Dilemma: My sister's husband doesn't get on with mine

Jo Brand / 18 February 2019

A reader wants her husband and her sister's husband to rebuild bridges in order for the family to get back to normal. Jo Brand advises.



Dilemma: My sister's husband is too stubborn to make friends with mine after a fall out

A few years ago, my husband fell out with my sister’s husband. I would like them both to apologise and make up, but my brother-in-law won’t. It makes life very awkward at family occasions. I am sad to miss out, but sometimes it’s just better not to go.

I love my sister, but I feel that she should put more pressure on her husband to build bridges, as we are willing to – even though I don’t believe my husband was in the wrong.

We want to have a get-together for my elderly mother on Mother’s Day. Can you advise?

Jo Brand's advice

On first read, this all seemed straightforward. Just ask them very nicely to sit down and thrash it out for the common good. But when I thought about it, I felt that the lack of information about the argument makes it very difficult to know how bitter this situation is.

Why are you not going to family occasions? Surely the two men who have fallen out should be absenting themselves, not you. Why do you feel your sister is not putting enough pressure on her husband? Is she in agreement with him, just like you are with yours? What does your mother think about it all? 

I am trying to get some sense of whether this has upset the entire family or just you, your sister and the two husbands.

What are your mother’s feelings about Mother’s Day? Would she like to have everything resolved before then too? She deserves to be involved… 

Finally, what on earth was the row about that has caused such bad blood between these two?

With all these questions unanswered, it’s difficult to formulate the perfect answer. 

So, going on the limited information I have, I would suggest that someone outside your feuding group gets involved. 

Alternatively, would you consider contacting your brother-in-law privately to tell him how much this has upset you? Sometimes, when people are obsessed with a long-standing argument, they forget to take others into account. Perhaps your mother might agree to contact your brother-in-law and tell him she wants everything to be peaceful on Mother’s Day – and for the foreseeable future! 

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