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Siblings- how well do you get on with yours (honestly)?

(45 Posts)
ApplesandPears2 Tue 17-Nov-15 08:36:01

Have I an unrealistic view of how it should be?
I come from a small family - just me, my brother and parents. We don't have many relatives- all my parents' relatives have died.
My brother is younger than me and we don't live near each other.I'm becoming more and more disappointed by his lack of interest in my kids (who are now adults.) He is unmarried, never had a relationship beyond 6 months with anyone (they dumped him) and he doesn't appear now to want a relationship (he's almost 50). When my kids were younger he did send them the odd Xmas and birthday voucher but once they were a bit slow to thank him (typical teenagers and I didn't approve) so he stopped. They continue to send him a Xmas card. He doesn't give my DH anything at Xmas - only buys for me- and never ever visits us (he did once or twice when my kids were younger and hid behind his magazines he'd brought with him, barely talking to them.)

The thing is, when he and I were kids at home, our house was full of our relatives- aunts, uncles, grandparents - and we were a close family. I feel disappointed that he's made no effort whatsoever to create any kind of relationship with my kids because he is their only uncle in the UK (their other one lives half way across the world and has emigrated.)

I'm just ranting really, but it's come to the fore in my mind lately as both my DCs have had fairly major changes / events in their lives and he's not shown a jot of real interest.

Nicegreenhandbag Tue 17-Nov-15 08:45:33

I know the feeling. You want a happy, communicative family that involves your brother. He's on his own, hasn't had the grown up family life of his own and has moved on from your childhood family. He probably doesn't mean much by it if I'm right. He's like many single blokes of his age, just probably not too fussed about Christmas?
I wouldn't worry too much. Involve him as much as you/he wants and enjoy the rest.

Seeyounearertime Tue 17-Nov-15 08:47:02

One brother dead from drug abuse.
One brother inhavemt seen in 5 years due to no real reason, drifted apart, lack of contact etc.
One brother I haven't seen in over a year, totally selfish dick, makes no effort to see me or his Niece even though he passes our door 5 days a week to go to work. Moans we don't take our DD to his, he'd have a point if it wasn't for the fact he lives 30 mins away by car and we don't drive. He and his wife both smoke endlessly and we don't want DD I that atmosphere, he has big unruly dogs and 3 feral cats.
My Mum we see every week.
Niece and nephew we see regularly

Aunts, uncles and cousins are little more that names on Facebook.

That's about our family, well my side any way.

Preciousxbane Tue 17-Nov-15 08:51:15

I have 5 siblings, 2 bother with my DS and the other 3 don't. He is considerably younger than all the cousins in the family as he is 14 and the next youngest cousin is almost 30 so I do wonder if this has any bearing.

DH has a sister who has no dc and is single, she doesn't bother with DS either and is probably more akin to your DB. I don't like my SIL she took a photo of DH and I stood at our babies graveside when we were burying him and had explicitly requested no graveside photos. So it's no great loss. I do probably need to write a thread about my appalling relationship with her.

OhNoWhatAmIGoingToDoNow Tue 17-Nov-15 08:52:12

I'm 1 of 8. None of my siblings have ever visited my home, despite being invited many times. I see them every few years at family gatherings. No great fall out, they're just not interested. Apart from the eldest who fell out with my dad when I was little and has been no contact ever since. I haven't seen him for 40 years.

Lolly86 Tue 17-Nov-15 08:54:04

2 brothers one older one younger both see my DD v regularly and pay her lots of attention. We are in contact daily/weekly

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 17-Nov-15 08:58:23

Unfortunately you cannot make a person interested particularly if their life is very much different from your own. Your description of your brother is very much like my own; he is also younger, childfree and resolutely single.
We get along ok when we do all meet but we do not see each other very often.

CMOTDibbler Tue 17-Nov-15 08:59:38

I have a brother (married, 3 year old and new baby) who I only communicate with if there is a life threatening issue with our parents. No cards or presents exchanged.

DH has 2 brothers. They get on, but we haven't seen one brother/his wife since last Christmas, the other since May. They live less than 40 minutes away. Presents are exchanged at christmas, but they aren't interested in ds at all (all their children are between 11 and 15 years older than ds). BIL2s partner did buy a birthday cake for ds when we saw them and I nearly cried as it was the first time in all his 9 years that any family member had done anything for his birthday past a card.

nokidshere Tue 17-Nov-15 09:12:16

I'm one of 6 girls. We had a traumatic childhood and ended up in care. We are friendly now on a day to day basis. We keep in touch via social media mainly and see each other (some more than others) a few times a year. We are all in our 50's now and they had their children (13 in total) in their teens and 20's whilst didn't have mine until I was 40 due to fertility problems. So my oldest is 17 and the youngest of their cousins is early 30's.

