Younger brother engaged, older brother expecting.... tidal wave of judgement coming down on me!(27 Posts)
Just as it says, my brother got married two years ago and his wife is now expecting their first child. My younger brother has proposed to his long time girlfriend recently.
I am single, have been for ages with no real desire to settle down. I have very high standards regarding men (lifetime of childcare has seen to that) and very little free time to meet anyone. I'm perfectly happy doing my own thing and while I'd like to have children of my own at some point, it's not any point soon.
But my family are very old fashioned so I just know that this year is going to bring a surfable wave of 'why haven't you settled, what's wrong with you' my way.
How do I cope without turning to drink?
I'm a nanny, have been for many years. So even on the most casual of dates I automatically size a guy up on whether or not he'd make a good father and if he wouldn't, we break up.
Has anyone actually said anything to you so far? My first thought is don't worry about it til it happens. I'd have thought that if anything the changes in your brothers' lives would deflect attention away from you. And assuming there's nothing really toxic in your relationship with your family, can't comments be batted away by just repeating, I'm happy as things are thanks?
What if you just said 'I don't want to settle' - how would that go down? Some people assume that anyone single is on a constant quest for a partner, but if you make it clear that you aren't and just stick with the same response every time someone brings it up then hopefully they will get bored eventually.
Depends on how much you want to shut them up. After years of this nonsense and having been asked in front of everyone, at a large family gathering, to account for my being unwed, I choose to answer with "I simply haven't had enough casual sex yet".
Silence. Tumbleweeds roll past. Cats bum face all round. I raised my glass to them, downed my drink and continued unabashed. They didn't ask again.
(I am not normally this brutal, but at times enough is enough, you know?)
This was also my lot in life - I met DH at 39 and had DS at 42 and they had been chomping at the bit for a couple of decades - incredibly without ever running out of steam. In the end I took my dad on one side and said he was seriously damaging our relationship with his constant comments about me 'missing the boat' 'not getting any younger' etc. etc. that it upset me and if he carried on, I would choose not to spend time with him. He never dared say anything again.
However, in my next life I will choose littlegrey's approach .
Littlegrey's answer is brilliant!
However, if you know you have a family gathering coming up where these sorts of questions are inevitable, it's worth taking time to prepare a bland answer, which is polite but makes it clear you regard it as intrusive.
I also find it helpful to play "Brat Free Bingo" so you can tick off the various nosey questions/comments. Making it fun like this actually helps to reduce the hurt and irritation.
Oh littlegrey I'm totally stealing your line for future use!
Little is right treat intrusive questions with outrageous relies, I am always asked about grandchildren, having (four adult children) I always reply "What me, I'm far too young to be a grandmother"
Thanks for the suggestions. I do get a bit salty in my answers from time to time but there's a dynamic there I have a hard time getting past. Relationship with DM is bordering on toxic, she has in the past tried to encourage (read 'browbeat', also read 'bully') me to stay with men who made me miserable out of some sort of belief that I'd never do any better. That's a narrative she's been feeding to the rest of the family and they speak to her more often than they do to me, so needless to say family gatherings are an obstacle course.
I'm sorry OP, it is miserable when it is constant and consistent. It wasn't my parents with me, but instead my Dad's hag sisters. They liked to use it as a stick to beat me with, it was never meant to be anything other than belittling, a total dismissal of anything I had ever achieved. Kind of 'yeah, you might have X,Y or Z, but no one wants you', bullshit like that.
Ultimately it was a form of competition for them. They didn't like the comparison between me and their own (golden) children, either in education, career etc so it was the one thing they thought they could use against me, and they took immense pleasure in using it at every opportunity.
I took their shit from age 15 until I met DH. When I got married they stopped acknowledging me at all and we haven't spoken in several years (which is a relief, frankly).
Ultimately I think you are well within your rights to be brutally rude. Your personal life is none of their business. If they are rude enough to pry, then they have to accept you have a right to reply in whichever way you see fit.
I would also start disengaging with them, both your mother and her winged monkeys. They have no right to try and hurt you, and you simply do not have to take it. If they can't behave then don't spend time with them (easier said than done, I know).
My mum went through a phase of "so and so's a grandmother for the fifth time, blah blah" as if nagging would produce grandchildren. I did need to slap her down with a few choice words and the hints and nags stopped.
I understand. My older brother and younger sister are both expecting and one is married and one is engaged. I'm in a long term relationship but everyone is judging just because we don't want to go the same speed as the others
I always think of the awful uncle in the Brigid Jones movie, when I hear those kind of comments.
You see I can't decide between the much older man who likes tantric sex in public, the cute guy who wants to dress up as a nun and be spanked and the sweet guy who needs me to pretend to be Robbie Coltrane to reach his nirvana!"
That'll teach 'em to ask about your private life!
My line was "I'm too much for one man, and not enough for two".
Or tell them you will get married, just as soon as your boyfriend divorces his wife.
But you would be amazed how effective a simple "Why do you ask?" followed by "Why?" to whatever they say next, and next, and next, can be. Force them politely to justify why they want to know, and what they truly think about it. That way, they are on the spot, not you.
Do what Littlegrey says!
You have my sympathy, both on the pressure and the family being toxic. My elder sister has just had a baby and my younger sister is in a serious relationship that looks like it's heading towards marriage. I've just got married but the pressure to "find a house" and "settle down" is there.
I'm also a nanny. I have my MIL knitting baby items, my Mum hinting that it's such a shame to wait so long for a baby (my sister was TTC for 3 years after her wedding before getting pregnant) and prospective families for my ad-hoc work telling me that they want somebody who they can rely on for a few years yet and hint at my newly-wed status as to why I am not reliable for that
I am guessing you also get the comments about nannying being "good practice" and all of that bollocks?
Would you say that your Mum has good self-esteem? My Mum also encouraged me to stay with men who made me miserable because I couldn't do better. It took a lot to realise that she has no self-esteem and I was the only one of her daughters she could manipulate enough to engineer her failures and disappointments through.
Can you avoid family events? Not easy I know. Or manage them some other way?
Ha I can relate to this. Once when I was moaning to DM about work being stressful she jumped off tangent and said: "Can I just ask, is this all because DP won't commit?" We had been together 18 months and we're living together at the time, and were committed so she just made that up in her head.
Also I have a toxic aunt who when I was about 26 and had been single for about two years gave me a bangle for Christmas which she'd had engraved with the words: "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." I wore it all Christmas Day and kept telling her how much I loved it as I'm sure it was designed to hurt me. At 26 that's a bit rich isn't it? Some people just can't help themselves, don't let them project their ideals onto you, smile and nod, smile and nod.
Join the discussion
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.