“My Husband’s Family Did Not Invite Us to Christmas!”

I’m married to the oldest of three brothers. “Harrison” is my husband, “Tennyson” is the middle brother, and “Sullivan” the youngest brother. Harrison and Tennyson had an argument four years ago over our wedding. Tennyson was upset that my husband chose Sullivan to be Best Man instead of him. As a result, Tennyson came up with an elaborate story that he would be out of town during our wedding to be the Best Man of a good friend who was renewing his wedding vows in another state. We did not receive a card, gift, or congratulations on our marriage from Tennyson.

Harrison and Tennyson had an argument over Tennyson not attending his own brother’s wedding, and the lack of congratulations, card, or welcoming me into the family by any means at all. They met up twice to try to resolve things, which only made it worse. Tennyson and his wife believe we owe them an apology, for moving forward with our wedding date without making sure their calendar was clear, as well as for the harsh exchange of words that have taken place over the four years. Tennyson’s children (18 & 21) won’t speak to my husband, and their entire family returns birthday, Christmas, and graduation cards we have sent to them over the past four years without opening them.

My husband’s parents say they are upset over all this and that they’re getting older, don’t have a lot of years left (they’re 83), and want to see their sons get along. They insist they’re not taking sides, but when we schedule an event with his parent months in advance — a concert, a play, a tour of the White House — they end up canceling a day or two before because Tennyson and his family are sick and need help, or they’re having a graduation or birthday party on the same day, or there’s something that they feel they have to be at and that we should understand. Harrison expresses his disappointment to his parents but beyond that feels there isn’t anything he can do.

This year for Christmas their parents told us they were going to Florida to celebrate Christmas with Sullivan, the youngest brother, for the first time in the 23 years since he’s lived there. Upon asking more questions, we found out that his parents coordinated with Tennyson and his family to go to Florida for Christmas as well. My husband and our family are not invited. His parents said they would celebrate Christmas with us when they return. I’m very frustrated and disappointed in my in-laws. My husband doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas with his parents at all now. Our children (three children total) feel very slighted that they don’t get to celebrate Christmas with their grandparents and cousins and that they weren’t invited to Florida like Tennyson and his family were.

We don’t feel we’ve done anything wrong to warrant this exclusion. We got married, we invited Tennyson and Val, and we expressed our disappointment that they did not come and with their lack of a congratulations, card, or gift after we married. We’ve tried to explain our perspective, but Tennyson and his family say they feel slighted by us and are owed an apology, period! They will not get an apology from my husband or me because we have nothing to apologize for. The problem for me is I want my husband to have a good relationship with his parents and it appears now that this will no longer be possible because they excluded us from the Christmas celebration in Florida.

Help, I could use some advice beyond just enjoy my husband and our kids and have a great Christmas in our home. We will do that regardless and make the best of it. But I’m worried about when his parents come home and how my husband will react and/if he and his parents will have a relationship left at all. — Did Nothing Wrong

You say that Tennyson “believes he’s owed an apology because he feels slighted, overlooked, mistreated, ignored, not important,” but why exactly? What was said or done to make him feel that way? Just not being named best man? I guess I don’t understand the hostility over the that. To send gifts back “return to sender” over that, to cut out a brother over that — it just seems too over the top. It’s hard to believe there isn’t more to the story. What were the “hurtful words” that were exchanged?


I wasn’t at any of the meetings with the brothers but it’s my understanding that Tennyson feels all the turmoil started because of me. The wedding is when it all started and I’m the new person in the family so I’m the problem and he called me names. My husband defended me, of course, but then gave examples over the past 15 years of how Val (Tennyson’s wife) has been a problem, with one example being her refusal to let anyone else host Thanksgiving. (She isn’t a good cook but thinks she is, so the family supports her insecurities and lets her host each year for Thanksgiving and then praises her cooking.) She also doesn’t allow anyone to arrive more than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled event time. If you arrive earlier, you have to sit in your car, you aren’t welcome to come in. So my husband called her a control freak and manipulator, and he said that his brother is a puppy dog answering to all his wife’s commands.

Hmm, ok.

OMG, there is one more thing that happened that I totally forgot about. Once Tennyson told us they would not be at our wedding and would be going to California instead, we suggested they cancel their tickets and go another weekend because we wanted them at the wedding. They declined and were angry with us for even suggesting such a thing. We were having a 6th birthday party for my kid the next day and I told them that they probably should not come (remember, their kids are now 18 and 21 years old) because there were too many hurt feelings at the moment. I thought somebody would say something that would create a fight and I didn’t want that at a kid’s birthday party. So, Tennyson and Val did not come to the birthday party and my husband’s parents didn’t come either. They said it was because we told Tennyson not to come to the party. Honestly, I just didn’t want any arguing over our wedding and who was coming and who wasn’t at my 6-year-old’s party. Do you think that’s enough to have kept all this fueling the fire and that’s why they want an apology?

