To think you can't love someone you don't know?

(42 Posts)
Flojobunny Fri 02-Aug-13 22:58:09

Things have never been good between me and DB. Fought as children, then he went to uni and never returned, in that he settled there and visits occasionally. He visits my parents really, but I make the effort and go to my parents house for a few hours whilst he's there etc. We are polite to each other. He's never been there for me, I don't suppose I have for him but he's never asked for help, I have and he let me down.
He never rings. He rang my parents and I happened to be there and my mum handed me the phone as expected. He ended his call as always with "bye, I love you" and I suddenly said "no you don't, you don't even know me" and pressed the red button before I realised I had said it out loud.

Mimishimi Sat 03-Aug-13 10:54:31

Did you tell him beforehand that you were going to drive over 300 miles and expected to stay though? If not, perhaps they had other plans? I fought with my brothers, don't particularly see a lot of them but I still love them. How did he let you down? Was the request reasonable?

SilverOldie Sat 03-Aug-13 10:29:33

Same with my sister. Absolutely nothing in common as children and even less so as adults. Despite my parents, when they were alive, always hoping we would become friends, it never happened. We now speak once a year at Christmas.

FeckOffCup Sat 03-Aug-13 10:17:18

I can relate to what you mean, I have a similar relationship with my own brother, we didn't get on as children and never became close before we both moved out and moved on. We are civil to each other and he is nice to my DD but there is no closeness or common interests, we only see each other a couple of times a year at our parents', I don't know what will happen once they are no longer here, we never phone each other for a chat and I can't remember when we last said I love you, if ever.

FrenchRuby Sat 03-Aug-13 09:03:53

Yanbu. Family love doesn't have to be unconditional. My parents could die tomorrow and I wouldn't shed a single tear. That doesn't make me cold, there's no love. Just indifference (which is an achievement, because I no longer loathe them)

I agree with this. It's how I feel about my birth mother. I also had the same reaction as you did with your brother when my birth dad said the same thing to me on the phone.

jamdonut Sat 03-Aug-13 08:58:17

I have a sister 8 and a half years younger than me. We never "got on" because of the age difference, and I was expected to look after her a lot when I was in my teens,and it caused a lot of resentment (on my part), but,hey! she was my little sister.

When she was in her teens she caused a lot of family angst. In the end, we all found it easier to cut her out of our lives as far as we could.

My parents found it all very upsetting, but she causes havoc whenever she touches your life.

I don't hate her,or wish her ill, but I can't love her either.

I live 250 miles away from her,now.

Sometimes I feel I want to try to get in touch,(guilt) but I know the moment I do my life will be in chaos again, and I don't want or need that. Plus ,my DH absolutely refuses to have anything to do with her.

I have her on FB ,so she is able to keep abreast of things happening in my family, but I've set it so she cannot comment on anything, or try to chat. She occasionally sends me a private message, but I've learned to ignore them,especially when she uses emotive ,manipulative language.

She thinks all the "history" can be brushed away,and that because we are sisters it shouldn't matter.

After our Mum died,3 years ago,she wrote some awful things to me which I can't forgive.

I wish I did have a sister that I could have a proper relationship with.sad

I "make do" with my sister-in-law's (husband's side) and my cousin,whom I am fond of ,but we all live big distances from each other,so it is not easy.

Yanbu. Family love doesn't have to be unconditional. My parents could die tomorrow and I wouldn't shed a single tear. That doesn't make me cold, there's no love. Just indifference (which is an achievement, because I no longer loathe them).

If you don't know someone, how can you love them? He didn't want to be a part of your life and has made it clear in a number of (actually cold, uncaring) ways, there's no reason for you to keep up the pretenses he is, there's no obligation on your part.

tanfastic Sat 03-Aug-13 08:28:39

I have a sister and I do love her but I don't like her a lot of the time. We are chalk and cheese and she has opinions and views that are completely at odds with mine. We never ring each other except maybe the odd call at Xmas, she hardly ever acknowledges me on Facebook even though she converses with the rest of the family etc etc. however I do love her as she is my sister. I can't explain it. I'd be devastated if anything happened to her.

