Dealing with Relatives Who Come Over Unannounced?

November 15, 2010

Relatives Arriving UnannouncedMy sister in law visits our home at least 5 times a week. She never calls to ask if it is a good time to visit. She always stops by unannounced and uninvited.


If I am in the middle of cooking dinner, I either have to make more food to feed her or put my dinner on hold till she leaves. It is obvious that we are getting ready to eat, but she doesn't get the message to leave. We sit there hungry until she decides to go home.

We have been walking out the door to leave and she shows up and we have to postpone our plans. We have rented movies and have to stop watching because the movie was inappropriate for her 3 year old. We've even been interrupted by her when we were intimate.

I don't know how to make her understand that her constant visits are a nuisance without hurting someone's feelings. Five visits a week is just too much.

By citykitty


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November 15, 20106 found this helpful
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If you are on the way out the door when she arrives, just plain tell her you are on the way out and don't have time to visit. As far as the movies go, continue watching them, even if they aren't appropriate for her kid to watch. If you do things like that often enough she should get the hint. Especially when it comes to the movie, if she doesn't want the three year old to see the movie she will leave.


At meal time, I would go ahead and eat, telling her she will have to excuse you while you eat as it is your meal time and you only have enough prepared for your family. Rudeness deserves rudeness.

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November 15, 20101 found this helpful
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Here's my thoughts: It is up to you both to start a conversation with the sister-in-law about her too frequent visits to your home. You and your husband allowed the situation to continue by not saying something sooner, so it is partly that you're both to share the blame for the matter escalating and it is up to you both to put an end to it.


Purposefully invite her before she pops up and have a meal and a discussion with your sister-in-law and let her know up front you want to end a pattern you see developing over time and it's time to break the pattern. Let her know how much you love her and still want to see her, but be firm and tactful when you state that her infrequent visits unannounced are making you feel agitated because, and give her a few examples of her behavior pattern so she recognizes what she's been doing and possibly never thought about. As long as you were allowing her to walk in or stay at home for her visit, she felt it was A-OK with you both when it really wasn't. She wasn't getting any mixed messages, she just wasn't getting anything was wrong with it.


You and your husband enjoy going out together and have some alone time and don't like it when you plan on that and it's important to you both and then feel like you have to remain at home because she stops in and who knows for how long. Perhaps her stay has messed up all your evening out time and when she leaves, it's too late for you both to continue in your plans. Apparently you are a fun family for her to be around and she enjoys your company or else she's plain bored and has nowhere to go that doesn't cost her money. She needs to get a life and you'll be helping her do that when you put an end to the song and dance.

If she still doesn't understand, then bring examples like how would she like it if...and name a few. Tell her it is important for a good family relationship to respect the idea of calling first to see if it's alright and you have the time for her visit or else she should wait until you call her. It's a lot like having good neighbors by having a fence in between. She needs to respect that you have a lot of things to do in your home and her visit interrupts and it needs to get done on your time frame; not hers.

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November 15, 20103 found this helpful
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If you don't keep the door locked, I would make sure it stays locked from now on. I would instruct everyone in the house that if she knocks, you will answer the door, and if you don't hear her knock, they are to tell you.


If she comes over while you are cooking, open the door a crack and with a big smile on your face, tell her "I wish you would have called. I'm cooking supper, I'll give you a call when we are finished eating. Bye-bye." then shut the door before she has a chance to raise any objections.

If she comes over when you are watching a movie, open the door a crack, big smile, say "I'm sorry, we are watching a movie that isn't appropriate for ______. I wish you would have called first. I'll give you a call when the movie is over. Bye-bye." then shut the door.

If she comes over when you are on the way out, big smile - say, "I'm sorry, I wish you would have called. We are on our way out. I'll give you a call when we get back."


It won't take long for her to take the hint.

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November 15, 20101 found this helpful
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Never tell her a lie. That is of the utmost importance. That is worse than hurting her feelings by telling her the truth. You just need to build up the courage to say, "I'm sorry, this isn't a good time for you to visit" and close the door. If she asks what is wrong just tell her: we are sitting down to eat, we are going out and need to leave, we are busy with family matters (for the movie situation). And you can always add to the statement above, "You should have called, I'm sorry".

Think of it as tough love (but I don't think it is even close to what tough love really is).

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November 16, 20100 found this helpful
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You have to stop enabling her behavior. This won't be easy since you have been very effectively training her to visit unannounced and often. Every time you allow her to interrupt what you are doing, you are training her to do it again. So, you simply have to stop putting aside your activity when she shows up.

You have received many good answers already as to what to say to her. I would say continue going about your activity when she comes in, and don't do anything extra to accommodate her (with the exception of the inappropriate movie. I would lock the door if you are going to watch such a movie and do not answer it if she comes to the door.) Again, I would definitely stop what you are doing because you are actually encouraging her to continue the behavior that you do not like.

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November 16, 20101 found this helpful
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My rule is, and has been for nearly forty years, 'Please call first if you want to visit just in case I/we are busy or not feeling up to company.' All you and your husband need to say to her is, "We have a new house rule" and explain that you both would prefer the courtesy of a phone call. As a matter of fact it should be your husband, since it's his sister, saying it to her in your presence. I like what Lorelei mentioned about making sure it's said at a time you had invited her instead of during one of her surprise visits.

