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The $30 Drama Llama

Hello! I never thought I’d have this issue but I believe I have a greedy SIL.  She isn’t really my SIL, more my brother’s girlfriend but they’ve been together so long and have a family together we just call her my SIL now.

My issue is as followed: For her birthday neither my sister or I gave her anything for her birthday and she has been bitching about it to my brother who in turn bitched to our mum about it and it’s gotten back to me. She was in another state with my brother when it was her birthday, brother’s birthday occurred at the same time and, of course, we got something for him. When they got back it was my son’s birthday and they arrived with presents for all the family from their trip. We presented my brother with his gift of $30 from my husband and I and my sister gave him the same from her husband and her.

Now apparently her issue is that we didn’t get her anything and everyone in the family had a gift to open but her. Before she came along my brother used to give me and my husband $30 each for our birthdays and now she has come along its $30 from both her and my brother. i think that if she wants something for her birthday then she should give us $30 each as well, after all she isn’t family. So I don’t think she deserves anything for her birthday unless she is willing to give us the $30 she owes us for our birthdays otherwise she has no right to bitch. Am I right in thinking she is just being greedy?

She often talks of this website so I’m hoping she sees this.   0813-14

She’s your brother’s common law wife and therefore your common law sister-in-law which you recognize by referring to her as “sister-in-law”.   You have little nieces or nephews by her and your brother.  The only thing not making her a member of your family is a marriage license and your pathetically petty little heart.

She OWES you and your sister a birthday gift?  Newsflash OP…..no one owes you anything for your birthday. I can’t believe you actually used the word “deserves” to describe an obligation to give a birthday gift.  And I’m giving your SIL a pass because 1) the family custom is for family member and spouse (you, your sister and your husbands) to give a combined monetary gift of $30 from each couple and your SIL was simply following family custom when you received $30 from your brother and SIL on your birthdays; and 2) your SIL and brother showed up with presents for everyone which tells me they invested some time on their trip thinking of each family member and buying a gift.  You insult their kindness with a petty demand for an extra $30 on your birthday and a miserly heart about giving.

And the worst part of this is that family unity and harmony have been sacrificed on the altar of money….a mere $30.00.  Is the bitterness, animosity, hard feelings, estrangement from your brother, divisiveness, family drama all worth$30.00?


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lkb August 13, 2014, 10:55 am

    Why even discuss etiquette with someone who repeatedly resorts to vulgarities such as “bitching”?

    • JO August 13, 2014, 9:17 pm

      My thoughts exactly!

  • Annon August 13, 2014, 10:58 am

    WOW – they have been together for a long time, have a family together and just because there isn’t a piece of paper she isn’t “family?” BUT she acts like family by getting sister(s) a gift from herself and her “husband” (the brother of OP?) This OP is a piece of work! She and her sister and their respective husbands got the brother a gift, but couldn’t get the “SIL” a gift – b/c she “isn’t” family after all? This one needs to take a good long look in the mirror and decide what is important? $30 stupid dollars, or a relationship with said brother, “SIL” and their kids? If brother is getting sisters/husbands a gift of $30 and they are doing the same for brother – then why is the “SIL” not being included, since it is her money also that is being spent on said sisters/husband? This OP really takes the cake!

  • AnaMaria August 13, 2014, 11:03 am

    “She often talks of this website so I hope she sees this.”

    Wow. If you want her to know how you feel, why not talk face-to-face privately, instead of airing your family drama over the internet?

    • essie August 13, 2014, 8:32 pm

      Because that would be the mature, courteous thing to do, obviously.

  • Renee August 13, 2014, 11:20 am

    I had to read this a couple of times to make sure I fully understood. So the OP birthday comes along and she received gift from her brother and sister. When the OP husband’s birthday comes along, he receives a gift from the OP’s sister and brother separately. Sounds like the OP is thinking the SIL should give a separate gift for her and her husband. That does not seem fair. The SIL is in a relationship with the OP’s brother. Isn’t it implied that the gift comes from both of them? Why should a couple have to give a gift separately?

    When I receive a gift from my brother I assume my SIL contributed towards it. I would not expect my SIL to send me a separate Christmas or Bday present. Seems a bit much to me

  • JD August 13, 2014, 11:22 am

    Can this be real? I can’t understand this one at all. There are so many obvious slights and blunders committed by the OP here, and the OP can’t see any of them? Even after reading this site? How can that be?

  • Susan August 13, 2014, 11:24 am

    SIL complained only to her partner (Op’s brother), who in turn tried to address the issue with his mother. This would be the correct way for a couple to handle a problem within a family. SIL has a right to talk to her man about things- and she has a right to be upset when she is purposefully and pointedly excluded from gift giving.