I do hear what you are saying though op.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 03-Aug-13 08:28:34

I don't think you're cold at all.
He's your brother through an accident of birth.
It is a persons ACTIONS that demonstrate how they feel.
His actions as you describe them show someone who has never behaved in a loving or caring way. Saying the words I love you while never ever being there in any way or showing that he gives a damn about you isn't love, its lip service.

Its easy to say I love you.

I love you.
I love you, and you, and you over there.

It meand sweet fa if my actionx show my words are empty.

firesidechat Sat 03-Aug-13 08:27:49

I don't think that you can necessarily be close to or get on well with people just because they are family, however you can still love them.

I have two siblings and I'm definitely closer to one more than the other because of the age differences involved and because of our relative circumstances. I still love them and would probably help out if asked. But that would also depend on what they needed.

I don't know what you asked of your brother, but it does come across that you perhaps have slightly unreasonable expectations of what a sibling relationship should be. Once you are a grown up you change and start leading a life that is naturally separate from parents and siblings.

As for the fighting as children thing. Most children fight and bicker with their brothers and sisters. It's normal. My husband and one of his siblings fought like cats and dogs, but they are close and certainly love each other. They loved each other as children too.

Just as an aside, my siblings and I don't actually tell each other that we love them and it's one of those unsaid, implied things. Perhaps love is what you do rather than what you say.

TroublesomeEx Sat 03-Aug-13 08:25:07

fwiw I think your 'no you don't, you don't know me' is actually quite funny as it is your brother and therefore being rude is allowed sometimes wink It might make him a think on a bit about when he let you down.

That's true.

My brother and I weren't close growing up, we fought and we hated each other (but a lot of that was enabled and facilitated by our parents) (wasn't a house with a lot of love in it, ours!) but as adults we are incredibly close and we have both said that we are each the only person (other than his wife) that either of us would really feel we could trust in a crisis.

It would be a shame if you couldn't develop a relationship with him sad

katykuns Sat 03-Aug-13 08:23:03

2 of my brothers live far away and aren't ones for regular contact. When I do see them, they are lovely. I don't really mind as we are at different stages in our lives, and my brothers are very much people who want completely separate lives of independence. It is funny how only my sister and I have stayed local to my Mum. We had a strange childhood but still care about each other... the negatives are mostly caused by favouritism by my parents and restrictive gender roles.

I think if you wanted to you could form a connection with your brother that is a bit unconventional like mine, but if you don't want to then that's fine too. I have come to accept that people just have different priorities in their lives and aren't usually intentionally unkind. If I wanted support for example, I wouldn't go to my brothers, they are a sort of casual friendship. Sad maybe, but I am happier accepting it this way.

Lottapianos Sat 03-Aug-13 08:22:29

OP trust your feelings here. You sound hurt and angry and let down by your brother. As others have said, its easy to trot out 'love you' (my sister does the same) but to actually be there for someone, to work at a relationship and support that person when they need it, it's a bit too much for some people. I don't blame you for feeling angry at what you perceive to be his false behaviour - gifts and glib 'love you' - when he couldn't even give you shelter when you were in danger.

I don't believe that love is unconditional either. If you wouldn't accept his behaviour from a friend or partner, why would you accept it from a family member? Value yourself and your own feelings, and please don't go along with anything just to make other people happy. It' very hurtful though, I know sad

TheGirlFromIpanema Sat 03-Aug-13 08:21:28

There is a lot of love in my family on my mums side. I genuinely love them all even if for reasons of geography we are not all very close. Big family gatherings are filled with hugs and promises to stay in touch better with one another between gatherings. I am sure if I asked for help it would be given by any one of them from my siblings to my mad aunt.

On the other hand we have my dads family whom I live in the same city as, and I neither know nor love them. I would no more reach out to them than I would a complete stranger. If I see one or two of them and a perfunctory peck is given as greeting I feel a bit odd about it.