On DH's side their is just dh and his mum.

I do sometimes wish we were closer and that my boys had more large family contact. I have an idealistic view of us all being together and doing lots of family things, but it's just a fleeting thought now and again.

It's not that anyone has fallen out, just that circumstances have made us a bit disjointed.

Ragwort Tue 17-Nov-15 09:22:22

I have two DBs and one of them sound's a bit like your's OP - he is late 50s, never married, doesn't make a huge effort to get involved in 'family stuff' but to be honest I envy him his single life grin. We do keep in touch and meet up 3-4 times a year, we stay in his house for free holidays at is very comfortable but we are not 'close' in any sense. I don't see much more of my other DB & his family either to be honest.

Although we were all bought up the same we are incredibly different individuals and just don't have much in common (particularly politics grin).

DH is the same with his family - I think the expression 'you can choose your friends but not your family' is very true.

KeyserSophie Tue 17-Nov-15 09:27:11

I've got one sister who's less than 18 months younger than me. Growing up we played together a lot but also fought like cat and dog- must've driven my mum insane. As adults we've had ups and downs (classic territorial disputes I guess) but now we get on pretty well- probably whatsapp every few days, comment on each other's FB and see her every other week or so. She's very engaged with my DC (she likes kids- pre-school teacher grin). Quite different lives- I've got two young DC, she's single but has an active social life, but I guess we are relatively close. DH is close to his siblings and I get on well with his sister and his brother's wife. We live overseas but make a big effort to catch up when we're back as I do want the DC to know their cousins as they wont have any on my side.

Looking round my friends there's a massive variation. I'd say I'm in the middle. I know people who are bff with their siblings and people who wouldnt piss on them if thery were on fire.

Buttons23 Tue 17-Nov-15 09:33:05

I have a sister 2 years younger who I speak to often, we then see each other every couple of months. We don't live very near each other. We are fairly close.

My brother is 7 years younger and is like my best friend. We are so alike and I was always watching him when he was younger. We speak all the time, usually see each other often. Although lately both myself and our mother joke he has fallen off the earth since no one has seen him for a while. At 16 he is now busy with collage work, girls, friends and more girls. His sister and mum are less interesting to him

TillITookAnArrowToTheKnee Tue 17-Nov-15 09:33:04

I have 4 sisters.

Im NC with 1 (toxic narc, very dangerous ideas that she spouts constantly - think raw vegan anti vaxxer angry ) Shes 2 years younger than me.

Sister whos 5 years younger is like my best friend. She winds me at times but we do get on very well and I adore my DNeph.

Next sisters down are twins and 10 years younger than me - teenagers. We arent close but they are hilarious and I really enjoy their company.

oreally Tue 17-Nov-15 09:33:09

My brother is very disinterested in family life - no kids, turns up to family events reluctantly, doesn't make an effort with presents/cards etc. He travels a lot and works long hours so simply doesn't have time. I have two sisters as well, and we all have dc so are more involved in family life and my dc have a good relationship with their cousins.

Tbh I don't blame my brother, I would probably be the same if I was childless. I don't think I'd be so invested in my nieces/nephews if it wasn't for my dc either. I don't have that much in common with any of my siblings and probably wouldn't spend that much time with them if we weren't related, but I have a sense of loyalty to them and feel I have to make an effort for my dc's sake.

tinyme135 Tue 17-Nov-15 09:49:39

me and my brother are really close. I've moved out from our parents home 2 months ago and since then he's constantly texting me and trying to plan days out even though I'm 8 months pregnant haha. he keeps asking if he can move in with me and my DP as it's not the same without me. I don't know how I'd cope if I didn't have my brother so close to me so I'm sorry to hear what you're going through

ApplesandPears2 Tue 17-Nov-15 09:50:46

It's a relief to hear that I'm not the only one then.

When I was a child, my mum's family were always around- my gran came weekly, my great aunts and uncles visited often, we all went out for family picnics etc when I was a child, and after I'd left home my brother went on family hols with his uncle (my mum's brother) and cousin.

My brother has made no effort at all to have any relationship with my kids even though he is also a godparent to one.

I suppose it's not just 'us' though. He has no friends really, anyway.

But- his choice. He has never visited us for around 10 years so the only time we meet is when I travel to see our parents.

Namechangerrrrr Tue 17-Nov-15 09:52:59


(regular poster; namechanged for obv reasons)

I am on the other side of almost exactly the same relationship you describe. This is my perspective from the other side.

I have one brother and as a child and well into early adulthood we were very close - both as a family and my brother and I. Just the two of us siblings. I am divorced single and have no children.

