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AIBU to carry on buying for my step-niece

(26 Posts)
GeekyBlinders Tue 23-Jan-18 12:05:04

I have a 3 year old son. My brother died the year before he was born, and his widow has never met him, shown any interest in him or sent him presents. My brother had a daughter and a slightly older stepdaughter, whom I have always treated as a niece, seeing the family regularly when the girls were little (I moved away before my brother died, so haven't seen them much since then). I still buy birthday and Christmas presents for both girls, of roughly equally value, but my brother's widow has told my dad that she has no interest in my son, won't be buying for him ever and feels no connection with him, and that I shouldn't buy for my step-niece either. I don't feel I should stop - although I don't really see my step-niece any more as I live so far away, I saw her a lot when she was a little girl and she knew me as her auntie. She's 12 now, and my blood-niece is 10.

So... AIBU to carry on sending presents? And AIBU to feel a bit hurt at what her mum said about feeling nothing for my son? I know my brother would hate her attitude, we were very close but to be honest I never got on especially well with his wife so perhaps that's why.

GeekyBlinders Tue 23-Jan-18 12:07:18

Just to add, my DP (DS's dad) and my dad both think I shouldn't send presents to my step-niece any more.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Tue 23-Jan-18 12:12:38

I would stop sending to both her children. She doesn’t want a relationship. The children don’t have a relationship with you or your son. Just let it go. She has made her feelings clear.

Blackteadrinker77 Tue 23-Jan-18 12:13:03

Do you see your niece and step niece?

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Tue 23-Jan-18 12:14:29

I certainly wouldn’t send presents just for one child. That would be very cruel. It would be both or neither.

AnaisB Tue 23-Jan-18 12:15:29

I think I’d carry on sending gifts and maybe try and see them occasionally too. You are a connection to their dad and stepdad.

GeekyBlinders Tue 23-Jan-18 12:15:38

I see my niece a couple of times a year, via my dad, who sees her regularly. I haven't been home since my brother died - my mum died two years before he did and I can't go back there. So sometimes my dad brings her to stay with us. I can't stop buying for my niece, it's bad enough that I'm not active in her life. Plus she's my much-beloved much-missed brother's daughter.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 23-Jan-18 12:16:28

I would either send to both or neither but I wouldn't just stop for one.

Perhaps say that you intend to carry on buying until they are 16. Also just because she doesn't want to be interested in your child does not mean you don't have to be interested in your DB's children. If he considered his SD as much his as his own I would carry on for both.

Such a pity she has taken this stance. Has she got a new partner who does not want the connection?

Didntcomeheretofuckspiders Tue 23-Jan-18 12:17:10

I think it’s really kind of you to send gifts and that it’s very sad that your (ex)SIL doesn’t want anything to do with you or your son. Does she expect you to send gifts for your blood niece but not the step niece? That sounds really unfair! I would either send gifts for both or neither. Personally I’d probably keep sending them at least a card so they know that you are there if you need them, even if their mother isn’t interested.

GeekyBlinders Tue 23-Jan-18 12:17:15

Donny, that's one of my main reasons still to send to my step-niece. She's not responsible for her mum's attitude, and it would be cruel to leave her out. I should add that they have a much older sister (aged 23) who I stopped buying for when she was 21.

EggsonHeads Tue 23-Jan-18 12:20:05

You are the gift giver so you can choose who to send gifts to. If she doesn't like it she should just say thanks and do atecthe gifts to charity.

GeekyBlinders Tue 23-Jan-18 12:20:23

She does have a new partner - my dad says he's nice though, so I don't know if it's his doing.

This is actually making me cry a bit. I'm so sad that my brother isn't in my son's life and I feel so guilty that I effectively abandoned my niece because I couldn't cope after my mum and brother died.

Blackteadrinker77 Tue 23-Jan-18 12:21:43

Then I wouldn't stop.

Only seeing your niece twice a year is rough. Can you maybe skype now she's older?

Sprinklestar Tue 23-Jan-18 12:25:31

I would continue to send to both and let them know somehow that you’re always there for them.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Tue 23-Jan-18 12:26:48

In that case I would carry on sending to both. I would give them to your dad to give to make sure they both get them. I would trust SIL to hand them over tbh.