Yes, bingo – that’s exactly what this is about. You disinvited them to the kids’ birthday party the day after your argument, suggesting — well actually more than suggesting — that you didn’t trust them to not stir drama at the 6-year-old’s birthday party. They were, and still are, completely offended by that, and your husband’s parents are lying that they don’t side with them. They do. I’m not saying that your in-laws are in the right or that there isn’t some blame on both sides. Maybe most of the blame even goes to your in-laws, but the fact is that you and your husband are the ones being excluded and shunned, and you are the one saying you’re worried about your husband’s feelings and his relationship with his parents and his brother. If that’s the case, you and your husband might want to consider apologizing for things you don’t think you need to apologize for, like disinviting them to that party. You could say you’ve been reflecting on the past and can see how that action offended them and you regret that decision. Your husband needs to apologize for the hurtful things he said to his brother. He needs to tell him he misses them, and you both need to say you want to start over. But only do all of this if you feel like it’s worth trying for a better relationship with these people and if it’s worth the possibility of it not working.

Maybe it isn’t worth the risk, and that’s ok. Your husband will have to accept that he will likely never have a relationship with his middle brother again and that his parents may continue choosing sides. It’s sad, but your husband will survive. People have survived worse family estrangements and betrayals.

As for your husband’s parents, I can understand how they’d cancel plans to a concert to attend a grandchild’s graduation or another important event like that. If they’re canceling everything, though, all the time, and for occasions or events that aren’t very important, and without much notice, then they’re being jerks, and maybe having some distance from them, and the obnoxious brother and sister-in-law, isn’t the worst thing in the world…


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  1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    I’m guessing that this goes back way farther than your wedding. Sibling rivalries like this often go back to childhood. If the parents see Tennyson as the one needing support then they will back him up and probably always have. He was probably their favorite all along or the one they considered the weak one who needed help. Tennyson is also probably demanding of attention every time the parents say they are going to attend something with you. He will come up with situations or demands that keep going until the parents cave and do what he wants which means they cut their plans with you.

    I think counseling would be good. I think your husband needs to go with his parents.

    1. His parents are old school and would never go to counseling. They don’t believe they are the problem and they believe they are not taking sides. So no reason for counseling according to them. We have suggested it.

  2. You really think you did nothing wrong but you did. Now I get your reaction but saying “well you didn’t come to our wedding so you cant come to the party” is pretty immature. Granted they were immature too but remember two wrongs don’t make a right.

    1. You don’t understand the save the dates and verbal invitations went out to the siblings and parents the third week in April for our wedding that following September. My 6 yr old’s birthday party was the last day of April so the argument and harsh words were being exchanged at that moment. Everything and everyone was very heated and worked up. That’s why I disinvited them to the party to keep some peace (was my thought) and not involve the kids. The grandparents didn’t come because the middle brother was disinvited as well. This is my daughter from a previous marriage and not a blood relative or related to my fiance or his family at the time of the birthday party and when the verbal invites and save the dates were received. I did do one thing wrong…I should have waited to send the save the dates and waited to verbally invite the siblings to our wedding until after my 6 year olds birthday party. However, I did not anticipate any issues or problems. My husbands family had been very welcoming and friendly and I’d been around them for almost a year prior to these issues.

      1. You actually sound like the perfect family for each other, keep score, tally every invite, keep long records of who went to what and with whom….i get this a long fued but obviously what you are doing is not working. Quit keeping score. If t means that much to you, be a gracious human being and apologize. Apologize for letting this fued go on as long as it has, apologize for not taking their feelings seriously enough to address this 15 whatever years ago. And honestly? It sounds like you just plain don’t like them, and that’s ok.

  3. There seems to be so much petty bickering and passive aggressive games going on here. I would just keep my distance for a while. It seems any interaction just causes more bickering and gets nothing done. You may be happier and more peaceful.

  4. LW, you are not examining your own behavior in this at all. You keep pointing the finger at them and what they did. How hard would it have been to have two best men? Seriously? Were you and husband so uptight about wedding protocol that you couldn’t have included both brothers as best men? And when it’s clear someone close to you is hurt, what difference does it make who is right? Since you didn’t have any perspective umpteen years ago during your wedding, you let it fester and dug in your heels and now here are the consequences. FORGET ABOUT THE DETAILS. You have never looked at the big picture here.

