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Brother really upset me - how do I move on?(45 Posts)
I've generally got a good relationship with my brother although he's retreated quite a lot (from everyone apart from his wife I think) over the last few years. His wife and I get on really well. A couple of years ago, DH and I had a very short & sweet registry office wedding, just with my parents and DS1 and DS2 as witnesses. We wanted to be legally married but not celebrate this. At the actual time we had the legal ceremony, DS2 was 4 months old, I had leaky boobs, and we have never wanted the legal bit to be part of our celebration.
Instead we decided to have a big party celebration of our whole relationship and kids, as a 'wedding party', which we're having next year (also as we'll have saved up by then and DSs will be 2 and 4 so a bit older.) Explained all this to my family at the time and everyone seemed happy and excited.
This weekend, I asked my brother and SIL if they would play a role in our celebration and they agreed and seemed happy and excited. We carried on having a conversation about the music, readings and so on that we'd like. My brother then started, quite angrily and obviously upset, to say we can't have our cake and eat it, can't have a legal civil wedding and then another party where we do music, readings, speeches etc. Our party won't mean anything to him. As far as he's concerned we got married two years ago and he was denied the opportunity to be part of that. Next year means nothing to him and he's angry.
I'm really sorry he's upset and angry but I feel devestated. I want the chance to have our day as we want it and to feel supported by friends and family. It's important to me that my brother is part of it. I'm sorry he's angry and this is the first I knew of it. I feel really rocked. Everytime I think of our plans for next year, it makes me well up. What do I do?
I can see your point. And I can see his.
I can understand you wanting a quiet 'wedding' to tie up the legal loose ends with none of the fanfare. I can also see his point that a party eons after a wedding just has nothing to do with a wedding at all and it is just a party. If they were done closer together, or perhaps if you had married abroad and arranged a reception for when you came back, that would be in the realms of 'normal'.
But to have a wedding party 4 years after the legal wedding? I can see his point.
Oh dear. Sounds like he was really put out not to be part of your original wedding. To be honest, we did something similar, but invited only immediate family, so both sets of parents, my brother and sister and her partner and kids and my sister in law. It was really small and we then went out for a meal. I was pregnant and didn't want a big fuss, but feel a bit sad that we didn't make more of it at the time, so I do think that your big party celebration is a lovely idea. Is your brother the only sibling? I would talk to him and explain why your ceremony was so small, and apologise for the fact he felt left out. And emphasise how important it is to you that he is part of your party.
Invite your brother as a guest but don't make him take some bigger part in your big party. I have some experience of this myself after my own DB got married in Vegas a few years ago. I'm sure it wasn't done maliciously but we have a very small immediate family, our DF is not in the best of health, I had a small DS & no money and, by making the choice he did to get married overseas, he managed to exclude all of us. They had a celebration party a few months later back in the UK which we attended but - if it had been a traditional wedding - it felt like we were only invited to the reception and not the ceremony. Very hurtful
So invite your brother and enjoy your party but don't expect him to share your enthusiasm.
Obviously he felt hurt & excluded that he wasn't included in the registry office wedding.
Is the wedding party something you've always talked about or something that is news to him?
I think if you can, you should try to talk to him again, explaining what you've said here. Hopefully in time he can put aside his hurt and get involved with your celebration next year.
It sounds like your brother felt excluded from the actual wedding , I can see his point , would it really have been that much more difficult to invite parents and siblings- it could still have been a small do with no frills . Are your DHs family ok with what you did? Could you not renew your vows at the ' party' so that its more of a wedding and less of a party and that may sort your brother out .
Thanks for your replies. I am doing my best to see it from his point of view. The celebration is 2 years on from the wedding itself, and when we did get married, we explained to everyone that this was how we wanted to do it. We set the date for the wedding celebration then as well. We asked everyone if they were happy with it and they said yes (including my brother). I have a sister too, and she's fine about it. It's only now that my brother has started saying that actually he's really upset. I completely understand that he's upset and feels excluded. I just wish two things - one is that he'd said something at the time because what can we do now to change it? and the second thing is that he feels unable to support our choices, and be happy for us. There are many things about his own wedding that I wouldn't have chosen but I would never have dreamed of being angry about it in front of him.
I just feel so sad.
Well if you asked him at the time and he said he was happy just let him get on with it , invite him and let him be as involved as he wants but don't put up with any silliness . If he had a problem he should have said something 2 yrs ago .
Floralnomad - we did ask parents and siblings if they wanted to come to the registry office but made it clear that for us it wasn't a big do. My parents came, my sister said she wasn't bothered and (at the time) my brother and SIL said the same thing. DH's parents are not that bothered about any of it. Didn't want to come to the registry office but will come to the celebration. DH's only brother is sadly not alive any more.
We have written our own vows which we are going to do at the party, and are planning a whole ceremony at the party which will be the important and meaningful thing to us (much more important than saying the civil wording, to us).
So the party itself is the time when we're planning to do and say all the things that matter to us.
He said nothing at the time out of politeness, I expect. Same as I've never said anything to my DB about the Vegas thing. But, two years on, he's had chance to think and 'not saying anything' has clearly led to some resentment. You said you were all excited about music and readings and so forth.... it's boring enough at the best of times when others share their wedding plans, I expect he just snapped
Oh, if it's always been the plan, then he isn't being very fair by kicking up a fuss now. Hopefully having had his rant, he'll come round?