    BTW, since they are a couple, OP, of course the $30 would be from both of them, just as the $30 you give your brother is from both you and your husband. Stop being so petty and mean. I feel sorry for your SIL.

  • lakey August 13, 2014, 11:33 am

    I think this post is a put-on.
    If not I would hope that this family would get a bit more creative and personal about gift giving.

    • Melissa August 14, 2014, 8:28 am

      I agree. A standard $30 is such a boring gift. I wonder if they spice it up by switching denominations…..

  • Marie August 13, 2014, 11:40 am

    The most childish submission I’ve ever read on this site. I can’t believe you expect both your brother and your SIL to each give you 30$ for your birthday, as if it’s in some sort of familial contract.
    I think it is indeed rude, when three members of the family celebrate their birthdays around the same time, to only acknowledge and celebrate two of those birthdays (your brother and your son).
    I feel bad for the SIL. She obviously has been part of the family for awhile, and no one even acknowledges her birthday. Whining about not receiving a gift is a faux-pas, but the least you could have done was get her a card. I think she’s upset more about being excluded by everyone else. I hope you guys don’t passive aggressively ignore her at Christmas as well, labeling gifts specifically for your brother and nothing for her.
    If both SIL’s birthday and your brother’s are around the same time, why not just give them a combined gift? Something they can use in the house, or a gift certificate for a restaurant? I don’t see why your family (or at least you and your sister) feels the need to isolate her.

  • Anonymous August 13, 2014, 11:50 am

    This seems appropriate here:


    • babs August 14, 2014, 7:51 am

      Perfect! Substitute the $50 for $30, and there you have it! 🙂

      • Anonymous August 15, 2014, 11:37 am

        Yeah, I remembered that clip as soon as I read the story, and I wished it HAD been $50 here, but it’s the same general principle. The only difference is, on the show, Howard tells Penny to tell Sheldon that selecting proper birthday gifts for people is a “non-optional social convention,” and then Penny takes Sheldon shopping for a gift for Leonard’s birthday, so there’s at least some attempt made to rectify the situation, and Sheldon (sort of) learns something.

  • The Elf August 13, 2014, 11:59 am

    I lost track of which seashell the pea is under during that post.

  • Skaramouche August 13, 2014, 12:05 pm

    Is this a joke? Is someone having a lark at our expense? I have a hard time believing that such a person actually exists. I mean, I know that there are many ignoramuses at large in the world but for one to actually write such a ridiculous story here?! I’m almost inclined to agree with a previous commenter who suggested that the SIL herself might have written this.

    OP, in case you actually do exist: you need help 😛

    To the person who wrote the letter: For heaven’s sake, please learn the proper use of the word “I”. Would you write: “I presented my brother with his gift from I”? No? Great. So can you see why “I presented my brother with his gift from my husband and I” is also wrong? The word you are looking for is “me”.

    • Goldie August 13, 2014, 4:29 pm

      Yeah, I have to admit, of all the improper grammar uses, “from my brother and I” is the only one that really irks me – because it comes across as pretentious, making it look like the author is too dainty, and too afraid of being confused with the commonfolk, to say “me”. Kind of like the verbal equivalent of sticking out your pinky finger when holding a tea cup in order to look cultured.

      • crebj August 13, 2014, 8:36 pm

        It’s just plain wrong. “I” is subjective case, “me” is objective. “Me” is the object of “from.”

      • Skaramouche August 13, 2014, 9:11 pm

        Yes, yes and yes!!!! Goldie, you understand me. *tear*

        • delislice August 14, 2014, 9:34 am

          Even worse is the use of “myself” by people who think “me” is too … um, blue-collar, or not classy enough, or something. “Brent and myself went to Myrtle Beach.” “She received a gift from Brent and myself.”

          • Skaramouche August 14, 2014, 4:42 pm

            YES! That drives me nuts too. “How are you?” “Great! And yourself?”
            GAH, BAH (and more rude noises)….

            This incorrect usage has become shockingly common in North America. THE PLEBEIANS ARE TAKING OVER :O. I jest, but only partially. People who are normally grammar savvy are changing their way of speaking based on what they hear around them. I comfort myself by remembering that grammar rules can be somewhat transient across generations. I can’t help feeling though, that in this instance the uneducated are winning the day. The rules are changing not because it makes sense to change them, but because people want to sound more refined than they really are. The fact that they are achieving the opposite effect is just the sad icing on the crappy cake.


            Yes, I know…the sentence is poorly constructed to begin with.