    1. We would not have been apposed to two best men at our wedding. We did not anticipate it being a problem and were only told by his parents after the wedding that this was one of the issues the middle brother was harboring. It’s been four years since we married. We invited his brothers both verbally, with a save the date 5 months in advance, and an invitation mailed two months in advance. Immediately upon receiving the save the date and verbal invitation is when the middle brother started acting out, arguing that we chose the date because he was going out of town to be the best man for a friend. Which wasn’t the case. We didn’t know he had any plans to go out of town. We had already discussed the chosen date with the siblings and our parents to make sure everyone was available before putting down a deposit on the venue, booking the church, printing/mailing the save the dates and invitations. We even looked into trying to change the date of the wedding to accomodate his brother but we were closing on our house the beginning of October and my name could not be on the VA Loan unless we were married. There was no spite or malicious intent and we wanted to include his brother and his family. Beyond that even if his brother couldn’t be at the wedding we understood, were not going to have hurt feelings and would have moved on. His brother however, continued to argue (and does to this day 4 years later) that we owe him and his family an apology.

      1. anonykins says:

        His brother however, continued to argue (and does to this day 4 years later) that we owe him and his family an apology.

        And YOU continue to argue, 4 years later, that you don’t. Look, what is your goal here? Do you really, as you say, “want my husband to have a good relationship with his parents,” or would you rather be right?

      2. anonymousse says:

        Good lord, you and your husband hurt his feelings. No matter how immature he’s been, so have you! You guys are so desperate to WIN this argument, it’s splitting up your husband’s family. Just suck it up and apologize! How hard is that to do?

        Sometimes, you need to give in to people you care about, even if it’s against your very important principles.

        And don’t say you don’t have hurt feelings about the wedding, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be keeping score four years later, desperately trying to make them the bad guys. All of you have behaved poorly. For the greater good, if his family is important to him, and he wants to be involved in his family, you should stop the bullshit and apologize. Stop keeping score. If your SIL makes you a subpar thanksgiving meal, you say thank you and it was delicious. Jesus Christ.

      3. anonymousse says:

        Be a better role model for your children.
        Maybe you should watch Frozen with them tonight and rewind and rewatch the “Let it go,” song over and over.

  5. Sounds like Sullivan has the winning ticket – move far away and don’t take part in any of these dramatics. He doesn’t have to wait in his car to eat undelicious food cooked by a control freak on Thanksgiving and Tennyson’s flouncing around and playing power games by enrolling the parents in shunning members of the family have little effect.
    Were mistakes made on both sides? Yes. Do Tennyson and Val know you don’t like them very much? Yes. Have they behaved badly? Yes. Have you behaved badly? Yes. I do think they have been a bit stinkier overall but instead of trying to manage the activities and behavior of your husband and most of his family (and carrying the issues into the next generation), how about planning your own holidays full of fun for your family without reference to the in laws and give everyone a rest for a year or two? Your husband can do what he needs to do to spend quality time with his aged parents and making sure the kids get a chance to as well. It doesn’t have to be on holidays and it doesn’t have to look a certain way. An afternoon baking cookies with Granma or some other, stress-free activity would surely be more meaningful to everyone than a competitive, highly-charged group Christmas Day could ever be…

    1. My husband and I agree with you and we are actually looking at opportunities to move to another state. It’s just not worth all the issues. I’ve encouraged my husband to go spend time with this parents/family without me but he isn’t ok with this as his parents/family saw this as trouble in my husbands previous marriage between him and his wife. Sad really but his family didn’t like his previous wife at all. We’ve started our own traditions at Thanksgiving and Christmas with our children, the Aunts and Uncles of my husbands extended family who live local. We enjoy all of them and have a great time. This Christmas just hit my husband hard when his parents coordinated the visit to FL with his middle brothers family going and celebrating with the youngest brother who lives in FL and didn’t even extend an invitation to their eldest son and family. I honestly don’t understand as a parent of three children how a parent can invite two of their children and not the third. How do you leave one child out of your plans (adult or kid)? It’s very hurtful to my husband and I. Our kids are young enough that we can cover for his parents that they are out of town and we will celebrate with gma and gpa when they return.

      1. anonymousse says:

        Because you make it awkward and unharmonious! Just apologize.

  6. All of this just seems so petty. I’d say just apologize, already, so everyone can move on, but since years of estrangement have occurred over what amount to small slights and two grown adult men can’t just get over it, I’m guessing this dynamic is not going to change, though the impetus for the drama might.

    So, sure, send out an olive branch, if you like, but don’t expect one in return and don’t expect a good and close relationship with T or for your in-laws to choose you guys over T. It sucks, but they’ve made their choices. Accept it is what it is, and stop focusing on what T, his family, and your in-laws do. Reach out to S and his family if you like them. Or not. Frankly, the whole family seems ridiculous and way more drama than it’s worth.

  7. Why wouldn’t you just apologize? What are you giving up by doing that? So there have been times that my siblings and I have fought. When someone is really upset, I would say “I am so sorry I hurt you. Clearly I am coming from a different angle but I would never mean to cause you so much pain.” I mean, if you think you didn’t do anything wrong, ok. But the thing is, your family is in pain and you didn’t mean to cause that so just apologize for the hurt feelings. I guess, what does it give you to stand your ground? To say you are right and they are wrong. Take all the details out, it sounds like a huge miscommunication that lead to years of pain. Why hurt each other for years?

