Your Spouse's Nieces and Nephews?

posted 3 months ago in Family
Post # 16
6146 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

Overjoyed :  I’ve been thinking about this recently because my husband’s sisters each have 2 kids and my brother and his Fiance are expecting their first and I noticed that I was excited about my brother’s coming baby in a way that I wasn’t about my SIL’s second baby just a couple years ago (even though I love that kiddo, too). I think my husband’s nieces and nephews think of me as their aunt- particularly the ones who were born after I’d already been around for a while and have only ever known the family with me in it. The older ones do call me by my first name, though (I’ve been with their uncle since they were 6 months and 4 and I met them when they were 2 and 5/6). The older niece (who is now almost 13) recently commented on one of my photos, recently, saying, “My beautiful auntie” which I found both sweet and a little surprising since she doesn’t call me that.

We are all undeniably family, but there are a couple distinctions that I am aware of – my SILs (and their kids) spend more time together than we do with them. Also my husband is mixed and was raised (primarily) by white hippies. Our nuclear family is Black and his sisters and their kids are white or white/LatinX so there are some culturally different approaches to things that I have that vary from them (including perspectives on referring to people as Auntie/Uncle or not).

Given the explanation you shared about the new SIL being called Aunt as soon as the wedding happened, I do finding that curious. Also, if she’s been around them more, that would create more of a familiarity that makes sense. But, as you pointed out regarding their ages, the nieces and nephews in question are quite old to suddenly start calling a new someone Aunt when they didn’t do that with you.

Post # 17
4495 posts
Honey bee

Given your update about their ages I don’t think it is unusual.  It is different when the marriage occurred before they are born or when they are young enough to not remember any different. 

I only have uncles by DNA ties and aunts are all by marriage.  The ones who were married before I was born or up until about age 3 I grew up calling them Aunt *name* and we had a traditional or maybe stereotypical aunt/niece relationship (sleepovers, play dates, babysitting me when my mom had to go out, etc.).  The ones who married into the family later are first name or “uncle’s wife” only.  I liken it to a step-mom or step-dad who marry into the family when the kids are older – they slotted into that spot but they aren’t your parent (admittedly, they certainly can grow to be in some cases).  But I was already a pretty established independent pre-teen and teen with interests, activities, friend groups, etc. by the time the later ones came around and we just didn’t have that history or lengthy interaction to really make me feel like they were “my aunts”.  I also witnessed the dating process and knew they were a choice made as opposed to being grandfathered in from before my time and never knowing them as anything but family. Me calling them Aunt So-and-so would have been more akin to a title just because I’m supposed to, like Professor Johnson or Doctor Jones.  I mean if it floats your boat to have the title, that’s how you feel but I would try not to take it personally.

Post # 18
79 posts
Worker bee

Wouldn’t be a big deal for me but I’m not particular about those things so…idk

Post # 19
127 posts
Blushing bee

My nephews don’t call my partner uncle and I’ve never signed any of their cards with Uncle X. We aren’t married but also he’d rather be called just by his name than uncle x. But my nephews don’t even call me aunt. I don’t see them very often (there’s a fair bit of distance between me and my brother and my SIL doesn’t like me) but also my nephews don’t call me aunt because I was a teenager when the oldest was born (my brothers first child wasn’t planned) so I’d have found it weird being a teenager called auntie. 

Post # 20
1983 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

Overjoyed :  it’s my husband’s nephews birthday soon and I signed his card uncle Mr Loz and auntie Loz. But I don’t think he’ll necessarily refer to me as aunt when he’s talking, even though he was born after we were married.

With my aunt, my mother’s sister, I would never call her auntie first name. I just used her first name. She married when I was 20, so I refer to her husband as my aunts husband. Even now she’s passed away, I still refer to her as my aunt’s husband rather than uncle. On my dad’s side, one uncle married their wife when I was a baby and the other when I was 16. I don’t call either of them auntie first name but I also don’t refer to my dads brothers as uncle first name. However, both of those I would refer to as my aunts in describing my relationship to them.

I think using auntie/uncle first name has become a bit outdated and not really something that is common now. Obviously that will depend slightly on the culture though.

Post # 21
5556 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

Is it possible that she asked them to refer to her as aunt? I can see why it’s sticking out to you though. I’m wondering if it’s them driving the title rather than the kids

Post # 22
244 posts
Helper bee

This (presumably) won’t come up for me as SO and I are both the oldest full siblings (I have a half brother 14 years older than me–his daughter is sixteen and she calls me by my first name because I was only 10 when she was born and we’re more like cousins. My younger sister and my niece are very close and they’re only two years apart, so it would definitely be strange if she called her “Aunt.”)

