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This screams 'awkward' to me but my 'family' tell me IABU (long)

(106 Posts)
grants1000 Mon 13-May-13 11:57:38

Very long story short, my brother and I have different Dads, same Mum. This all came out in the wash when we were in our 20's, we are now in our 40's) Recently (last couple of years) my brother (who is actually my half brother but has and will always be my brother) got in touch with his real Dad and his-half brother and sister.

My brother is getting married in August and all his new relations are coming to the wedding. There are no plans for me to meet them all beforehand. There is going to be a family dinner with all of us the night before the wedding and I think this is very weird all to meet up and be jolly dee with all this history. So if you have read this far and understand my brother will have both his real parents at his wedding and two new half siblings. Oh and my brothers real Dad has a long term girlfriend who will also be in attendance.

My Dad died many years ago and it just makes me feel very disloyal to him. I will say hello to them and be civil, but the thought of 'family photo's makes me want to run screaming/barf. And any sort of chat, ie: you look like your mum, nice to meet you etc etc - really?! I think 'fuck you asshole' to this man who has been fairly fucking useless since he started a relationship with my brother even though he thinks sun shines from every orofice; rock up to the wedding and play hero? I don't think so.

I am also sad and jelous that my brother will have both his parents at his wedding and I did not as my Dad died 10 months before I got married. I also have two children who know nothing of this who are at the wedding and I can't think for the life of me how to even start explaining it all, my head is currently fried, hence this post.

So much swirling in my head, am I being a petchulant child or as a grown up do I have the right to assert myself and feelings and be civil and limited in contact? They and he are no my family and I don't want a family style relationship, just a adult arms lenght one. Of course Iw on't make a scene and spoil the wedding type thing.

Or shall I just get pissed in corner and slope off early. Help me please.

ivykaty44 Mon 13-May-13 12:47:37

In the nicest possible way I think the problem here is you as you have not meet these people and now are faced with meeting them at a very big event in your family life - which I guess for you is upsetting.

How are you going to deal with this situation is the question as it is not your big family event and you can not really expect your brother and his girlfriend to make their arrangements around you.

TBH for the sake of the wedding can you put your own feeling aside for the sake of your brother, it wasn't his choice who his father was or what his father did and the way he behaved.

RandomMess Mon 13-May-13 12:55:00

I wonder if you would benefit from going to see a therapist to talk through how you are feeling about all of this. It clearly is a big deal to you and somehow you need to come to terms with it as clearly your mum and brother are both fine about the situation and you're not.

delurked Mon 13-May-13 12:56:19

I don't often post but felt compelled to write as I can identify with a lot of what you're feeling. I have a complicated family set up - very different to yours but with a similar history of half-siblings, bereavement and weddings. The feelings of disloyalty and resentment that you describe are very familiar and I found them very difficult to put aside. I also found it difficult that other members of my family did not seem troubled by them in the same way.
However, I think that is what you have to do for your brother's wedding. Put a brave face on, make polite conversation and have a few glasses of wine to take the edge off your feelings. Life is complicated and there is nothing wrong with feeling the way you do but unfortunately this time you just have to suck it up. And as a previous poster said remain open-minded - I was pleasantly surprised by how little I was affected on the day as there is so much else going on and so much happiness that a lot of what I was worried about paled into insignificance.

exexpat Mon 13-May-13 12:58:44

So the main problem is that although you have all known about this for decades, you haven't mentioned any of it to your children, so it has become a big dark family secret. That's a shame.

But you still have plenty of time before the wedding to come up with a basic, matter-of-fact, non-dramatic explanation of the new people your children will be meeting at the wedding - if my 10yo is anything to go by, children can be very accepting of all sorts of unusual family trees (she has had to get her head round her best friend's rather complicated family etc) and are much less curious about the ins and outs than you might expect. Just try to explain things without being coloured by your own emotions of blame, shame etc.

If your father accepted the situation, and your mother and brother are keen to be on friendly terms with them, then I don't think it's your place to try to cover it all up.