          • AIP August 15, 2014, 3:41 pm

            Well, in fairness the “yourself” example is usually only in informal speech.
            It would be very common, and correct, in Hiberno-English as it is a direct translation from the Irish. Over here, the use of myself and yourself would actually be the more blue-collar, as you’d say yerself, way of talking.

          • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 9:40 pm

            Not too long ago, I was watching a re-run of 21 Jump Street (the 80’s TV series). A principal of an excellent school was bragging about how they were so very good, and had such wonderful academics. Moments later, some gang members broke into the office and took him and some faculty members hostage.

            The principal then got on the P.A. system to announce that “Myself and certain members of the faculty have been taken hostage.”

            MYSELF. A high school principal, bragging about how good his school was, and how they prized academics. Myself.

            Arglebargle. I couldn’t even watch the rest of the show, as I was too busy complaining about that “word crime.” Of course, I was on my pain pill, so I was literally obsessed, until the medication wore off, but still…

            By the way, if you haven’t seen it, please do watch “Weird” Al Yankovic’s video for his parody song “Word Crimes.” It’s absolutely brilliant, and should be required viewing at the beginning of each semester of any English class. I love it!

          • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 9:45 pm

            Reply to Skaramouche – I can accept that languages change over the generations. I studied it, and found it quite fascinating.

            What I don’t like is when those changes, from common usage, make absolutely no sense. This is why English is such a hard language to learn. Ninety-five percent of the spelling rules apply to only five percent of the words, and the rest are exceptions! That’s because of common usage becoming the rule, but the rules making no sense. Whereas, in the Latinate languages, you have the basic rules, and everything follows those rules, and it all makes sense. Once you learn the basic rules, and some basic vocabulary, you have it made.

            Now, I don’t even twitch when I hear someone say, “It’s me,” in answer to the question, “Who is it?” In fact, I’ll do that, myself, when I’m feeling lazy. But at least I know that “It’s I,” is correct, and not at all pompous. Also, “I am she,” is correct, and the mailman can stop looking at me that way, and just deliver the package addressed to me, thank you very much.

      • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 9:37 pm

        One used to have to stick out the pinky, in order to maintain proper balance, because of the way the cups were designed. Now, they are designed to no require the pinky salute, but people still do it, because reasons.

        Also, the proper way to hold a teacup handle is to pinch the handle between thumb and finger, not loop a finger through the handle. But people loop, anyway, because it is more comfortable and more stable than pinching, and leaving your delicate thumb and finger bruised from the pressure needed to pinch and hold a heavy teacup full to the brim of hot, boiling liquid, that can come spilling down on you, and scalding you, at any moment is just not worth the “good manners” of holding it in the traditional way, and “traditions should fall by the wayside when practical reasons assert themselves.”

        In other words, just shut up and drink the tea, OK? As long as you don’t slurp, you’re good.

        I’m totally with you on the I vs. me battle, though. It’s a long-standing pet peeve of mine.

    • babs August 14, 2014, 8:02 am

      Thank you! Drives me crazy. I want to shout “ME, ME, ME!” I hear it on TV shows, in movies, from newscasters, politicians and people who should know better. It might be easy for someone to flub up in conversation, but people who have scripts written for them constantly make this mistake. My boss has 3 EARNED doctorates and still can’t grasp this! Thanks for pointing this out. Whew! I feel better now!

    • ketchup August 14, 2014, 9:17 am

      Yes. It happens so much, so often, and usually when people try to sound more intelligent/sophisticated, and funnily, all it does is make them sound ignorant.

      • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 9:53 pm

        I once saw a blog post, devoted to “correcting” others. Someone had labeled a picture as “This is a picture of Betsy and me at the beach,” and the poor girl was blasted by the blogger, with comments such as “You’re an idiot! It’s Betsy and *I*! Don’t you know anything?” followed by “What does he see in you, you fool?” and stuff like that. It got rather heated and personal, and apparently, they both like the same fellow.

        When I calmly tried to point out that “A picture of Betsy and me” is correct, because me is the object of of, the blogger got even more upset, and told me how I was an idiot, uneducated, probably never passed high school (passed high school, not graduated), and how the fellow would never give me the time of day, anyway, so who did I think I was?

        If someone is wrong, and they’re open to correction, or can admit that maybe grammar is not their strong suit, I can easily forgive them. But when they angrily declare that they have the grammar right, and yet it’s still wrong, it just irks me. It means that some teacher, somewhere, not only did a poor job in teaching them grammar, but they probably did a poor job in grading the person’s schoolwork, as well, and that person got A’s that they never really earned.

