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Family who don’t bother

(45 Posts)
Beth249 Wed 11-Oct-23 09:00:55

My brother and his fiancé live about half an hour drive away with their son.
They make no effort to keep in touch. We haven’t seen them for six months. Whenever I do message to arrange a visit or invite them to a gathering the message is either ignored or they just don’t come.
My brother says he is fine when we ask if everything is okay. Our children don’t have any relationship with their cousin which I think is quite sad.
They avoid everyone in our family which is big.
I am lost! We try to include them in everything, ask how they are to which their reply is fine so do we just accept the situation?
My mum hasn’t seen her grandson for the six months

Franbern Wed 11-Oct-23 09:06:10

Have you tried the direct approach and asked them WHY they seem to be avoiding family contact. They may just be busy and not even realised how long it is that they have seen you all.

Perhaps your Mum could get in touch with them saying how much she would like to see them in person .

Beth249 Wed 11-Oct-23 09:11:35

We have thought he ‘snaps’ which is difficult.
Gets angry quickly. I know his fiancé is very difficult.
She has quarrels with her mum and they won’t see each other for a while.
They are hard work!

pascal30 Wed 11-Oct-23 09:11:40

I would continue to send the odd txt and invitation but not have any expectations that they will respond. That way you know that you are trying to include them, and they know that you are still thinking about them.. It's not an estrangement but just them wishing to live their own lives

Imarocker Wed 11-Oct-23 09:12:50

I’d give up. They obviously don’t want to bother. I didn’t see my cousins for years but are now good friends.

Beth249 Wed 11-Oct-23 09:17:46

Yes my Mum and I are very close as are the rest of our family which makes it difficult to understand their behaviour.
As my Mum said if they say they are fine then we just have to accept it.
They just seem very self absorbed.
It’s my brothers birthday soon. We have asked if we can drop off a present. He hasn’t replied as of yet.
We have never been to their house. His fiancé doesn’t have people to her house, my brother isn’t to have friends over as she doesn’t like it.
My nephew says he doesn’t have friends there as mum doesn’t like it.
She cut contact with me, my sister and daughter years ago.
We last saw them as a family at my mums last Christmas. It was tense.
I just find it sad at times and even more so when there is no explanation for their behaviour

Sago Wed 11-Oct-23 09:24:20

I have a sister in law who never responded to messages, she avoided any family gatherings, barely saw her mother who lived nearby and our children have probably only met their cousins a handful of times,she was difficult to say the least!

She has now at the age of 60+ left her husband, has a new man in her life and is a little better.
She was being controlled by her ex husband.

M0nica Wed 11-Oct-23 09:32:33

It is pointless to try to understand his behaviour or compare it with the rest of the family.

He is now in a family unit with his fiancee and son and his fiancee clearly sees a completely different family dynamic to you and your brother is clearly happy with this. Why should he have to justify it by explaining it to you?

So there is only one course of action and that is to accept what is. Your brother has chosen to have a different family relationship to that common in his family. there is nothing you can do about it. just accept asnd live with it.

Post presents and cards to them at Christmas and on birthdays. Do not be surprised if you get no response. If your brother wants to make contact he will.

Meanwhile just get on with your life, stop wasting time and emotion trying to make your brother have the relationship with his family that you think he ought to have and leave him to have the one he has clearly chosen.

Beth249 Wed 11-Oct-23 09:34:52

Thank you for your reply Sago.
We do have our suspicions that my brothers fiancé is controlling him.
We know her mum can be very difficult. She is trying to get on better with her. She is jealous of our family. He has said she is jealous of the relationship I have with my daughter and sister.
We have included her in everything but she doesn’t want to join us.
I know she has anxiety and depression.
Understandably he is being loyal to his fiancé.
She does look down on people. She just seems unhappy.
Get the feeling they just like to be in their own little world the three of them together. We had a family gathering a few months ago and when we saw my nephew were saying who would be there. He was stunned when he realised how many cousins he has! He thought he only had two.
Mum and I were taken aback when we realised they don’t talk about family!
At another gathering my nephew was looking around bewildered asking my brother whose house we were at and who was so and so. My brother just laughed!

