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Man won't let SIL get close to son in the wake of his wife's/her sister's death. AITA?

Man won't let SIL get close to son in the wake of his wife's/her sister's death. AITA?


When this man is wary of his SIL's relationship with his son, he asks Reddit:

'AITA for not allowing my SIL to be close with my son?'

I (m36) lost my wife while giving birth to our healthy son a year ago. Everyone in the family was understandably heartbroken, but my wife's sister (22) was closer to her.

She lives in the same city as us and since she graduated college soon after her sister died, she moved into my house to be a live in babysitter for my son. There was no pay, she lived there rent-free and got to be closer to her only nephew, and I we were both able to manage our grief better.

We're both in a much better mental state now and SIL got a job in the same city and moved out. I was fine with this, only, she started coming over almost every day (I wanted her to keep a house key in case of emergency).

This quickly grew frustrating as I had hired a baby sitter and there wasn't really a reason for her to be intruding unnecessarily in my house anymore.

I sat her down and told her that I was uncomfortable with her coming into my house whenever to see my son and I wanted the house key back.

She gave it but said she was disappointed that after she committed a year of her life to taking care of her nephew and rarely going out with her friends or living a life for herself, she wasn't even aloud to see him. I told her that it was her decision to care for my son and left.

Her side of the family is calling me an a-hole now. So, AITA?

Let's see what internet users had to say.

thaliagorgon writes:

NTA boundaries are good and you’re not stopping her from seeing him. If that side of the family is upset with you though I would talk to her parents and make sure she’s not exaggerating or misrepresenting the situation.

I can’t imagine they wouldn’t understand you not wanting her coming over all of the time unannounced. I’d make it very clear that you want your son to have a relationship with his mom’s family, but there needs to be communication about it.

redcore4 writes:

YTA for blaming her for the decision to help you raise your son at your time of greatest need and then just cutting her off completely. There are ways to impose boundaries more gently and kindly.

Apart from anything else, you’re cutting your son off from his primary caregiver very abruptly and at a year old he his big enough for that to have lasting implications on his levels of stress and his ability to form healthy attachments.

Wanting your own space and some privacy is reasonable. Taking back your key is also reasonable.

Blaming her for being attached to your son when you made a decision to have her care for him and cutting contact to nothing or nearly nothing? That goes too far.

Your language is very passive towards this situation - but you are the parent here and you made choices to create and allow this situation to continue and it’s not her fault that you did that or that she has some whiplash from the speed at which you’ve changed your mind; and it’s not best for your son to treat his aunt as a stranger and ditch her entirely for a new caregiver.

Is that really what your wife would have wanted? Or would she have preferred for you to make an arrangement where your SIL has regular contact (not necessarily in your home or on an ad-hoc basis, but with your support and approval) and your son is eased into the transition but still has contact with someone with whom he has a strong bond?

onlymyop disagrees:

NTA. I'm sorry for your loss. Just because your SIL has a key to your home, it doesn't mean she can abuse the privilege and visit unannounced as it suits her. It's your home and private space which you kindly shared with her to help you both get through your grief.

It doesn't sound as though you're barring access to your Son, but you need to agree on Boundaries which are acceptable to you both.

So, IS OP TA in this situation? What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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