Post # 1
Bees, I’ve just been curious about this lately. Do your spouse’s nieces and nephews think of you as their aunt? It came up because my husband has a half dozen of them. All of them call me by my first name, which is not terribly common in either of our cultures. For the most part, it’s considered respectful to add an Aunt or Auntie before the person’s name. I haven’t pressed the issue both because I don’t want to overstep and also don’t feel that strongly about it since they aren’t little kids. And for the most part they refer to me or introduce me as “Uncle Ryan’s wife” rather than “my aunt Overjoyed.” When I was growing up, I thought of the spouses of my parents’ siblings (the parents of my cousins) as my own aunts and uncles; we never got into the distinction but in fairness, they were all in the picture since before I was born so it wasn’t a situation that required getting used to. Anyway, I never thought anything of it until until my Brother-In-Law got married last month and the nieces/nephews immediately started referring to his new wife as “Auntie Sally.” Even though it never bothered me before, I think I might feel a slight type of way about it now! Any thoughts?
Post # 2
Overjoyed : i actually don’t know what they call me. I don’t think the 11 year old calls me aunt, the four year old is autistic and has trouble communicating, I actually don’t think he’s said my name before. The baby is 16 months old and not talking so she doesn’t call me anything.
I try to be as involved as possible in their lives because they lost their mom, I see them at least once a week, sometimes more, but it really wouldn’t bother me if they didn’t add aunt to my name. I would be fine if they just called me by my name, but I’m not particular about it so I wouldn’t expect it to bother me
My sil who passed away has a sister who asks the 11 year old who his favorite aunt is (I found this out because she asked him in front of me) so he refers to her as his favorite aunt. That bugs me because I see it as her pushing insecurities onto the 11 year old, and when I took him to see a movie he told me “she’s the favorite aunt, just so you know”. It annoyed me but not because he doesn’t call me aunt, or consider me a favorite, it just grosses me out that she would do that to him 🤷🏻♀️
ETA, I’m not saying you’re insecure, at ALL, I’m just saying that that’s the only time it really bothered me, and it was more about feeling like it was really unfair to do that to him. Who cares if he has a favorite as long as you are a positive influence in his life
Another eta, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t call me aunt. It hasn’t bothered me though.
Post # 3
I would want to be called “Aunt cq123” not my first name. That’s just how I am! My nephew is 1.5, so he doesn’t say anyone’s name most of the time, but we still refer to my FH as “Uncle”. In fact, my nephews mother was calling him uncle before we were even engaged. How old are his nieces and nephews? If they’re older, then I can understand them not calling you aunt/if you haven’t known them for most of their life.
Post # 4
Sansa85 : Thanks! The ages definitely make a difference. The ones I’m thinking of are 17, 20, and 22 (11, 14, and 16 when we got married). There are little bitty kids who because of the age difference are required to call me Aunt, but that’s a different story. I wouldn’t say I’m insecure/jealous either, but I also wouldn’t know how else to describe the feeling. I initially felt like “dah well, these kids don’t want to call me auntie, I haven’t been in the family that long, and they’re teenagers, I guess it’s fine.” And then once the older ones became adults, it definitely didn’t matter at that point. I guess it was fine with me when I thought it just wasn’t something they’re comfortable with. Now that I see that’s not the case, I can’t help wondering whether it’s something about me or the uncle I’m married to that makes the difference.
Post # 5
Overjoyed : I’m not married yet, but my fiancés nices and nephews have known me for 6 years now, and I don’t see them calling me Aunt Bearinabeecostume. If they do, it will be fine, but they didn’t grow up with me as an aunt, so it will be perfectly fine to call me by my first name only. They’re all adults, so I could see how the thought of calling me an aunt may not cross their minds. I don’t expect my niece and nephews to call my fiancé their uncle, either.
Post # 6
I don’t have any nieces or nephews, but I always called my aunts or uncles spouse auntie or uncle. My brother’s partner is Auntie to my kids
Post # 7
Overjoyed : I’m glad you saw my eta, it doesn’t strike me as insecurity so I didn’t want my comment to come off that way
I don’t see any issue with wanting to be called that, I think some people just prefer it. Maybe you can ask your husband what he thinks about it.
The wife could have been calling herself an aunt, or her new husband could have been doing it too. If they referred to her as aunt to the kids, the kids probably referred to her as aunt too
Post # 8
Overjoyed : I’m an older Bee and when I was growing up it was common to use ‘aunt’ or ‘auntie’ not only for aunts, whether aunts by blood or aunts by marriage, but my mom’s closest friends and the neighbour mom’s of my childhood friends too.
