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Half sister problems

(23 Posts)
glammygranny Wed 19-Jul-17 10:21:26

I was adopted as a baby and raised as an only child. I was therefore delighted to discover I was not really an only child and have built a relationship with a half sister who lives about 90 minutes away. We were raised in very different circumstances so I accept that might be where our issues stem from but lately her complete lack of social skills and basic good house guest manners are driving me batty. Id love someone else's opinion as to whether I'm being unreasonable.
Sister is in her 30's and I'm in my 40's.
I had invited sister to stay for a few days last week as it was my birthday and we always make the effort to meet up around each other's birthdays. I had been having a clear out before she came so had left a large carrier bag with some of my rather expensive shoes and bags in it for her (she had said on the phone she'd love them. She arrived into the house and the bag was the first thing she asked for but not so much as a simple thank you.
Over the next 6 days she helped herself without asking to whatever food she felt like in the house. She went into the garage and rummaged around in the freezer and helped herself from there too. My husband popped out to the local shops and bought among other things a large bag of crisps. You've guessed it her hand was in the bag to the wrist. We were out and about during that time and never once did she offer to as much as buy me a coffee. She moaned about how broke she was (she doesn't work and has a very patchy work history. Jobs never last long and its always someone else's fault as to why they end). In my house she got up, ate, sat on the sofa and watched tv and then repeated the cycle. She never lifted a finger to do even the smallest of tasks such as offering to hang out some washing on the line. She then had the audacity one day to suggest that I never sat down and was always on the go. I wanted to scream at her "Yes that's because I have a very lazy house guest who isn't exactly doing much to help".
I think one of my biggest temper risers was my actual birthday present. My sister is so desperate for a husband (never married) that any man with a pulse is acceptable and she's talking marriage and babies within the first few weeks of dating. The last bloke was treated to a night away in a fancy hotel for his birthday within 6 weeks of them being together. The latest bloke has been around 3-4 weeks yet when we were out one day she was looking at gifts costing around £15 she was considering bringing him. I got an el-cheapo best sister mug! Now I don't need her money but its the principle as I feel her fleeting menfolk mean more to her than I do in that they get far more spent on them. My husband said maybe it's a case of she doesn't feel she needs to buy me or prove anything with me but she's so desperate for male love and attention that she spends all this money on them?
My husband said as the week went on he could see my stress levels rising. I grew more and more resentful and felt I was being taken for a complete ride. Anytime I stay with friends I help out around the house and take them out for a really nice meal to say thank you for having me. I'd also slip in the odd coffee and cake when we're out and about.
Am I being totally unreasonable to expect a house guest particularly a family member to at least help out in a small way while they are in my home. Is it really money grabbing of me to think that its wrong to stay with someone 6 days and not so much as buy them a coffee. Am I wrong to feel so miffed that menfolk who have been around 5 minutes get higher value gifts than I do.
End of rant but thank you in advance for any insight offered.

NanaandGrampy Wed 19-Jul-17 10:50:15

Can I start by saying I have a half sister and brother but we were all raised together and therefore I never refer to them as anything other than my brother and sister, so I'm not exactly seeing it from your perspective.

From reading your post the thing that stuck out for me was that you had an expectation of material thanks . But if you were both raised in very different situations maybe she was not brought up that way?

In terms of helping out round the house people often have VERY different expectations- did you ask for her help? Not everyone is socially aware and not everyone has the same understanding of what being a good visitor means.

You mention that money is tight for her , so perhaps expecting her to pay for a meal or even coffee was something that would have stretched her meagre budget?

I hear from your post a distinct need from you to be worth more to her than the men in her life. Is that reasonable - I'm not sure.

Perhaps the key here is to actually have this conversation with her. You seem to want/need/ or expect her gratitude and she is obviously overstepping your boundaries so the only way has to be to talk about it.

Good luck

Luckygirl Wed 19-Jul-17 10:58:20

Just invite her for a shorter time next time and accept that she has different ways to you - let it wash by.

Either that or ask yourself why it is so important to you that she should show affection for you via material gifts/help round the house etc.

She is who she is and you know exactly who you are inviting. If you do not like her ways, then don't invite her.

harrigran Wed 19-Jul-17 10:59:41

DH and I watch long lost family and we sometimes say "I don't think I would be looking for this relative after so long". When you have been brought up as an only child it must be something of a shock to find a half sibling and also that they do not have the same values.
You are not being unreasonable to expect a guest to at least offer help and the occasional cup of coffee.

mumofmadboys Wed 19-Jul-17 11:16:38

I can imagine that it is hurtful. Would it help to not give her any cast offs for a while so if she visits she comes to see you for you? I would never go in someone else"s freezer without their permission. Clearly her upbringing has been different to yours (or ours). I think it is reasonable to say can you help me clear the dishes please? She probably really appreciates you but hasn't learnt the social graces to show it. Try to accept her for who she is.