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November 18, 20100 found this helpful
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Although I agree with some the ideas suggested by the others, I think there's something you need to think about first. Is it possible she is lonely? Does she not have friends of her own? Is she a single mom? If this is a possibility, perhaps you could help her find some activities that have other single parents, where she could make some new friends and be less dependent on you and your family. You could also set certain days and times for her visits, maybe like lunch/dinner once a week and a movie or game afternoon/night on another day for her and her child and your family. (You could also ask her to alternate weeks with you to give you a cooking break, etc.) You can tell her this would make everyone's time seem like a special day (by having some time apart). I know too much family can be an annoying thing but not having any family nearby (My siblings and their families live 16 hours away and I would love to be able to see them more often.) can be sad.

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6 More Questions

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July 27, 2017

I have a very awkward and difficult situation right now and I hope someone can help me find solutions. My husband never told me that when his parents visit us in Europe it means they will be staying for the whole 5-6 months. I am very disappointed and so I suggested an alternative solution that they could stay up to 2 months only. He is not happy and said that I want to kick his family out.

The problem with my in-laws being here is my brother and sister-in-law also come here every day for food. I have lost my privacy, but I cannot complain, the house was bought by my husband alone from his parents. I'm not hating them, but it's too much when my brother and sister-in-law come to visit everyday. It is especially difficult because my sister-in-law is pregnant and I really want to be pregnant, but it still is not happening. I'm very happy for her being pregnant, but the constant visit daily is making me feel lost in my place. I'm very scared if the baby is born then they will keep coming with the baby, I think I will go crazy.

I really need help on what should I do? Am I being too unkind? I am not jealous I just find it too much and have lost my privacy. This is making me feel that my husband only wants to give comfort to his family, but ignore my need for comfort. I hope someone could reply me.


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July 27, 20172 found this helpful
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Have you talked to him, expressing all that you just have with us? You are very well spoken about how you feel on all aspects. I can't imagine your husband would ever say you're wrong for feeling any certain way. Privacy is very important to each of us AND important to have a healthy marriage. If you haven't done so already, speak to your husband about these issues first. Don't feel that because he bought the house, you don't get to live a life. I'm hoping you find a resolve.

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July 27, 20171 found this helpful
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I do not believe your husband will look at this in the same light as a stranger who reads or listens to your story/problem. You do not state your or your husband's nationality but it really sounds like you have different family backgrounds and because of just this difference this will not be an easily solved problem.

I do not know your in-laws ages but apparently they are seniors and retired? Good health? You say "visit us in Europe" seems to mean they have a home some distance away? But your brother and sister-in-law must live nearby as they visit every day? Have you had your home to yourself for any time since you have been married or did this happen soon after your wedding? Is there a reason why the parents visit is only to your house and not equally to the brother and his wife? From your statement, it seems this may not be a new happening with your husband and his parents have always paid visits like this in the past? I do not think your husband was being unthoughtful when he failed to inform you of the length of his parent's visits but to him it was like a yearly thing and saw no reason why anyone would have reason to object.

I also believe the stress this is causing you may be a good reason why you are not getting pregnant or at least one of the reasons. Do you feel comfortable with your husband in your "private" time? Do you actually have time that you two just spend together with no in-laws around? I feel sure your husband works so do you have any private time (just to yourself) when he is at work? Or are you constantly doing "things" (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.) to make everyone else comfortable?

Truthfully, you and your husband need to see a counselor who specializes in marriage/family matters as you are standing alone in this household and there is no one who will understand why you are not happy with this family situation, least of all your husband.

Now, I know there will be responders who will disagree with my solution but I believe your husband's family background is such that all of this is a normal happening and he loves it and cannot understand why you do not also. You need to try for counseling to either help find a solution that you and your husband can live with or find a way for you to accept the fact that this is going to be your way of life as long as you are in this family - period.

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July 27, 20170 found this helpful
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There is always two sides of the story but surely you should speak to your husband and tell him your thoughts. See if you two can come up with a reasonable compromise to make each other happy.

From my personal view point, family is very important. Since you mention your in laws are visiting and its the whole 5-6 months they will be staying with you - does that mean they do not visit often? Is this a yearly visit? Sounds like this is just random and perhaps the first time being this long that's why your husband did not consult with you the long stay?

I do not see what difference does your in laws visiting / staying everyday for 5-6 months compared to your brother and sister in law visiting on a daily basis to eat.

It seems like a double standard on your family can visit on a daily basis but his parents' who are growing older cannot stay for the 5-6 visit. It may not be healthy for your brother and sister in law to visit you daily too. And, how does your husband feel about that too?

I hope you happiness and have less stress on yourself so you can become pregnant.

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July 31, 20170 found this helpful
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this really to me sounds like a very big clash in regards to culture and psychological paradigms. He just cannot UNDERSTAND that someone needs or wants to be alone, possibly he sees your need for privacy as some sort of weird fetish or personality flaw, just like you see his or his family's clannish need for togetherness as unnerving and 'too much'.

