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How do you adjust your feelings for someone?

(58 Posts)
HungoverLikeaSpunMoorhenChick Mon 21-Mar-16 08:09:51

This is about DBIL and I, and may be quite long - sorry!

I have known him almost as long as I have been with DH. I always thought we were good friends - except now I realise that actually, we're not. I am his friend, but I don't think he's mine.

Something happened over the weekend which has made me think - we had arranged that I would drop him off somewhere to make his life easier. Plans changed (fair enough, that happens) but he texted DH to tell him, but not me, and a lightbulb went on in my head.

I realise now that although we chat together when he visits and have a good laugh, he never asks how I am, never communicates first with me and only occasionally responds to texts/ voicemails/ emails about family stuff but responds to DH, never gives any thought to presents for me (eg he only bought my birthday present on the day, from Asda, despite us having discussed over the previous week that we would go out for lunch on my birthday as DH had to work, whereas he will spend time and effort on other people).

So, I realise that he's not actually my friend, he's just my BIL and is polite to me, but it's not a friendship. It hurts like buggery to realise this, but I can't change it, so I have to live with it.

Problem is, he visits fairly often. My current instinct (which I won't give in to!) is to tell him to fuck off and never darken my door again, but he and DS are inseparable and that would damage that relationship. And he hasn't done anything wrong. I've just made an assumption which is incorrect.

So I need to find a way to distance my feelings, apply balm to my wounded pride (why doesn't he want to be my friend!), and move on.

How can I do this?

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 21-Mar-16 08:18:45

Time and distance.

He can see DS less and still maintain the relationship, if needed. You don't need to have someone in your house (or in your house very often ) if you don't particularly want them there.

Time and distance is key.

blindsider Mon 21-Mar-16 08:28:53

Really not sure what the problem is here ? DBIL relationship is with your husband more than you. Blokes mainly think Birthdays are a lot of fuss about nothing (see how many buy each other cards/presents) I think you are being massively over sensitive - there is also the chance he wants to keep a respectful distance unless DH thinks you are getting too close.

HungoverLikeaSpunMoorhenChick Mon 21-Mar-16 08:38:28

Yep. I think I am being oversensitive, hence me asking how to deal with my feelings when I don't have the luxury of time or distance.

He pops in most days to spend time with DS (he has a stressful job and DS is particularly good as a stress toy! grin ) and DH so I can't really change that routine. I guess I can absent myself to another room though. I could use the time to get on with chores reading or MNetting and enjoy the peace!

It's just hard losing a friend - even if now I realise he wasn't a friend.

blindsider Mon 21-Mar-16 08:41:24

I am not sure why you think just because he prioritises contact with his brother over you , you assume he isn't a friend. Unless I am missing something here you have described a situation that is entirely normal. He more than likely very fond of you.

blindsider Mon 21-Mar-16 08:42:05

is he a younger brother? That would make even more sense.

IlikePercyPig Mon 21-Mar-16 08:42:50

I think you are being over sensitive, it's an entirely normal situation.

Summerlovinf Mon 21-Mar-16 08:43:53

Do you have a crush on him?

Belikethat Mon 21-Mar-16 08:45:45

I would have thought what you describe is quite typical. Does he have to be a 'friend'? I Have two bils and would never class them as friends, nor sils either although we are 'friendly.' Cant see the problem re the present either from what you say.

Belikethat Mon 21-Mar-16 08:46:38

I don't know why 'it hurts like buggery' to realise he's not really your friend. Is there more to this?

LifeIsGoodish Mon 21-Mar-16 08:47:49

Or maybe he is being incredibly cautious in his relationship to you, and respectful of his brother's feelings.

He is a member of your extended family. You get on well with him. Why not just accept the relationship on those terms?

gBean Mon 21-Mar-16 08:48:06

Agree you're being over sensitive here.

HungoverLikeaSpunMoorhenChick Mon 21-Mar-16 08:49:04

I guess because it struck me that although the agreement to drop him off was make between he and I, he decided to text DH to tell him of the change in plans. I wouldn't have known about it if DH hadn't glanced at his phone (he usually has it on silent). So I was annoyed at the discourtesy.

This led to me realising that even if I text him with a question to which I want the answer so "any thoughts on what you're buying DS for Christmas?" or "what do you want on your pizza for dinner?", he will text back to DH and not me. Or will phone DH's mobile. Or actually, just ignore the question until I get DH to chase up.

CaptainSnootyofthePoshBrigade Mon 21-Mar-16 08:49:28

This is an unnecessary drama.

Sorry, OP. flowers

blindsider Mon 21-Mar-16 08:50:58


Do you have a crush on him?