Sorry, but I'm with your brother on this. To me your party is a bit pointless, really. He's obviously tried to deal with it, but it got too much for him and he let his frustrations out. He's probably not overjoyed that he came out with it the way he did, but at least you know how he feels about it.
What is this party actually in aid of? The marriage? Clearly not, that's just a legal thing. Your commitment to each other? I would hope you had done that before you had children. If you are celebrating your 'family' maybe you could make it a re-commitment, or a blessing, or something like that. I wouldn't go around calling it a wedding party.
I'm sure it was boring for him and I can understand that he snapped. I spent hours going through his own music and readings with him, and even longer going through his photos after the event with them both, organised SIL's hen night and paid for their flat to be redecorated whilst they went on honeymoon.....but there you go. I won't say any of that to him and won't expect any enthusiasm from him.
He obviously is very resentful and as you say Cogito it's brewed up over the last two years. I'll try to lower my expectations and just move on. Thanks for your help.
I'm really sorry he's upset and angry but I feel devestated. I want the chance to have our day as we want it and to feel supported by friends and family. It's important to me that my brother is part of it. I'm sorry he's angry and this is the first I knew of it.
Tell him this.
You are entitled to have planned your ceremony + celebration according to your desires, and he is entitled to feel that he has been excluded from the "real deal". He doesn't have to be swayed to see it the way you see it: his feelings are his own. All you can do is apologise for having unknowingly hurt him, and then move on, and hope he does too.
See, people like weddings, no matter how small or personal. To close family, generally, they are significant. So even though you extended the offer for everyone to come to the registry office, you probably gave out the vibe that it was no big deal.
I admit I'm a traditionalist; there are set vows, set procedures for christenings, weddings, funerals etc and I don't like deviation from that. But that's me and I would never vocalise that to people who choose to deviate and have more personalised services for those things.
But could that also be the way your brother is feeling?
Yes Ophelia that's definitely how he's feeling. He likes things to be very traditional with no deviation. He finds that comforting. I find that incredibly restrictive and isolating - it makes me feel like it's nothing to do with me and I end up feeling quite lost, iykwim. So we're just very very different like that. I would never say to someone that I don't agree with the way they're doing it, but he has. So I just have to accept our differences like that.
Very good point HotDAMN that "his feelings are his own". He can feel like that. I can feel like I do.
We'll go for a walk, I'll buy him a beer and tell him I love him and I'm sorry he felt excluded. He can feel like that. But I will also feel happy about my choices and hope he can feel happy for me too.
I was interested that you said 'although he's retreated quite a lot'. Do you mean he's become more introvert?
I was just wondering whether the big party celebration, especially if you'd like him to do a public reading or something, would be too much for him, too public?
Is it possible that he has other horrible stuff going on at the moment?
I threw my toys out of the pram over my DN's christening many years back. With hindsight this had nothing to do with the christening and everything to do with other 'issues' that the christening brought up.
Quietlysuggests - I am doing my very best to see it from his point of view and that of course he's entitled to his feelings.
I don't think I'll claim that I'm insane or did something wrong.
I'll try not to feel that I'm ODD.
"We have written our own vows which we are going to do at the party, and are planning a whole ceremony at the party which will be the important and meaningful thing to us "
Isn't this all a bit like those icky 'renewal of vows' things so many people are going for these days? Together ages and then think what people would like more than anything is to sit through some schmaltzy, unnecessary, self-indulgent love-fest... and buy new outfits, hotel rooms and gifts for the occasion? I hear 'own vows' and get the urge reach for my service revolver...
Cogito - I hope it's not like that. We've never said any vows in front of everyone which is why we'd like to.
I'm feeling very worried about the whole thing now. The last thing I want is for everyone to come to something they'd hate. Oh dear.
cognito has hit the nail on the head I'm afraid. A lot of people will see it as an indulgence. Worst one of those I went to was: the baby was born, they
had the honeymoon got married abroad, then had a big party/reception with "baby naming". It was very out of the natural order of things . Gret party - but just don't expect me to buy into a false wedding and christening. baby naming my arse
I can see your DB's PoV, TBH...
My DH and I married in Vegas. No other person present, because of family situations at home. Too many worries about who would / could come etc.,
We have never mentioned our wedding before or after.
We didn't tell anyone either. No presents were asked for or given.
I can imagine if I told people I was going to have a party now (and we are talking the same timings / ages as you) I would not be greeted with 'what a great idea'.
'we did ask parents and siblings if they wanted to come to the registry office... my sister said she wasn't bothered and (at the time) my brother and SIL said the same thing'
He wasn't excluded at all, they both decided they weren't bothered, so it's a bit late on in the day to be kicking off at you now OP.
Of course he's entitled to feel however he wants about the party, he can choose to go or not go, be involved or just sit and enjoy spending time with his wider family.
But it's unreasonable of him to try and make you feel shit for the decision you and your DH took about how you wanted to get married - nothing to do with him.
When you say he withdrew from the family apart from his wife, are you suggesting you think she might play more than a bit part in isolating him from his family? If not, what do you think was going on?
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