Dear Coleen: My selfish sister has invited herself on our family holiday

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Dear Coleen

I’m going on holiday abroad with my family for half-term and we’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. My husband has been ill this year, but now he’s back to health and it’s the first time we’ve been away as a family since his diagnosis.

My problem is, without telling me, my divorced sister has booked a villa pretty much next door to ours for her and her two children.

I feel so angry with her as I wanted this to be time for my family to heal and relax after a tough year. It’s been hard on our kids and I wanted to focus on them and us all being together.

My sister is very consumed with her own problems and her own life, and not very sensitive to the needs of others, so I imagine any conversation will all be about her and it will ruin our holiday, which we’ve paid a lot of money for.

I don’t want her on my holiday and I want to let her know how angry I am with her, but I can’t seem to find a way to say it. Her holiday is booked and paid for, so there’s not much I can do. Can you help?

Coleen says

On the plus side, at least it’s a separate villa. Look, I think you have to be honest with her because you have very specific expectations from this time away.

Say something along the lines of: “I didn’t want to go on holiday with anyone else apart from my own family because we’ve been through a lot this year, so when we’re out there, we need to have time on our own”.

Basically, make it clear she can have her holiday, you can have yours and you can meet up occasionally if it suits you both.

She’s been selfish and must have known you wouldn’t be happy about it, which is why she didn’t tell you before booking it.

You can’t dictate where she goes on holiday, but you don’t have to let her dictate yours either.

The most important thing is, don’t let it become stressful because I think it’s still possible to have a nice time, as long as you agree on some ground rules before you go, so you’re all in the picture and there’s no room for debate or rows when you’re out there.

And, look on the bright side, you might be able to squeeze in some time alone with your hubby if you can send the kids over to your sister’s villa to play.

She’ll probably be keen to stay in your good books after this!

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