Beth249 Wed 11-Oct-23 09:36:18

Monica thank you for your response. That is the best way I think in this situation.

Beth249 Wed 11-Oct-23 09:39:16

I don’t think my brother is happy but we just have to accept it for what it is.
They don’t talk to each other about things. They are together but not in many ways.
It’s just a relationship I find bizarre!

Doodledog Wed 11-Oct-23 09:55:51

If they have decided (or realised) that their family unit is happier being separate from the main family yet they are continually messaged to arrange visits or to be invited to gatherings they don't want to attend, that might explain why they 'snap'.

People have different expectations of how families should operate, and there appears to be a mismatch between yours and your brother's. If his view is that he doesn't want a lot of contact, and yours is that you want to persuade him to meet up, there is conflict. He's tried not responding to messages, tried just not turning up, but you keep trying to persuade him to act in accordance with your view of how families should work. Of course he 'snaps'.

You seem unable to accept that just having a different outlook is acceptable, and diagnose people who think differently from you of being controlling, jealous, anxious, depressed and unhappy. You mention the fact that they seem happy enough in their own little family as though that is peculiar - if they pick up on the judgements being made about them (or the fiancé in particular) then that could explain why they want to stay away.

That may all seem harsh, but your posts are very one-sided and judgemental, and I can't help thinking that this could explain your brother's reluctance to have a close relationship.

paddyann54 Wed 11-Oct-23 10:16:56

Beth you have no idea how they are in their relationship,just because they choose not to socialise with you doesn't mean they "dont talk to each other" or any of the other things you accuse the fiancee of.
We all have different lives,he may have decided his family are smothering him and wants space ...not how you see it but its possible.
I hear a friend say her brother is so unhappy in his marriage he'll leave when his kids grow up,she's been saying it for near 40 years! Her brother and his wife are always on social media with their children and GC or on holiday with friends smiling and laughing.Doesn't appear to me that he is unhappy!
Let them get on with their lives their way ,dont try to force a relationship where they dont want one ,it will only make things worse.
I didn't grow up with cousins and it didn't do me harm,I only have five ,2 are 20 years older than me and the others live 6000 miles away .

Theexwife Wed 11-Oct-23 10:21:57

Maybe they are aware that others do not your brothers wife, for whatever reason if they do not want to mix with the family it is their choice. You cannot make people want to spend time with you.

There is a member of my family who does not mix with others, I have no animosity towards her, I do not look for reasons but just accept her decision.

bikergran Wed 11-Oct-23 10:25:08

I think it just seems to be the way of life now with a lot of families.

eazybee Wed 11-Oct-23 10:29:24

My goodness!
I can understand why your brother and his fiancee don't wish to participate in the raft of family occasions you enjoy.
Despite having little contact with them you state:

"they seem very self-absorbed;
We do have our suspicions that my brothers fiancé is controlling him.
She is jealous of our family. He has said she is jealous of the relationship I have with my daughter and sister.
I know she has anxiety and depression.
I don’t think my brother is happy but we just have to accept it for what it is.
They don’t talk to each other about things. They are together but not in many ways.
It’s just a relationship I find bizarre!
Mum and I were taken aback when we realised they don’t talk about family!
We have included her in everything but she doesn’t want to join us.
I think you have absolutely no understanding of why people are wary of families like yours, where every thing, and member is discussed and pulled to pieces.
You say you see little of her yet apparently you are aware of her depression, the fact they don't talk about family, they are absorbed in each other, she is jealous of you and you consider their relationship to be bizarre."

NOT your business.

Do you think she is not aware of the endless criticism in which you and your mother indulge?
Obviously not satisfied with that you now post on social media to disparage her to a wider audience.
You need to look at your, and mum's, behaviour, which explains clearly the reason for their lack of contact.

Bella23 Wed 11-Oct-23 10:30:03

I would say just get on with your own life and enjoy your extended family.
You have no idea what strain he might be under at home and is saying nothing as he is loyal to his fiance{his choice which he might unknown to you be regretting}.
We were in a similar situation with a close relation. Everything was wrong ,at the wrong time or venue,cost the wrong price Forever boasting and comparing the odd times we met even giving the wrong time for the odd meet up we had and when we got there everything had finished..
Since they remarried we are being as DH puts it "Love bombed".It had been the partner.

