Dear Happy Cow,
Could you please give me some advice on how to manage a family situation. My husband has two sisters who are significantly older than him. They have always doted on him and all three are very close. His eldest sister, is also rather protective of him and their family unit. When he and I got together she was kind but always with one hand up as if letting me know that I am still an outsider. At the time I understood her feelings and recognised that it wasn't easy for her to fully accept someone new into her close knit family circle. But Steve and I have been married for several years now and we have two beautiful children. Even so, at times there are things which make me raise my eyebrows or down right leave me feeling uncomfortable. For example, shortly after we had our first child Steve had a weeks paternity leave. Towards the end of that week his sister came up for a visit. On the night before Steve had to return to work he and I were quite emotional. He didn't want to return to work, I didn't want him to go back. That week had been so magical. When we went to bed that night we were warm and close. After about a half hour or so his sister burst in without knocking for some very trivial reason I cannot remember. But what I do recall was that it was as if she didn't want to be left out of that moment that Steve and I were sharing.
Another example, which occurs often, is when we visit and his sister wants to take a family photograph. She makes a point of insisting that it is to be family only and that I should not be in the photo. That is fine. I understand that she wants a photo of the siblings together. But it seems to go on and on. I finally pointed out, on one occasion, that while I might not 'be family' our children were and perhaps they could be included in some of the photos.
Happy Cow I don't want to be petty and perhaps Steve's sister is merely clumsy with her words, and in fact I do think that is part of it. But I also think that she has some real difficulties with me as 'The Outsider' even after ten years of marriage to her brother. I don't know what to do. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and I do believe that family is important in our lives. But I am also tired of always feeling like I'm an intruder. What do think I should do?
Read Happy Cow's reply >>
If you are in need of some advice and think Happy Cow may be able to help, please e-mail her at:
Get a regular dose of happiness in your e-mail inbox when you sign up for Happy Cow's Weekly Moos e-mail newsletter!
Join the Happy Cow Facebook Group!
[Unfortunately, JS-Kit Comments have moved onto pastures new and can no longer supply us with their rather brilliant comments widget. Ah, well! Maybe one day another splendid and free widget will wander this way. Until then, please feel free to shout at us by clicking the 'Contact Us' button above.]