Scottish Daily Mail

Sister-in-law sponges off her parents — and we don’t get a penny

Solve your sex, love & life troubles


In a new column for Inspire, TV’s Steph and Dom Parker, 51 and 53, draw on their 20 years of marriage to solve your relationsh­ip problems . . .

Q I NEED some advice about my sister-in-law. At 37, she has never had a job, gets several hundred thousand pounds a year in ‘pocket money’ and has her home, car and lifestyle paid for. The first suggestion of a job led to the arrival of her first child — now she’s a single mum.

My husband, the other sibling, doesn’t get any of this support. I have worked my whole life and, while my lifestyle is comfortabl­e, I find it impossible to respect any of them for allowing this to go on. It is starting to come between my husband and me as I never want to spend time with his family and, while he finds it all upsetting, he is happy to sweep it under the carpet.

We would never treat our two children differentl­y or allow them to waste their lives this way. Any advice?


There are two things that couples argue about the most — family, and money. So, sadly, you seem to be right in the middle of it. You might think this is just about money, but I suspect it goes far deeper than that. The problem here is that you’re judging his family and the way they deal with their relatives. That’s going to cause real issues in your marriage, because blood is thicker than anything.

It also worries me that you seem to see your husband’s acceptance of the status quo as a weakness. I think you must try to stop looking at it like this for the sake of your relationsh­ip and your own family.

When people get married, there can be marked difference­s between the two families. One family could manage their finances very differentl­y.

While the sums in your case are hefty, so many families experience this on some level. It’s just the way life is. You need to try to accept that. And, crucially, you should accept it is not his money you’re worried about, it’s his parents’ money — there’s a big, big difference.

You’re not alone in focusing on money, on seeing it as a barometer of success, a way of showing other people how well we’re doing in our lives. We live in a world saturated with social media where it seems as though everyone is showing off a perfect life, perfect holidays with perfect children.

The thing is, life isn’t like that. Are you sure his sister is really the perfect princess, adored by Mummy and Daddy? Or maybe you’re cross you don’t feel valued by your parents-in-law? From what you say in your letter, they’re clearly a very wealthy family and you have no idea what their plans are. It may be that, as the man, your husband’s on track to inherit the lot!

If you were struggling to make the mortgage every month I would understand your perspectiv­e more, but you say you have a comfortabl­e lifestyle. I do think you need to distance yourself from the way your parents-inlaw allocate their funds.

I think it’s important you analyse what it is that’s really bothering you here. What are you angry about?

Make your own money, make your own life, with your own husband and your own children. Your sister-in-law is not your problem. DOM SAYS: The first thing to say here is that you’re not alone in this situation. I know quite a lot of people who are supported by their families throughout their whole lives. It’s normal for grander families to support people after 18, 40, 50 or even 60! hurrah for you — you are selfsuppor­ting and successful and that is a deeply satisfying state of affairs. Your sister-in-law, on the other hand, is not. Perhaps she has Daddy wrapped around her little finger, but I suspect not. I understand your lack of respect for your sister-in-law, but I urge you to look deeper. Beneath the exterior of the Daddy’s Little Girl may lie dreadful insecuriti­es and an inability to cope with life. her doting parents may know a little more about the real deal than you do. They may not be spoiling her but, rather, providing a necessary safety net. It’s important to say that the desire to take care of their baby girl will never end, regardless of age. The simple reality is that parents want to look after their children. Obviously, this lady is incapable of looking after herself and so her parents are supportive. It’s just the natural order of things. Would you support your own children if they needed a helping hand? Of course you would! As far as your parents-in-law are concerned, their Number One son is doing very well for himself. his sister is 37 now. her parents probably expected her to marry well, but she didn’t, and so they have stepped in. You, on the other hand did marry well! You should be happy about that. Not everyone is lucky enough to find love and financial security. Take a step back and try to be grateful for your own happiness. You say you find it impossible to respect your in-laws, and while I understand that, I think you have to try to alter your perception. Wealthy fathers want to look after their daughters, for ever if necessary, and that is their right.

IF YOU have a question you’d like Steph and Dom to tackle, write to stephanddo­m@

 ?? Picture: JUDE EDGINTON ??

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