Pre-wedding Parties

Hostile FSIL "needs" a shower invitation

atomicblondeatomicblonde The Shire
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edited February 2016 in Pre-wedding Parties

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I am at my wits' end.


My bridal shower is a little under a month away, and my mother and MOH are hosting. I provided the guest list, the typical need-to-be-invited, should-be-invited, don't-have-to-be-invited-so-play-it-by-ear. My FI's SIL was not included on the guest list.


I battled with myself for weeks about whether to invite her or not. She and I have never been friends, never even been close. I know etiquette dictates that she should be invited, since she's family-ish and everything, but our relationship can barely be described as civil. I've done everything but break my spine bending over backward to accommodate this woman. I have spent the last four years going out of my way to be kind to her, to extend gesture after gesture of friendship, to pretend I don't know she has a problem with me (for whatever reason). Her attitude towards me continues to be just short of hostile. My patience with her has worn very thin, and I refuse to spend the rest of my life letting her treat me like the sh*t she stepped in... and having to do so because it's expected of ME to be the bigger person.


It's exhausting, mentally and physically, and I've reached my breaking point. I hate the person I've become--bitter and resentful--because of her attitude towards me, and I hate that I've been put in a position where I no longer seem to have the right to stand up for myself. I never disliked her as a person, but now I am starting to solely because of the position I've been put in. I can't even talk to my FI about it because he refuses to listen and tells me it's between her and me and we need to work it out ourselves and be friends.

I don't think he appreciates how hard I've tried to "work it out" and be "friends", and how impossibly tired, anxious, and sad I am about all of this.

I finally made the decision not to include her on the guest list, knowing full well that it would eventually get back to her, since most of the rest of the family is invited (including a couple of aunts I don't think I put on the guest list). The decision tore me apart because I don't want to burn bridges before I'm family, but neither do I want to be around that kind of hostility in the weeks leading up to my wedding.


It's been a nightmare.


My FMIL texted me yesterday that her DIL "needs to be sent an invitation." I almost lost my head. I don't believe that anyone "needs" an invitation to a bridal shower. "Should be invited," yes, okay, I agree with that, but she does not "need" an invitation to anything, except maybe the wedding.


I flat out do not want this woman anywhere near me before I am married. I'm not trying to be rude or unfriendly, but I have flat out had enough, and I am sick and tired of feeling forced to bend to her will at the sacrifice of my own health and well-being. I know if she's invited, I will spend the whole day struggling to be civil to her, to the point where I won't enjoy my own party with my nearest and dearest. But I know if she's NOT invited, tensions between us will only worsen... not to mention how my FI's family will react.


I can't do this any more. This is a lose-lose situation for me. If she's there, I will forfeit the chance to stand up for myself once and for all, and my bitterness towards her will only get worse. If she's not there, god only knows what will happen.


Does anyone have any advice at all on how I should handle this? I know I have to have a talk with my FMIL, but I'm not in a place emotionally where I can have that yet.


"And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."
--Philip Pullman

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Re: Hostile FSIL "needs" a shower invitation

  • I find it more concerning that your FI won't listen to you. He's supposed to be your life partner, and he won't even listen to you talk about a problem that is stressing you out to the point that you are you physically ill?

    If he's this dismissive, either he's an asshole or you are making a bigger deal of this than it is. 
    Good point!  "FI, this isn't just a personality clash between two girls, this is a serious situation between two of your family members.  I need you to listen to me talk through it.  Maybe you have a solution I haven't thought of, or maybe you can just allow me to think it through with you, but you can't just brush me off about this.  It's seriously getting to me.  I won't deal with this for the rest of my life.  We either need to come to an agreement (maybe you talk to your mother, your brother, your SIL), or we're going to have a problem with YOUR family for the rest of our lives, and that's just not fair to any of us."
    lc07SP29MairePoppyKnottie1452098987
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
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    1) Stop trying to be "friends."  Be civil, be polite, and then move past her at family events.  You can't make something happen that isn't meant to be.

    2) It's very worrying that your FI won't listen.  This is a big red flag.  

