My Sister-In-Law is Ignoring Me // Is There Any Way to Make the Relationship Work?

By Raizy Friedman

Couple woman silhouette standing sad during sunset and beautiful sky.

In this column, we give you the opportunity to listen in on a discussion between Rabbi Shais Taub and a reader with a dilemma, moderated by Rechy Frankfurter.
If you would like to have a conversation about parenting or any Navigating Life issues with Rabbi Taub, please send an email to [email protected] with the word “Navigating” in the subject line, or call 718-534-8800. There is no charge, but you must consent to having it published. Identifying details will be changed.

Moderator: This woman’s husband has a brother close in age who recently got married, and she is having difficulties in her relationship with her new sister-in-law.

Woman: My sister-in-law and I have had a strained relationship from the beginning, but it was very polite. It is getting worse now, and she is literally ignoring me when we have family get-togethers.

How long have you been married?
We got married about nine years ago.

Why is there such a big gap between when the two brothers got married?
How can I put this? I think that my husband’s brother had more specific needs.

So the process was harder for him.

Other than the fact that your husband had an easy time with shidduchim and ostensibly found a great shidduch very quickly, whereas his brother had a longer road—and I’m going to guess that he’s a somewhat difficult person—are there other major differences between the two?
He’s more sensitive than my husband.

Would you say that they’re more similar in personality or more dissimilar?
More dissimilar.

So they have very different personalities.
I wouldn’t say that the gap between them is crazy, but they’re more dissimilar than similar.

Continue telling me the story.
I saw that we didn’t click right from the beginning, but I decided to give it time. She was also the last one to join the family. When I got married, the sisters-in-law were all older, so when I found out that a new, younger sister-in-law would be joining us, I was excited. But even though we were friendly and polite, we just didn’t click. Things got awkward whenever we got together for Yom Tov or when the other sisters-in-law were around.

How does it get awkward?
Even when people aren’t friendly, when you’re forced to be together for social reasons, they make an effort to be pleasant. This is the first time in my adult life that I’m being snubbed.

She doesn’t observe the social niceties?

Do you have any indication that she’s capable of engaging in social niceties in other contexts?
She gets along with all of my other sisters-in-law.

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