Last summer, my DH’s sister was in a bad relationship and needed to leave. His mother convinced him that the right thing to do would let her stay with us. SIL is a difficult, unhappy, and selfish person, and we’re not close, but DH felt like he needed to help his sister out, so I reluctantly agreed.
After four months of her (and her kids who she has joint custody of) staying with us, and slowly turning our lives upside down, DH put his foot down and asked her to move out. Naturally, she got upset, but did move out.
She wasn’t able to move all of her stuff out, so we agreed she could leave the “big stuff” at our house until she could rent a truck. Her stuff sat in our basement for three weeks; we could never get a hold of her and she never called us.
Finally, one Saturday, while DH and I were out running errands, she pulls up to our house with ex-boyfriend and his truck. My 14-yr. old son and his friend were just returning to the house when they pulled up. SIL asked my son if we were home; he said no, so she walked up to our garage, punched in the code, and walked right in. They got some more stuff out, then left before we got home.
When we got home, we noticed some of her stuff was gone, but there was still a lot of it left. DS noticed our confusion and told us what happened. I was a little upset that she had gone into our house without us there, so I texted her with a short: “Hey, noticed you came and got some of your stuff. Next time, could you call beforehand? Thanks.”
Her return text was not nice. I can see now that my text could be read as harsh and cold, and I was sorry that I upset her with my request, but nothing I said after could calm her down. She felt that because she still had some of her stuff here, that she technically still lived here and could therefore just walk in even if we weren’t there; I disagreed.
My question: was it wrong of me to ask her to call beforehand to make sure we were there? My own parents call to ask to enter our home if needed when we’re not at home, and DH’s parents have a similar rule, so I didn’t think our rule was out of the ordinary. Was I out of line? SIL is not speaking to us and the rest of the in-laws have “cooled” towards me. I could definitely use some advice! 1013-13
Change your entry code immediately. Your SIL’s trashy ex-boyfriend now knows it. And if SIL has a key to the house, change the locks, too.
Your house rule is well within reason and family custom so just ignore the drama. Just be sure to be available for SIL to come get her stuff so that you are not nagging while making it hard for her to do so. And I suspect the “cooling” you perceive from other in-laws is actually their attempt to disengage from this particular drama as well.
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Whenever someone’s own parents won’t take them in that is a HUGE BLINKING RED FLAG going AOOOOGA! AOOOOOGA!
My mother had friends (Dick, Jane and three very young children) who were in a situation where the house they were renting was sold and they were evicted. Jane told my mother that her parents refused to take them in for various coldhearted reasons (actual reason: they knew better) and my mother was too kind to turn away three little kids.
Que the month and a half of terror. Kids up at all hours screaming for candy, running about naked without diapers leaving…you know, all over the carpet and furniture. They’d leave half eaten bowls of cereal on the table every morning. Ate everything in the house and never bought groceries expect for potato chips, jerky and snacks they kept in the guest room. Never washed a single dish or picked up the vacuum even though my mother asked for their help. They had a terrier dog that they didn’t buy food for because, as Dick said, “well, why doesn’t your dog just share his food?” which led to a few dog fights.
The odd thing is that they were only at our house from evening to morning. They’d raid the refrigerator, take baths, sleep, wake up to leave their breakfast mess and then go to Jane’s parents house all day. Basically using us as a flop house.
The straw on the camel’s back came one particularly rough morning when my mother was cleaning the spilled milk and cereal and begged Jane to help her with housework today. Jane let out an irritated huff, rolled her eyes and flounced out of the house with the kids off to her parents’ home. My mom packed up all their stuff and put it in the driveway.
When they had no where to go (and no one else to foist the problem onto) Jane’s parents miraculously had a change of heart and took them in.
Someone else posted that if you used to live there and have stuff there, it makes sense to be able to just let yourself in to get it. This is WRONG. She no longer lives there and absolutely should not expect unfettered access. You are just storing her stuff for her. It’s time to put an end date on that. Legally, you only need to hold onto it for 30 days but it’s understandable to let it get past that with family. I’d make yourself super available for the next two weeks. Provide her with a list of dates/times you intend to be home, after which the remainder of her items will be donated to charity.
OP- Thanks for the update. I am so sorry that the IL’s took issue with the situation and are treating you as though you did something wrong- you DID NOT. As @Yasuragi (comment #51) said, it is a huge red flag when your own parents & family will not take you in, in your time of need. I think they are still acting that way towards you because when you said enough, SIL & her kids, exes & issues became THEIR problem to deal with.
Just know that you did nothing wrong, your request to be home when she came was reasonable, take care of yourself, don’t worry about the IL’s and know that E-hellions are behind you.
P.S. I have chosen to not attend certain IL’s celebrations/holidays. Husband & kids go if they wish and that alone time during the hectic holidays can be heavenly! 🙂 Hot coco, a good book or even a nap!
Thanks for the update, OP. It sounds like SIL needs therapy, and a lot of it. Those sorts of abusive relationships don’t just go away; even if they are to break up permanently, she’s likely to find another one like him – the cycle of abuse is, indeed, cyclical. I would keep my distance from her as well, toxic people aren’t worth it. Keep your chin up!