    1. This is a good suggestion. I have tried to understand what we were supposed to apologize for or why their feelings were hurt with no direct responses from his brother and wife. My husband and I together face-to-face have asked his brother and wife to let bygones be bygones and to bury the hatchet and lets just move forward. They refused, said some harsh name calling, and left the gathering. I’ve called my Sister In Law and left a voicemail message letting her know I was extending the olive branch, lets let go of the past, and agree to move forward. SIL called me back and left a voicemail saying she did not want me to contact her again. These issues are between the two brothers and they need to work it out. Until then she sides with her husband and will not discuss anything further with me about it. She blocked my cell phone number after that. I only know that because my daughter tried to call her aunt to tell happy birthday and we got the recording that my number was blocked. We can’t send cards or gifts anymore because they return them to us unopened, “return to sender” written on them. Possibly if my husband speaks to his brother and uses a softer approach like you’ve stated about causing them pain that might make a difference. The guys (brothers) don’t talk about feelings, don’t say I love you, shake hands and don’t hug. They weren’t a touchy feely family growing up with all three boys. It’s worth a try. Thank you.

      1. I think that saying “lets let bygones be bygones” is much different than saying “I’m sorry.”

      2. Agreed but we did not know at the time they expected or wanted an apology and we had no idea what we were supposed to apologize for. We were the ones that got married, they were the ones that didn’t come. Honestly until yesterday when I recalled the disinvite to my 6 yr olds birthday party all discussions have been about the wedding date, them being out of town, us doing it on purpose supposedly, the hurt feelings and name calling. When we’ve asked what their issues is with us, why their feelings are hurt they said, “I haven’t had my feelings hurt since I was 8 years old.” Ok then what’s the issue that we aren’t getting along we’ve asked? It ends up in an argument of snowballing effect over 5 years.

    2. @RK – I was away for a few days so I hope you see this. There might not be anything you can do. However, I will tell you a story. My husband and I were friends with another couple Adam and Jen. Our husbands were childhood friends. Jen and I were very different but got along. There were little slights here and there but our husbands were friends. Then things blew up. We were not invited to a party because Jen didn’t want me to talk politics with this other friend (our favorite pastime). So, I took huge offense to it. Instead of talking to me, we were just disinvited and I took that as a strong commentary on me as a person. So she thought she just wanted her birthday to be politics free and I thought she made a very public statement about me as a person. This was 9 years ago and I have never seen them again. Now there were other little factors but the difference was that here were two people looking at the same event entirely differently. Now, this is on your husband. What relationship does he want with his family? Is he ready to disown his mother over pride? Ask him what outcome he wants and go from them.

      1. FYI, no one wants to talk politics whenever they see you.

  8. There’s not one sympathetic figure in this whole mess. I don’t know how you fix it when everyone’s being a jackass, and has been caught up in this comically, hilariously stupid and petty nonsense for over 20 years.

    – Tennyson’s a drama queen and needs to get over himself. His wife and children are also drama queens.

    – Your husband said some really nasty things to his brother in that argument. Yes, I know, he was defending you, but he didn’t have to do that by categorically trashing his brother’s wife, and he shares a big piece of the blame for this estrangement.

    -You did some pretty thorough bridge-burning on your own by disinviting them from the party. Yes, I get that were trying to prevent a fight, but still…it was another breaking point in the relationship.

    But NONE of it justifies a 20-year estrangement involving multiple members of the family.

    I think it’s all-in or all-out at this point. Either you send a mass e-mail in which you suggest everyone make a decision to put the disagreements in the past for their parents’ sake, or you write the whole family off.

    1. Hear, hear! Everyone is being an asshole. And @kate’s comment below is perfection.

    2. Right! You can’t get mad at the brother saying terrible things about your wife then turning around and say terrible things about his wife. Like, how do you even think you have a case there.

  9. Maybe someone already said this, but do you NOT expect petty drama when you marry into a family that names their kids Harrison, Tennyson, and Sullivan?

    1. I’m pretty sure they are nicknames, for the sake of anonimity.

      1. *anonymity

      2. @Leon you must be new here… lol

    2. Mmm, Wendy usually uses “Mark” as the guy’s name for anonymity. But thanks Captain Obvi.

      1. I can’t picture Wendy portraying the three brothers as “Mark”. You are welcome, sweetie 🙂

    3. They are nicknames but are close to the real names lol. Most of the family is very relaxed, drink socially, gather often, enjoy each other, and really get along with my husband and I as well as the youngest brother. The middle brother and his wife think they are higher class (it’s because of his wives upbringing, in fact her parents tried to break up their engagement because they did not, and do not believe the middle brother is good enough for their daughter. Doesn’t make enough money etc.)