  • Phoenix August 13, 2014, 12:24 pm

    Also, according to the OP, the brother gives $30 to both her AND her husband . . . so it’s not really $30 being passed around . . . but $60.

    And in the meanwhile, the brother is only getting $30 because the OP doesn’t count the SIL as a SIL. Financially, that doesn’t seem fair. Also, if you include giving the kids money . . . that might cause more trouble financially for everything than it should.

    Honestly, the $30 thing sounds stupid to me unless you’re giving it to the kids.

    Honestly, a DVD or a gift card to a favorite restaurant would be simpler.

  • Princess Buttercup August 13, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Wow, gift giving, love, care, communication are all completely lost on these people for certain.

    Beyond the rediculousness of just passing 30$ back and forth, it’s not that hard to pick up something to be kind to the sister-in-law without it hurting too much. Even if you’ve never bothered to get to know her (which I wouldn’t be surprised since you’re so hung up on a piece of paper) you could pick up a nice stationary set for her for under 10$. Then you a being nice and still maintaining your greed that is so important in the family.

  • Vicky August 13, 2014, 12:43 pm

    I agree with the Admin. The OP is being extremely petty.

    It brings up an interesting topic though – how different families treat significant others of siblings. I am an only child but my husband is one of five. It was standard protocol in his family (before anyone had kids) that significant others (spouses, longtime gf/bf, etc) did not receive birthday presents or Christmas presents from the siblings. It has never bothered me to not get gifts and in fact takes the pressure off all the families financially, not to mention, I didn’t need the clutter. After all the kids came along, Christmas gifts are limited to kids only.

    It fascinates me that some families place such a high emphasis on the exchange of birthday gifts. I think it more important to wish some one well or spend time with them.

  • A different Tracy August 13, 2014, 1:11 pm

    Yeah, I’m really confused. The OP and her husband, as a couple, give $30. But the OP says that because the SIL and Brother give $30 as a couple, the SIL is not actually giving a gift, and therefore shouldn’t receive one. Is the OP saying that because the SIL “isn’t family” (i.e., isn’t married to Brother), she is required to give $30 on her own?

    (I do have to dispute the admin’s assertion that SIL is Brother’s common law wife. Legally, there’s a pretty good chance she’s not. But that’s no reason to write her off as “not family.”)

    • Anonymouse August 13, 2014, 10:18 pm

      It’s kind of a non-issue, but I have to ask, why is it unlikely for them to be common law? Most places I know of define “common law partnership” as living in a conjugal relationship for a specific amount of time, usually around a year. For example, here it’s something like 10 months to receive the tax benefits and be legally recognized as being in a common law partnership.

      The longest I’ve heard is 2 years, but I don’t know the laws in every state/province/country/whathaveyou. If, like the OP says, they have children together, it seems like a reasonable assumption that they would be common law, regardless of the length of time required by the province/state/country/whathaveyou.

      • KiwiAlice August 14, 2014, 4:52 am

        In the UK there is no such thing as common law marriage.

        • Georgina August 15, 2014, 1:04 am

          There is in Scotland which, at time of writing, is still in the UK.

      • shh its me August 14, 2014, 7:28 am

        Without getting into the legal minutia many states have actually abolished common law Marriages. Common law marriage often conveys the exact same rights as marring with a legal ceremony with a license and registering the marriage. Including the need to have a divorcee grated to enter in new marriage , and the right to inherent and collect social security death benefits as a spouse. The only way to file taxes in the US as a married couple is to have a legal marriage, somewhere. That doesn’t mean there are not ways to enter into other partnerships that convey many of the the same rights and obligations, its just the term “common law marriage ” is a specific legal term.

        I think Admin meant common law wife in the social sense of the term.

      • A different Tracy August 14, 2014, 9:08 am

        If the OP were in Canada, my understanding is that they could have a common law partnership, not a common law *marriage*. But the OP uses the word “state,” which suggests they are in the U.S. And there are only a few states that actually offer a common law marriage. Furthermore, there are certain hoops you have to jump through in order to be considered married in these states, which many people don’t realize. In the U.S., it has nothing to do with the length of time you’ve been living together. More info here:

      • Kendra August 15, 2014, 10:56 am

        Well, not all states recognize common law marriages. In fact, more states do not recognize common law marriages than states that do recognize it. Also, most of the states that don’t recognize common law marriages, do not recognize common law contracted in another state. In Nevada (where I live) you could live together for 50 years as married, but the state will not recognize the relationship as anything more significant than roommates. This refusal to recognize common law relationships is one of the big reasons behind the push for making same gender marriage legal. Unfortunately, even having children together does not legitimize the relationship legally in Nevada.

