Wedding Party

How to avoid conflict with FSIL

My FI and I have been together for three years. I am friendly with his family but not close. It is pretty clear, though, that his only sister does not like me, and FI has confirmed this. She doesn't really speak to me when she visits. Every time I try to talk to her she shuts the conversations down as soon as possible. When she does respond to me it is to contradict me, and her demeanor is just kind of hostile. It makes me uncomfortable. Neither FI nor I know the reason, other than that he moved several states away to be with me. 

Our engagement isn't public yet, and I'm hoping that she'll just get over it. But I have my own family experience with long-running hostility and conflict, and I know you have to be super political sometimes to get along. With that in mind, I'm trying to make sure I don't do anything in wedding planning/activities that could deepen her resentment or make her complain to her family. I'll ask her to be in the wedding party with a nice email (FI did not want her in his wedding party and it wouldn't fly for me to exclude her). I'm buying the dresses (I'll make sure she approves her dress). Aside from attending the wedding, I won't make any demands on her time or money. She will be invited to the shower and bachelorette weekend, and I'm going to distance myself from those invites to make sure she can't object to any excesses. I think the chance of her attending either is less than zero.

My question is whether there is anything unexpected that causes conflict that I should be thinking of? Does anyone have experience getting blindsided by pouty family members? 
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Answers

  • I think avoiding conflict will equal more conflict. I think once you and your FI tell his family that you are engaged, you need to talk to her about how you can both improve the relationship so that you can at least be civil. I would not include her in your wedding party unless you are 100% fine with continuing issues. Perhaps she could do a reading to get her involved. Your FI also needs to talk with her (and perhaps this should be done before you get involved) about how she treats you.
    OurWildKingdomMairePoppySP29OliveOilsMom
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    When you need to handle someone with kid gloves, it's probably not a great idea to include them in your bridal party, which should consist of your closest friends and family members.

    Announce your engagement to your immediate family members, including all siblings, before you make any Facebook announcements. Hopefully, FSIL congratulate you. Try to initiate a friendship with your FSIL before you consider asking her to be in your bridal party. The wedding party doesn't need to be decided until 6 months or so before the wedding, so don't rush things.

    If FSIL doesn't show signs of warming up to you, abort mission. You can't force her to like you. In this case, your Fi should take a stand. He should let his sister know the two of you are a package deal and he expects her to be respectful of you. 
     
                       
    OurWildKingdommadamerwin
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    There is no reason to ask her to be a bridesmaid. Your fiancé doesn't even want her on his side; why should you get stuck with her out of obligation? I understand dynamics may be tricky, but they can get over it, and your fiancé should support you and have your back. This woman doesn't like you, and you should not feel forced by his family to include her. That isn't fair to you.
    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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    OurWildKingdomSP29
  • Thanks everyone for the responses! This is good advice. I should wait it out and see what happens. Just reading these comments calls to mind some of the not-great behavior I have seen from her, and now I'm envisioning it on my wedding day.

    After her last visit ended so coldly I finally asked FI if he knew why she didn't like me, and he confirmed the situation by saying he doesn't know but that it causes him stress (they have an otherwise good relationship - I suspect that he doesn't want her in his party b/c he wants it to be single-gender. . . which I'm sure is an attitude that Knot posters frown on - sorry!). The people that know her better than I, his parents included, have picked up on her rude behavior. Prior to talking to FI about it I thought it was partially in my head, but it's for real and it's thrown me because it feels like a mean girl from grade school. Apparently she openly hated his high school gf, so it's a pattern of behavior. 

    FI will probably talk to her if the problem persists. 
  • If she openly hated his high school girlfriend, I'm guessing that there's some jealousy involved here. She may feel very close with him and consider any romantic relationship her brother has to be an intrusion on that. Whatever the reason, you absolutely should not feel obligated to ask her to be a bridesmaid. Your bridesmaids should be your "nearest and dearest," which she clearly is not. Don't use your wedding to fix your relationship with her. It will backfire, because no matter what you do, she's going to find fault. Invite her to things so she can't accuse you of excluding her, but don't ask her to be in your wedding party.

    And I do think, wedding or no wedding, your FI needs to talk to her and explain that she needs to be more respectful of you, or she won't be seeing much of him. She doesn't have to like you, but there's no need for her to be so hostile.
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    OurWildKingdomSP29madamerwinOliveOilsMom
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Do not ask her to be in your wedding party! Even if you do everything perfectly, I bet she will find fault in something. That's how people like that are. She's shown you who she is - believe her. Having her be a bridesmaid will not transform her into a different person, and it won't fix your relationship. 

    I also agree that your FI needs to talk to her and tell her she needs to respect you. You don't have to be best friends, but she should at least be friendly and civil. 