    4. Mark, Bob, and Chris, genius.

  10. I see that the the un-invitation to the birthday party would be seen as offensive, but you stated it in a calm manner, citing valid reasons for them not to be involved. Even though it may have been radical and almost inmature, I believe that they could have expressed it, instead of the passive aggresive behaviour directed towards your family.

    Family sometimes is like the sun, the farther the better. In this particular case, I think that the best outcome possible is to stop worrying about re-establishing a relationship with the in-laws. They don’t seem to be particularly nice people, if you ask me. I see why your husband had chosen the little brother as the Best Man, the middle one seems entitled and a little bit bratty.

    I would let the middle brother and her coo coo wife go, and get lost in the sunset (I mean, what kind of obsessive freak lets their guests wait outside in the car? Weird). And if the parents keep on their lame narrative of wanting both brothers to reconcile, I would tell them to shut the fuck off. Just kidding. Tell them that it is evident they had taken sides with the middle brother, and that is shady as fuck to pretend your husband to amend the stirred up pot, when they as well are responsible of the fight. Well, now that I think of it, maybe that’s something that your husband should be saying, not you… ho ho ho!

    Families, families! I can feel why the litte brother had chosen to live far away fro the dramaa.

    1. The sun is nothing like “the farther the better.” We couldn’t live on Pluto any better than we could live on Mercury.

      1. Family probably is like the sun though… best to be close but not TOO close.

  11. I tend to be the peacemaker in my family. I have two siblings who have special needs and because of this are difficult to get along with. Basically I just walk on eggshells when I am with either one of them, and if they feel that I have to apologize for something, I do. Is it exhausting? Yes. Do I look forward to spending time with either of them? No. But this is what I have to do if I want to keep them in my life. I am not saying this is for everyone, but this may be the question for you to ask yourself, LW: Do you want your husband’s family to stop quarreling so much that you are willing to apologize?

  12. Sounds like his family had issues long before you came into the picture and maybe you exacerbated it by disinviting them to your kid’s b-day party, but I think it would have been a mess regardless.

    This is not your circus, not your monkeys, your husband needs to sort out his relationships with his brother and parents. A good start would be apologizing for all the terrible shit he said about Val. Doesn’t matter who you’re defending, you can do it without being that nasty.

    1. Agreed, unfortunately my husband is introverted, quieter, and always been the black sheep (if that’s a good term) in the family. The outsider trying to be apart of the family, wanting to be with his family and included, but having to ask for it, almost beg for it to happen. I’m very much an extravert, really get to know people, enjoy people, and have made some great relationships with the extended family. My husband would never start out by calling names or saying terrible things about anyone however as I’m told by my husband, during his meetings with his middle brother to try and repair the relationship and understand exactly what the real problem is Tennyson started to bad mouth me. My husband says he tried to ignore it and discuss the things that Val does that are control freak things like making people sit in the car, always having to host Thanksgiving, the derogatory comments about people, the gossip, etc. that’s when Tennyson will blow up and the arguments get very loud and verbally aggressive/degrading. My husband not liking conflict will leave. A couple of these meetings like this and they decided not to meet again as it wasn’t productive and pretty much blame each others wives as being the problem (not the brothers themselves). However, the brothers won’t see each other, do anything together, or with their parents without their spouses. It’s a family issue to show up without your spouse. I don’t understand it but it’s their family thing. When my Father In Law had heart surgery all the siblings and their wives were at the hospital, co-existed being cordial, sat in the waiting room with their mom and we all ate lunch together. As soon as dad was out of the hospital no further contact or communication again between the brothers. We all went to FL for our nieces graduation from High School. The youngest brother being a bachelor didn’t plan a party for his daughter so I planned it at the condo we rented with a pool and grill. We invited everyone, the parents, all the brothers, our nieces friends. Everyone came and was cordial. That was two years ago and after the party again no invitations to their house for Thanksgiving, the parents not including us in anything they invite the middle brother to attend. It’s sad really, we have continued to try and show we are welcoming them, we are moving on, and we get no reciprocation from them.

  13. Yikes-a real S#it show-I agree with Essie.

  14. Bittergaymark says:

    LW, you sound like a massive pain in the ass. PS — You have MASSIVE issues with your sister-in-law and have said nothing good about her. You rant and rave about how she thinks she is so much better than you… Well, NEWSFLASH, you are the exact same way about her. Frankly, neither of you sound great. Far from it. You sound like a couple of deranged cunts. Your husbands, too. Cunts all around four feckless cunts ruining everything for everybody else.
    How can you even be remotely surprised that Sullivan didn’t invite you to his house? You’d probably piss and moan about who got the bigger bedroom. Seriously. You come across as simply vile and awful. You really want advice?Fine, here it is. Swallow your fucking pride and apologize for creating so much needless drama. It was exhausting to read.
    NEWSFLASH: sometimeswhen people talk shit about someone it’s for a valid reason, like maybe that person enjoys being a royal fucking pain in the ass. Get over your fucking self already or enjoy being justifiably shunned for the rest of your life. Honestly? Each and every update only makes you sound worse and worse.