Twas my first thought too blush she is going out of her way to make his life easier but he isn't appreciating it enough by contacting her, her birthday present was only Asda bought on the day rather than fretted over for weeks so he could get her just the right thing etc. etc.

Belikethat Mon 21-Mar-16 08:52:34

He might not feel it's appropriate to be texting you about presents and what he wants for tea maybe out of respect for his brother. I would never ever text my bils or contact them unless it was through my sister or h's sister.

HungoverLikeaSpunMoorhenChick Mon 21-Mar-16 08:53:01

And hurts like buggery? Well, okay, hurts my pride and my feelings that we aren't friends when I have assumed that we were.

Yes, maybe it's a normal relationship for BIL v. SIL; I'm an only child so I guess I don't have experience of this. I suspect I mistake courtesy and laughs for friendship rather than anything else.

So I am being oversensitive and I have misread a normal situation. I get that. But after nearly 20 years, to have a lightbulb go on, it's difficult to suddenly adjust to a different mindset.

HungoverLikeaSpunMoorhenChick Mon 21-Mar-16 08:54:43

Feelings for him? Nope.

I didn't want to have him agonise over any presents, but equally it's a bit galling if someone laughs about the fact that they forgot and had to nip to Asda at 8am on the day!

Itisbetternow Mon 21-Mar-16 08:54:59

He just finds it easier to communicate with your H. No big deal. I would imagine most BILs act this way. He is part of your extended family likewise you his. Way over thinking this. Is he your H brother?

PrimalLass Mon 21-Mar-16 08:57:49

it's a bit galling if someone laughs about the fact that they forgot and had to nip to Asda at 8am on the day!

But that's perfectly normal! This does sound as though you are quite high maintenance OP.

HungoverLikeaSpunMoorhenChick Mon 21-Mar-16 09:01:41

Yes. No big deal. I said that he hasn't done anything wrong. I'm not in love with him. I just thought we were friends as well as being relations. I realise this isn't the case.

What I want is to work out how to cope with adjusting my mindset.

If I'd posted about it being a female friend who I'd realised wasn't a good friend then I suspect I'd have had different answers.

I deliberately don't want to cause drama. I don't want to change anything other than my brain so I don't think friend, I think someone I know.

I guess I won't get that help here.

DreamingofItaly Mon 21-Mar-16 09:05:52

I think I'd be hurt too. Why would he reply to H rather than you? It's more difficult to go open new text etc. than just reply there and then.

Maybe he's got a crush on you and feels that if he communicates directly with you that could come out?

My suggestion would be to stop trying. Let H ask him about birthdays, Christmas etc and see what happens.

AnotherEmma Mon 21-Mar-16 09:10:46

Bloody hell. These replies are very AIBU. This is Relationships, people!

FWIW OP I don't think you're being oversensitive at all. It's strange and rude that he doesn't reply to you directly about arrangements between the two of you and things you've contacted him about. I would be tempted to ask him why he always contacts DH and never you, even if the message is actually for you. He comes to see your son EVERY DAY, he could at least have the courtesy to show a bit of respect you by treating you as a person in your own right and not just his brother's wife.

I don't think you should have lunch with him on your birthday. Have lunch with someone who actually cares about you!

Do you have many friends? I'm just wondering if you don't and if that might be why you feel hurt by BIL. (My SIL annoys me sometimes but it doesn't bother me because I have plenty of friends that I much prefer hanging out with!)

As for the daily visits, I suggest you gradually cut those down a bit. Talk to DH about it and see if he will talk to his brother. You might have to think of an excuse! You could make some positive suggestions, for example BIL could take DS out for a special uncle/nephew outing or activity once or twice a week... That will hopefully be better received that just "I don't want you coming to my house so much --you rude bastard--" grin

AnotherEmma Mon 21-Mar-16 09:15:58

Cross post. I agree with Dreaming about letting DH make the effort with his brother from now on. Let DH make the arrangements, get birthday and Christmas presents for him, etc.

HungoverLikeaSpunMoorhenChick Mon 21-Mar-16 09:19:54

No, you're right. We moved just under a year ago, and I don't have many friends down here. Lots of school gate friends, but no one I can talk to about stuff. Hence me asking here.

I can't reduce BIL's visits (at least at the moment) as it would hurt DS - he's been quite unsettled by the move too, he misses his old friends who he saw almost daily, he wants a sibling (never going to happen) or a pet (also no), and so BIL is a happy constant for him. It is getting better, but DS will always come before me - especially as it's my issue and just me being "high maintenance".

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