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DB puts family phone calls on speaker when his wife is there, is this normal??

(94 Posts)
Evelight Thu 22-Jun-17 14:18:03

We are four siblings, and despite ups and downs, quite close. Two of us live in different countries. This DB is the only one married, the rest of us unmarried/divorced.

Anyway, when of one of us other siblings calls to talk to DB, sometimes about sensitive family affairs (divorces, illnesses, family quarrels, sometime money issues), if his wife is there, DB puts the phone on speaker. TBF, his wife doesn't sit in on the speaker, but the conversation is broadcast.

he says they do the same when her family calls.

From our point of view, this is unnecessary, and there are plenty of things we would like to (and sometimes need to) talk about with DB which we wouldn't necessarily want DSISL privy to. I should hasten to add, she is a perfectly nice, normal woman and we have no problems with her. We don't even mind if he later tells her what we were talking about. This speaker phone business just seems bizarre.

From his point of view, they are one unit, and they don't keep secrets from each other.

they are both fairly young (late twenties), and have been married for two years, so some honeymoon period thing? But it also means, since we are in different countries,we don't really "know" his wife, it's not like we have a long, established relationship with her.

Thoughts? Is this normal?

WatchingFromTheWings Thu 22-Jun-17 14:28:56

My DB used to do this. You can hear it as it makes the call sound odd. I asked him to stop (as he was always with other non family members when he did it) and that I'd hang up the phone if he did it again. He did it again so I ended the call straight away. Not done it since. Didn't want a bunch of strangers listening in to a private call.

JohnLapsleyParlabane Thu 22-Jun-17 14:31:36

As long as it's his wife and only his wife, then I can't see the problem.

peachgreen Thu 22-Jun-17 14:39:45

My brother does this too with his girlfriend of 5 minutes and it drives me mad. I don't mind him telling her everything - I expect that from a couple - but that doesn't mean I want to have a threeway conversation! I hate being on speakerphone full stop.

FizzyGreenWater Thu 22-Jun-17 14:40:05

Sorry no he's got every right to decide that 'family' business involves...errr, his family.

If you then decide to keep him out of the loop on certain things because you have a different idea of where the line is drawn then of course that's your business.

He sounds smart and loyal by the way smile there's a definite edge to your post. You're a little bit possessive of your bro and your 'family identity', yes? Don't be - it's a fool's game. He's not 'your little bro' - he's primarily a man with a family of his own and he's being very sensible in not letting you and your siblings mark your territory like this.

What do you 'need' to discuss with him that she can't hear, by the way? I certainly can't think of anything in terms of 'family business'. For example, anything to do with money you would expect him to consult with her anyway etc. And you say that yourself. So it seems to be about making distinctions betwen them and the siblings wanting to demonstrate that they (you) are still a particular group. He doesn't want that, so it should be redundant.

FizzyGreenWater Thu 22-Jun-17 14:41:35

By the way, just to say that if he were fine with this and his wife too, then no problem. But for you to dislike it NOT because you feel awkward on speaker or whatever but because you are niggled that you can't cut her out when you choose to is BU.

choccybiscuit Thu 22-Jun-17 14:43:28

I woukd create a WhatsApp group for siblings only. Me and my dh both have one for our siblings so we can talk about our own parents. Very useful and everyone in the group can see what everyone else has said.

ScarlettFreestone Thu 22-Jun-17 14:45:29

To be honest, although the speaker phone thing is unusual, I wouldn't expect any our DH or my siblings to keep anything we tell them from their spouse.

DH and I don't have any secrets.

I was pretty hurt recently when my MIL said something recently was "family" business. Who am I? Some stranger off the street?

Evelight Thu 22-Jun-17 14:48:28

Well yes, unfortunately it does look like that he will be kept out of the loop for certain things because we are uncomfortable having those things discussed in the presence of his wife, whom we don't know as well as he does. As an example, last year when I was going through my divorce, he ended up being in the thick of it, and then several months down the line, when I was going through some of that over the phone with him, I was a bit ??? when I realised the conversation was being broadcast. RN, my DSIS is going through some conflictual stuff which she feels she can't share anymore with him. I guess it is natural as you say people grow up,form their own families and need to "mark" their territories, but certainly I never did that with my exH... maybe thats why he's my ex...

Evelight Thu 22-Jun-17 14:50:41

Just to be clear, we don't expect him to keep secrets, just the speaker phone is uncomfortable.

ScarlettFreestone Thu 22-Jun-17 14:51:57

Have you said that Eve?

"please take me off speaker? I don't like it, you can tell DW later"

Sirzy Thu 22-Jun-17 14:53:26

I feel sorry for his wife being left out of family things.

