My husband and I have been married for 23 years. I’ve always had kind of an iffy relationship with my SIL because she’s made it known for years that she wishes my husband married his college girlfriend and not me. Over the years we got to the point where I wouldn’t call us super close but we were friendly enough to text and would hang out solo when one of us visited the other.
Last year, my FIL got very sick and needed specialized care. My husband wanted him to live with us during his treatment and recovery and I agreed. My SIL made it clear she did NOT want him at her house. I was able to go part time at work during this time and so, by nature, I became the primary caregiver. It wasn’t fun but I did care for my FIL and was happy that he and my husband had time together.
On the other hand, my in-laws, especially my SIL became a problem. My BIL and SIL were very much in denial when it came to his health. When my FIL had appointments, I would keep everyone informed (mostly via a text chain because it was easier) and mostly stayed out of decision making because he’s not my father and I wanted to respect that.
My SIL and BIL started treating me like hired help. Example: When my FIL needed to go to a skilled rehab facility after a stay in the hospital, I ran around touring facilities and spent hours on the phone. When I let everyone know my findings, my SIL said “we will discuss as a family and get back to you.” Excuse me? I guess I’m not family.
Instances like this happened more and more and neither my BIL or SIL made any effort to come see their dying father. When I would occasionally express my feelings to SIL said “this doesn’t concern you, go get your nails done or something.”
Eventually my FIL passed away and I cut off all contact with my in-laws. There was no blow out, I just stopped responding to the group chat and stopped actively trying to be in their lives. I made my husband start shopping for birthday gifts, etc for them and told him to leave my name off the cards.
My husband wasn’t thrilled about the rift but understood where I was coming from and I told him many, many times that he can have whatever relationship he wants with them, just leave me out of it.
A few weeks ago, my SIL sent me a text apologizing for everything because she was in denial about my FIL and she hopes I’m doing fabulous. I sent her a message back acknowledging her apology and thanking her for the time and effort she put into reflecting on the situation but didn’t initiate further conversation.
My SIL now wants to come to visit and stay with us for a few days. I told my husband she’s welcome to stay but I will be going to see my best friend during that time. My husband was taken aback.
He said he understands but it really upsets him that I want nothing to do with her. He said it's not realistic for me to avoid her forever. I really do not want anything to do with people who don’t consider me family. So, am I the a-hole?
NTA. She's not family. When she visits, please go visit people who like and respect you. Also, I think her apology is fake. She is apologizing because she wants a free place to stay when she visits.
Oh totally, I saw right through it.
NTA. A quick apology from SIL doesn't erase the years of horrid treatment from her and your husband allowing it to happen. Tell your husband that it's not realistic of him to expect you to want to be around SIL when your husband allowed her to treat you worse than hired help, you were unpaid, unappreciated help, and treated like trash. And he let it happen.
"My husband was taken aback and said he understands but it really upsets him that I want nothing to do with her and it’s not realistic for me to avoid her forever."
No, it is realistic to avoid her. People do it all the time. There is no rule that you have to spend time with terrible people. Cut her out, take care of yourself and enjoy seeing your best friend. NTA
Nta. Your husband is though. He should have stood up for you. He’s in the wrong even now.
NTA. There's a very high probability that SIL only apologized because she wanted to come visit and/or wants something else from you and your husband. It's smart of you to leave for her visit. But also have a conversation with your husband about not making ANY commitments to his sister without discussing it with you first.
He shouldn't agree to house SIL for an extended length of time, give/lend her money, cosign for any purchases, donate an organ, take in a child, or anything along those lines without you and he having some serious conversations. In fact, if his sister asks for anything at all, his response should be that you and he will discuss it and he'll get back to her in a couple weeks with an answer.
Thankfully SIL and her husband have jobs and make their own money. Even though they are a-holes, they are stable people.
NTA. It’s great she is coming around and reflecting on the past and trying to mend the relationship but you don’t have to mend it on her terms just cause she is ready. It sounds like you did a lot for BIL and SIL caring for their sick father in his final moments. It’s shocking they were not appreciative during that time.