Post # 1
I’ll try to be brief, I apologise in advance if I don’t make much sense, I’m pretty emotional right now.
My brother, my parents and I used to be very close, until he got a girlfriend. He is 32 and he and his girlfriend have been together 7 years and in that time he has pulled away quite a bit from our family, they have a 1 year old son together who I have not held since he was 3 months old. My parents and I very rarley see them and when we do his girlfriend holds my nephew the whole time and will not let anyone even near him, she has on more than one occassion turned her back on me or my mum and walked away with my nephew to stop us being able to communicate with him. Everytime she even sees him looking at one of us she walks away.
My mum spoke to my brother about 2 months ago over the phone and asked him if we had done something wrong because they never invite us over, reach out to us, let us see my nephew etc. and he said “no why would there be?” but nothing ever changes. We had a family BBQ down the beach this past Sunday with aunts, uncles, cousins etc. and when my brother and his GF showed up she walked away with my nephew not even acknowledging a single peson at the table and didn’t come back until about 15 minutes before they left.
I need to say something, my parents are terrified of losing my brother and their grandson if they tell him how they are feeling so they just put up with it but they are hurting so bad. I’m also hurting but I’m now really angry about it, I hate seeing my parents hurting and I hate the fact that I don’t know my own nephew – I’m the only aunt he will ever have and one day when I have children he won’t know his own cousins if things continue this way. I’m considering sending an email telling my brother how I feel. I don’t want to try anymore to be apart of their lives when his girlfriend blatantly disrespects us.
I am thinking of writing an email because it gives me a change to express my feelings better, I know if I try to sit down with my brother I will get flustered and upset and lose my train of thought and probably just cry. He is also a very stubborn person so if he doesn’t agree with something he just ignores the situation, so I think if I email him it gives him a chance to read it and think about it in his own time before responding (if he decides to respond at all)
I don’t know what to do…. I really want to tell him how hurt I’m feeling but then I risk losing him and my nephew for good, it’s making me feel sick the more I think about it.
Please help me Bees!
This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Brickette.
Post # 2
I really don’t like the idea of an email. Written words can be kept forever and held against you forever. I think it is far better to talk to your brother, even if it means you end up crying. Is it possible to meet your brother alone?
Post # 3
Brickette: I think he will side with his girlfriend. She obviously has an issue, so maybe it’s better to address it with her directly rather than pitting your brother between the two of you.
I can completely understand where you are coming from but he lives with his partner and he isn’t going to start a fight with her over this (he has shown that through his past actions…or inactions).
Rather than being accusatory, I would speak to the girlfriend and say things like, “I would love to see (nephew) more. What days would work for you?” or “if you two want a date night, I’d be happy to play babysitter.”
I don’t know what her problem is – germs? Jealousy? Dislike of your family? I would avoid confronting past behaviour directly and work on what will work in the future. Put the ball in her court and meet her terms. It will keep the peace and give her no good reason to refuse when directly asked.
This may not work for everyone, but I’m very direct in my approach. I wouldn’t make an issue with my SIL a problem for my brother. I also wouldn’t expect him to choose sides or fight with his partner over a problem they may not realize is a problem.
Post # 4
Brickette: is she generally a strange person? or does she just behave this way with your family?
Post # 5
aussiemum1248: My brother works night shifts during the week so a weeknight it out and he is with her every second of the weekend so weekends are out.
somethingblue04: My parents and I have tried to be direct, and have on more than one occassion said the exact words you posted “I would love to see (nephew) more. What days would work for you?” and then when we get to their house my nephew is either napping, in the bath or being held by her the entire time. She never puts him down to walk around and play when we are there, it is like she is terrified he might walk over to one of us and want to play or something. Her problem could be any of the above answers you mentioned, I don’t know why she would dislike our family though, we continue to give her chances to be apart of our family even though she does not deserve them. My SO and I used to invite the two of them over for dinner/drinks before they had their son and they always said no so eventually we stopped asking and not once have they ever in 7 years actually invited me to their house, I usually tag along with my parents because it’s the only way I ever get to see my nephew.
