My sister-in-law is a kept woman and it makes me crazy. Growing up she was pretty, funny and smart. She attended university to become a social worker.
She never found the right guy and was about to resign herself to single life, when my husband’s brother came along. He was a young widower with a small child. His wife had died after unexplained complications with her second pregnancy.
We all rallied around my brother-in-law, as did his wife’s family, and showered him with support. With so many helpful hands, he was able to grieve healthily and continue his work, which took off. He amassed a small fortune quickly.
When he met his second wife, he was financially set and able to easily care for his child and give him everything. I think she saw what a nice life she could have with him – money for anything and everything, and zero responsibilities. He fell in love, and none of us wanted to point out the obvious, hoping she would prove us wrong.
Nope. She stopped working and became a caricature. She sleeps late, has leisurely breakfasts, gets her hair and nails done, lunches with the girls, naps in the afternoon, and goes out for dinner regularly. She has housekeepers, nannies and a chef. The only thing she’s lacking is the long-handled cigarette holder.
My husband and I can’t take it, though she’s nice enough, funny when we’re together, and bright in conversation. It just rubs us the wrong way. How can we realistically manage our feelings with this Cheshire cat?
It’s clear in your closing sentence that you judge your sister-in-law, but also recognize that the onus is on you to manage your feelings – and not on her to change. Because she’s not going to change.
I think I understand why she bothers you: 1) in your opinion, she’s wasting her brain and talents; and 2) you, and, I’m assuming your husband, have to work hard, like the rest of us, to afford to sleep late, get groomed and go out for meals.
Everyone’s life is unique and it’s not for us to judge someone else’s journey. As long as she treats your brother-in-law well, and more importantly, is a healthy addition to your nephew’s life, let her be. Enjoy her humour and engage her brain when you’re together. She may get tired of this lounge lizard lifestyle and surprise you. Or not.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who loves his cabin in the woods…. And his wife who doesn’t (Aug. 7):
Reader – “This sounds exactly like our situation. Here’s an explanation from the wife's point of view:
“We also have a remote, rustic cabin getaway (on an island, six hours away via road and ferry). We also didn’t have electricity, running water, internet and other amenities when we started coming here, 23 years ago. As I got older, and things just became more difficult, I insisted on adding all of the amenities to make coming here more user-friendly for me.
“The amenities have helped, but the time will come when we just can't be here. We won't be able to drive; to clean out the composting toilet; to pack and lug up all our bedding, clothing, toiletries, food for a rustic summer in the woods.
“In time, we may need to sell the property to liquidate some assets to keep ourselves cared for in older age. It all seems do-able when you’re in your 40s; it's different when you’re in your 60s.
“So, maybe Natural Home's wife is just tired; I know I am. I love my husband, but I am not in love with the woods as much as I used to be.”
There’s a mom at my daughter’s school who just doesn’t like me. I have no idea why because I had never met her before last year. Our girls are good friends; they’re eight years old. But every time I reach out to this mom to make a playdate for the two of them, she declines.
I understand that children are busy after school - my daughter has ballet and soccer – but not every afternoon and on the weekends. Also, when I need to decline, I almost always give a reason and try to reschedule. Not this woman. She just declines.
What do I do?
Next time you see her in person, engage her in conversation about the girls. Then ask for a playdate, offering your place. If she declines, suggest her house, or another date. If she doesn’t acquiesce, unfortunately the girls will have to figure it out on their own.