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Defending the indefensible or am I being too harsh?

(22 Posts)
Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 08:00:41

Bit of an essay sorry!

My brother has recently had an affair, separated from his wife and left the family home to move in with the OW. He had two very young dcs with his stbxw. One was still a baby when he left.

For background, I think my brother has some (undiagnosed?) MH issues. He has shown quite worrying signs of wanting to harm himself over the years. He tends to mess things up; dropped out of university, lost or quit a series of jobs in spectacular circumstances. Ditto relationships. He has had to be bailed out of some very sticky legal and financial situations over the years. Tbf, he has been a lot more steady in his current job. Has been there a number of years and seems to do well there. But stbxw, I think, covered the majority of the bills when they were together. All their financial stuff is going through the courts now I think, so he will hopefully be paying support, but I honestly have no idea.

My brother doesn’t really stay in touch with anyone except my dad, whose house he uses to see his dcs, (because I think, stbxw doesn’t like them going to his house with ow and ow doesn’t like him going to stbxw’s house) and he has been like that forever; not good at staying in touch. Even my dad complains that he just shows up with no warning, makes a big mess in the house and then buggers off again when he doesn’t need the house anymore. Other than that he never hears from him apparently, but maybe that’s not totally accurate and just dad being a bit miffed. I haven’t seen my brother, except by bumping into him, for about 6 months. The only way we see DNephews is through stbxw.

Anyway, I am not impressed with him atm. I don’t rant about him or slag him off, but my dad keeps trying to argue the case that he has done the right thing. OW is so wonderful, kind and beautiful that he must be doing something right. He’s just wonderful with the children, a great dad, spends most of his weekends off (he gets I think one or two weekends off a month), with them etc. Brother has just a been on an exotic holiday with ow and dad thinks this is great and “he must be doing something right to have been sunning himself in the Caribbean with his gorgeous girlfriend”. This is making me a bit annoyed and I admit that I did end up arguing back last night that I basically think he’s been incredibly selfish and destructive. Dad got a bit defensive and says I’m being too harsh.

I actually said that I think my brother is lacking in morals but is very charming, intelligent and likeable, which is why I think he manages to get by well in life. Dad thinks that’s harsh and that there’s more to him than that.

I’m a bit down about the whole thing tbh and really feel disconnected from my dad as well as my brother now. Would love advice.

Piratesandpants Sun 12-Nov-17 08:04:04

Your brother sounds awful and you know he is. For the sake of DN give him a good talking to. Then leave it.

AuntieStella Sun 12-Nov-17 08:20:39

It sounds as if your DBro is charming, good company etc. But has no staying power/resilience/determination (string of jobs, failed relationships, needing regular bail outs).

I think your XSIL is right to keep the DC away from OW for now (she's probably not expecting it to last, but if it does they can be introduced a bit later when durability seems a bit more likely).

It's understandable that your DDad wants to find a positive needle in this haystack of flakiness. And wants to support your DBro (practically in facilitating contact with DC, and in finding a positive narrative, even though it sounds as if that has become over-optimistic).

I think you're doing the right thing in maintaining your own relationship with your DNs and their mother.

You've said your piece to your DDad, and I don't think there's anything else you can actually do. Can you maintain your part of the status quo? It must feel really difficult to be torn between family ties and seeming to 'reward' flakiness, but a holding pattern might be the only sensible thing.

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 08:22:06

I’m not impressed with my brother. If I ever actually saw him I might be able to talk to him about the whole situation and what he’s done, but he’s so evasive and just a wanders off of he doesn’t like where a conversation is going. And anyway, I don’t want to talk to him. I’m too annoyed.

But my dad hasn’t done anything ‘wrong’ except to defend him. But it’s getting to me and that’s what’s upsetting. I can live with not seeing much of my brother tbh, but I don’t want to fall out with my dad over it.

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 08:23:41

Thanks x post.

I think I’ll just not discuss him with dad anymore. I’ve had to make the same agreement with another relative who is ready to kill him (brother) and I can’t take the ranting from that side anymore either tbh.

Angrybird123 Sun 12-Nov-17 08:37:28

He is not doing something right by spending 4 days (I'm guessing not nights) a month with his kids and buggering off on holiday. Leaving aside all the backstory, nothing is going to make that ok and you are allowed to feel that and tell him. How far down the line of that you want to go is up to you. I was and am still pretty upset that my ex H family didn't give him a harder time when he did he same thing but i wouldn't expect them to have cut him off. I see no harm in you telling your dad very frankly what you think. How is your relationship with the STBXW?

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 08:47:25

I think the same as that^^. He’s not a fecking hero for spending some weekends with his dc!

I love stbxw. She is brilliant. But obviously she’s down and stressed out. I feel guilty by association tbh and it makes things hard between us. In hindsight, I do think she and my brother were a poor match tbh, but it’s a bit late for that now!

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 08:58:39

He does have them overnight on the weekends he sees them though tbf.

Teensandfuture Sun 12-Nov-17 09:15:24

He needs to engage more with his children..
Not sure why pp said he shouldn't be going on holidays with his new partner though,he's allowed his life and to be happy..unless he doesn't pay enough in maintenance to his dc and then whole perspective changes

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:31:45

Of course he’s allowed to go on holiday, assuming he’ll take the dcs while stbxw does the same one day. I’m sure he would be able to, as they are nursery midweek.

