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AIBU to think that my mum was not being wise in giving advice to my brother and his wife regarding their marriage?

(21 Posts)
Bermeir Tue 03-Jul-12 07:42:16

About a fortnight ago, my brother rang my mother telling her that his marriage was in a mess. Now my mother has many fantastic qualities but she can be overbearing and will always give advice.
She did so and then spoke to my sil (my brother's wife) and told her what she should do about the marriage: i.e. that they should part.
Now, as it happens, I do agree with my mother on this; their relationship is highly dysfunctional and has been for years: however, I am not certain that she should have said it all the same.
What is worse is that my sil and her have never got on at all-frankly, they dislike one another. More a cold war than anything, but still it is obvious (mum's comment that she should get away as soon as possible so she -mum- could visit probably wouldn't have gone down well, either!).

Brother also mentioned money worries. Mum sent him a letter saying that she couldn't help him financially. Which may be true or it may be not.

He must have received this letter about a fortnight (or perhaps 10 or so days) ago. Since then mum has not heard anything from him at all. Nothing.

I just think she should have not said anything to them at all. AIBU?

Annobel Tue 03-Jul-12 08:07:19

As a mother and MiL, I wouldn't presume to advise my sons and their partners on marital matters. They are adults and it is their business, not mine. But that's my opinion. Your mother clearly has her own agenda which I can't comment on because I don't really know how her mind is working.

Bermeir Tue 03-Jul-12 08:20:53

I'm not sure about an agenda; this was the very first time that he had contacted her about the marriage and it was out of the blue. Unless she spent time rehearsing for that phone call, I think it would have been something that she could not plan for.
I should mention that they don't see each other often at all. In fact, my mother complains that they don't visit enough. They live 200 miles away.

AlisonMA Tue 03-Jul-12 09:43:38

I think it rather depends upon whether your brother asked for her advice. It is natural for a mother to want to solve all her children's problems whatever their age but not to interfere. Sometimes that is a hard line to tread.

Maybe your brother has asked Mum for money in the past and she feels that he now has to stand on his own two feet? It does seem strange to have put it in a letter though, why? Could it have been so he could show it to his wife?

Perhaps you should stand back and let them all get on with it unless your help is asked for.

Is your brother normally a needy type or is he usually independent?

Families are so difficult, glad I don't have many left! [grin[

Bermeir Tue 03-Jul-12 09:50:18

I understand your point about my brother asking for advice. But my sil didn't.

I don't think he has asked for money in the past. The letter thing? She always sends letters. He is usually independent.

What concerns me -and I won't get involved in it- is that brother and sil will make it up and my mother will be shut out.
I cannot imagine for one second my sil forgiving my mil for my mother's comments about her leaving so that my mother could visit or getting unasked for advice from her. My sil would rather eat coal than ask my mother for advice on anything.

In any case, people only listen to advice if it suits them, don't they? This is why I think that it wasn't worth my mother giving advice.

absentgrana Tue 03-Jul-12 10:03:54

Bermeir Whatever the outcome of this and however worrying it may be, it's too late to change now. You are not responsible for your mother's relationship with your brother and sister-in-law. All you can do is maintain good terms with your family yourself. You are not being unreasonable to be concerned but there is nothing you can do about it.

glammanana Tue 03-Jul-12 11:55:42

I would tend to keep my own council and not get involved just listern to what your brother has to say and be there for him if he needs support in the future your mum should really do the same but as we know when it's our children we have to voice our opinions.When my DD was going through a bad time with her now x husband mr.glamma and I just stood on the sidelines until she asked for help and advice but until then we did not interfere even though she was going through a rough time,if we had interviened we could have been made out to be the bad guys if they sorted their differences.

Greatnan Tue 03-Jul-12 11:56:08

My mother's favourite saying was 'I am entitled to my opinion' and my reply was 'Yes, but you are not necessarily entitled to express it'.
If my ex MIL (or anyone else) had dared to tell me what to do about my marriage she would have got very short shrift.
I never give advice unless it is asked for. I have a very dear friend who comments on almost everything I do - when I should sleep, how much I should eat, what my family do........because she means well I rarely tell her to butt out but I do find it annoying.