GillT57 Wed 19-Jul-17 12:01:02

Just try to accept your half sister for who she is, although I completely sympathise with your frustrations. It is obvious that you have had very different unpbringings, and dare I say, it, you got the better deal? Sorry, horrible term but hopefully you understand what I am clumsily trying to say. Be thankful for your marriage, your home, your family, and maybe make the visits a bit shorter in future. I agree that it would be polite to at least buy a coffee when you are out, or even buy a bottle of wine for dinner one evening,but if your half sister has not been brought up to understand these courtesies, it is hard to start pointing them out without belittling her.

paddyann Wed 19-Jul-17 12:37:23

we are all different,I would never expect a guest to help in the house Its my house so my rules and I hate anyone in my kitchen so guests here dont offer because they know what the answer will be

glammygranny Wed 19-Jul-17 12:50:27

I mentioned the half sister commented as I was so overjoyed to discover I was not an only child after all.
I wasn't expecting material thanks in that I expected a large gift. I was just really miffed as she is continually going on about how she has no money and yet whenever there is a man around he's treated to sirloin steak, expensive aftershaves, trips away etc. So I really question how hard up she truly is. I don't want to be worth more than the men in her life but I am more than hurt that there is no problem with her spending loads on them but I'm lucky to get a bargain shop gift. It's not that I need the gifts. If she were spending the money on a live in long term partner I could understand but when she was with the last bloke she'd often lament she couldn't afford the train fair to come and see me and the next thing there would be pics on social media with him saying how lucky he was as sister had just treated them to a meal somewhere quite expensive. This was a regular theme. When we were out and about she had no problem buying 2 new tops for herself and took herself off for lunch on one day when I had an appointment I couldn't cancel. There was no real evidence she didn't have money to spend on her self. Husband left her back to the station as I had to work unexpectedly. She asked to stop at Tesco on the way there. He said she bought a full carrier bag of junk food and 3 magazines to keep her company on the journey.
Incideintially I did ask her on the final day if she would mind stripping her bed, popping it in the machine and hanging it out and to empty the dishwasher. Husband got both barrels on the way to the station about how bossy I was asking her to do this. Husband said he was shocked as he heard the conversation and he said my tone was not bossy and more in the tone of "would you mind...". He said he too was amazed that she never once offered to buy a coffee. All our other houseguests help out and any other friends/family we go out with take it in turns to buy coffee etc. I think this is why sister jumps out as being so different.

glammygranny Wed 19-Jul-17 13:19:04

Gill I did forget to mention that same sister also used to moan much on phone to me when she was with the last bloke how he used to eat her fridge dry, and not lift a finger round her house. She'd moan how mean he was and that how he never offered her a bean toward groceries despite him staying with her 3-4 nights per week.

Luckygirl Wed 19-Jul-17 13:20:49

I think you really must accept her for who she is and if you do not like who she is you do not have to invite her.

TBH it does come across as slightly odd that you are clocking her expenditure in this way!

Gemmag Wed 19-Jul-17 13:21:44

It is just plain good manners to offer to help with the dishes or the washing up. It's the offer which counts!. None of us actually let our guests wash the dishes, fill the dish washer or anything else but when we have guests who expect to be waited on hand and foot it gets a bit much.
What I have noticed is that family can take some things for granted. My sister will sit watching something on the telly and not ask me if I want to watch the programmme she's watching after I've finished tidying up in the kitchen. She seems to forget that it's my house, my television and that she's a guest in it!. Because we're close I will ignore these things.

If you want to retain the friendship you have then you will just have to accept who she is. She is probably very lonely and is looking for a husband and wants to have babies and as she has been brought up differently from you it's unfair for you to expect her to behave in the same way. 'The any man with a pulse' bit is very unkind particularly as you have a husband.

Next time just invite her for a couple of days and accept that her upbringing has been very different from yours which is the cause of her lack of social skills and rise above it all. If it's all too much trouble for you then just don't invite her again. I'm not really sure why you invite her to stay as you don't seem to actually like your sister.

glammygranny Wed 19-Jul-17 13:57:28

Gemmag. I invited her for 2 days and when she arrived told me she was staying for 6. The any man with a pulse bit has been picked up on by a lot more than me. She's dated the current man for 3 weeks and is already looking at wedding dresses! I kid you not. This has been the pattern for as long as I've known her. He's the ideal man then he dumps her and suddenly she reveals he had all these issues. I've tried telling her that its not good to rush things and that perhaps if she was too slow things down she would get so clouded by emotions and save herself a lot of heartache. I get shot down straight away. My husband also told her this and each time he tells her it when a new man appears and is told "oh its different with X". Sadly it never is. All we see is a man who treats her like dirt and is content to let her spend everything on them and run when they click their fingers. I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to talk to her about getting help for her many issues. She said she would but couldn't afford to. I offered to pay for some private counseling sessions but was told that "counseling isn't really for me". She lamented she'd love to do care work but had no qualifications and couldn't afford to pay. I offered her an interest free loan with payments to start when she was working and was told that she wasn't really sure it was what she wanted. She said there was a lack of jobs where she lived so I offered to have her to stay with us for 3 months and set her up with a job (friend has an agency) and to only ask her to pay for food to give her a chance to save for a deposit. That was met with a host of lame excuses too. She said she'd love a real incentive to loose weight (she's very morbidly obese) I said ok you've always said you'd like a designer handbag, pick a reasonable weight loss and I'll get you the bag when you reach it. I was told "I don't think its possible for me to loose weight with my metabolism". I have no reached the point where I don't think I will be seeing much of her in person as there is only so much you can do to help someone.