    • Anonymouse August 14, 2014, 8:06 pm

      Ok. Fair enough. I’m in Canada, and just know the laws here regarding common law partnerships. I didn’t know they were so uncommon in the US and elsewhere.

      Thank you ladies or gentlemen.

  • Louise August 13, 2014, 1:44 pm

    This situation sounds oh so familiar to me, almost creepily familiar.. The only difference is my “SIL” doesn’t call me her SIL she just calls me her brothers girlfriend. In my family we long outgrew the gift giving amongst adults and just stuck to kids.. But my partner’a family still insist on giving gifts. His sisters did a similar thing to me in excluding me from their birthday money exchange.. They nag us for weeks about making sure we give them their money on time for their birthday and try to get us to give them $100 gift vouchers rather than the $50 we normally give..

    When my birthday came around I was visiting my parent with our newborn baby and both of my partners sisters sent me a text message through my partner saying happy birthday, I was happy with that. My partner got annoyed about it because I’d been so obviously excluded and in his mind that meant they didn’t consider me family… OP if you are my SIL, just know this. I don’t care about the money. I cared about you obviously excluding me and not considering me to be part of the family. I’ve always tried to be nice to you but it didn’t make any difference. I just don’t want you to exclude my son again this year when his birthday comes around this year…Try explaining to a child why their aunt didn’t bother to even say happy birthday at their 5th birthday party or why his cousins were actually spitting on his birthday cake… Oh well at least my son doesn’t demand gifts like your children do..and I hope my other son will be the same when he’s old enough to learn manners.

    • imc August 13, 2014, 6:03 pm

      I was almost ready to assume the OP was a troll.
      If the OP turns out to actually be your sister-in-law, Louise, I’m very, very sorry for you.
      Either way, both you and the OP’s SIL have my deepest sympathies for having to put up with such boorish family members.

    • mrsvandy August 13, 2014, 6:59 pm

      Your a better person then I. If my DH’s family acted the way your partners family is acting, we would never see them let alone get them gifts ever. I really do hope that you stop getting gifts for these greedy people.

    • Lanes August 13, 2014, 7:04 pm

      Spitting on the Birthday Cake? O-M-G. Children learn from their parents, you really have to wonder what sort of people are raising those kids.

      I’m actually angry about both stories (assuming they’re not actually the SAME story as they appear to possibly be!). My own SIL (same situation, unmarried) was… let’s say, a lost soul, for a long time. With help, she’s getting herself right, but not before leaving a path of destruction in her wake which touched everyone around her – including her two children. But you know what? She’s still my SIL, and a part of our family, and is treated with every ounce of respect and love that any other family member receives.

      Now, please explain what’s so different about my situation compared to the OP & Louise’s story? What on earth is wrong with the families in these stories that they can’t embrace a person into their family because of what? A ring? A signed piece of paper? A $30-a-year donation? What do these people have to do to be considered part of the family?

      It’s petty, and pathetic, and makes me mad.

    • Cecilia August 14, 2014, 8:31 am

      Spitting on the cake? Please, please tell me that someone said something. And that you never invited them to a birthday party again.

      My brother and sister each have one child, a daughter and son, respectively. If one of them spit on my kid’s birthday cake, you can bet that child would be in time-out, get no cake and grandma would probably get out her famous switch. Before anyone gets bent out of shape, she gives them a couple of taps with the switch, which I seriously doubt hurts them since they never cry, but they get the point.

  • NostalgicGal August 13, 2014, 2:04 pm

    After about three replies….

    1) Nobody owes you a gift, period. In the give and take yes it is nice to trade gifts and one should GIVE as well as receive.

    2) Sounds like the woman is commonlaw, serious life partner, and should be treated as such; a member of the family (sans piece of paper filed at the county).

    3) If everyone gives the gifts around, then she should be included. Also indeed, if she’s included she should be giving in turn.

    4) I’d say drop the gift passing especially if it’s buckage; and just share cake and cards. Less hurt feelings possible that way.

    Seriously drama-llama for no decent reason. Shame OP.

  • Rebecca August 13, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Yep…it all sounds pretty childish to me. Childish of the OP to be so petty about who gives what, and keeping score like that. Childish of SIL to bitch about not getting a birthday present, though we don’t really know if that’s what happened; she may have just commented privately (or so she thought) to her husband on the fact that she brings gifts for all the kids, participates in other people’s birthdays, and nobody remembers her birthday.

