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You Asked: I Can't Stand My Future Sister-in-Law

You Asked: I Can't Stand My Future Sister-in-Law

Dear Sugar,

My fiancé and I are getting married later this Summer, but my negative relationship with his sister is putting a damper on things. We've always been friendly toward one another, but we've never really connected as friends in any way. Since the wedding planning has begun, she's been helping out with some of the details, so I've started to spend more time with her. As it turns out, we have a lot of conflicting opinions on things, and even though it's my wedding, we've managed to butt heads over a few choices I've made. She has a certain set of views and beliefs and if she feels like you're not following them, she lets you know in a very upfront manner.

Needless to say at this point I'm really annoyed. I have my bachelorette party coming up in a month that I want to keep very small, with only my closest friends — I really don't want to invite her. I feel like she'll put a complete damper on my mood. I talked to my fiancé about it, but he thinks his sister will be offended if she's not on the invite list, so I just don't know what to do. Can I get away with not inviting her to the bachelorette party?

— Sick of My Sister-in-Law Selena

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Sick of My Sister-in-Law Selena,

It is your wedding and your bachelorette party, and your sister-in-law shouldn't be trying to insert her opinions as demands, but unfortunately this is how family tends to be when it comes to weddings. It's likely that if you guys get through this without any head-to-head arguments, things will go back to the way they were when the wedding is over.

On that note, I think you really need to think things through before you leave her out. The bachelorette party is an opportunity for you to have some serious fun with your girlfriends, and there is no rule that says that you must invite anyone you don't want to. However, it's very clear that your sister-in-law's feelings will be hurt if you don't ask her, which can end up creating some post-wedding conflicts that could be easily avoidable.

I'd suggest asking a couple of your friends to make sure that she's entertained and out of your hair the entire night. Or consider having two bachelorette parties; a larger one in which you include your soon-to-be sister-in-law and a more intimate one with just your two or three closest friends. Keep in mind that a fun night with the girls may be just what she needs to loosen up and could lead to some sisterly bonding between the two of you. Either way, remember that a wedding only lasts a day, but the relationships with your in-laws can last for decades, so try to keep things amicable if possible.