Soupa Mon 13-May-13 13:03:57

Your brother discovered after twenty years that his dad wasn't his biological father. He had no control over this but should be the person who controls what happens with his full family now.

You think his bio dad is crap, maybe he is but it is very common for reunited biological relations to be over intense or distorted.

I would feel sorry for your db, at twenty he lost an easily described dad, what he is left with is less easily defined and needs qualifiers 'real, bio, non bio etc'

It isn't disloyal of him to embrace his newer family, it might have made no difference to your dad or your brothers feelings about your dad but it is a huge difference for him to deal with. You know this or would have explained it to your children earlier.

Be generous to him, that might mean being generous to them

RandomMess Mon 13-May-13 13:06:31

By kind to yourself, it must have been hard finding out that seemingly normal "perfect" 2.4 family wasn't in fact that and this is something that you are now going to have to physicially face IYSWIM.

I can understand how you are feeling unnerved and out of sorts over it.

diddl Mon 13-May-13 13:09:22

Did his bio father even know that your brother was his?

Or did he not find out until his son was in his 20s?

2rebecca Mon 13-May-13 13:09:50

I agree that explaining that your brother had a different dad to you but the same mum although your dad brought him up should be understandable to an 11 year old.
You keep talking about having to have a "relationship" with this man but that's not true. he isn't biologically related to you or your kids at all. All you have to do is be civil to him for 1 day. He's probably terrified by the whole thing.
I would stop thinking about it and just smile and be polite when intoduced to him but you don't have to spend ages chatting to him if you don't want to as he has his partner and other children with him so he doesn't need you to chat to him for longer than you're comfortable with.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 13-May-13 13:13:05

I met my step brother and loads of step cousins for the first time at my dad's wedding. It was fine, it was fun. Yo unever know - you may get on with them really well!

DontmindifIdo Mon 13-May-13 13:13:17

oh and I would be certain there's someone your 11yo knows who has half and/or step siblings - it's not an unusual thing now. What is unusual is hiding it.

Cravey Mon 13-May-13 13:13:32

I think you need to grow up and do it fast. It's your brothers wedding, it's also your brother who has had to deal with the whole meeting a new family thing. Why are you making this all about you ? You said in your op that you love your brother so then plaster a smile on your petulant face and suck it up. This is one of the most narcissist things I have ever read on here.

Floggingmolly Mon 13-May-13 13:19:28

You keep emphasising the "big happy family" thing. Where exactly is the expectation (from anyone) that this is going to happen?
It's your brothers wedding day; I shouldn't imagine you'll be meeting the extended family again, unless you actually want to.
The relationship is your brother's, not yours.

Squitten Mon 13-May-13 13:19:59

I think you're making way too much out of it.

This event is about your brother and the bride - not you or your family's "dirty laundry", to use the old phrase. All you have to do is go and be nice to ALL the guests, as you would at anyone else's wedding. Nobody is asking you to pretend that these people are your family but that's no reason not to be friendly and civil towards them.

If you can't do it for yourself, then do it for your brother.

exexpat Mon 13-May-13 13:23:41

Lots of people have complicated families and have to go to weddings with people their parents had affairs with.

NC78 Mon 13-May-13 13:27:35

Your feelings are totally understandable - you were lied to until your 20's, and now you have a whole new 'family' you haven't even met! Very stressful. BUT none of this is your brothers fault, so you do have to try to act civil towards everyone his wedding day, whatever you feel like inside.

Dahlen Mon 13-May-13 13:27:45

I understand why you feel as you do, but unless you try your hardest to be friendly and involved, you will come to regret it. And please don't drink more than one or two alcoholic drinks unless you are positive you can maintain the semblance of friendliness. wink

I can see why it would stick in your throat about the 'dad's' unreliability, but I think you're way over-thinking it regarding your DS. You simply state the truth - that although his GF was his uncle's father, his uncle's biological father was someone else who has recently got in touch and now they are getting to know each other better. Your DS will accept that quite simply. He has to be told at some point, anyway. The younger the better.