He married a woman who I really dislike. I can barely speak about it as I find it so devastating. My brother knows I'm not a fan but I've never told him how much I hate her. She has isolated him very cleverly. They have two young children. I have very little involvement in their lives because

- seeing them involves seeing her and I hate being in her company. I can just about tolerate essential family events (Christmas/bdays) but my potential interest in the children isn't enough to make me choose to be voluntarily in her company.
- I can't see the point. She (And her dreadful mother) are the primary carers for these children. They will inevitably grow up in their mold - mannerless, avaracious and unpleasant. Me seeing them occasionally will have no influence. I feel sorry for the kids and my brother but they are where they are.
- my brother never really made a proper effort to bridge the widening gulf between us that arose due to his wife. This in turn makes me feel "why should I bother with him and his kids; he's not bothered about me". I used to feel my brother loved me and was my biggest supporter. Now I feel like he doesn't even like me.

I live in hope they get divorced.

Namechangerrrrr Tue 17-Nov-15 09:57:24

also these children are half of a person I hate. I know all the stuff about sins of the father and so on. But it isn't that surprising if you really don't like one of the parents, that you don't look at the children and feel a rush of love. Even if the other parent is your brother who you do love. It's hard to get past that revulsion to the mother.

ApplesandPears2 Tue 17-Nov-15 10:13:46

That's really sad name and I do understand. But in a way, it somehow feels 'okay' to react as you do. You have a reason. My dad had a huge falling out with his siblings when their mum died (and how they behaved once she'd died) and never spoke to them again. So I have had no contact with them since I was a teenager.

But what saddens me about my brother is that he comes from a close and caring family, yet has no desire to create that for himself by forming relationships with my children, my DH ( who is the most affable and pleasant person on the planet) . my DB has gone as far as ruling out any woman who might happen to meet in future who has a child even if they are adults and not living at home. Low emotional capacity or what? Dunno.

Namechangerrrrr Tue 17-Nov-15 10:29:42

But what saddens me about my brother is that he comes from a close and caring family, yet has no desire to create that for himself by forming relationships with my children, my DH ( who is the most affable and pleasant person on the planet)

My brother would probably say the same about me thought Apples. Our family was very very close before he got married.

He would no doubt say about his wife "she's the most affable and pleasant person on the planet". I'm sure he does think that or similar. But I find her repellent - he doesn't know how strongly I feel.

It's possible your brother doesn't like your DH either. It's possible he just doesn't like children, any children.
I don't think the fact people like or are interested in different things mean they necessarily have low emotional capacity.

I am v. emotional but prefer to be single - I get to do what i want when. Don't have to put up with the tedium of a relationships - his annoying friends/in laws and so on.

But like you what makes me sad is that there has been a big shift in our family. We were very close and now my brother is not part of that closeness any more.

Bigbadmamma Tue 17-Nov-15 10:31:41

My brother hasn't even acknowledge that DS has been born. We are now NC. He is a selfish arsehole to put it nicely!

SleepyForest Tue 17-Nov-15 10:35:21

I absolutely love my two sisters in law, they are fabulous people and we see each other often, our kids are very close. I love my brother but we are locked in sibling rivalry which makes me behave badly at times, my fault mostly but it does make things complicated.

I find it difficult to talk to my sister, she had therapy which gave her very strange memories of her childhood which don't agree with my own memories. She is very closed off and we have practically nothing in common. It is sad because she was my baby (eight years younger) and I feel I lost her when I left home when she was ten.

ApplesandPears2 Tue 17-Nov-15 10:39:56

I can say with 99.9 % certainty name that there is no issue between my DH and my DB- none at all.

My brother doesn't like change, he doesn't take risks, meeting someone as a potential partner who has children would mean he'd have to make changes and be more generous with his emotions, his caring and his time. He has chosen not to do that.

RiceCrispieTreats Tue 17-Nov-15 11:05:41

You are being unrealistic if you expect your DB to be anything other than the person he is, yes.

You may want a different DB, but this DB is the one you have. Now it's up to you to choose how much you want to contact him, and what thoughts you want to have about him.

Thinking "Oh, there goes DB being DB again" is a LOT easier on BOTH of you than thinking "Grr, why can't he fucking behave the way I want him to behave?"

Namechangerrrrr Tue 17-Nov-15 11:30:21

meeting someone as a potential partner who has children would mean he'd have to make changes and be more generous with his emotions, his caring and his time. He has chosen not to do that.

So what? That's a rational choice. There are plenty of people who don't want children of their own at all - let alone deal with other peoples children. A life with a partner with no children means way more freedom to go to Paris at the drop of a hat; way more disposable income; way more uninhibted sex and no tedium of the school run and so on. For a lot of people it's a better, more fun and more fulfilling way of life.

That's a different point though. I thought your issue was that he wasn't interested in YOUR children and your relationship with him.

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