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Join The Conversation
MarthaSteward MarthaSteward 8 years
Unfortunatley you are in a "no win" situation. I feel very sorry for you because I had the same situation 20 years ago with my sister-in-law. Her job as a bridesmaid is to support you, not try to control & dominate you with her opinions. You are dealing with an unhappy, jealous, manipulative person and she will not treat you any better if invited to the bachelorette party. I realize that the wedding is probably over by now, but my advice to you is to remain "politely distant." The more involvement you have with her, the more turmoil you will have in you life.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Oh and I don't automatically think you need to invite your fiance's siblings to a bachelorette party, it's just that she was involved in helping plan the wedding (even if it is so unhelpful) and it sounds like she is around a lot. If she were out of town or you didn't know her well (just well enough to hate her) then I wouldnt' say you had to invite.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Eh, I think the "surprise" bachelorette party could work if all the friends kidnapping you were close to each other. Personally, I would just have her invited though. I mean, the point of a wedding is getting married, getting along with your husband's family (if possible) is helpful to a good marriage. It's just one night, and alcohol is great for bonding with people you aren't crazy about... ;) Also, then you will have great material for bitching about her behind her back to your friends because they will understand your frustration after they hang out with her! Chances are you may never get along, but starting out on such a bad foot is just setting your relationship with her up for failure.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I agree -- don't invite her. You received a lot of great advice on how to passively not invite her. If she ever confronted you about it, just tell her that out of respect for her position (as your SIL) you didn't want her to see you going wild. She may be uncomfortable due to her loyalty to her brother, who's going to be your new husband. And whatever happened at that party STAYED at that party, and you don't want to talk about it further. Look, in this case, I think you should be fair to yourself. You have to look after your feelings, too, not just her's, especially if considering her feelings is at the expense of yours. This is about YOUR bachelorette party. It is okay to stick up for your feelings. Besides, if your SIL minded her behavior, and wasn't so toxic, she would probably be invited to the bachelorette party. So she's partly accountable for not receiving an invitation. LOL I have a couple of SIL's. I don't like them, but I never directly expressed it to maintain family harmony. :) We have a casual relationship, which is fine. I sense that they know I dislike them, which is also fine. It's the truth, so I'm okay with it. If I wasn't married to their brother, they wouldn't be in my life. We would not be friends. :)
julieulie julieulie 9 years
Maybe this is because I don't have a sister-in-law so I don't understand the whole family thing, but I personally wouldn't invite her. My bachelorette party were my closest friends, who had all gotten to know each other through me (some very well, some casually, but they are all friendly with each other) and it was perfect. Unless your future sister-in-law is also friendly with everyone else invited, I wouldn't want her there. Besides, mine was a "surprise" and so I wasn't responsible for invitations. Your friends may not even think to include her, especially if they know that you don't care for her. I think it would be one thing to not invite her to a shower, but the bachelorette party should be all about you and your closest friends, and you just don't have that kind of a bond with her as you do with the girls you have known since childhood.
HappyKate HappyKate 9 years
eh...its your party for you and your friends. she is not even related (yet) and if she were more mature would understand that your party is for those who you are close to like people you have been friends with for a while! I wouldn't invite people on my in laws side unless we really got along no matter what they thought.
SugarKim4203 SugarKim4203 9 years
I've had some "difficult" times with my SIL. We got along well until some unfortunate events in her life took place. Super duper long story short, we'll never EVER be best friends, but I now no longer have to put my "grin and bear it" smile on when I see her. My only real advice is to never speak poorly of her to your fiance/husband. Regardless of how you feel about her, or even how HE feels about her, she's still his family. Vent to friends, your family, co-workers, etc, just not to him. Before our wedding I had a talk with my husband and told him that I understand how much he loves his sister but I need to make sure that once we were married, I became #1 which meant that he was to always ALWAYS support me and defend me if/when she decided to speak ill of me. Oh and FYI, weddings bring out the WORST in people. THE WORST! It won't be easy, but it's something that you have to deal with before the wedding. BTW, my SIL and I used the fact that we used to not get along to trick the husband for his birthday! It was awesome. He later told me that when he thought we were fighting (when we were actually planning his day) he was really upset and saying to himself "why can't my wife and sister get along?!" It was mean, but a great time!
meena1677 meena1677 9 years
I think it is really important to think long term about these relationships. We got off to a rocky start when my brother married his wife three years ago and our family is still feeling the ripples of that tension. Although it has gotten better, you have to remember that being married, you are both becoming a part of each other's families. Maybe your fiance might find your brother annoying-- and you wouldn't want to hear that from him. Just remember, each family has pros and cons, and the better you work on your relationship with them, the better your married life will be. Trust me on that one, it effects all your relationships. And my SIL's friends were rude to me at the wedding and I know she might have said stuff about us to them. Don't make that same mistake, it really makes the other person feel like crap and excluded. It is nice that you have made her a part of the wedding, that shows initiative on your side to want to get to know her. The biggest change I have had to accept after my brother got married, then I got married is that you may not have the same relationship you had with your sibs before. You will grow up and have your own families, they will make decisions that you may not agree with, but don't judge them. Its really hard, but you all will have to change to accomodate the new members of your family. Sorry about the short story people!!! :D
vmruby vmruby 9 years
Thank god none of my SIL's are like that.And i have alot of them ...
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Ugg I feel your pain. For the most part, I get along great with my bf's sister. But it's my bf's brothers girlfriend that I clash with! It sucks, but she is a serious bitch who uses people only when it is convinite for her. It drives me nuts, but I try to just ignore her as best as I can!