I know he will choose her over us, I would do the same thing if the roles were reversed but I don’t know how to talk to his GF, I can hardly even have a conversation with her because she gives me one word answers and never even looks me directly in the eyes.
nycsa – It’s just around us, once in a blue moon she is in a good mood and actually makes an effort to talk to us but she still never lets us close to my nephew.
I’m at a loss for what to do from here.
Post # 6
Does she have a phobia about germs? Or is she just strange overall?
I would caution you against using email. There is no tone or body langauge to help the receiver interpret intent. If you can’t speak to him in person, I would phone him.
Post # 7
Is she like this with her family? What about friends?
Did anything happen in the past between your family and her? Was there any mention of your parents not approving of their relationship as an unmarried couple with a child?
Just trying to see of there is any reason for her wanting to distance herself.
Post # 8
OMGMrsW2B: She is not like this with anyone else that I am aware of. My mum actually set the two of them up so my parents have always approved of the relationship.
julies1949: No it’s nothing to do with germs, when she gets far enough away from my or my parents she is happy to put him down to play in the dirt, grass, sand.
Post # 9
Brickette: Is there a cultural or ethnic difference between your family and her? Have you met her family/friends and if yes, how does she act with them? Since this is her first child she might be one of those parents that bubble wrap their kids and don’t want them having any interactions outside of the parents…..it sadly deprives the child of establishing relationships with the extended family. I feel bad for you and your parents, AND your nephew.
Post # 10
Pretty soon he will be walking/running and she won’t be able to hold him forever- hopefully that helps the situation when she doesn’t hold him every second you are around.
Post # 11
lanibug: No there is no cultural or ethnic difference between us. I’ve met her parents and she is normal around them, she jokes, she laughs and talks easily. Her parents are allowed to hold him and they are also allowed to babysit! They have photos of my nephew all over their house and my parents have never been given a photo my my brother or his GF, the only pictures they have are the blurry ones they take when he is being held by her and her arm is in the way.
Post # 12
I’ve been told of this happening with other people I know….from the person in the relationship, they said their SO felt like going back to their “old family” (aka immediate family, mom, dad, siblings, etc) was like betraying their own little family. It doesn’t make sense and it isn’t fair, but I think that might be the logic behind it. She might see you guys as trying to pull him away.
I think you should definitely finally speak up to your brother about this but emphasize that you want HER and their child to be apart of your familt in the wider sense, and you are offering her to be part of your world and part of your support system. If even that fails, there may be nothing you can do.
Post # 13
I think I would actually talk to the girlfriend. Something like you have noticed she is kind of withdrawn from the family, that you’re sorry if you have done anything to make her feel not welcome, but you want more than anything to be more apart of her and your nephews lives.
But honestly her behavior is so weird, it sounds like she has some type of personality problem or something
Post # 14
Brickette: What is the girlfriend’s background like? I am betting this is playing a role. She is probably so aloof because she has no experience with being in a family like yours. I can totally relate. My own family was very dysfunctional, so I have never been comfortable with my husband’s family, and I never go to his family functions or invite them to my home. These situations cause major anxiety in me. It has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me.
I’m sorry that this is affecting your relationship with your nephew. That part I do find very odd. My own daughter has a large family on her Dad’s side, and I made every effort to foster her relationships with them. I don’t want her to be like me.
I second pp, talk to your brother about your concerns. Just be sure you are coming from a place of concern and not accusation.
Post # 15
Bridey77: Her family was very dysfunctional yes, and I think that may play a role in it and I do feel bad for her, I don’t however believe it excuses her actions over the past 7 yeas, my mum had a dysfunctional family life as well and she doesn’t let it affect how she treats people. My SO and I have a few times extended an invitation to just hang out the 4 of us (before my nephew came along) and every single time they said no. When they come over to family lunches she refuses to eat and leaves early every single time she leaves early with no excuse and rarely a goodbye.
I was thinking over lunch today that I might try to text my brothers GF and say something along the lines of “Hey, how are you? I was wondering if I could come over someday soon and take (nephew) out for a play date or come to your house and spend an afternoon with him, I feel like I hardly get to see him”… what do you bees think?