What To Do When You Don't Like Your Future In-Laws

BrothersGirlfriend_slideIllustrated by Sydney Hass.
Let's face it: Sometimes, you could use some (non-retail) therapy, and sitting on stranger's couch isn't on your list of to-dos. Enter: Pretty Padded Room, a virtual platform that connects you to their arsenal of licensed therapists — all twelve of them! Because if one were enough, you'd have stopped bugging your BFF about how long you should wait till you text your ex back. This week, the ladies tackle disliking your future sister-in-law.
I'm not sure how else to say this, but I hate my soon-to-be sister-in-law. I've always gotten along with my brother’s girlfriends, but after he left his last and longest relationship, he suddenly decided he’s into girls fresh out of college — and proposed to one after three months! I don’t want to sound catty and I’ve really tried hard to get to know her, but she's beyond boring and is terribly immature (see: reads all his texts, and always needs to be around). My bro is an amazing guy and very important to me. I don’t want him to make a life-long mistake based on a quarter-life crisis rebound — should I tell him how I feel?
Amanda Rausch, Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist
Whoa! Sounds like your brother really rushed into things! But, just know that accepting a new member into the family is tough no matter how long you’ve known them. If you see red flags, it’s your responsibility to voice your concerns to your brother in a supportive, non-shaming, and, most importantly, direct way. Don’t talk about it with other family members or create drama around the situation. Tell him your honest opinion, but also ask what he likes about her, and what he wants in a future wife. Maybe boring feels safe to him if he's been hurt before. Maybe he's okay with her reading his texts, but that's a topic for a whole other article. In any case, listen to what he sees in her and trust that he can make his own choices.
Now as for you, Judgy McJudgerson, be honest with yourself — is anyone ever going to be good enough for your brother? Your standards might be higher than his, but you need to support whatever decision he makes. It’s his happiness — not your preferences — that should be the main priority right now. You don’t have to be besties with this girl, but you do need to be civil and try to get to know her as time goes on. Don’t make your brother pick between you and his new love, because no matter how close you are now, he might choose her if she doesn’t feel comfortable around you. That means less time with the person you love so much, so think about whom you’d really be rejecting.
I know it’s hard to sit back and watch him make what you think is a huge mistake, but you can only do so much. If he chooses to marry her, you're likely going to have to have to be a fabulous bridesmaid (if she chooses to ask) and spend a lot more time with her, so it’s time to switch your approach. Instead of rolling your eyes at everything she says, try doing more of the talking so she knows how to relate to you better. You already have at least one thing in common, so build on that — tell her lots of funny, embarrassing stories about your bro as well as all the times he’s come through for you. When she sees how bonded you are to him, instead of seeing you as over-protective, she’ll want to get closer to you too and will hopefully come out of her shell.
We all want that “sister I never had” relationship with our sister-in-law, and it might not come in three months, or ever, but it’s definitely not going to come if you’ve already made up your mind to hate her. All-or-nothing thinking is never a healthy way to view any situation, and the truth is while you don’t need another best friend, your brother needs you to be his. So, don’t root for it to go wrong and have “I told you so!” t-shirts made, but try to balance your feelings to be less emotional, more neutral, and open-minded. Of course, you could always go the other way and be full on Disney evil stepsister but those girls (usually) lost out in the end — your choice!

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