    3) PPs have great suggestions on how to handle FMIL. 


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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited February 2016
    Duplicate post, sorry!
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
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    This does sound exhausting and frustrating. I'm sorry that sucks.

    First, I agree with PPs.  There's a huge red flag that you can't speak with your FI about this. You should be able to speak with him about anything. If he can't manage to communicate about this frustration what about the thousands more that are bound to come. 

    Second, obviously your FMIL is aware of the situation. What is her relationship like with FSIL?

    Finally, I agree you shouldn't have to spend more time with toxic people than you can healthily stomach. However, her reaction doesn't sound surprising either. Only you can choose which is better for you:  her behavior towards you moving forward as a result of being excluded or dealing with her for one adiditional day/ event. I'm not saying either or is a right or better solution. Just that only you know which will be easier for you to handle. 
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    edited February 2016
    I wholeheartedly agree with Jen. Nobody should feel forced to invite people they don't like or who don't like them to intimate parties. I think the advice to suck it up, ignore her, you won't notice here while she is there, etc works for the wedding where there is more going on, but a more intimate party? Nope. 

    ETA: I don't see anywhere in the OP that the fiance yells and tells her to get over it. Why is that being mentioned? Has something been edited out?
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  • nerdwifenerdwife
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    edited February 2016
    Bleve0821 said:

    I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I am at my wits' end.


    My bridal shower is a little under a month away, and my mother and MOH are hosting. I provided the guest list, the typical need-to-be-invited, should-be-invited, don't-have-to-be-invited-so-play-it-by-ear. My FI's SIL was not included on the guest list.


    I battled with myself for weeks about whether to invite her or not. She and I have never been friends, never even been close. I know etiquette dictates that she should be invited, since she's family-ish and everything, but our relationship can barely be described as civil. I've done everything but break my spine bending over backward to accommodate this woman. I have spent the last four years going out of my way to be kind to her, to extend gesture after gesture of friendship, to pretend I don't know she has a problem with me (for whatever reason). Her attitude towards me continues to be just short of hostile. My patience with her has worn very thin, and I refuse to spend the rest of my life letting her treat me like the sh*t she stepped in... and having to do so because it's expected of ME to be the bigger person.


    It's exhausting, mentally and physically, and I've reached my breaking point. I hate the person I've become--bitter and resentful--because of her attitude towards me, and I hate that I've been put in a position where I no longer seem to have the right to stand up for myself. I never disliked her as a person, but now I am starting to solely because of the position I've been put in. I can't even talk to my FI about it because he refuses to listen and tells me it's between her and me and we need to work it out ourselves and be friends.

    I don't think he appreciates how hard I've tried to "work it out" and be "friends", and how impossibly tired, anxious, and sad I am about all of this.

    I finally made the decision not to include her on the guest list, knowing full well that it would eventually get back to her, since most of the rest of the family is invited (including a couple of aunts I don't think I put on the guest list). The decision tore me apart because I don't want to burn bridges before I'm family, but neither do I want to be around that kind of hostility in the weeks leading up to my wedding.


    It's been a nightmare.


    My FMIL texted me yesterday that her DIL "needs to be sent an invitation." I almost lost my head. I don't believe that anyone "needs" an invitation to a bridal shower. "Should be invited," yes, okay, I agree with that, but she does not "need" an invitation to anything, except maybe the wedding.


    I flat out do not want this woman anywhere near me before I am married. I'm not trying to be rude or unfriendly, but I have flat out had enough, and I am sick and tired of feeling forced to bend to her will at the sacrifice of my own health and well-being. I know if she's invited, I will spend the whole day struggling to be civil to her, to the point where I won't enjoy my own party with my nearest and dearest. But I know if she's NOT invited, tensions between us will only worsen... not to mention how my FI's family will react.


    I can't do this any more. This is a lose-lose situation for me. If she's there, I will forfeit the chance to stand up for myself once and for all, and my bitterness towards her will only get worse. If she's not there, god only knows what will happen.