Its all about the relationships that have built over years. You and your brother don't have any sort of relationship so I can understand why a random I love you at the end of a strained conversation would seem very weird.
Would you consider trying to re establish a relationship with him? Do you think he would be receptive? Its a shame to not have a good relationship with your brother, I consider mine one of my best friends and allies in life and its nice to have that imho.

fwiw I think your 'no you don't, you don't know me' is actually quite funny as it is your brother and therefore being rude is allowed sometimes wink It might make him a think on a bit about when he let you down.

TroublesomeEx Sat 03-Aug-13 08:20:14

I get it too, Flojo

My dad used to end every phone call with "see you soon, love you". It was just a valediction that meant nothing.

I didn't ever call him on it but I never said it in return.

Have you tried talking to him and telling him how you feel? You may find that it at least gives you some peace to have verbalised to him how you feel to him.

I think some people love differently. Family love isn't unconditional. I didn't love either of my parents and they didn't love me.

Roshbegosh Sat 03-Aug-13 08:14:26

I don't think cutting him out of your life completely is a good idea as your parents would be upset. There would also be those family occasions when it would be difficult and cringe making for everyone if you had a no-speaking relationship. You sound angry with him, more than indifferent so there are feelings there, he is not just a stranger to you. You feel he has let you down and is fake, fine, you could just keep a polite distance.

youbethemummylion Sat 03-Aug-13 08:09:33

I dislike me brother for many reasons and never really want to be in his company, I have no desire to talk to him or engage with him. However I do love him.

LoveBeingItsABoy Sat 03-Aug-13 08:05:39

Op I get it. I'm there. Family is almost an inconvienance, an obligation that is carried out to the minimum. It's hard being on the other side. If it were any other relationship you could cull and move on

Flojobunny Sat 03-Aug-13 07:50:32

I'm not cold at all, I desperately wanted to know him but I realised over the years that you can't force these things.
I find its happy clappy, over the top presents and I love you's fake.
I live 2 mins from my parents because family means a lot to me.
I don't know maybe having an absent brother who makes polite chitchat every couple of years is better than having no brother and completely cutting ties?
I kept making the effort for the sake of the DC but they just end up more confused, as he spoils them and then they pester me for ages after if they can see him etc. as DD is only 4.

petuniapickletits Sat 03-Aug-13 07:36:45

wow..thats pretty cold!

skyflyer Sat 03-Aug-13 02:25:33

I agree with you OP. I haven't seen my sister since we were young children. It's been 25 years, we don't know each other and I feel nothing for her at all. Friends are often surprised I don't love her or want to know her, but how can I we know nothing about each other.

Shrugged Fri 02-Aug-13 23:45:23

I think I'd be enormously irritated at a sibling I had zero relationship with chirping 'Love you!'

I know my mother is sad that her four children don't even pretend to be close. Tbh, though, our childhood was very poor and overcrowded, and it's not coincidental that we all live in different countries, and are very if fervent people.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jan49 Fri 02-Aug-13 23:39:22

It sounds to me like you don't love him because you didn't get on as children and haven't had much to do with each other as adults and he's also let you down a lot and never been there for you. If you weren't closely related, you wouldn't be friends. It's not that you don't love him because you don't know him, it's that you don't love him because you perhaps never did and his behaviour as an adult hasn't changed that. Perhaps you don't love him because you do know him.

I have siblings and I don't love them. We didn't get on as children. As adults we keep in touch by occasional phonecalls but live in different countries and rarely meet. I don't think we have anything in common other than a chance family link. I think there's an expectation that you love your siblings just because they are your siblings, but it isn't always the case.

Flojobunny Fri 02-Aug-13 23:29:17

We are always polite, he always buys expensive presents for the kids when he comes. But I feel like its all fake. I can't relate to him, he always seems to be looking down his nose at me. Maybe I'm just paranoid. He often scoffs at me when I say something though.
But all that aside, he doesn't know me and I feel like the "I love you" is fake, so just wondered if I'm BU.
probably shouldn't have said it out loud though, not that it'll change anything, I've tried before.

LuisSuarezTeeth Fri 02-Aug-13 23:28:44

Ah, this is not as simple as your OP Flo. Sounds like you feel rather let down by him. Some people throw the word "love" around without really thinking about it.

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