Opinion on in-law situation


#1

Firstly and thankfully we don’t live close to in-laws anymore, but I am wondering how you all would handle this situation.

Several years ago my sister-in-law was 15 and started dating a guy who was 33 (don’t even get me started on how disturbed DH and I were). My husband talked to his sister and the guy but my mother-in-law didn’t do anything to stop the interaction (and in fact admitted she didn’t want to fight, or in my opinion be a parent). So because mom-in-law didn’t do anything there was really nothing we could do.

Now it’s three years later and SIL is 18 still dating this guy and has become “part of the family” coming to Christmas and other holidays. This year he spent a lot of money trying to buy everyone’s approval(we were told). We live too far away to travel but in the future if they’re still dating or even get married some day, do we accept it?

I’m of the opinion that she’s 18 now and we really can’t shun them, but my husband (her brother) is really bothered by all of this and wants nothing to do with this guy at all… ever.

Opinions?


#2

Now that your SIL is 18, there isn't really much anyone can do. I would grin and bear it if I were your husband.


#3

Not much you can do, I don't think. I don't think it should be an either/or situation, either you lovingly accept the guy or you shun both of them together. I think if it was me, I'd find some kind of middle ground. Has your husband tried talking to his sister since the first time he talked to her three years ago about the situation? I think I'd attempt a talk again, or just keep communication going between the two, even if its about trivial stuff. But you don't have to accept the guy as "part of the family" to the extent everyone else seems to have. Ask the sister to come and visit or something, without the boyfriend.


#4

I would grin and bear it but later on when you have teenagers I wouldn't leave them alone with him if he is still in the picture.


#5

Big brothers are protective and for good reason. But now that she is 18 there is nothing to do.

Would the Lord want to you hold a grudge for life? Or forgive as we are forgivin?

The situation is not ideal, but he must love her, he is still with her after 3 years. If the church blesses the marriage, what right do we have to say any difference?

I will be praying for you.


#6

As long as these two stay together ---particularly if they get married--- your husband will probably have to be polite to this guy if he wants to have a relationship with his sister.

If he doesn't care about having a relationship with his sister then he can do whatever he wants...

Are either the sister or the older guy Catholic?


#7

There's not much you can do now that she's 18.

They've been together for 3 years, so this isn't just a passing "phase" or anything like that. How serious are they? Are they planning on marrying in the future? If they do get married, it would be wise for your husband and you to be kind to both of them, if you both still want a relationship with her.


#8

The fact that this has been going on for 3 years means there is a good chance this man may stick around long-term. Is the age difference the only thing that bothers your husband about the relationship? In other words, are there any signs of domestic violence, drug abuse, etc.? If there hasn't been any sings of this man being dangerous and they do end up getting married, your husband may have no choice but to accept him as part of the family or cut off his sister completely. My husband is almost 11 years older than I am and I met him just weeks after turning 20 and it bothered plenty of people, but obviously it turned out perfectly for us. I have also had several friends who dated or ended up marrying adult men they met while in their mid-teens. The point is that huge age differences alone do not automatically guarantee a dangerous or doomed relationship. I agree that it raises huge red flags, but it's not always a disaster waiting to happen. At 18, your MIL has no legal control over her daughter and your husband never had any control to begin with, as much as it sounds like he would have liked to take the reins of her life.


#9

I agree with you that DH needs to treat them civilly if we should have to interact. It's just very awkward that this guy is our age. If there's any signs of abuse, I wouldn't know as we live so far away now. The last time my husband talked with his sister, she was very immature about it. Typical high school, I just want you to like him type of thing. His sister has always had very low self esteem, which makes me even more skeptical.

No one on my husbands side is Catholic or religious at all. My husband converted two years ago but he and his siblings were not raised with any religion. They are all very secular so living together and all of that is really no problem with anyone.

Charlotte, I agree with you that age gaps are not a bad thing. But if you had been 15 and your DH was 26, at 15, I wouldn't have been ok with it.


#10

[quote="armywife, post:1, topic:223969"]
Several years ago my sister-in-law was 15 and started dating a guy who was 33 (don't even get me started on how disturbed DH and I were). My husband talked to his sister and the guy but my mother-in-law didn't do anything to stop the interaction (and in fact admitted she didn't want to fight, or in my opinion be a parent). So because mom-in-law didn't do anything there was really nothing we could do.

[/quote]

I can certainly understand why someone who cares about an 18 year old does NOT want her dating some 33 year old man... but since he's stood a test of time (three years??? for a teenager?), maybe he's not so bad after all. :blush:

Based on what you posted, there is nothing about him that is negative other than his age. He's not married (at least you didn't post it), he's not doing anything to prevent her from having a life (she's not pregnant, no mention of 'he won't let her go to college') :o

Prejudice is a GOOD thing, IMO. You didn't like this guy, and any 33 year old sniffing after any 18 year old would raise my hankles... but now that you've seen him, and how he is, I say it would be bigotry to insist on disliking this guy after all this time... considering you've got nothing else against him

JMO
:)


#11

Is the age difference your only objection? How does he treat her? You do not see them regularly, so the rest of the family is probably in a better spot to see him as he really is. You don't mention a Dad; is he in the picture? If not that may be why she is attracted to a man who is so much older and why your husband feels like he should protect her. Give him a chance, he may not be a bad guy.


#12

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