    Does anyone have any advice at all on how I should handle this? I know I have to have a talk with my FMIL, but I'm not in a place emotionally where I can have that yet.

    What exactly is your FSIL doing to you that is so horrible that it is making you physically ill? Honestly, I'm still more worried that this person can get you so bent out of shape. People in life are upsetting, but that doesn't mean you get so stressed about them that you can't handle your own life. My dad is a big jerk, so I avoid him when possible, and am civil to him when it's not possible to avoid him. But I certainly do not "sacrifice my own health and well-being" because of him.

    Also, how many people are going to be at the bridal shower?

    ETA: I ask for specific examples of what she is doing because being "just short of hostile" sounds like she's not particularly hostile, and thus not that bad?
    charlotte989875STARMOON44MairePoppy
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
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    AddieCake said:


    ETA: I don't see anywhere in the OP that the fiance yells and tells her to get over it. Why is that being mentioned? Has something been edited out?

    ________________________

    It's exhausting, mentally and physically, and I've reached my breaking point. I hate the person I've become--bitter and resentful--because of her attitude towards me, and I hate that I've been put in a position where I no longer seem to have the right to stand up for myself. I never disliked her as a person, but now I am starting to solely because of the position I've been put in. I can't even talk to my FI about it because he refuses to listen and tells me it's between her and me and we need to work it out ourselves and be friends.

    I don't think he appreciates how hard I've tried to "work it out" and be "friends", and how impossibly tired, anxious, and sad I am about all of this.

    __________________________________________

    The italicized is what people are responding to about the FI. She doesn't say he yells. She says he refuses to listen to her and tells her they need to be friends, in spite of the fact that she is stressed to the point of being physically exhausted and having anxiety. (The FSIL is the one who yells.) 

    IMHO ignoring and belittling her is worse than yelling.

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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    AddieCake said:


    ETA: I don't see anywhere in the OP that the fiance yells and tells her to get over it. Why is that being mentioned? Has something been edited out?

    ________________________

    It's exhausting, mentally and physically, and I've reached my breaking point. I hate the person I've become--bitter and resentful--because of her attitude towards me, and I hate that I've been put in a position where I no longer seem to have the right to stand up for myself. I never disliked her as a person, but now I am starting to solely because of the position I've been put in. I can't even talk to my FI about it because he refuses to listen and tells me it's between her and me and we need to work it out ourselves and be friends.

    I don't think he appreciates how hard I've tried to "work it out" and be "friends", and how impossibly tired, anxious, and sad I am about all of this.

    __________________________________________

    The italicized is what people are responding to about the FI. She doesn't say he yells. She says he refuses to listen to her and tells her they need to be friends, in spite of the fact that she is stressed to the point of being physically exhausted and having anxiety. (The FSIL is the one who yells.) 

    IMHO ignoring and belittling her is worse than yelling.

    Both are bad.  Either way, the FI is dismissing and not addressing the OP's need not to have to accept negative behavior from her FSIL.
    Knottie1452098987
  • OP, you are going to be around FSIL for a very long time of you marry her brother.  You had better figure out a way to get your feelings under control.
    You cannot control FSIL.  You cannot control what she thinks, says, or does.  You can control your own actions and feelings.  If you really feel that you cannot, then it is time to cancel your wedding.
    I know all about difficult families.  My wedding was a horror story.  I never stopped smiling and thanking my guests for coming.  Did I ever learn to love the difficult in-law?  No.  I did learn to co-exist with her because she was a part of my husband's life, and later a part of my children's lives.  I outlived her.
    I am sorry that you are having trouble with family members, but it is time to grow up and deal with it.  Invite her to the shower.  Not inviting her will make more trouble than it is worth.
    Your wedding is not all about you.   It is about your two families coming together and the two of you forming a new family.  You cannot pick and choose your relatives or in-laws.
    Did your FSIL physically attack you?  Did she molest a child?  Did she rob a bank?  Is she in jail?  No?  Then, INVITE HER!
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    I saw about him not being supportive, but since it doesn't say anywhere that he yells, which is why I was confused that was being addressed, I would ask that we be careful not to make stuff up about people when we respond to posts. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited February 2016
    CMGragain said:
    OP, you are going to be around FSIL for a very long time of you marry her brother.  You had better figure out a way to get your feelings under control.
    You cannot control FSIL.  You cannot control what she thinks, says, or does.  You can control your own actions and feelings.  If you really feel that you cannot, then it is time to cancel your wedding.
    I know all about difficult families.  My wedding was a horror story.  I never stopped smiling and thanking my guests for coming.  Did I ever learn to love the difficult in-law?  No.  I did learn to co-exist with her because she was a part of my husband's life, and later a part of my children's lives.  I outlived her.
    I am sorry that you are having trouble with family members, but it is time to grow up and deal with it.  Invite her to the shower.  Not inviting her will make more trouble than it is worth.
    Your wedding is not all about you.   It is about your two families coming together and the two of you forming a new family.  You cannot pick and choose your relatives or in-laws.
    Did your FSIL physically attack you?  Did she molest a child?  Did she rob a bank?  Is she in jail?  No?  Then, INVITE HER!