    1. anonymousse says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve written here.

      Life is too fucking short for all this scorekeeping. His parents are in their mid eighties. Would it really be too much to act civilized for them, and the kids?

      1. Nothing says “I’m chill” like replying to every commenter.

      2. And what replies! Correcting tiny insignificant details, but missing the big picture. Who cares what the timeline was with the birthday party and the wedding? That doesn’t make one lick of difference. Either way, you uninvited them – which a middle-schooler could have predicted would stir shit up and hurt feelings, not “keep the peace.” Going on about your husband being introverted and the black sheep has nothing to do with him bad-mouthing his brother’s wife. When his brother started in on you, he should have told him he wouldn’t listen to him disparage his wife like that and then left if he didn’t stop. There’s no excuse for fighting bad behaviour with more bad behaviour, which is what all of you have been doing. Their behaviour has been poor but you two certainly haven’t taken the high road.

    2. @Kate my thoughts. I didn’t even read them it was so much. I’m with BGM.

  15. Bittergaymark says:

    PS — How was the other wedding a huge elaborate lie where they fucking bought tickets and then actually went? Am I missing something here?

  16. I’m surprised no one has done some math about the ages of the children involved and wondered what happened to what I suspect is Harrison’s first wife and when in the timeline LW came in to the picture. My guess is that this is the root of the problem here. The pettiness is just a symptom of that.

  17. Am I reading the same letter as everyone else? The straw that broke the camels back happened four years ago not twenty. The middle brother threw a hissy fit for not being named as best man. It’s their wedding and you do not do this, very poor form. He also felt somehow that the wedding date should be run by him and he should have veto power. Oh Mister The Sun Sets On Him. Who does that? He then somehow has to go out of state for a wedding – not sure I believe this but does not matter. He then does not even send a card or congratulates his brother. There are two meetings to try and hash things out at which middle brother calls older brother’s wife a bunch of names and older brother retaliates by going on what an overbearing bitch his wife is. Now I would have left really early here with a screw you but then again if you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen. The LW tell he middle brother and his wife (remember she has just been called a bunch of names) to please not come to their 6 years old child’s birthday the next day so everyone can cool down. I take the LW side here. Grandparents take middle child’s side and do not come. Now there was a lot of problems in this family way before this happened. Not the least of which is the gross favoritism of the middle child. Estrangement takes years to surface.
    To the LW. Say good riddance to the middle brothers family. Do not send any more presents/cards that are going to be returned. Apologizing is just going to make things worse. Cut them out. For the grandparents, see what they do when they get back. Let them make the first move. If they want to come over fine. Say that they are coming over and then cancel not fine. The biggest problem here is the grandparents. If they give you grief about not getting along with middle brother end that conversation immediately. Also, do not expect to be left anything by these people. They do not like you or your husband.


    1. Bittergaymark says:

      Eh… The timeline is all fucked up and really hard to follow. Classic unreliable narrator b.s.

      1. Actually, it’s pretty clear, but then again I read science textbooks written by people that often cannot write a coherent sentence much less a paragraph.

    2. I get you are taking the LW at face value but rarely does 2 siblings and both parents choose sides against a brother/son and keep it up for years over what has been written. There are huge chunks that we are missing on this.

    3. This may be how some people end up old and alone.

  18. Bittergaymark says:

    Yep. And each and every update is just more and more damning.

  19. Actually, in dysfunctional families is not unusual for the parents to pit siblings against one another or to have one of the siblings be the bad guy. The extended family likes the LW family just fine. That’s what telling. They are not coming to the middle brother shindigs. But then again why would they when they may have to sit in the car. Oh the horror, arrive a few minutes early. What fifty-something-year-old man throws a hissy fit in not being named as best man? Who thinks they have the right to veto a wedding date? Really, WTF. The LW husband has just about had it. Of course, he’s been putting up with the favoritism for his whole life. He as a middle age man is now rejecting that role. Good for him.

  20. Well, reading all this…you do realize that you and your husband had a part in this and you did help fan the flames, right? Everyone was petty. Everyone was tit for tat…it’s like the saying An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. Honestly, even though it is ridiculous, I would suck it up and apologize. Apologize for not inviting them to your child’s birthday all those years ago…say you are sorry for being so petty. Your husband needs to apologize for saying rude things about his brother’s wife…say he is sorry for being rude and wishes to make amends. If they try to attack with words…don’t fight back…just listen…give them some time to let it sink in. I know they were wrong too. But be the better people here. It’s the mature thing to do. Then honestly, just live your life and don’t spend much time with them. They are rude people who hold grudges. Your husband’s parents are rude/cruel for taking his brother’s side all these years. You can’t trust any of these people. I would see them as little as possible and keep your distance…be polite but distant. Cultivate great relationships with your family and with friends.