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
Could you just say the party was a surprise and you had no idea about it? That way the blame isn't on you. However, be prepared to know that she may still confront you about it. Also, I just wanted to say that with someone so brutally upfront and rude, I have found the best way to deal with them is to be the exact same way back. It's your freakin wedding, not hers. Why does she even have the right to have any input? Shouldn't your husband be the second opinion in this situation or at least your maid of honour????
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I HATE my brothers Girlfriend of 9 years. I am VERY nice and respectful to her. I know she feels the same way about me also. So I can relate. How is it that she's getting involved in all of these plans? Are you around one another a lot? I don't understand why the both of you are talking so much if you mutually do not get along that well. My brothers girlfriend bought a house 2 weeks after me......ACROSS THE STREET (I kid you NOT). We NEVER talk. So i'm confused as to why she's so involved. BUT anyhow, you are both adults, I know you are supposed to be having a great time right now with your wedding coming up and all, and more drama doesn't help, but open your mouth. Tell her it's YOUR wedding and that you would rather her keep her opinions and negativity to herself. If she gets mad, she gets mad. She'll eventually get over it. You may end up talking it out and having a little better of a relationshiip. And if she cared about her brother at all and had any respect for him she would try her best to get along no matter what and would realize when she's being rude. Its your wedding, you should be even more out spoken then her when it comes to what you want and letting her know her opinion means nothing. UNLESS UM is SHE paying for it? I highly doubt it.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
you definitely have to invite her! there's no way around this, and if you have to ask the question, you know the answer
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
Does she have to know there is a bachelorette party? Is anyone else from her side of the family going to be there? I don't really see a bachelorette party as anything more than just a fun night out with your girlfriends (except maybe you'll be the recipient of a few more free drinks than usual) - if she wouldn't be included in that normally, I think you can get away with not inviting her. Just don't refer to it as "the bachelorette party." And, I think it could always be a "surprise kidnap the bride" party too - you would have had nothing to do with that invite list at all then. Seems like having multiple bachelorette parties is a bit excessive though - I'd either suck it up and invite her or not invite and deal with whatever consequences. I do think she'll have to be invited to any bridal showers though - that is supposed to include family members. I don't have any sibling-in-laws (husband is an only child), so take that advice with grain of salt :-)
gossipqueen gossipqueen 9 years
in cannot get away with something like not inviting her...maybe choose a date she's not available..or have two for you with your gfs with bells and whistles...and a tame but fun one...short one to boot. for family sakes...since she's not completely evil...just a bit of a jerk...invite her!
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
Yeah you have to think long term on this one, you don't want there to be sour grapes for a couple of years just because of a bachelorette party! She's going to be around whether you like it or not, so try not to shake things up too much. It's always better being the bigger person, even if she annoys the sh*t out of you.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 9 years
Honestly? I think you're running out of gas. I agree w/ pop on this one. She's his sister (firsthand family member), and she's been (kind of) helping out with the wedding, which can only mean that she and her bro are pretty 'close' (maybe not 100%, but she seems to be consistently in his life). If she's not invited, she's going to be really disappointed and most likely offended. Just consider her someone with a very different pov in life than yours and NEVER waver from your original decision just because she disagrees. Be confident, don't cower just because she's upfront. And if you need to, just try the lickety split's idea, make 2 fun bachelorette parties. :) Congratulations for your upcoming wedding! :D ps. Even if your friend who will celebrate your party may wants to take a blame (saying that she's the one who didn't invite your future sis-in-law), your sis-in-law will be hurt because the least you can do is insist that she'd be invited.
KimBurnett KimBurnett 9 years
Oh graylen don't let it hurt you. It does not matter what she thinks of you. It only matters that your husband loves you and that he controls his extended family by protecting his immediate family, his wife, from any drama.
graylen graylen 9 years
I am currently having sister-in-law troubles, so I understand your stress. I think it is always best to be the bigger person. No matter how many times you want to throw a fit, curse her out and all around not like her... you'll have less on your conscience if you are always the bigger person. Plus, try to find things you may have in common and try to spend time together doing those things and try to avoid putting yourself in a situation that you know will end badly. And my biggest piece of advice: never let her know you don't like her. I found out recently that my sister-in-law just genuinely doesn't like me (though she tries) and it hurt more than I can even tell you.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
You have to think long-term, not short-term. This is your sister in law... for life. Better to keep her happy than to piss her off and further estrange things. You'll survive.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
sounds like she'll be offended either way so there you go. you could always have 2 parties, one she's invited to where you go home early and the "surprise" one you friends kidnap you for that they forgot to invite her to :innocent: it won't matter if you get along after you're married. she'll have to either be nice or not see her brother. studies have shown that the number one factor in siblings being close as adults is the relationship they have with each others spouses (# 2 is views on parenting).
lindholmka lindholmka 9 years
If you really think about it, you don't really plan your own Bachelorette party. Usually a friend or the maid of honor does all the planning for that kind of party. Just make sure the party planner (aka mostly like one of your best friends) knows you don't want her invited and then the blame is taken off you and onto the party planner. haha What are friends for right? :-)
Marci Marci 9 years
I had a sister-in-law like that, although she was married to my brother. Anyway, she drove me CRAZY with her opinionated, in your face dialogue. But over time, I've come to really love her. Sure, she has her quirks and she's not always easy, but she really does love my brother, she loves our family, gave me fantastic nephews, and has stepped up to the plate more times than I can count when it was needed. So give it some time and be a bit more open minded and patient and you might be pleasantly surprised.
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