    Reading this post I kind of lost track of which $30 is going where, and who is combined and who gets/gives their own, and frankly…..WHO CARES???? You’re all adults; give a gift it you want to give a gift. Don’t give a gift if you don’t want to give a gift. And I agree that if the same $30 is being passed around at each birthday, why even bother?

  • Kimberly August 13, 2014, 2:38 pm

    The only greedy beyotch in this scenario is the OP.

    You really couldn’t get her a gift for her birthday? I am not sure of the exact reasoning. You give so many excuses as to why you did not get her a gift.

    But, she and your brother went away and they came back with gifts for everyone.

    The whole family celebrated birthdays, but you and your sister decided not to celebrate hers?

    Just because she is not married to your brother legally, does not mean she is part of the family.

    Maybe if you think that birthday gifts should be tit for tat, you need to sit down with them and discuss the issue on how gift giving should be done in the future.

    If I was your brother, after your behavior, there would be no more gifts for you.

  • Cat August 13, 2014, 3:13 pm

    If this is the biggest problem your family is facing, would you be interested in changing families with me? If you and SIL are both three years old, I’ll write you a pass on eHell. Otherwise, you are both likely to catch it from a lot of people.
    First, you are responsible for how you treat other people. You are not responsible for how they treat you. If this lady is your brother’s chosen one, she deserves your respect. If you give him a birthday present, you should acknowledge her too.
    Second, getting upset because one person may spend a bit more on presents than another is childish. We stopped drawing names for Christmas presents at work because there was always one person who got upset at getting a cheap gift and felt he/she deserved “something better”.
    I buy gifts I happen to find all during the year and store gifts in my guest bedroom closet. I have always been able to match a person with a gift that he/she would like.
    If I get a Strawberry Shortcake mug as my gift (this happened and it was dirty), I clean it up and give it to a child for no reason at all, but never as a gift for a special occasion.
    Using this forum as a way to insult your SIL is too petty to be believed. You may lose a brother rather than gaining a SIL. Keep that in mind.

  • Marozia August 13, 2014, 3:31 pm

    You all deserve each other, as far as I’m concerned! You’re all tarred with the same brush.
    And so, OP, what happens if she does give you $30 straight off her own back? Are you going to ‘forgive’ her, or just keep on sniping about her?
    Give it up, OP. $30 isn’t worth dividing a family for.

  • Rachel August 13, 2014, 3:37 pm

    I still haven’t finished reading through all the comments, but I’m even going to disagree with those who say the girlfriend was in the wrong for complaining about not getting a gift. For all we know, when the OP describes the girlfriend/SIL as “bitching” about it, could actually be “taking a minute to go into the bathroom and cry because she felt so hurt” or “casually asking her partner why his sisters don’t like her and include her.” Based on the tone of this submission, I think it’s highly possible that – if this is indeed a real submission – the poster is not accurately describing the SIL/girlfriend’s reaction.

  • Vrinda August 13, 2014, 4:39 pm

    Is it possible that this is another crank letter?

    • Abby August 14, 2014, 7:25 am

      I thought that too…this has the vague shades of “Tami” and Tami’s MIL, who had an all out war over Tami wearing a blue shirt and wanting to be included in family pictures.

  • MISSMINUTE August 13, 2014, 9:32 pm

    OP, it’s very nasty of you to write to this site to try and hurt your SIL.
    I’m glad the admin – and most of the comments – gave you a deserved serve.
    You are being petty and cruel.

  • Tara August 13, 2014, 9:34 pm

    Why on Earth does everyone get everyone else $30 for their bday? If everyone does that, then it’s basically the same $30 getting passed around from person to person. Assuming you and your sister each give your brother $30 for his bday, and he gives both you and your sister $30 each on both of your birthdays, the net for each person is zilch. Cash gifts are awful gifts, and this is one of the many reasons, but the fact that this is ALL everyone ever gets for anyone, and it’s the same amount each time is even sillier!

    OP, try this: no one gets anyone anything for their bdays at all. Buy the kids presents (NOT CASH), and don’t expect the children to get their older relatives anything (they’re just kids after all) and end this ridiculous tradition. Everyone’s wallets will be exactly the same over a period of a year as they would’ve been, except now no one has to keep score of who owes who what.

  • bpfoto August 14, 2014, 4:25 am

    Seems stupid to be exchanging the same $30 just shuffling it around to the appropriate day/month. Why not call it a wash and just agree you don’t care enough to buy or make a thoughtful gift and agree not to exchange the $30 to anyone. Send a card if you’re feeling thoughtful, but otherwise it is a automatic thoughtless $30 thru the spin cycle.