    My brother dated and proposed to a girl I really disliked for many valid reasons. They were together for over ten years. My brother knew I didn't care for her, but I absolutely treated her kindly whenever I saw her, out of respect for my brother. 

    OurWildKingdomMesmrEweSP29
  • If she's a Groomswoman in the WP, fine, but honestly, this has future disaster given the dynamic written all over it if she stands on your side!  I get your wanting to "keep the peace" and doing everything to bend over backwards - I really do, some aspects of the wedding in some families are more about politics than anything else.  But that said, given her track record, it'd be better if she is involved with the wedding for it to be something she chooses her own attire for (Usher) or that she decides with FI to be a groomswoman and choose the attire herself even if you reimburse her for a set budget (so if she goes over your budget by her own choosing you're not on the hook for every penny).. 



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  • pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Why "wouldn't it fly" for you to exclude her?  Is this something you decided, or something you were told, either by her, your FILs, or your FI?  Perhaps it was your choice of wording, but this is a red flag for me.  This sounds like an ultimatum, and that's not a good way to kick off the wedding planning process.

    Been here, done that.  Don't include her.  It'll be a disaster.  Your BMs should be your nearest and dearest, and no one should be compelling you for any reason to include so-and-so.  I really don't see any reason for anyone to be involved in your BM selection decisions.  If she has to be involved in your wedding due to family dynamics and politics, ask her to be a reader.  Do not ask her to be a bridesmaid.
    I was wondering about this too. If anyone told you this, be it FI or FIL's that is not cool. No one gets to decide who is in your wedding party. If this is something you're thinking, you're wrong. You don't have to include anyone that you don't want in your wedding. Also, if she dislikes you so much, what makes you think she would want to be in your bridal party? If someone that I disliked asked me to be in their wedding party, I would be extremely annoyed and would decline in a heartbeat. Also, please don't do this to your friends lol. If they plan a shower/bachelorette, etc, it's your friends she will be annoying.

    I don't have any siblings, but I think it's weird that she dislikes all his romantic interests. I understand being jealous  to an extent, we're all human. Sometimes it bothers us when those closest to us becomes close to someone else. But to take it to the level that she has, IDK. It just seems kinda weird and creepy to me. 
                                 Anniversary
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    OurWildKingdomSP29lizybeff
  • My impression that I have to include her has to do with family dynamics, my personal experience with other wedding parties, and my fear of upsetting FI's family. I haven't spoken to my FI's family about it, but FI and my family think I should include her-- we think it is nice for all the siblings to be standing up. I will say though that after the most recent experience with her, my FI and family are starting to understand that it would be uncomfortable and socially awkward for me to include her. And it's true that she may certainly decline.

    With respect to FI's family, they are nice people and I think they would be hurt if FSIL was not included. It would make me feel guilty too. I agree with the wisdom of not including people who you are not close to, but sometimes it seems like not including them would be more stressful than including them.  

    The part about her hating FI's HS GF suggested to me that she is self-centered about her relationships with her brothers. As the only girl with three brothers, I think she is kind of obsessed with this little sister/cool-girl-who-hangs-out-with-guys dynamic, and she maybe feels threatened or just doesn't like other females. But even more so, she seems to want all her brothers to be one-dimensional fixtures for preserving her familial status quo and enjoyment. FI has mentioned before that he is no longer interested in a lot of the stuff that his sister wants to be doing (usually involving partying), and she has gotten upset with him for that at times. She needs to understand he has grown up and changed his priorities, but I can see how that is a bitter pill to swallow for some people.
    OurWildKingdomKnottie1452098987
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree in setting these boundaries now. You'll be happy you did it. She can do a reading, and then she's still included. 

    OurWildKingdomSP29levioosacharlotte989875
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My impression that I have to include her has to do with family dynamics, my personal experience with other wedding parties, and my fear of upsetting FI's family. I haven't spoken to my FI's family about it, but FI and my family think I should include her-- we think it is nice for all the siblings to be standing up. I will say though that after the most recent experience with her, my FI and family are starting to understand that it would be uncomfortable and socially awkward for me to include her. And it's true that she may certainly decline.

    With respect to FI's family, they are nice people and I think they would be hurt if FSIL was not included. It would make me feel guilty too. I agree with the wisdom of not including people who you are not close to, but sometimes it seems like not including them would be more stressful than including them.  