  21. You know, reading the LW’s comments and learning more…I think you are not losing out by not having a relationship with these people. Even if you make up with them I’m sure some drama will happen again in the future. I would just live a good life and plan to visit your husband’s parents on the off season…and don’t expect anything from them since they play favorites. It’s hurtful, I know. But I doubt anyone is going to change…so trying to get people to change is most likely going to lead to more hurt feelings.

  22. Apologize for the birthday invite thing. It’s such a simple mistake and you’re not even ashamed about it (I wouldn’t be either) so just aplogize. It’s not like ike you’re bringing up something that you’re actually embarrassed about. Then encourage your husband to get therapy about his family. Tell him you’re there for him in every way but you don’t want to get TOO distracted and use all your energy on his family stuff. Offerto apologize for whatever else if something comes up. His SIL is obviously not ashamed to act weird (the dinner stuff) and her husband thinks that’s normal too, thus, don’t expectto have a normal relationship with them ever. I think your husband needs some professional therapy to expedite the process of deciding what to do about his family relationships. Otherwise he will lack clarity and maybe remained estranged OR try hard for too long and regret it later. Many children don’t spend Xmas with their grandparents and some adults would like a Xmas just with their kids without grandparents (sorry but pretty sure this is true especially introverts like your husband) try not to feel tooooo sad about it especially if you dont enjoy their company that much anyways.

    1. I don’t think she should apologize for whatever else SIL or BIL might bring up. That won’t fix anything and it just sets the stage for “she admitted that the prior problems were all her fault and now she’s at it again” when the next issue arises. Husbands parents will still side with BIL and SIL in future. I agree LW shouldn’t have disinvited SIL’s family from birthday party, but that’s a pebble on a mountain. The problem is between the brothers primarily and secondarily the dynamic between the parents and their sons for the sons’ entire lives. There is no way the wives can solve this. They are just collateral damage in the issues between the brothers. Normally, the husband would have made middle brother the best man or found equivalent roles for each: two groomsmen, no best man or and outside friend as best man. That he didn’t indicates that there was already a serious, long-standing issue between the brothers. That can easily happen when parents obviously play favorites.

      LW can’t solve this. She played a minor role in fanning the fire, but that’s it. Unless husband is determined to reconcile with his family, LW should just stick with status quo.

  23. Oh and your husband was totally out of line insulting SIL. He should have focussed on defending you in detail and not even have mentioned her. The stuff he said is hard to move past for some people, that’s life

  24. I have a question, does your husband like his brother as a person? He may love him because he is family, but does he actually like him? If the answer is no, then what have you lost, have a nice quiet Christmas at home or go away. Please you and him stop spending time and energy on these people. Your brother-in-law appears to be the golden childen, that’s just the way it is, has been for a long and will always be. BIL would only been happy had he been the only best man at your wedding, he wants everyone to think the sun shines out of his a**e like their parents think it does.

    You’ve dodged a bullet, u don’t have to travel, return bought presents and get your money back and spend on yourselves. Was your husband a bit rude, sure, its up to him whether he apologizes at all. Counselling for your husband would be of benefit to him to mourn the family he thought he had. But you and your kids are family too. HIs brother who stays is smart, he realised along time not to waste him time, energy and money on these people.

    Good luck, and have nice quiet Christmas and holidays.

  25. LW, I wouldn’t offer an apology now. If you are not on speaking terms, it is useless. Plus they don’t even want you to contact them, so forget it.
    The middle brother seems domineering, and his wife too, and you too sound competitive. Why do you all focus so much on your husband’s family? Don’t you have your own family to celebrate Christmas with? I would take a step back right now, give it some time. Have a relationship with your husband’s parents, but don’t try to invite them to great things. Just visit them sometimes with the kids. Don’t play the competitive game. And you can make a visit to Sullivan on your own terms. Avoid Tennyson: you both played a role in the fight and probably you should just accept that you don’t get along with him and his wife. That’s life.

  26. dinoceros says:

    It sounds like you’re only now caring about the relationship because the effects have started to bother you. Up until now, you haven’t responded to any of the situations in a way that indicates you wanted to preserve the relationship. The fact that you left all of that out until prompted and don’t seem to connect your behavior to theirs makes it seem even more likely that you have contributed quite a bit to the bad relationship. Your husband needs to take the lead on this, and if he isn’t able to see how disinviting them and insulting them is going to create problems, then he’s probably just not going to have a relationship with his family.

    1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      They have tried over and over to work this out so I don’t see how they are only now caring.

      The BIL and SIL don’t want to make up. They want to be angry. They want to ostracize. They want to keep the grandparents away. They don’t even want to be neutral. If plans are made with the grandparents they make sure that every single time they are changed. The grandparents always end up going along with this.