    Are you serious?  Someone who treats you with hostility and makes you feel like you're walking on eggshells has to be invited just because "you can't pick your in-laws" ?  

    No.  The FSIL is not entitled to an invitation to an intimate event just because the FMIL wants it.  In any case, it's up to the hostesses, not the OP, and NOT the FMIL, who gets invited to the shower.

    An intimate event is not the occasion for inviting people who treat you with hostility. Actions have consequences, one of which is that if you are negative to someone, even a pending in-law, you forfeit any right to an automatic invitation to that person's intimate event.  And inviting that person is no guarantee against worse treatment later on, and can even foster it.  I highly disagree with you that only criminal behavior should keep such a person off a shower guest list.  That's such a complete crock of crap.

    Hostility and negatively don't go away because of "family." For someone who had bad in-law trouble, it really astounds me that you keep advocating "family uber alles" even when it's not only not warranted but could even be counterproductive.
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  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    edited February 2016
    AddieCake said:
    I saw about him not being supportive, but since it doesn't say anywhere that he yells, which is why I was confused that was being addressed, I would ask that we be careful not to make stuff up about people when we respond to posts. 
    I was the one who inferred yelling. You are correct, she never said that,  and I must have misunderstood her post. However, she did say that he actively refused to listen to her and just says "it's between her and FSIL". Which is more than not supportive. Maybe those conversations are said in perfectly calm tones, but I doubt they are civil. Dismissing someone and refusing the listen are hostile actions. The gist of what I said is the same. If an in law is making you so anxious to the point of being  physically exhausted and your fi refuses to even listen to you, yelling or no yelling, you have a fi problem. 
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    edited February 2016
    AddieCake said:
    I saw about him not being supportive, but since it doesn't say anywhere that he yells, which is why I was confused that was being addressed, I would ask that we be careful not to make stuff up about people when we respond to posts. 
    I was the one who inferred yelling. You are correct, she never said that,  and I must have misunderstood her post. However, she did say that he actively refused to listen to her and just says "it's between her and FSIL". Which is more than not supportive. Maybe those conversations are said in perfectly calm tones, but I doubt they are civil. Dismissing someone and refusing the listen are hostile actions. The gist of what I said is the same. If an in law is making you so anxious to the point of being  physically exhausted and your fi refuses to even listen to you, yelling or no yelling, you have a fi problem. 
    Right. But I simply asked that we be careful with our responses and not to basically play telephone here and make the story different than it is. She never said he yells, so nobody should reference this yelling that doesn't take place, or the next thing you know, it's being assumed or suggested that he also shoved or something.

    And I realize his actions are "more than not supportive." I simply used that phrasing because it's indeed not supportive, and I didn't feel like typing out his specific behaviors. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • Have you tried to confront her about her behavior? Like actually said, "FSIL I don't like the way you talk to me or treat me. On x, y, and z you occasions you did a,b, and c, which hurt my feelings. What is the problem and can we resolve it?" 