  • bpfoto August 14, 2014, 4:30 am

    My husband’s family finally stopped doing this but they still take every opportunity to keep the “in-laws” from feeling like real family. My SIL always insists on just a picture of the siblings as if we in-laws were just chopped liver. Last year I insisted on a photo of “just the in-laws” to show all those who were crazy enough to marry into the clan. We in-laws have decided to we have our OWN tradition since we were excluded from theirs. Hah!

    • Meegs August 14, 2014, 5:17 pm

      What in the world is wrong with a just siblings photo? As long as there are photos with the spouses too, I think this is pretty common, at weddings and holidays and the like.

    • alex August 15, 2014, 10:28 am

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with a sibling photo every now and then. Every family does it.

    • Schnickelfritz August 15, 2014, 2:44 pm

      What? We always took pics of the entire clan (including the in-laws), then the grandkids only, the siblings only, sib and spouses, grandma & grandpa intermixed, the grandaughters, dtrs, sons, grandsons, etc. Any group we could think of. It is so fun to see the grandsons and g-dtrs, progress, and then the tots added with the teens, throughtout time.

      Thankfully, as Mom wants pics of HER kids, to go along the childhood family pics, throughout the decades, that omit the EXes or spouses of the sibs. That way, no matter how many spouses come and go, she still displays pics of her many CHILDREN throughout the years, sans in-laws, that may or may not come and go. Of course she would also display the group pics of all. They are panoramic, to fit everyone in. When we were young adults, we would all dress very nice, no clashing outfits, well planned for a great shot – and an ex-SIL would turn up at the studio, in freaking yard-work clothes, and want to jump in our “kids” pic. Her husband was dressed up, like the rest of the “kids”. She didn’t get it.
      And, the in-laws do the same with their sibs. That is quite common.

      What Meegs said – weddings especially, a good photographer will suggest the groupings as well.

  • JWH August 14, 2014, 7:14 am

    I think OP needs to email the entire extended family about this — parents, cousins, in-laws, everybody — to let them know about SIL’s behavior. That way, the family will understand exactly who is being petty, cheap, and spiteful.

  • Annastasia von Beaverhausen August 14, 2014, 10:13 am

    If this letter is real, and not a troll, the OP is really a horrible, horrible person.

    And if the OP is the SIL of Louise, then it sound like she’s raising her children to be horrible, horrible people too.


  • Angel August 14, 2014, 10:52 am

    A way to eliminate this is just leave the gift giving for the children. No adult gift giving. Sometimes I give my sisters-in-law token gifts, cards, etc. I certainly don’t expect anything back in return. Gifts are supposed to be given out of love, not obligation. I also like doing handmade cards, scrapbooking and stuff like this. But I do it because I enjoy it, not because I expect anything back.

    This seems like a pretty unimportant thing to be worried about. And newsflash, your brother’s girlfriend IS family. She is the mom of your nieces and nephews. That means that she is family whether you like it or not.

  • fountainof August 14, 2014, 2:24 pm

    I am a bit of a keep track person so I get that but I don’t see why the SIL owes a gift. The OP and her DH spend $30 on Brother, the brother spends $30 on OP and $30 on OP’s DH, which totals $60 for the family unit (husband and wife) while the brother’s family unit only gets a $30 gift as SIL gets no gift. Why wouldn’t the SIL add her name to the brother’s gift and why wouldn’t the OP and DH get the SIL a $30 gift then things would be “even” as the OP wants. The way it is now, OP’s side get $60 of gifts and Brother’s side gets $30, I can see why that would be annoying, especially if acted like, “well, give me another $60 worth of gifts and I’ll give you your $30” then it would $120 on OP’s side to $60 on brother’s side. The OP is the one that sounds greedy, especially because she likes to play “Even Steven” but doesn’t recognize how her side has the favour.

    The SIL stuff is hearsay and possibly she vented to the brother and he was upset about it and told his mom. We don’t know how it went down so the SIL may be painted more negatively than what really occurred. Sure maybe the brother should not have told his mom but maybe he was just also venting to her and when she told the OP she thought she was doing so to improve the situation but instead the OP is not willing to look at how the actions of singling out a person can feel.

  • monkey's mommy August 14, 2014, 2:31 pm

    OP, you are a childish, horrible, greedy woman. I hope your sil eventually cuts you off from her life.

