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Incompatible Sisters

(21 Posts)
Granny23 Sun 06-Jun-21 14:05:37

I love my big sister dearly but we are like chalk and cheese. She is somewhat estranged from her own DC & DGC, but expects to be invited to all of my family's events and get togethers. She has been widowed for years now -left very comfortably off with her own works pensions + 50% of her DH's, a big house on a posh estate, paid gardeners ect. - you get the picture. Meanwhile I, also widowed, am struggling financially as DH's private pensions died with him, I worked in a sector which did not provide works pensions, nor paid maternity leave ect. Most of our meagre savings went on Care Home fees for DH.

Sister's life style is totally different to mine. A member of various sporting and charitable organisations she has umpteen (not entirely Covid safe) days out, afternoon teas, evening dinners, with her many acquaintances, all requiring dressing up, ergo many shopping trips, whereas I live in jeans & jumpers, buy in thrift shops, mainly socialise with my family and a few close friends.
She expects that I will be her companion on holidays, short breaks, shopping/ theatre trips and so on. Now she has gone ahead & booked a week long touring holiday for us in the Autumn. All expenses shared 50/50 of course, and shared twin rooms, "because the single room supplement is horrendous". As she is an early riser and I a night owl this is going to be fraught.

I felt so sorry for her when she was widowed/left alone and have no wish to fall out with her completely, but really need to break this pattern for my own well-being. What can I do?

Kim19 Sun 06-Jun-21 14:11:20

Simply say you don't fancy/can't afford the holiday? Actually you shouldn't have to declare your financial state so, how about, 'it's not how I choose to spend my money this year'?

Deedaa Sun 06-Jun-21 14:16:02

Or just say that you really don't feel safe travelling anywhere this year.

Shopping trips are one thing but booking a holiday like this seems overbearing to say the least.

Namsnanny Sun 06-Jun-21 14:28:45

Even now Covid can be a great excuse to reject some invitations.
Also do be shy at explaining your financial situation.
Use it as an ( not entirely wrong) reason why she cant rely on you to accompany her on these jaunts!
I think she should offer to pay for you personally. I would in her position!

Namsnanny Sun 06-Jun-21 14:29:10


crazyH Sun 06-Jun-21 14:37:07

With all that money, if she wants a holiday companion, she’ll have to pay for it. And you are her “poor relative” (I don’t mean to be nasty) so to speak. Shame on her for not offering to pay for you .

Fleur20 Sun 06-Jun-21 14:41:47

Covid has made many of us re-evaluate our lives and lifestyles. So you tell her this and that you plan to spend what time you have doing things YOU want to do. So in future you will be making your own plans and she can count you out of hers.
And just keep repeatinh this statement as necessary.
This is a form of bullying.. she want her own way disguised as inclusion. You are included because she doesnt want to do things alone..
Stay strong.

silverlining48 Sun 06-Jun-21 14:43:29

A touring holiday will probably mean very early starts Granny23. Not your cup of tea by the sound if it. Together with the covid factor I would tell her you are not comfortable about going, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t mention financial constraints too if she doesn’t already know.

FarNorth Sun 06-Jun-21 14:43:49

Did she ask you about going on holiday before booking it?
If No, tell her you wouldn't have agreed if she did ask and you don't want to go.
If Yes, did you know what type of holiday it would be and that you couldn't afford it?

greenlady102 Sun 06-Jun-21 14:52:36

Why do you love her dearly? seriously?

timetogo2016 Sun 06-Jun-21 14:54:48

Just tell her straight,
If you do go there could be tensions and thats not a happy place to be in.

Hithere Sun 06-Jun-21 15:09:05

"She expects that I will be her companion on holidays, short breaks, shopping/ theatre trips and so on. Now she has gone ahead & booked a week long touring holiday for us in the Autumn. All expenses shared 50/50 of course, and shared twin rooms, "because the single room supplement is horrendous". As she is an early riser and I a night owl this is going to be fraught."

She can make all the plans she wants, it doesn't mean you have to join her.

Her assumption and entitlement to ypur time, her money loss

DiscoDancer1975 Sun 06-Jun-21 15:15:13

Show her this post, and say you love her, but don’t want this. Then hopefully it’ll be the start of you being able to be more assertive with her.
Hope it goes well.

Casdon Sun 06-Jun-21 15:16:02

Did she talk to you about it at all before booking this holiday Granny23? If she did, and you had discussions about where to go etc., even in an abstract way, she may have acted hastily but isn’t entirely to be blamed.

If it’s been booked completely out of the blue, I would say no if the holiday itself doesn’t interest you. If it does, but you want this to be the last for a while, can you tell her you will go, but make it clear you have other plans for next year? Or, you could take the initiative and book a holiday next year that you really want to do, and tell her after you’ve already booked it so she can go too but has to make her own arrangements, have her own room etc.

Oopsadaisy1 Sun 06-Jun-21 15:25:06

If you don’t tell her how you feel about how much her lifestyle and yours differ and that you don’t want you to go with her for excursions etc. then how is she to know?
Maybe she thinks that you want to get away as much as she does and that you can somehow stretch your money.

Time to get your big girl pants on and tell her, hopefully you can tell her nicely without having a falling out, but if you don’t tell her she will carry on including you in things and one day you will have a big row about it.

Smileless2012 Sun 06-Jun-21 15:33:17

Tell her that you simply can't afford it and you could take the opportunity to say that you're finding other 'outings' to be more than you can really afford, so will need to pull back on those too.

Are there any things you could suggest for you to do together that would require very little expense?

eazybee Sun 06-Jun-21 15:35:57

You have to be honest and say simply that you do not want to go away with her, full stop.
If you use covid as an excuse she will simply re-book, or if you say you can't afford it she may offer to pay; either way she will attempt to brow beat you into doing what she wants. It seems odd that as she has such a social life she has no-one to go away with; a refusal on your part may give her pause for thought about her behaviour, to you and to others.

midgey Sun 06-Jun-21 16:00:17

Perhaps she thinks you will really enjoy this holiday. You will have to tell her straight! She doesn’t sound as if she is the sort of person to understand unless you speak in words of one syllable!

Nightsky2 Sun 06-Jun-21 16:13:24

Are you not a teeny bit jealous of your sister.....big house on posh estate. Lots of money etc., Why do you tell her all about your family events, get togethers etc., if you don’t want her to be involved.

Tell her straight out that you cannot afford to go with her and that she should have told you about it before going ahead and booking it. It’s very odd that she should have booked a holiday before discussing it with you as you could be doing other things and be unable to go with her.

I too have a sister who’s a bit older and we do go away together but it is always discussed well in advance.

Lucca Sun 06-Jun-21 16:37:28

OP might possibly be envious but not jealous given the estrangement situation.

Granny23 I agree with others, you’ll need to bite the bullet and tell her you don’t like sharing a room ((I won’t !) and that furthermore you can’t afford the holiday. Be prepared for sulks but stand your ground.

Granny23 Tue 08-Jun-21 11:17:19

Thanx for all your responses. Just to say that I am not an iota jealous of my DS's wealth or life style. If luck had made me the well off one, I would have given it to, or spent it on my DDs and their families and ensured that they did not have to work their way through tertiary education. (though with hindsight I think that was no bad thing, making them into the strong independent women that they are today).

I have been prevaricating, trying to find the right words to tell her I am not going, but need to do it soon to give her time to cancel or recruit another companion.