      Maybe the next time the grandparents bail on some plans that have been made the husband should ask his parents if that is how they want the grandkids to remember them. “You know, you always dump our plans. That’s what the kids remember about you now. That’s the grandparents they know. Is that how you want them to remember you and what you want them to tell their kids and grandkids about you?” They need to see this from the viewpoint of their grandkids. They need to understand that this is their legacy.

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        Please…. They all WANTto be angry. Hell, LW, started this fiasco by looking to be angry and going all Bridezilla on them after they simply told her as soon as they possibly could that they already had plans and airline tickets to be in California the weekend of her blasted wedding. NEWSFLASH! One can’t cast the first stone and then be all woe is me over the broken fucking windows that she herself shattered first….

      2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        The brother’s original complaint was that he should have been the best man instead of the younger brother. Then he said he had to be out of town for a renewal of vows ceremony. I think the brother felt slighted in that moment and decided not to go in the same way that he makes sure that every time his parents are scheduled to do something with the LW’s husband he creates a scheduling conflict. This is how he operates. He creates conflicts that require people to be in other places. He’s been doing this routinely.

      3. @sky blossom- it may be the case that the brother was upset and pouty that he wasn’t going to get to be the best man. Or it could be that he had to choose between two events and one of them he felt more friendship and more like a best man. It’s tough to say if he actually complained about it because I get the impression the letter writer reads into things. He may have been trying to give a simple explanation to all of the family members who didn’t understand how he could possibly choose another friend he’s known for decades over attending his brother’s big event. It’s understandable they would acquire an explanation but if the brother was pushed into saying something about how tiring he found his brother’s fiance and his brother retaliated with fifteen years worth of grievances towards his wife and dis invited them both to the step-child’s birthday, and they haven’t’ spoken since, I can understand how they would invite their parents and the other brother to Christmas and just feel like that was enough for them to take on without dealing with constant drama.

    1. Bittergaymark says:

      Hah. Sure does. Gotta admit, I do love my old response…

      Bittergaymark SEPTEMBER 11, 2014, 11:42 AM

      This is why I am against child brides. They overreact. To everything… 15 year olds should NOT get married. End of story.
      Wait. What? You’re 50, LW? Not 15?
      Wow. Crazy. You sure that’s NOT a typo?! Because — DAMN! You sound fucking fifteen. Seriously. Grow the fuck up already.

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      It does sound the same and they don’t seem to be getting along any better than they did then.

    3. anonymousse says:

      Ha ha ha! Good find.

    4. Oh my gosh you’re right!!

    5. Lol. “‘Ron’ is high maintenance and doesn’t like me.” No way!

    6. LOL. I love how the “seven year old child’s” birthday that she uninvited BIL and SIL to so as not to ruin it “for the child” was really her husbands 50th birthday that they threw a fit about.

      1. Sorry. *6 year old child.

    7. “I believe if Rick’s brother and family do not show up for our wedding and birthday party that we will never have a relationship moving forward… I’m not sure I can or will ever again feel comfortable being around Rick’s brother or his wife. The hurt feelings are too much. The lack of support from his brother towards our marriage is not something we will be able to move beyond.”

      And there it is, the true reason you have no relationship with your BIL and SIL and why nobody wants you in Florida. You decided, long ago, to make this something you couldn’t get past. You and your husband chose to let your desire to punish his brother and SIL for not attending your wedding become more important than having a relationship with your own family. You two are children. How petty and sad.

      I’m now doubting this LW’s version of events to the point where I’m even starting to think SIL’s wait-in-the-car rule is probably just her setting some boundaries. Maybe some inconsiderate, entitled people are showing up hours before the event, when she’s still got wet hair and nothing prepared. I’d love to read a letter from her and her husband.

  27. Frankly letter writer, you are too exhausting to even give you advice. You look for things to lose your shit over. This was a second marriage at a beach house and they tried to politely make plans to attend another person’s wedding renewal (as best-man).

    Your sister-in-law might be a control freak. People don’t usually make other people wait in the car if they come too early to their homes unless they are rude, awful guests who will arrive hours early and brood about the cooking.

    Maybe your octogenarian husband’s parents don’t actually want to fly out to D.C. and go on tours of the white house in addition to all the other huge, elaborate plans they undoubtedly do with your family throughout the year. You are obsessionally judgmental towards this family and create drama when you could simply make your own plans with your own kids at home. This is only a problem because YOU keep turning it into a problem. I think you are lucky the other brother and your parents include you most of the time. If you keep giving everyone heartburn at all the major holidays don’t be surprised if they cancel plans even more often than before. Let it go. Not every single gathering has to turn into a blood oath.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Does your husband miss his brother? Where does the youngest fall in all of this? Has Tennyson said to his parents “you lie to us, you hide things from us, you cancel on us, you make the kids (his? hers? theirs?) feel neglected and unloved. ” Expect things to get ugly when parents pass… either Tenn n wife will be left out of will or brothers will contest the will and it’ll turn into an ugly court battle, especially if middle bro is executor.

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