    I agree with PPs that your FI should listen to you and help you resolve an issue with his family, however I agree with him that you two need to work it out. And maybe you won't get anywhere with her, but from what it sounds like she has a terrible attitude toward you and no one stands upon beer, not even you. You always have a right to stick up for yourself, sounds to me like this is the perfect time to start doing so. 
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    I'd be willing to be that even if you invited her, OP, she'll decline anyway.

    And if the "repercussions" of not inviting her mean that your mental health is protected from a FI and FILs who treat you like crap, and you feel better physically and mentally, then it might well be the best course of action to tell everyone, "Sorry, but you don't get to treat me like crap and still expect me to invite you to my events and spend time with you.  Family members don't treat each other like that."
  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited February 2016
    Jen4948 said:
    I'd be willing to be that even if you invited her, OP, she'll decline anyway.

    And if the "repercussions" of not inviting her mean that your mental health is protected from a FI and FILs who treat you like crap, and you feel better physically and mentally, then it might well be the best course of action to tell everyone, "Sorry, but you don't get to treat me like crap and still expect me to invite you to my events and spend time with you.  Family members don't treat each other like that."
    You are assuming that this is a "normal" family we are talking about.  Not necessarily.  Many families are dysfunctional, and operate with different rules.  I come from one of these families, and I married into another one.  I have had a lot of practice.
    In a "normal" family, your ideas do work, and I would agree with them, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this one isn't, or FSIL wouldn't feel free to behave this way.
    Some families are in denial about the person who has problems.  They will actually band together and defend this person, no matter how insane the behavior appears.  When a new person joins the family in marriage, the new person doesn't understand the family code, and this can be very traumatic for them.  Confrontation does not work in these cases because the family denial code overrides what should be common sense.
    Repercussions of not inviting FSIL would be ostracism by the entire family, and reminders of the event for years to come, while FSIL gets sympathy because the OP was so "horrible" to not invite her tio the shower.  I have been there.  It is not worth it.  You cannot change families like this.
    I once dated a man from a "normal" family.  He was appalled after spending a weekend with my own family, and he could not understand it at all.  I had more successful relationships when I dated men with a psychiatric background.  They both were equally astonished, but understood it. DH understood it because he lived it, too.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited February 2016
    CMGragain said:
    Jen4948 said:
    I'd be willing to be that even if you invited her, OP, she'll decline anyway.

    And if the "repercussions" of not inviting her mean that your mental health is protected from a FI and FILs who treat you like crap, and you feel better physically and mentally, then it might well be the best course of action to tell everyone, "Sorry, but you don't get to treat me like crap and still expect me to invite you to my events and spend time with you.  Family members don't treat each other like that."
    You are assuming that this is a "normal" family we are talking about.  Not necessarily.  Many families are dysfunctional, and operate with different rules.  I come from one of these families, and I married into another one.  I have had a lot of practice.
    In a "normal" family, your ideas do work, and I would agree with them, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this one isn't, or FSIL wouldn't feel free to behave this way.
    Some families are in denial about the person who has problems.  They will actually band together and defend this person, no matter how insane the behavior appears.  When a new person joins the family in marriage, the new person doesn't understand the family code, and this can be very traumatic for them.  Confrontation does not work in these cases because the family denial code overrides what should be common sense.
    Repercussions of not inviting FSIL would be ostracism by the entire family, and reminders of the event for years to come, while FSIL gets sympathy because the OP was so "horrible" to not invite her tio the shower.  I have been there.  It is not worth it.  You cannot change families like this.
    I once dated a man from a "normal" family.  He was appalled after spending a weekend with my own family, and he could not understand it at all.  I had more successful relationships when I dated men with a psychiatric background.  They both were equally astonished, but understood it. DH understood it because he lived it, too.

    With "families" this dysfunctional, I don't agree with you that ostracism from it is a bad thing. 

    Permanent separaration from (expletives) like that is probably the healthiest outcome of not inviting someone that toxic.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited February 2016
    Jen4948 said:
    CMGragain said:
    Jen4948 said:
    I'd be willing to be that even if you invited her, OP, she'll decline anyway.

