Supporting a family member through a bad break-up
April 21, 2012 2:43 PM Subscribe
How can I provide support to my sister-in-law/friend during a difficulty break-up, transition, and international move? Obviously, more complex details inside.
posted by Ideal Impulse to human relations (5 answers total)
My sister-in-law (sil) moved abroad about five years ago; the plan was for her to stay six months, but she ended up meeting a guy, a fellow traveler who had been living in the other country for several years. The two became very serious and got engaged two years ago, staying in the other country. My sil in her late 20s now--we're close to the same age, and my husband/her brother is a few years older. I really like her a lot, and we get along well whenever we are together, but because of distances, we aren't amazingly close.
After a lot of issues about where to live (fiance wanted to stay in the country they were living in; sil wanted to come back to the US), they've finally made a (very difficult) decision to break up. She called my husband last night and told him. She'll be moving back to the US, to the city where my husband and I live, in about a month. (I was very surprised to hear this news, by the way; I knew this had been a source of tension between them, but my husband and I both really thought that she would stay abroad with her partner)
I'm wondering how best to support her during this transition. Here's the tricky part; my sil is pretty baby-crazy. She and her fiance had been talking about having kids for a long time, and she was really looking forward to being a mom. The whole family says that they always thought sil would have kids before my husband did. But I am currently four months pregnant (and excited about it). When we announced this news to sil, she appeared to be very happy and excited, but joked about feeling some jealousy, so I'm sure it's there.
I'm looking for general advice about how to support her when she moves back to the US (she's been in a developed, English speaking country, but I'm sure the culture shock will be difficult), and specifically looking for advice on how to navigate support and interactions when I am a pregnant, and I'm sure she imagined herself pregnant by this age. I would also really like to reach out to her before she arrives, but am unsure exactly what do say.
Any advice would be appreciated.