I think it’s less common now and I’m fine with my husband’s nieces and nephews calling me just by my first name, especially since they were teenagers or older when I first met them.
What would bother me in your position though is that they immediately started calling your brother in law’s new wife ‘Auntie Sally’ because this seems inconsistent. We’re only human, I’d sure wonder why a new aunt by marriage was given a familial title and not me. Could your husband ask the parents of the nieces and nephews? Hey I noticed they call Sally ‘Auntie Sally’ but only refer to Overjoyed as ‘Overjoyed’ not ‘Auntie Overjoyed’- to be honest we didn’t really notice or mind before (Overjoyed being called by her first name) because we thought this was simply how they did things- but now that they do things differently with Sally it’s rather puzzling and a bit hurtful.
Post # 9
cq123 : They were 11, 14, and 16 when I married their uncle. I absolutely see your point about not being keen if they haven’t known me most of their lives. But my new SIL has been around even less time and there is even less of an age gap between them (I think she’s 5 or so years younger than me). In fairness, she’s spent more time with them and is probably closer with them as she and Brother-In-Law have always lived in the same town with the rest of the family whereas my husband and I moved to his hometown only a couple years ago. That’s incidental, though. When we got engaged, I immediately started having my niece and nephew (ages 10 and 16) call my husband “Uncle Ryan.” And they barely know/interact with him due to distance.
Post # 10
I have always called the spouses of my aunts/uncles ‘aunt and uncle’. I’ve never used anyone’s name without that infront. Even the family friends that we aren’t related to are aunt and uncle.
My cousin who has kids – they refer to me as aunt sweetdee.
We are all eastern european so respect is a HUGE thing so if you are called by your first name without any aunt or uncle it’s a big NO NO
Post # 11
I call all my Uncle’s wives Aunt Name, except my Uncle that married when I was in college, so 20 or so. She really isn’t my “Aunt” she’s my Uncle’s wife, and it would feel forced to call her Aunt, though I’ve never thought about it until your post. Maybe they feel the same? I really like my Uncle’s wife and have a great relationship with her, but we were both adults when we met, so it is different then my Aunts that helped raise me.
Post # 12
I know my husband doesn’t really think of his aunt’s (dad’s sister) husband as his uncle. He’s her second husband and they got married when he was older (like high school) so I think he just doesn’t feel that nephew/uncle relationship with him. But he also lives on the other side of the country and we never see him (I’m pretty sure in the 11 years I’ve been with my husband I’ve never met him).
On the flip side of that my SIL (husband’s sister) recently got married and all her husband’s nieces and nephews call her Aunt SIL. I think it helps that their parents refer to her that way when speaking to the kids about her and they are all younger (under 10).
I wouldn’t take it personally or see it as a respect thing, I think it’s just a when you came into their lives thing.
Post # 13
Sansa85 : In this case, I know they definitely did *not* refer to her as aunt before the wedding, which is what made it so noticeable after the fact
Post # 14
Overjoyed : “When I was growing up, I thought of the spouses of my parents’ siblings (the parents of my cousins) as my own aunts and uncles; we never got into the distinction but in fairness, they were all in the picture since before I was born so it wasn’t a situation that required getting used to.”
It is the same for me. There was no distinction in my mind between the blood aunt or uncle & the by marriage aunt or uncle because they were already units before I was born.
Thrre are no nieces & nephews on my husbands side, but there are 5 on my side. All but one were all pretty old (pre-teen or older) when we married. Neither my husband or I would not find it strange or disagreeable if they just called him by first name for this reason. I don’t actually know what they call him, I’ve just never noticed but I suspect they do not call him uncle.
But in a case of all things being equal and some get the aunt or uncle title while others don’t, I can understand you questioning that. It’s something I might notice if I were in your shoes, but not something that would matter much to me one way or the other. But that’s me.
Post # 15
We don’t have nieces and nephews since I’m an only child and my husband is the oldest sibling in his family. However, I’m southern so literally everyone is an aunt/auntie/uncle – even people who aren’t related at all like family friends. Joe who lives down the road that my dad went to high school with? That’s my Uncle Joe. Barbie my Mother’s cousins neighbor? That’s Auntie Barbie.
I also refer to my husbands family members by title mom/dad/grandma/aunt/uncle.