    And if the "repercussions" of not inviting her mean that your mental health is protected from a FI and FILs who treat you like crap, and you feel better physically and mentally, then it might well be the best course of action to tell everyone, "Sorry, but you don't get to treat me like crap and still expect me to invite you to my events and spend time with you.  Family members don't treat each other like that."
    You are assuming that this is a "normal" family we are talking about.  Not necessarily.  Many families are dysfunctional, and operate with different rules.  I come from one of these families, and I married into another one.  I have had a lot of practice.
    In a "normal" family, your ideas do work, and I would agree with them, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this one isn't, or FSIL wouldn't feel free to behave this way.
    Some families are in denial about the person who has problems.  They will actually band together and defend this person, no matter how insane the behavior appears.  When a new person joins the family in marriage, the new person doesn't understand the family code, and this can be very traumatic for them.  Confrontation does not work in these cases because the family denial code overrides what should be common sense.
    Repercussions of not inviting FSIL would be ostracism by the entire family, and reminders of the event for years to come, while FSIL gets sympathy because the OP was so "horrible" to not invite her tio the shower.  I have been there.  It is not worth it.  You cannot change families like this.
    I once dated a man from a "normal" family.  He was appalled after spending a weekend with my own family, and he could not understand it at all.  I had more successful relationships when I dated men with a psychiatric background.  They both were equally astonished, but understood it. DH understood it because he lived it, too.

    With "families" this dysfunctional, I don't agree with you that ostracism from it is a bad thing. 

    Permanent separaration from (expletives) like that is probably the healthiest outcome of not inviting someone that toxic.
    I don't disagree with the bold, HOWEVER op's fi is the one who would be willing to make the break. The OP's fi doesn't seem to want to deal with it, let alone stop being around his family. This is one of the last  family events op will be able to decide without her then husband's input.

    If he isn't willing to stand up for the op, then I think she needs to decide if she can handle being around these people for the rest of her life, if her mental health is going to suffer, then the best option is probably not marrying into a family that makes your health suffer.

    Expecting to be able to exclude the SIL, without the support of your fi, and not have it affect the relationship with the rest of his family is naieve. You've got a big fi problem here, op.
    Yes, she does have a big FI problem.

    But did anyone tell the FSIL that her hostility to the OP also has "repercussions" when she decided to engage in that behavior? The FMIL's demand for a shower invitation for her (note: it's not coming from the FSIL) suggests not.

    Actions have consequences, one of which is one is not entitled to have it both ways: to be hostile and rude to a future in-law while expecting to be included in that person's life.  And if the rest of the family has a problem with it, that's their issue to find some other way to deal with than by putting unreasonable emotional pressure on the OP to "include" a hostile FSIL on pain of "repercussions."

    If the repercussions are that the OP isn't involved in the family, that might well be the best possible outcome for her.  Yes, it puts her FI on the hot seat to grow a pair and stand up for her, which he should have been doing all along, and if he doesn't, then yeah, the OP needs to reconsider her relationship with him.

    But inviting a guest to a shower with a history of negativity towards the honoree solely because her FMIL demands it is not the answer.
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    scribe95 said:
    I have to be honest that this just sounds like high school drama to me. Two women who don't get along. Given the lack of details and no examples of anything this FSIL has actually done, my husband would also tell me to figure it out because we are two adults and don't need a mediator.
    That should be the case, but we're always advising posters not to go around their fiances and always involve them in anything involving their side of the family - even if it's "high school drama."

    But if it's just "high school drama," then the OP's decision not to invite her FSIL should be respected rather than threatening her with "repercussions" if she doesn't.  That to me elevates this above "high school drama."
    Knottie1452098987
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited February 2016
    I have a suggestion for the OP.  Talk to FMIL in private and express your "concerns" about FSIL's behavior.  Stay calm and quiet, and listen to what FMIL has to say.  You will learn a lot about this family's dynamics.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    AddieCakeMairePoppy
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