Evelight Thu 22-Jun-17 14:54:47

LOL, I know, but it would sound hurtful, right? If I said it out loud like that!

we once "joked" in a group online conversation that we need a code like "the sun is shining" to know when his wife is there, and he laughed it off. We all did.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 22-Jun-17 14:55:38

Maybe he is like my husband who when he comes off the phone from someone I say what were you talking about all that time and he says oh just things. Can remember one specific thing and nothing else.

Personally if you made a point of making him take it off speaker I would assume you were wanting to say something about me or exclude me.

Newjob12345 Thu 22-Jun-17 14:55:51

How irritating. My mum used to do that even when no one was around to listen. It just made the conversation feel unnatural

lanouvelleheloise Thu 22-Jun-17 14:57:05

I don't think you can dictate someone else's boundaries and privacy to them. Chances are, if they have this kind of relationship, DB would just relate everything said to the DW anyway. Some couples tell each other everything. If you don't want them both to know, don't tell them anything!

I do think that you could ask to be taken off the speaker if it's interfering with your ability to communicate or hear.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Thu 22-Jun-17 15:00:21

I would have no problem with my brother relaying everything I said on a phone call. No secrets needed.

I would have a problem with him broadcasting my phone calls as it creates an odd dynamic, you are usually having a one to one personal call, then you are not sure if you are addressing the other person too, referring to them, it's now a three way and they can be raising eyes/whispering and you wouldn't notice. It stops it being thoughtful between the two of you and becomes more of a performance.

I wouldn't insist on him removing her, I'd just say 'I feel awkward talking to the whole room, so I probably won't be on so long' and then tell him less as he can't create any dynamic of privacy.

Evelight Thu 22-Jun-17 15:00:50

Sirzy: yes, but if the family things is stuff like how my divorce is proceeding, what my lawyer said, what the next step is- stuff my DB was involved from the beginning, or even something lighter like a silly joke about our uncle or dad- I don't know that you would have to feel "sorry' for her as such. It's as if you had a best friend whom you shared a lot of stuff with, now your best friend is with a partner with whom you had minimal interaction with, and the serious conversations you had with your best friend is now broadcast to the partner. It doesn't really impact the partner in anyway as such?

Evelight Thu 22-Jun-17 15:02:21

"I would have a problem with him broadcasting my phone calls as it creates an odd dynamic, you are usually having a one to one personal call, then you are not sure if you are addressing the other person too, referring to them, it's now a three way and they can be raising eyes/whispering and you wouldn't notice. It stops it being thoughtful between the two of you and becomes more of a performance."

This is it exactly! very accurate way of putting it. It's that odd dynamic.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Thu 22-Jun-17 15:02:45

I also hate the two headed Hydra-couple who can't do anything separately. Shared email, shared lunches with them, shared everything. Every now and again, nice. Every single time, creates an imbalance in the relationship as you are one person and they are two.

Sounds like this is what he's like.

Tell him to make notes if he's so forgetful he can't remember what you said 5 minutes earlier.

luckylucky24 Thu 22-Jun-17 15:03:07

I think if he wants his wife to listen in that is fine. She will feel she isn't "part of the family" if told she cannot listen in, that's how my Grandma always made the wives of her sons feel and I feel its out of order. You say you don't mind him telling later but first you say this..
Just to be clear, we don't expect him to keep secrets, just the speaker phone is uncomfortable and then this...
we once "joked" in a group online conversation that we need a code like "the sun is shining" to know when his wife is there

terrylene Thu 22-Jun-17 15:04:38

Tell him you are uncomfortable with it, and if he keeps insisting, have a speech prepared, like of the Queen's old ones; "My husband and I............." and give a proper broadcast wink

ScarlettFreestone Thu 22-Jun-17 15:06:28

Why not just say, "we love your DW and I'm happy you share stuff with her but I don't like the speaker phone thing can we go back to normal calls?"

Tazerface Thu 22-Jun-17 15:07:03

I don't understand this at all.

My mum would be mortified if sis and I were discussing her recent issues with hysterectomy and my DH was on the call.

Sometimes family are friends as well and you just don't want to share everything. YANBU OP. I think it's strange and almost like he's trying to dilute your family ties. On the one hand it's nice he wants his wife to be included in everything; on the other it's like he has no social awareness of what other people might like or find acceptable.

ShotsFired Thu 22-Jun-17 15:09:11

I get you, even though there isn't a clear cut articulation for a specific "why".

It's like those awful shared email addresses or FB accounts. It's not that you necessarily mind Bob of BobnSue@... reading it, but you didn't send it to him because you were contacting Sue, right? If you wanted to contact them both, the message would start "Dear Bob AND Sue", not "Dear Sue".

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