Smileless2012 Wed 11-Oct-23 10:32:26

All you can do is accept the way things are Beth. Maybe pull back a little on inviting them to family get together's as that may make your son think about his family from time to time off his own back and may encourage him to instigate contact.

Hithere Wed 11-Oct-23 11:54:23


Generally speaking, being born into a family doesn't guarantee going to events and cousins being friends.
DNA is not a jail out of card that forces people to do things they don't want to do

Can you accept your brother does not want the same level of contact with his family of origin that you want?
When that happens, the relationship can start to heal and maybe, just maybe, he could be interested initiating a get together with you and his family of origin

Stop judging his partner, I bet it doesn't help the situation

If your mother hasn't seen his child in 6 months, she has to solve that, don't be a flying monkey and try to make it happen for her

Your brother could say you and your family are enmeshed and he does not like it.

Soozikinzi Wed 11-Oct-23 13:12:44

My relationship with my vrother is just the odd whatsapp and very rare meet up at a theatre that's in between for us both say twice a year max . I am happy with that. I know some people wouldn't be but that's how we function . We had a difficult childhood our DM was widowed at 40 so its not like other families who have joyful times to reminisce over .Maybe you should just accept that's how it is at this phase of your life .

sodapop Wed 11-Oct-23 15:38:44

I agree with Soozikinzi you need to accept the relationship as it is for the time being. Don't try and second guess how things are with them, they are obviously more comfortable with limited family contact.

AreWeThereYet Wed 11-Oct-23 15:58:49

I come from a large family - 6 siblings, all with children plus countless cousins living nearby. All in each other's lives. I moved away to have my own life and escape the criticism of everything I did because it wasn't what most people did. There are a number of people in my family who think that because they are related to someone they have the right to speak their mind i.e. criticise. Not that they are not nice people because they are, just a bit overpowering. It has always been difficult for people marrying into the family - they don't understand the family jokes, the constant mickey-taking, and the relationships. Anyone who likes a peaceful life (like me) would find it very hard indeed to be thrown into it. Anyone who already suffers anxiety may find it impossible.

seadragon Wed 11-Oct-23 16:16:00

Our DS has had 2 long term relationships and had a son, now 18, with one of them. DGS lives with him. Neither of the two women ever introduced us to their families and the mother of DGS only invited me to her home once and briefly after they separated. We always engaged with them both and saw them out and about or at our daughter's when we went South to visit. The second one did not engage with DGS and never invited us to her home. DS is now in his third relationship with a very nice woman and we find we are the ones struggling to engage with her although she is very nice; largely, I think, because we were shielding during the Pandemic and then most of last year with Covid and for 3 months this year with a mystery virus. The house has silted up with hard to shift stuff as well and the garden is neglected as DH has been below par for 3 or 4 years now and I don't know where to start to get it sorted. We are both going through health assessments... me for a double hip replacement and DH is going for chest X-Ray next week. Everything just seems a bit too much for us these days..... Just content to be in each others' company.

biglouis Thu 12-Oct-23 03:57:27

stop wasting time and emotion trying to make your brother have the relationship with his family that you think he ought to have and leave him to have the one he has clearly chosen

I wish I had the courage to say this to my parents (really my mother) when I was younger. I have never been a one for "family life" and "family occasions". My life has been filled with a demanding career/improving my qualifications and other priorities. My mother was never able to accept this. She pushed me away by making my sister the golden princess when we were little. Then she had to live with the consequences when I left home to become a fully fuctioning adult who did not need to run to momma.

There are people who find family life and relatives constantly hanging onto them to be suffocating. Cards/gifts/birthdays etc are all demands that they may not wish to become entangled in.

MercuryQueen Thu 12-Oct-23 07:40:48

Your brother wants different things than you do, including what kind of relationship he has with extended family. That’s okay.

Work on accepting what is, rather than worrying about what you think it ought to be.