SO’s younger brother married young and is now divorced at 28 (no kids). He started dating an absolutely wonderful woman about six months ago, and if things proceed in that direction with her (or anyone he dates, of course) then I doubt I’d ever bring up a “this is what I’d like your kids to call me” thing. Both my young brother and sister are currently single (brother is 23 and entering his first year if law school, sister is 18 and just finished her freshman year of college) and I doubt they’ll be getting married of having kids before me. When they do, it’ll just be the same as my SO’s brother’s kids: whatever they want to call me is fine. I want to be a big part of their lives, but I don’t think our closeness will be reflected on them calling me “Aunt Californiasun” vs “Californiasun.”

For myself: I call all my aunts (I only have blood-related uncles) “Aunt ____,” even the ones that married my Uncles after I was born. The Aunt with which I’m closest has been in my life since I was two and I was the flower girl in their wedding at age six. We started calling her “Aunt Amy” after she married my Uncle. As an adult, I’m probably about 50/50 on just calling her “Amy” and “Aunt Amy.” 

This is a really interesting topic! Since it’s not totally relevant in my life, I hadn’t thought about it much before.

Post # 23
3436 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

I think it’s up to the parents to decide how that works. I never called my aunt’s boyfriend (and he’s been around since before I was born and is still in the picture decades later) uncle, but her grandkids call him grandpa. We just learned different ways to address him from our parents.

Post # 24
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

My SO niece and nephew are older and when I met them they called me Keviah12. So when we get married I doubt they will change it and call me Aunty Keviah12. If his brother or sister were to have any other children I am sure they would start them off by calling me Aunty.

Post # 25
3736 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

Fiance and I don’t have any nieces or nephews between us yet, we’ll be married before anyone has a baby. I’d expect we be called aunt/uncle regardless of who’s sibling had a baby but wouldn’t press it if it didn’t happen. My best friends kids all call me Auntie Charliejeorge and they call Fiance by his first name. I have always called my parents siblings spouses aunt/uncle and have wondered if it’s weird that I still do as an adult, but I feel like it would be weird to start calling them by their first names, it just feels disrespectful. 

ETA – All the parents siblings spouses I call aunt/uncle have been married since before I was born. Those that married into the family after I was a teen or so, I call by their first names. In FI’s family, they only use aunt/uncle some of the time. It’s used as more of a relation indicator than a title; if he’s telling a story about his uncle “jim”, he’ll generally only use uncle if the person he’s talking to doesnt know “jim”.

Post # 26
314 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Growing up, I always referred to spouses as aunt or uncle, but that was mostly because that’s what we were supposed to call them when we’re young. Once I reached late teenage years, we started dropping the aunt and uncle portion and just called them by their first names. I will say, however, whenever any of my parents’s siblings got divorced and remarried, I never referred their new spouses as aunt or uncle, because that’s not what I grew up knowing them as. I would say, given the age range of your nieces and nephews when you entered their lives, that would be an awkward time to start calling someone “aunt” when they didn’t grow up with you. As for the change with SIL, it might be due to the fact that they’re older and more into weddings, see her more often, and therefore are more excited about adding her to the family. At their current age, I wouldn’t be surprised if calling her auntie was just a phase and will Peter out once the shine has worn off. If they’ve always known her by her first name, that’s what they will inevitably refer back to most often! 

Post # 27
129 posts
Blushing bee

For me, it depends on age. It makes sense to have small kids refer to you as “Aunt Overjoyed,” since you are there from the beginning. However, I think for older kids, it might be a little weird for someone new to come in and be expected to call them “Aunt.” It depends on the situation though. 

Aunts and uncles by marriage who I call as such, were always aunt and uncle since I was a baby. But I have aunts and uncles who didn’t join the family until I was older, and it would be weird calling them that now. 

Post # 30
7000 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Eh, I wouldn’t get bent out of shape over it. They’re all older, and I think it’s one thing if you came into their life when they were young and they always called you “aunt”. But as they spent the better part of a decade calling you by your first name I can see that it would feel strange to them to make the swtich to “aunt overjoyed”. How do you know that SIL didn’t ask to be called that? If she’s new to the fold and was introduced to them as such it would be normal. 

Darling Husband calls all of his aunts/uncles by their first name and always has, which is strange to me because I’ve always referred to mine as aunt/uncle name. We only have one niece who talks and she calls us aunt/uncle. Likewise, I’m teaching my son to call our siblings aunt/uncle. That being said, DH’s sister has 3 kids via marriage and they don’t call Darling Husband nor I aunt or uncle. They weren’t raised to know us that way although if they wanted to call us that they certainly could.

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