    This reminds me of something that occurred in my DH family. My bil has a girlfriend he has been with for 3 or 4+ years now. She has a child from a previous relationship. This year for Christmas, she did not buy the girl friend or the kid anything. My bil called DH to ask if she had sent me or the kids (2 of our 3 are mine from a prior marriage also) and DH said she had, though he downplayed the fact that she sent quite a bit to us, and didn’t mention that even prior to our marriage she had sent myself and the kids Christmas and birthday gifts. Bil was quite upset. I don’t know what the outcome was, but what it amounts to is that the girlfriend wasn’t hurt over the lack of material gift; it was the exclusion.

    • AIP August 16, 2014, 1:54 am

      Poor kid.
      If the MIL didn’t like the SIL prior to this anyway, that’s one thing, but I would keep an eye out on your MILs memory. Could it possibly be that she sent a present to yours that was intended for the other child?

      • monkey's mommy August 17, 2014, 6:07 pm

        No. We live in Florida and bil and his gf live in South Carolina. Mil is in California. And mil is like 48 lol no danger of her having any early dementia, though that’s pretty funny to consider 😉

  • monkey's mommy August 14, 2014, 2:32 pm

    I should mention the “she” in the story was my mil. Clearly I’m off today 🙂

  • Schnickelfritz August 14, 2014, 6:47 pm

    Interestingly, the OP hasn’t clarified any details, as far as I can see. Something is fishy about this entry. If I was worked up, and hoping my SIL read this, I would surely watch for the post. Most every entry, the OP contributes within hours.

    As written, the story is ridiculous and confusing. Confusing because it is hard to wrap your head around, the thought process of the OP.

    • Another Sarah August 15, 2014, 3:18 am

      I think this is genuine – I think the OP is keeping her head down because it backfired so drastically – she was obviously expecting an outpouring of support and I haven’t seen a single person agree with her.

    • Shannan August 15, 2014, 8:51 am

      Yes I keep checking in to see if the OP has commented. It’s very telling that she has not. Really beginning to wonder if this isn’t a troll……

      • Shh its me August 16, 2014, 7:34 am

        I don’t know trolls tend to like to keep the outrage going as long as possible.

  • Emmy August 15, 2014, 4:47 am

    Op sounds like the greedy one. You don’t get her a present because she’s “not family” despite her being the person your brother chose to start a family with, but demand she give you a present?

    My brothers long term girlfriend/ my ‘SIL’ wouldn’t be heartbroken if I didn’t get her a birthday present but she sure would be if I did it out of malicious greed.

  • alex August 15, 2014, 10:26 am

    This seems false considering how ridiculous this is. You are being extremely rude expecting a present from her but then refusing to get her one because she isn’t officially married to your brother. From what you said you and your husband should be giving her $30 just as she and your brother gave you. I would be hurt if I were her too. It is kind of odd that you are mad that she is hurt because you didn’t get her anything but then you expect something from her, which she gave you with your brother.

  • AIP August 16, 2014, 1:49 am

    Ah God love you, OP. If you’re that stuck for $30, we’ll have a whip around for you here!

    • B August 19, 2014, 7:23 am

      No way! I’d have the whip round for the SIL!

  • Enna August 16, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Oh dear this sounds like a storm in a tea cup. Buy gifts that you can afford, no one owes you a gift but if you snub someone don’t expect to carry on exchanging.

  • Ashley August 18, 2014, 1:13 pm

    I was on vacation for the past 5 days so I didn’t get a chance to check this website at all and this is the first story on here that posted while I was on vacation. I missed a good one apparently…

    A) Gifts aren’t mandatory. No one “owes you” anything.

    B) You (the folks in the story) realize you are complaining about the same $30 being passed around to everyone, right? You have $30 now but when another birthday rolls around you’re going to give them $30 so you are arguing about actually NOTHING really. At this rate you might as well just wait for them to give you the money then hand it right back since that’s basically what this works out to.

    C) You call her sister in law and acknowledge that everyone basically considers them married yet you then go on to use her “not being family” as an excuse for her not to “deserve” anything? What?

    All in all I hope this post is someone actually just trolling the site because I really don’t get how OP could realize what a fool she sounds like

  • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 8:01 pm

    They always give $30?

    Why not have a “family birthday,” where everyone stands in a circle, and pass around an envelope with $30 in it, from hand to hand. Then, everyone has given AND received the obligatory $30, and you can all just simmer down and remember that you are family.

    Seriously, what’s the point?

  • Alex May 16, 2017, 12:00 pm

    So, what you’re saying is that you’re upset she didn’t get you anything for your birthday, and so she didn’t get anything from you. You can’t get pissed off at someone for treating you the same as you treat them.

    Plus, she might not even know that the money tradition thing upsets you. You shouldn’t really punish someone for something they may not realize they’re doing.