Gemmag Wed 19-Jul-17 15:03:08

gg.....I understand a bit more now. I think you might have done all you can for this sister. You seem to have gone 'above and beyond' what can be expected of you for your sister with very little thanks. It's very sad but I don't think she is going to change how she is now and she is taking full advantage of your hospitality so maybe you should call it a day. I would. I don't know what else to say.

Cold Wed 19-Jul-17 16:05:21

It sounds as though you don't really like her very much and would not be friends if you weren't related. Additionally you don't have a shared upbringing in terms of values/family culture to help you understand each other. In many ways it sounds like this relationship has run its course and that perhaps you should let it drop instead of fuming in silence.

It sounds as though she is treating you as a mother figure and expecting you to look after her during her stays- both financially and practically. Of course you don't have to fume in silence - ask her to help with things if you invite her again and tell her she cannot extend her stay. Perhaps you should also back away from offering her so much money.

Barmyoldbat Wed 19-Jul-17 16:25:56

When you are a house guest, for how ever long it is only good manners to offer to help and certainly ask before you raid the fridge or freezer unless you are told to make yourself at home and help your self to any food you want. But I would still expect a polite do you mind if .... As for putting you hand in your pocket, well I thought it was usual for a guest to arrive with a bunch of flowers or something and treat the host during the stay to a coffee or meal, depending on finances as a thank you. If you don't like her why have her in your life?

Christinefrance Wed 19-Jul-17 17:11:30

This sounds like bad manners and a feeling you owe her something. I fail to understand why we expect our long lost relatives to be compatible. Among adopted people it seems there is a need for a biological family closeness.

Desdemona Wed 19-Jul-17 17:17:17

I agree with Cold, she is treating you as a mother figure. What was her upbringing like? She doesn't sound like she was given the necessary support to develop independence, coping strategies and self-confidence. Without those, she is going to carry on making bad choices and viewing any opportunity for change as futile. Lack of confidence is also why she keeps hooking up with unsuitable men, probably.

Your husband is right in that she feels she doesn't have to prove anything with you, like she does with the "boyfriends." It doesn't make it any less annoying or upsetting for you though.

Try once more to get her to get some therapy, she could get referred by her GP which would be free. Stop giving her so much money and cut her visits down in length if you need to. If you want to cut her out of your life then of course you could, but I suspect she needs you more than you think - not just in a material sense but also for "being there for her."

BillieW Wed 19-Jul-17 17:22:57

Totally agree barmyoldbat, we have friends where we take visits to one another by turn n turn about, when they come here I do not let them help as they are older than me, but when we go to theirs I help to lay up help with veggies, cooking etc and clear away and wash up bits n pieces routinely fill n empty the dishwasher. I also take small gifts around £20, they do the same.
Relatives come to stay regularly and help to a certain extent, but never bring anything though, we rarely go back as their house is smaller and we have lots of family here so they usually get to see those relatives.
In both cases I am pleased to see them and we have a good laugh and a good time.
It's hard but if you think this is a totally one way street and you are not getting anything from it, then don't do it

Cherrytree59 Wed 19-Jul-17 17:57:00

Sisters you have a lot time to make up!!

Why not days out that involve some sort of entertainment.
It will be at your expense but probably would be the same as providing food etc over a few days.

Sisters having quality time which involves bit of fun and laughter you both .
No chores!

rosesarered Wed 19-Jul-17 20:53:50

I think that your DH has hit the nail on the head.....she sees that you have a good life and lovely DH and she is desperate for male affection.
Without ruining your relationship, you can't say anything.Make her visits three days only ( the time that I like any visitors longer! )🍀

glammygranny Thu 20-Jul-17 10:40:35

I've taken on board all the advice offered. It's been very much appreciated. Cold - You hit the nail on the head I probably would not have chosen her as a friend if we were not related. My upbringing was not very different to hers. It seems my biological mother and my adopted mother have much in common and not in a good way. I chose to make a success of my life through hard work, self-betterment and sheer willpower. Interestingly my 2 half brothers (her full brothers) also have a similar life to me which shows that the past does not have to determine one's future.
I had a long discussion with my husband last night and with his whole hearted support have decided to pull back from the relationship and see if I am still wanted as much if there is nothing material on offer.

FarNorth Fri 21-Jul-17 03:08:38

Clearly you longed for a happy relationship with a relative and thought you'd found it with your sister.
Unfortunately, you may have to let go of that wish as you and your sister do not get on.

Do you have a good relationship with your half-brothers?

glammygranny Sun 23-Jul-17 22:57:31

Far North. I'm actually one of 9 children. We have a variety of fathers. I've met all but 3 of my siblings. They all seemed like nice people but there was no connection. We send the odd email but there is just nothing in common and so nothing to really build on. This one sister and I initially seemed to hit it off but I think it's ran its course as try hard as I might to think differently it's time to admit we are from very different worlds with very different outlooks, values, viewpoints etc.

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