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Woman tells future SIL, former foster kid, that she needs to work if she wants family.

Woman tells future SIL, former foster kid, that she needs to work if she wants family.


"AITA for telling my brother’s fiancé that we don’t owe her a family?"

"My (25 F) future SIL grew up in foster care and wants us to be her family, but I told her we don't owe her that."

fsinlaw writes:

My (step)brother Nico (29) has recently got engaged to a woman called Jenny after dating for two years. We all tried to welcome Jenny, especially knowing she grew up in the foster care system and didn't have a family.

We tried to get to know her, but she seemed to want an instant intimate connection rather than building one. Me and my younger (step) sister Chelsea (22) bore the brunt of her neediness, but our parents have also expressed concerns.

Since she met us, she has been trying to insert herself into pictures, family disputes, and social events. She has no boundaries. We've all talked to Nico about it so many times, even sitting him down as a family, and he keeps saying he will speak to her, but nothing changes, and it's got worse since the engagement.

She tried to make me her maid of honor, demanded my mother throw her a bridal shower, started calling my parents mom and dad even though they asked her not to, and reached out to distant family members that we don't even talk to tell them about the engagement.

Last week we were all (Chelsea, Nico, me, and our partners) staying at our parents' place. Jenny, Nico, and my boyfriend were the only ones not up yet; the rest were in the kitchen. Chelsea, my mom, and I discussed a weekend trip.

Jenny came in, having overheard us, saying it sounded like fun, and proceeded to invite herself along. This annoyed me, and I said she couldn't just invite herself. Jenny asked why she wouldn't be invited; I noted that marrying Nico doesn't give you a blanket invite to everything his family does.

Jenny got upset and said she would like to be included in our family since it was the only one she knew, and she didn't have a proper family. I said I know that, and we all sympathize, but that doesn't mean we owe you a new one.

The room was silent, and Jenny got up and returned upstairs. She didn't come out the rest of the day, but Nico came down to chew me over what I said. Our parents defended me, saying he could talk to Jenny, and he didn't. He and Jenny left the same day, and he's now only keeping low-level contact with everyone.

When I've spoken to him since, he's just said I went way too low with what I said to Jenny, that I've set her back mentally, and that she's down. I feel bad, but I also feel like Jenny has been overstepping.

We are all open to a relationship with her (we all have good relationships with partners in the family), but she never really made a genuine effort to build relationships with us; she just decided she was entitled to them, which I think isn't fair.

I don't know if I should reach out to Nico or Jenny with a more genuine apology, which I will if I have screwed up here. I don't want to be the reason Nico stops talking to us. I think he dropped the ball by letting it get to this point.

OP added some context:

I'm adding this because I thought it was implied, but maybe not. We do push back when Jenny is being intrusive. I can't count how often I have said, 'Jenny, I'm uncomfortable talking about intimacy/therapy/medication, etc. It's personal. Can we change the subject?'

We move on from the conversation, but it's back to square one the next time I talk to her. Same with my parents, I politely ask her not to call them mom and dad, and she stops for the duration of that conversation and then starts again the next time. We've never had a more in-depth conversation with her, we offered, and Nico said no, he would talk to her.

For everyone saying I should consider Jenny's family because she's engaged to Nico, that isn't what I meant with that comment. I never said or meant that she isn't part of the family. I guess what I meant by saying is that you can't parachute yourself in and expect us to be the family you deserve.

Because the family every person deserves is one with their mom and their dad, and it's happy, and it's from birth, and you don't have to do anything to earn it. Sadly, not everyone gets that. I know I didn't. I know how much it must suck for her to feel like she has to work for what other people got for free. I have a sh%tty bio dad, so I know.

You think, 'Why do I have to be good and clever and kind and a million other things to have a good family while all anyone else has to do is just be born' and it's the worst.

But when you enter a family that already exists, that's how it is. They learn to love you, and it takes time. My stepdad didn't love me the second he met or loved me just because he loved my mom. He got to know me and figured out who I was as a person, and loved me for me.

We wanted to have that opportunity with Jenny. And maybe that doesn't feel good enough for her, and I guess it's not fair that she doesn't have the other kind of unconditional love, but I don't think that's up to us, or anyone, to fix. That's just my view.

Here are some of the top comments from the post:

diminishingpatience says:

'He’s just said I went way too low with what I said' So what does Nico suggest you should have said? Nothing. He wants everyone to say nothing. NTA (Not the A#%hole).

south3y says:

Well, Jenny would keep pushing until someone pushed back, so this moment was more or less inevitable. You named the elephant in the room: Jenny's neediness, which your whole family had noticed.

I don't know whether Nico failed to talk to her in private or whether he did and she failed to heed his warnings. I also don't know if getting to join what she perceived as a close-knit family is a large part of what makes Nico attractive to her.

But I know your comment stung deeply, and Jenny won't stop feeling it for long. It's not impossible that this precipitates a break-up between Nico and Jenny, and if it does, it is highly likely that the blame is going to come your way. Hence, an apology is in your strategic interest, regardless of whether your comment was justified.

I think my final vote will be ESH (Everyone Sucks Here); Jenny for being pushy; Nico for not warning her that her pushing wasn't going unnoticed, and you for saying something really wounding.

Fit_Permit says:

NAH (No A%#hole Here). I can not blame you for snapping, and I can not blame Jenny for wanting a close family. Growing up like she did can result in an intense longing for connection and safety and a lack of proper communication skills.

She shouldn't insert herself in everyone's business like that, but she also seems not to understand why. I hope she and your brother can work through that together.

On the other hand, I completely understand that it feels very invasive if someone does this to you, even if you know where they are coming from. The way you said it was a bit harsh, but I assume tension has been building up over time.

I think it's good to talk it out with her once all the emotions have settled, and I hope your brother can facilitate the process. She needs to learn the nuance of being welcome but not overstepping boundaries and not being a sign of people not caring about her.

What do you think? Was OP being too harsh, or was she right to tell Jenny how she feels?

Sources: Reddit
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