Pigsmummy Mon 13-May-13 13:40:49

You sound incredibly selfish, Your brother is the one who is entitled to feel awkward, he is the one who found out that his father wasn't his and he had new relationships to build, you didn't have deal with that, he did.

Grow up and support your brother on his special day and try to get along with people.

maddening Mon 13-May-13 13:40:57

I bet your db is just as sad that your dfather isn't going to be at the wedding too - his knowing his biological father doesn't make his relationship with the man he knew as his father any less.

I think yabu and for your own sake you need to resolve these feelings.

Blissx Mon 13-May-13 13:45:26

grants1000 - I totally understand where you are coming from, although I don't think there is a lot you can do.
I'm adopted but was adopted with my brother (we share the same birth mother but have different birth fathers). Recently, his birth father came looking for him and it turns out, our birth mother died ten years ago and my birth father was just a one-night-stand.
To top it all off, we were adopted to older parents who have both since passed away.
I understand your feelings-for me, I have jealousy as he is getting a relationship with his birth father and I don't have that opportunity and feeling awkward as I'm not as "into" meeting the rest of the birth family as he is.
However, these are my feelings and I can't really stop him from wanting this new 'family' involved at special occasions and gatherings etc.

I think you may just want your feelings to be heard - am I right? Having a one-to-one chat with your brother, calmly, may help him see where you are coming from and might be theraputic for you to be able to cope with them all at the wedding. Good luck - it is a rotten situation to be in.

mynewpassion Mon 13-May-13 14:42:05

I think you are hard work. Be polite and civil and be happy for your brother.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Mon 13-May-13 14:42:43

Does your brother expect you to sit with this man through ceremony and meal? Is he really pushing the angle of 'well, we're all a family now!'
If so, he's being shockingly thoughtless. Yes, yes, it's his wedding, he can spit on the guests and blow foghorns if he wants I know etc.

OP I stand alone here but I'd be very catsbumface at this. I would go, I would be polite, and I'd calmly blame say my LO had a tummy ache and leave early if your brother or these strangers pressured you to a point you feared you may spoil your brother's day.

Photos? Photos would hurt. I can see why you must want to slap your brother for that one, but at the same time I understand his side.

I'm too mixed on photos. Yes know it's his day to jump up and down and scream 'MEEEEE!' at the top of his lungs, --can you tell I don't like weddings?--grin

Go, be polite, they push to hard blame your kid and go. Grit your teeth, and apologise profusely to your DB when he calls and deny, deny, deny you left because of hid new family.

Personally, I'd grind my teeth and go, but my body language would give me away. Try hard OP, this is your brother. Just don't prioritise a wedding over your mental (and by extension) physical wellbeing if these people are pushy OR yoou simply can't take it. Snapping at a guest or becoming ill helps no one anuway!

Good luck OP! My only thing would be refusing to stand in a photograph with DB, his half siblings, dad and GF. I just wouldn't disrespect my mother like that.

Good luck OP!

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Mon 13-May-13 14:44:55

Excuse typos blush

IrritatingInfinity Mon 13-May-13 14:59:20

I really wouldn't find this awkward at all. They are your DB's 'family'. I wouldn't see it as being disloyal at all. sad

You should treat them as though they are people who are important to your DB. I vey much doubt that anyone expects you to have a 'family' type relationship with them. I don't think anyone needs to go to a wedding with preconceived ideas as to jow they are going to treat guests that they have never even met.

The fact you feel jealous is a bit sad although I suppose it is a little understandable.

So, yes YABU and petulant (sorry). I hope the wedding goes well and that you have a lovely time with all the guests.

exexpat Mon 13-May-13 15:02:13

SpecialAgent - how would it be disrespecting her mum, when her mum is agreeing with her brother and apparently wants her to be there?

The OP said "my brother and Mum say it will 'all be fine' "

Cravey Mon 13-May-13 15:11:42

This isn't just about the wedding though is it. It's also about the fact that her brother is going through huge changes and she is making it all about her. She really does need to grow up and see how hard this must be for her poor brother.

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