    The part about her hating FI's HS GF suggested to me that she is self-centered about her relationships with her brothers. As the only girl with three brothers, I think she is kind of obsessed with this little sister/cool-girl-who-hangs-out-with-guys dynamic, and she maybe feels threatened or just doesn't like other females. But even more so, she seems to want all her brothers to be one-dimensional fixtures for preserving her familial status quo and enjoyment. FI has mentioned before that he is no longer interested in a lot of the stuff that his sister wants to be doing (usually involving partying), and she has gotten upset with him for that at times. She needs to understand he has grown up and changed his priorities, but I can see how that is a bitter pill to swallow for some people.
    Pardon my language, but that is bullshit. Your FI openly acknowledges that she dislikes you and is rude to you, but you have to put up with her on your side because of his outdated notions about gender and WP? Yeah, no. That's not ok.

    If you ask her to stand up on your side, she's going to continue to behave the way she's been behaving. You give up any right to complain about her being terrible if you ignore that and ask her anyway. You can't change how other people behave, but that doesn't mean you should pretend that she's going to suddenly morph into a perfectly nice person. 
    OurWildKingdomglasgowtolondonOliveOilsMomcharlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited May 2016
    If you haven't already asked her to be your bridesmaid, Do. Not. Ask. Her.  Don't give in to family pressure or "politics" either.  The problems that you have with her now will not only not go away by asking her to be a bridesmaid but they will increase exponentially.

    It's not up to his family whether or not she is a bridesmaid. If your FI doesn't want her to be a groomsmaid, then she can be a reader or not in the wedding party at all - as the consequences of her hostile attitude towards you.

    And definitely set boundaries with her about what is and isn't okay, and enforce them. Otherwise, you'll be putting up with the unacceptable from her for the rest of your lives.  

    Above all, make sure that your FI is on your side and on the same page when it comes to your relationship with her.
    OurWildKingdomlc07
  • Wow, it's pretty clear having her as a bridesmaid is a bad idea and I completely agree. The best way to handle this is to overlook her behaviors and be as nice as possible to her at all times. Turn the other cheek but don't let her see you turn it. Show her how to be a loving grown up with your own actions, maybe she will give it up and accept some sugar from you down the road. Remember how nice the Mellie character was to Scarlet in Gone With the Wind? If you can rise above it and be so gracious, you'll lighten your load and take the stress from your FI. She'll come around.
  • lnixon8lnixon8 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments Name Dropper
    OP how large is your wedding party?  I'm not telling you to invite her but before you ask the rest of your bridal party remember if you have a lot of bridesmaids (I would say more than 7?) your in laws might be bothered more than if you kept it to less than 5. FWIW I like the idea of asking her to be a reader.


    OurWildKingdomKnottie1452098987
  • Thanks again for the responses. All points are well-taken. I would have 6 BMs w/o the sister, so it isn't less than 5, but it would not be more than 7. I told FI that he could cut my brother from his party if I nixed the sister, and then she could be a reader and he could be an usher. I honestly think my brother would prefer that. And I don't think his sister would dig spending the day with my family, my closest friends and me. At any rate, FI is visiting his family for his mother's b-day this weekend. Maybe he'll talk to his sister. 
    OurWildKingdom
  • lnixon8lnixon8 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments Name Dropper
    Thanks again for the responses. All points are well-taken. I would have 6 BMs w/o the sister, so it isn't less than 5, but it would not be more than 7. I told FI that he could cut my brother from his party if I nixed the sister, and then she could be a reader and he could be an usher. I honestly think my brother would prefer that. And I don't think his sister would dig spending the day with my family, my closest friends and me. At any rate, FI is visiting his family for his mother's b-day this weekend. Maybe he'll talk to his sister. 
    I just made up the number 5 and 7... please don't have him kick out your brother for even sides, that is just silly.


    InLoveInQueensKnottie1452098987MesmrEwe
  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    Scottie17 said:
    Wow, it's pretty clear having her as a bridesmaid is a bad idea and I completely agree. The best way to handle this is to overlook her behaviors and be as nice as possible to her at all times. Turn the other cheek but don't let her see you turn it. Show her how to be a loving grown up with your own actions, maybe she will give it up and accept some sugar from you down the road. Remember how nice the Mellie character was to Scarlet in Gone With the Wind? If you can rise above it and be so gracious, you'll lighten your load and take the stress from your FI. She'll come around.
    Sounds like SIL is more like India Wilkes than Miss Mellie.

     

    charlotte989875Knottie1452098987
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited May 2016
    I feel like there has to be more to this story. Why has your fi or his parents not called his sister out on this? Has your fi even bothered to find out the reason for this anger? I am really surprised.

    f my brother or sister was being a total pill to my fi for no reason, I would have a private conversation saying "This rude and nasty behaviour needs to stop. Jane has done nothing to you to warrent this overt hostility.  Like it or not, Jane is going to be in our lives forever, so you can either be civil and try to get to know her or you can just not come to family events where we are. Because I will not tolerate this brattiness". 


    lc07
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