Sometimes it is difficult to hold your tongue when somebody is pouring out their problems to you, but usually they just need you to listen. And, of course, as has been said, it is true that when people ask for advice they normally just want to be assured that what they want to do is the right thing.

kittylester Tue 03-Jul-12 12:06:06

Bermeir how awful for you!

I think I would stand well clear and try to do your best for whoever is most in need of your help after the explosion!

Good luck flowers

Bermeir Tue 10-Jul-12 09:33:03

Bump. Been 3 weeks now. Brother still not been in contact with mum. Any advice?

Bags Tue 10-Jul-12 10:04:27

Stand clear. Three weeks isn't very long unless he was used to contacting his mother frequently. If he's pissed off with his mother, or just wants some space to sort his own problems out without her, three weeks, as I said, is not very long. It's not very long to sort a marriage out in either. So, since you asked, I'd say just leave them to it, assume no news is good news, and get on with your own life.

Nanban Thu 02-Aug-12 08:34:52

I've only just seen this thread so am very late - but don't you think that advice given is only ever used if it is what the person was intending to do anyway. The danger to the person giving the advice is that, like Bermeir's mother, they get all the blame. We all ask advice but only pick out the bits that suit us - giving it is a fools game.

merlotgran Thu 02-Aug-12 10:31:07

Least said, soonest mended wink

Bermeir Thu 09-Aug-12 13:27:59

Goodness, I'd forgotten about this thread. Anyway, it's been nearly 8 weeks and mum has not heard anything from my brother.

I know he is OK as a friend of a friend works with him.

Bellesnan Thu 09-Aug-12 17:03:54

With you Nanban. I asked my son to sort his marriage out two years ago as I was fed up with my d-in-law complaining to me about him. He hasn't spoken to me or my OH for two years now. I sent him a happy birthday message this morning "wherever you are, whatever you are doing, have a happy birthday". No response...

JackiePS Fri 10-Aug-12 14:02:50

Best not to make any comments but just support each of them till they make their own decisions. My son and d-i-l who had been married for 18 years with 2 children were going through a bad patch after problems on both sides and finally separated. I did not take sides but listened to them both and tried to make each of them see the other ones side. I had never had a loving relationship with d-i-l but she was ringing me every other day talking for 1 - 2 hours at a time as her own mum who is much older than me was extremely upset and i just listened and did not judge. After 6 months they sorted themselves out and got back together. i am so glad I did not take sides now as atmospheres could be strained.

specki4eyes Fri 10-Aug-12 22:07:51

When i was divorcing my first husband many years ago, my late brother, who liked to style himself as a free thinking liberal sort, made a big show of sitting on the fence and listening to us both. He never tried to understand the issues - just sat there feeling proud of himself for being so impartial. I needed his support and help and resented the stance he took. The result was that our relationship as siblings broke down and was never the same again.

nanaej Fri 10-Aug-12 23:03:48

I have supported my brother during a couple of difficult marital situations. He is still in the same marriage but my SiL just about tolerates me. I did not take sides..just offered my brother a bed and listened..persuaded him to go to GP /relate etc. We do all meet up for family parties etc and we can get on OK on these occasions. I still worry that my brother is only hanging on in the marriage because my nephews are both still at home, the younger only 13. My advice, if I were to voice it, would be to leave her but that is a decision he has to come to on his own otherwise if he regrets the decision I will be the 'baddie'!
Best to keep your own counsel and be there when needed!

Bermeir Sun 09-Sep-12 14:26:31

Well it has been 12 whole weeks now. This IS a long time, isn't it? My brother has not contacted my mum at all during this time.

I had a brief chat with him the other day on the phone, but I purposely kept the topic away from our mother and his marriage problems.

But 12 weeks, sshh, that is a long time for a man who has a phone not to call his mum, isn't it?

Anagram Sun 09-Sep-12 21:12:52

It seems to me that he has made his decision and is sticking to it, Bermier, either at the behest of his wife or off his own bat. I think you did the right thing to steer clear of the subject during your phone call, and at least you are still on friendly terms with your brother. Try not to worry about it - what's done is done and none of it is your fault.

Bermeir Fri 05-Oct-12 14:07:23

It's been 16 weeks now. Unless people are travelling/have no access to phones, I think they've become estranged now, what do you think? Is 16 weeks that long?