and finally putting her mental health and wellbeing first.

Thanks again for everyone who offered advice! This was a messy situation but it definitely would’ve been messier without your help.

Tl;dr: Mary tried to get me fired so we sent her a cease and desist. Now Mary’s running scared, she and my in-laws are out of our lives, and we’re doing much better without them. My wife is prioritizing her wellness and I am one proud simp.

Update 2 (6 months later):

I forgot about this account completely until today and logged in to see so many comments and messages asking for an update. It’s honestly touching to see how many people care about this situation and want the best for me and my wife.

This will be a brief update, I don’t want to make this a regular thing and the original situation has resolved enough that I am hopeful this’ll be the end of the saga.

Mary and my in laws have pretty much left us alone. My MIL still tries to contact my wife every now and then but she’s made it clear to her family that if the first words out of their mouths aren’t “I’m sorry,” she isn’t interested in a conversation.

As you can see, the past six months have made my wife a BADASS. She has done some amazing work in therapy and her confidence is growing all the time. It’s not just with her family - she’s more comfortable asserting herself at work, with strangers, with friends, etc.

She’s even stopped putting up with some of my shit! To be fair that “shit” is stuff like my leaving my socks everywhere around the house, but I’m seriously proud of her for telling me to cut it out.

I’m becoming a more responsible and supportive partner because she’s able to communicate her needs and expectations without feeling guilty about it.

And I’m able to communicate things to her without intense emotions fully eclipsing the conversation. I didn’t mention this in my earlier posts, but my wife does struggle with rejection sensitivity even outside of her family.

Often if I brought up something that I felt needed to change, her emotional reaction to feeling like she did something “wrong” would be really intense and instead of dealing with the problem, it would become about regulating her emotions.

Now my wife has really good coping tools that allow her to talk about the problem without thinking she is the problem.

And the biggest update… she’s pregnant! We have a baby girl due in February. I am shitting my pants with excitement. We are going to love her so much and teach her that she is more than her beauty.

She’s going to have happy parents who love each other and work through issues as a team. The toxic cycle will be broken. Jenna’s family doesn’t know and she’s not sure if/when she’ll tell them, but if she does there are going to be strong boundaries in place for how they can be a part of our daughter’s life. And it’ll start with family therapy.

For now, she has one set of grandparents that will go to the end of the earth for her, and that’s more than enough. My family has been absolutely incredible in their support and their so excited for us. Things are looking better than they ever have.

That’s all folks. Thanks again for your support on this wild journey. Tl;dr: Mary and in-laws have mostly left us alone. Jenna is a badass now. We’re having a baby and soon I’ll have two queens in my life. Captain Simp, over and out.

Update 3 (9 months later):

Hello everyone, I have come here for advice before and you were all incredibly helpful, and I could really use some support again.

You can check my post history for the full story, but tl;dr: last year my wife (“Jenna”) and I had to make the decision to go no-contact with her whole family. Her sister (“Mary”, 30F) sey assaulted me, in-laws defended her, and after some legal wrangling they finally left us alone.

The situation wrecked my wife’s self-esteem and tested our relationship, but we made it through.

Jenna and I had our first daughter in February. She’s amazing and we’re doing great. We ended up moving away from Jenna’s home state (NY) to mine (MA) to be closer to my family, and they’ve been incredibly helpful with the baby.

We have not seen Jenna’s family since cutting contact and blocking them everywhere, and we didn’t tell them about the baby.

Yesterday we received a letter in the mail from my MIL and FIL. No idea how they got our address. Apparently my FIL has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer and is being told he could be dead in weeks. In laws went on about how sorry they were for the way they handled the situation with Mary.

They also apologized for the way they’ve treated my wife her whole life (again, check post history but basically Mary was the golden child and Jenna was an afterthought despite being super accomplished).

They ended by saying they recently heard about the baby through the grapevine and want to meet their grandchild.

To me, the apology seemed genuine. They went into detail on what they did wrong, apologized and expressed remorse, and explained what they should have done differently. They said they hoped to earn our forgiveness with time and were willing to do family therapy to heal our relationship.

Jenna is not having it. She feels like it’s too little too late and doesn’t want to respond. She also suspects that they’re lying about FIL’s cancer and just want to pressure us into reconciliation so they can meet the baby. It seems ludicrous but I guess I wouldn’t put it past them.

I want to respect my wife’s feelings around this, but I’m worried that if the cancer is real, she may regret not taking this opportunity for reconciliation before he dies. I expressed this to her but she is adamant and I haven’t broached the topic since.

My instinct is to wait a few more days until the shock wears off to talk about it again. I just don’t know what the best way to approach it would be. I certainly don’t want to force my wife to do anything she doesn’t want to do, but I feel like she’s not thinking clearly about this right now.

It also must be noted that our baby is still struggling with sleep and we’re both tired and emotional all the time, so I feel like this might be influencing how she feels about all this.

What should I do here? Should I try again or just let it be? Tl;dr: In-laws are attempting to reconcile after claiming FIL was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wife does not want to consider it but I am worried she will regret it later on.

I too am tired and emotional and my feelings are getting hurt. I am not forcing my wife to do anything. I brought it up one time. I know this is not about me. I don’t personally care either way, I just want to support my wife.

I intend to tell her I am here to listen/talk about it if she wants to but I fully support her decisions around this. She has a great therapist she trusts and I’ll be here to support her however I can.

To be clear, I will absolutely respect whatever decision she makes. I just feel like the news is so fresh and we’re in such an emotionally complex place as it is that she may not be thinking clearly about it.

A similar situation happened to a friend of mine and he regretted it for years, actually turned to alcohol pretty hard for a while after. My wife has worked really hard to improve her mental health and I worry about how the regret might set her back.

Although I suppose if her family is actually lying/manipulating us that would set her back too. I just don’t know. Would it be terrible to bring it up again in a few days just to see if she feels differently?

Edit: I’ve also thought about asking my parents to take the baby for a couple of days so we can get away and recharge. Maybe just getting my wife in a better headspace would allow her to think things through more carefully/less reactively

I’ve never gone behind her back and never will, we make decisions as a team and this is her call. I don’t personally care if we never see them again, it isn’t about me, I came here for advice on how to support my wife and hold space for her to talk about it. All I care about is her being okay.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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