Sometimes, family needs to lean on each other a little harder than usual. But there’s a point when boundaries need to be established and conversations need to be had. In the case of one Redditor on the AITA forum, she’s concerned her recently separated sister is leaning way too much on her family—specifically, the OP’s husband.
After a fight, the OP told her sister that she needs to leave her husband alone and call plumbers and movers and her landlord, but her sister got upset. Is fixing a faucet always just fixing a faucet? Or could something more be going on?
“I’ll just get straight to the issue. My F33 Sister F28 recently rented an apartment in our neighborhood. She moved out after she broke off her engagement with her fiancè of 4 years. She has a demanding job she works long hours (nurse) and added more days work to be able to pay for rent. I’d cook her meals once-twice a week and my husband would take them to her, I’d show up and clean the apartment for her out of respect for what she does which is pretty stressful. I knew she has been struggling so I did all I could.”
The OP writes that her sister would come over whenever she has a day off, but after a while, the OP started noticing that her husband was cooking for her and helping her sister out by cleaning out the sister’s basement and helping her move boxes in.
“She’d call him and not me to bring her a charger because she forgot hers at work. It’s like she completely forgot about me…I asked her why she didn’t call me when she needed something but kept calling my husband, she said she didn’t notice and that I must be busy with my son even though my husband would help with him too. I told her to call me if she needed something and let my husband get some rest from working all week. She said okay, but it got too much when she called my husband’s phone while he was napping, and I answered for him. She told me her kitchen faucet needed fixing and was messing up her kitchen and so she called my husband to help her fix it.”
The OP reminded her sister that she should’ve reached out to her, but her sister said that fixing a faucet was “men’s work.” She didn’t want to call a plumber, either.
“I snapped and I told her my husband isn’t her husband that she could call whenever she needed something. That just because she lives near she gets to have him work for her. She got upset, and I haven’t spoken to her since this conversation. My mom knew and berated me saying she’s my younger sister, that she’s going through a lot and I needed to help her. She told me I hurt my sister with my comment and that I needed to apologize to her.”
What should the OP do in this situation?
“Obviously every situation is different, but I had a friend like this who needed to borrow my partner’s help a lot, after her partner was out of town for a few weeks. Turns out she’d been getting my partner drunk as a ‘thank you’ and trying to make something happen. Looking back, it was a combination of boredom, feelings of abandonment from her partner, and a desire to mess up everything around her. Be cautious about this, and make sure your husband knows he can enforce boundaries and be honest without upsetting you,” said noblerone.
“Your sister is not going to give herself limits, so you need to set boundaries with your husband. He needs to know how you’re feeling and why you don’t feel their relationship is appropriate. You sound like you’re feeling insecure, which is fine, but you need to explain that what he’s doing with your sister makes you feel bad,” suggested soonergirrl.
“I think your sister became accustomed of him showing up when she needs something. I think that you simply defended your boundaries and your husband’s needs. The fact you both want to help shouldn’t mean that you have to show up every time she needs you. Though, I can imagine that your comment about him being your husband must have hurt,” said nerothic.
“Do not apologize to this person who is trying to steal your husband,” said thicklover.
“Gaaah. You’ve probably heard this multiple times, but she may be looking for a replacement fiancee. Please be careful. She could just be going through a rough time and need extra help, but I really find it off-putting that she skips over you to go straight to your husband. Sure, there are times when calling your husband first would be better (if she knows you are busy), but calling him all the time for so many chores is either taking advantage of his kindness, or trying to pick up a hubby,” said NotSoAverage_sister.
Do you think the sister is up to something or that she’s just struggling and needs help? What should the OP do?
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