Thursday, September 20, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Sister's rocky marriage affects future plans

Sister's rocky marriage affects future plans

Q: My little sister (late 20s) got married last year. Within months she found out her 30-year-old husband was cheating on her with a barely legal cashier at his job.

They tried to work things out, only for my sister to discover the affair was still going on and predated the wedding. She decided she was done, only now she was pregnant.

I decided to invite her to live with me and my family, which involved buying a new (and much more expensive) house.

Now she has decided to try to work things out with her husband, and will probably break her promise of a several years' stay in our home. I can afford the new mortgage without her financial contribution, but not without serious lifestyle changes.

How much information am I entitled to about the current status of her marriage? I try to ask in non-threatening, supportive ways, but typically get the response of, "You're meddling." I want her to be happy, but I also need to make plans for the future. Please help.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A: You need to make plans for your future, yes, so plan without her. It's not incumbent on your sister to contribute to those plans, even if it feels otherwise: You made the decision, invited her to live with you, bought the bigger house, took on the extra expenses — so you made it for her, yes, out of kindness, but the bed is still yours to lie in. I'm sorry.

That means you aren't any more entitled to information on the current status of her marriage than you would be if you weren't counting on her for cash.

So make plans on the assumption that your sister will not be contributing, because that's what would have served you best in the first place. She was never a lock to stay.

The best part is, by banking on her absence, her continued presence — and her cash — can serve as a bonus, one you save for when your sister has sunnier days.

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