That’s not what irritated me though; it was in the context of the conversation with my dad that I found it a bit annoying or in poor taste. The dcs, especially the eldest, seem quite damaged by what’s happened and miss their dad. It was in poor taste I think to say what a lovely time brother and ow must have had on holiday while stbxw and dcs were at home. In the context of the conversation, it was as if this was ‘proof’ that my brother has done the right thing by having an affair and leaving his wife and dcs.

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:36:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Angrybird123 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:45:13

Yes that's kind of what i meant..if he has chosen to leave then he will be 'moving on' but i do think that it is pretty poor in so many of these cases where the resident parent does 99.9% of everything and the nrp whose choice it was to leave goes off and essentially back to the carefree life. That's not really the point of this thread though!

eyebrowsonfleek Sun 12-Nov-17 09:52:41

I thought that the OP mentioned the holiday because brother could have given that money to one of the people who have financially bailed him out in the past (even treated the Dad who is very helpful to him) . (

bullyingadvice2017 Sun 12-Nov-17 10:12:31

He sounds like a self absorbed shit. Tho why his distant sister who he hardly ever sees should have her say on the matter I don't really know??

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 10:26:23

It would be lovely if he paid my dad back for some of the things he’s needed help with, but his salary isn’t great as it is and he now has two households to contribute to. I don’t think he could possibly repay everything anyway. He’s had so much help. I have had some financial help from my dad too though (I was given money towards house deposit a few years ago and more towards a car this year), but I think it pales in comparison to what my brother has needed over the years. And he genuinely has needed it, so I don’t especially mind, but it’s irksome that my dad’d trying to call him a great success story. I never thought I was a jealous sibling, but maybe I am!

I think the holiday was affordable for brother and ow due to a combination of cheap flights with work / loyalty points and the OW having a relative with a property in the country where they were staying fwiw.

Stbxw said a few months ago that she was struggling with money and I know my dad had to help her with quite a lot of money for nursery fees. I haven’t heard any more about that though, so think / hope things have gotten back on track financially.

Teensandfuture Sun 12-Nov-17 11:55:23

Well looks like your dad helps out everyone, so good on him..
Not sure how it's your business to think he needs to pay back money ,if first it's not your money he had and second you had help too..
Think what your dad saying is that your brother seems happy and he as a parent pleased tgat his child is happy.
You yourself said brother and his stbxw weren't a good match so probably none of them were really happy.
Another issue here is that he doesn't do enough for his children,I'd have a chat and call him out on this! That should be main concern for everyone in the family.

eyebrowsonfleek Sun 12-Nov-17 12:48:29

It’s a major drip feed that you are also a beneficiary of a significant sum from your Dad too.

Isn’t this a case of PFB (but where the child is an adult)? Your brother may not be successful in most people’s eyes but he doesn’t sound like a total failure either? Let your Dad thinks the sun shines out of his sun’s arse if it makes him happy. (I’m assuming that your Dad isn’t going into financial difficulty as a result of helping his adult children and exDIL)

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 13:05:38

Not sure how it's your business to think he needs to pay back money ,if first it's not your money he had and second you had help too..

I was just responding to eyebrow’s first comment. I really don’t mind about him getting help with money, which he has needed over the years. I mentioned him having to be bailed out of some sticky situations in my op, as it’s part of the reason I’m a bit hmm at my dad going on about how well he’s done to now be at a point where he is “sunning himself with his gorgeous girlfriend in the Caribbean”.

But I think now the dust has settled a bit, I agree with eyebrow’s recent comment. He is the pfb and, though I don’t happen to agree with my dad, it obviously makes him happy to think he’s a great success story.

When I actually spend some time with my brother I’m sure I’ll remember his good traits. We used to be best mates. It’s a shame we don’t speak so much now, but I can’t make him want to see me.

Hermonie2016 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:21:47

Your dad is either being protective of his son, especially if many people positive to exw or actually does admire his lifestyle.

I think there was (and often still is) an an acceptance that an affair has validity i.e you chose the wrong partner/ can't help who you fall in love with/must have been something wrong with the marriage etc

Your dad maybe buying into this narrative and also judging a man's success by the woman he has on his arm.
I feel it's a very outdated and naive view as the people who I know that had affairs are unable to sustain relationships past the honeymoon phase.Long term they aren't happy.
Perhaps if your brother has repeated failed relationships your dad may change his mind but he could also subconsciously feel your brother is living a life he feels is admirable.

I think you can state your views but accept he may never agree with you . You could of course direct him to MN for education!!

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:23:10

And no, dad is definitely doing fine for money! It really isn’t the issue that’s bothered me.

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:30:15

I don’t think he will agree with me.

As cliched as it is, I don’t want to believe that a posh holiday and the lovely girl on your arm are an accurate indicator of a man’s success or character. And that’s what I think was implied.

But I’ll let my dad get on with it from now on I think and keep any eye rolls to myself. It’s just a bit sad that I have such a difference of opinion to my dad on this. We are close. I really don’t have much family and it’s just made me feel a bit down. I really can’t pinpoint why.

Tooharsh1 Sun 12-Nov-17 14:31:15

I’m sure I’ll get over it. We’ve disagreed before and will again!

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