Whambarsarentasfizzyastheywere Tue 23-Jan-18 12:30:52

You can't really blame her for feeling nothing for your son. She never sees him as you don't visit.

I don't think there's anything wrong with her attitude if I'm honest. For your own reasons you can't visit, she had had to deal with brining up the girls after losing her husband and maybe feels as though you haven't been there for them so what's the point in sending presents?

You're not wrong to not visit for the reasons you stated but you also can't expect her to think of you as family either.

It's just one of those situations where everyone has their own struggles, everyone is a little selfish, but nobody is really wrong.

GabriellaMontez Tue 23-Jan-18 12:34:51

Your son is her daughters cousin. That is certainly a connection and one they may wish to maintain.

So I think you're right to continue sending gifts to both.

At 12 your niece is old enough to understand.

If the step niece chooses to pass on the gifts that's Ok too.

It's broadly fair. And you're hardly stalking them.

Sounds a very sad situation sorry for your losses. I feel your gifts are a kind, harmless gesture in this context. Perhaps they're upsetting to the Mum? Still seems like the right way to treat your niece and her ssibling.

HildaZelda Tue 23-Jan-18 12:36:11

I would either send to both or none, but I think it would be very unfair to stop sending to just one.

WeAllHaveWings Tue 23-Jan-18 12:50:35

as you see your niece I think its ok to send presents, but would not expect anything back for my dc as your ex-sil has no relationship to your son and its completely reasonable for her not to send him anything.

the step niece is a harder decision, but I get she gets presents from her own dads family so it would be ok to stop and her mum has already said its ok.

daisychain01 Tue 23-Jan-18 12:52:12

Do you know why your SIL is being so mean to you? Did you get on with her when your DBro was alive or was she prickly then as she is now.

It's very poignant when a death has a seismic effect on relationship dynamics. Sometimes it's an emotional response to loss eg anger, wish to isolate oneself from the pain and reminders that come from losing a loved one.

It doesn't sound like you have had any actual direct communication with DBro's widow, could that be possible, to try and move things forward or is it out of the question due to a back story?

GeekyBlinders Tue 23-Jan-18 13:00:30

There is back story. We were always civil to each other but she never much liked me, I think she was a little jealous of our friendship. She messed my brother around quite a lot at the beginning of their relationship and I wasn't keen on her because of that. She definitely didn't feel that I was supportive enough after my brother died - in fact she sent me a message saying as much using his Facebook account, as though he'd sent it. I sent her a card in response apologising for not being there enough but saying I was struggling too. We occasionally texted in the first couple of years after my brother died but not in the last couple of years. I think she felt I'd just shrugged off his death but in fact I basically had a nervous breakdown and had to spend a lot of time in therapy, and I'm still not really ok (not helped by PND). And she had two little girls to raise alone (though her mum and sister both live close by and my dad was always around so she wasn't completely without support.)

I don't really think that she's being unreasonable not to buy for my son, but it does upset me.

GeekyBlinders Tue 23-Jan-18 13:09:27

What upsets me is that he doesn't have an uncle who cares about him. Well, he does, he has my DP's brother. But I wish my brother was still there to show an interest in him.

PinkHeart5914 Tue 23-Jan-18 13:14:36

I wouldn’t stop sending, One of her children is OP niece! Ok so sadly op brother isn’t here but I’d still be bothering my niece.

So I’d continue to send to the step niece as I think sending to one child and not the other is a bit mean

Allthewaves Tue 23-Jan-18 13:24:13

My parents estranged from a relative but relative always sent me presents and mum let me received them. I lived my aunties pressies as they were great but I was never going to see her as she lived in different country too.

Could u write a letter to ex sil and say that would like to continue presents and you don't expect any reciprocation.

ColdBlue Tue 23-Jan-18 13:29:33

I personally don't see the point in buying things just for the sake of it for children you barely have anything to do with. It's so meaningless.

Make an effort and call them, get to know them, that would probably be appreciated more.

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