I will remind you that in many cultures around the world families DO live together inter-generationally, and in fact people singly or in mere couples is seen as a weird unhealthy aberration. Not to say that you ARE incorrect in fact i am more re you re privacy but just so you understand why at times others feel it is perfectly normal to have inlaws of all sorts in the house at all times. I have in fact experienced this abroad

unfortunately i don't see a big solution here for you. Either you come to terms with it or you move out. There's too many of them, and only one of you. Maybe just change your perspective a bit and learn something.

in fact, i think you are ENTITLED to talk to your sister in law about the baby, point blank tell her ' i want a baby and seeing you like this makes me unhappy' maybe even ask her advice or something

in general ask ppl to do things. Say 'if y'all here eating my food y'all need to clean up or take out the trash' or whatever it is.

if people are imposing their lives on YOU you have every right to impose on them. It might turn a bad situation into a good one

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May 15, 2017

Is it okay for my father to just walk in to my house after marriage? We recently moved closer to my mum's place after having a baby. As I am working I leave my baby for her to babysit. Now just because we are close by my dad just walks into my house without even calling me and this is making my husband uncomfortable and this is happening on weekends. He is particular about his privacy and at times we are unable to do things thinking my dad might just come in any time. I mean he wants to relax and be himself, at ease in his home, and I myself am not happy about my dad just walking into my house just like that. How do I handle such situation? Am I being rude or selfish here? It's difficult to make my father understand about this uneasiness.

I feel that my parents should not take advantage and walk into my house anytime just because we two are staying alone without my father or mother-in-laws. Is my thinking morally wrong?

Please me to handle this situation.


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May 16, 20172 found this helpful
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That's not cool. You are adults and need your privacy. You should have a talk with him about your and our husband's privacy. He should totally understand.

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May 17, 20170 found this helpful
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ThriftyFun is available and used in many countries so we, as responders do not always know what country a writer is from but generally assume it is the US. I am only saying this as many countries have different "family" rules and customs that may not be customary in the US.
Since this habit of your father's seems to be causing a lot of friction in your marriage then you certainly need to deal with it before a real blowup happens. Perhaps it started because your mother has been babysitting and so it seemed natural and okay for him to "visit" at anytime he wished.
I believe you (since it is your father) should be the one to discuss the problem with him but maybe telling him first that you would like for him to visit sometimes/occasionally but that he needs to call before coming as you and your husband (and baby) may have other plans and maybe you can schedule a visit for another day.
You may have to be firm and let him know that it is upsetting for anyone to just come to your house unannounced. Once he understands your position, hopefully he will agree with you. If he does not, then it may take a while for everyone to realize that you are grown up and have a family and home of your own and your family's welfare and peace of mind has to come first. Privacy is a big part of everyone's life so you are not being unreasonable in your request.
You do not mention your mother's role other than she babysits; but does she do the same thing? If she has the same "habit" then do you plan to include her in your request for more privacy?

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May 21, 20171 found this helpful
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I have some folks that often come over uninvited. I at least keep my doors locked so they can't just walk in.

1. I have often asked they call before they come. So 1 of them does that now.
2. The other person I have a couple clocks in my living room. I look at the time and keep 20 minutes later in my mind. I then get up and say either I need to use the restroom, or that I have to make a phone call.
3. When I am organized enough, which is difficult, I have a timer and set it before I open the door. I set it for the 20 mins. Amazing the person has never caught on. That I don't understand.

For your dad try talking to him. Tell him exactly what you wrote.

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June 1, 20170 found this helpful
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It' not O.K. for Dad to walk into your house anytime. A married couple needs privacy. He should call ahead and limit his visits so your husband doesn't get upset with him. Just tell him that you're worried that the situation could cause a rif. Tell him you love him, but a man"s home is his castle where he can relax and not relate and relate. Tell Dad you can take him out for coffee or have regular family dinners that you plan ahead. If he gets too lonely, He could call and ask to come over for an hour or two when your husband is at work.

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August 31, 2017

So my husband and I moved into our new house last April. A month after, my brother in-law bought a house, not a block away, and moved from Minnesota. At first, it was all great because my brother-in-law travels a lot for his work, but then the traveling stopped and now it has been a few months that he has been working from home.

Every night without fault he texts me and my husband about what are the dinner plans? My husband and his brother are best friends. I know I am being selfish, but I feel like the third wheel when there is a discussion they always team up and I am outnumbered. He comes to dinner every night of the week and during the weekend we even have lunch with him.

I told my husband that it has to stop. That if he wants us to be happy his brother needs to stop coming to dinner every night. He said I was threatening him with divorce by saying that and to think about his brother because he does not have a significant other and no friends but him in the area.

I feel very sad of how things came out of my mouth because when I am angry, everything spills out like the flood. But it was never my intention to threaten divorce or that I was going to be unhappy until I got my way.

How do I explain to him how I feel? How do I explain to him that we should put our marriage first? That our family should be him, me, and our baby and everyone else can be part of that in small doses?

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