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“My Brother’s New Wife has Driven a Wedge Between Us”

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  • #963160 Reply
    avatarDear Wendy

    From a LW:

    “My brother was divorced a little over a year and a half ago. He met a woman online and started to date. Within 2 months she needed a place to live. So him being lonely she pounced. Her ex had died only a few months before they met and then she was kicked out of his brothers house so along came my brother. We all accepted her in our family and I invited them into our circle of friends and dining out socializing. My brother NEVER went out or socialized for over 30 yrs so it was nice to get him out. My niece and her husband accepted them as well. Only when my bros girlfriend saw how close we were (my self, mother and dad, my brothers own son and grandchildren and my niece) she couldn’t handle it. She began fake tears that all our Facebook posts and conversations were about her. Drove a wedge between my bro and his family. We treated her like family and when she feared our closeness she wove a web of deceit. My parents and bro and her went to breakfast every Sunday til she put a stop to it. We were in the wedding until she became jealous of my niece and I losing weight and her getting heavier. We were never even told we were out of the wedding along with 2 others as well who were close to him. We did nothing to her but take them along to multiple outings with us to include them in our lives. We were out of a lot of money and time for clothes and such. That’s 5 of us. My parents did go to the wedding but were so very embarrassed at how all our friends asked how he could do that to us after all we have done for him. They all saw how he took and took all these years. She even managed to be so mean and hateful to his 2 grandchildren ages 1 and 3. Now there is a dead relationship for all of us including his 35yr friendship/brother like with his best friend. She ended that real quick too. How do we just go on since this causes a ton of grief for my parents as well. “

    #963165 Reply

    LW, you aren’t going to like this, but it sounds like you have contributed to this problem.

    Why do I say that? Because in your post, you have painted her as a Villain (capital V), and yourself and your entire family (including your brother) as victims or saints. That’s always a big honking clue that your version isn’t accurate.

    It’s hard to tell what has actually happened, but your brother made choices all along the way, and he is responsible for those choices, not her. (Some people would find breakfast every single Sunday with the parents rather suffocating, esp if family is around all during the week as well. That doesn’t make her a terrible person.)

    Not sure what you want us to say, since you seem really determined to dislike this woman. How do you go on?– you can start by recognizing that your brother is not a victim, and y’all are not martyrs.

    You don’t see anything good about her? You don’t see any faults in the way you have handled any of this? Doubtful that you will take this opportunity to look at yourself, but blaming her for everything will get you nowhere.

    #963166 Reply

    I think you need to accept this for what it is, an adult man making his own choices. Stop making her into the bad guy, even if that is what happened. I am confused as to if you have any remaining relationship with them at this point. If you do, be neutral, calm, and don’t respond to her shenanigans. Act. Offer your normal friendship/support to your brother and remain neutral.

    He may realize in time that he’s lost the people that care most for him. Maybe that will make him reach out, or even move on from this relationship. If you continue to fight her, she will totally and completely take your brother away. You have to play dumb, not fight, be calm and neutral and hope he sees the light one day.

    That’s my best advice for your situation. Don’t demonize her. Probably stop gossiping about her, because it’s getting back to her. You could even contemplate calling him or her up and apologizing for how things have transpired. You may think this is you caving and “losing” the battle you have with her, but otherwise you may actually lose your brother. It’s time to rethink how you handle this relationship and what you ultimately want to happen. Do you want to be right, or do you want your brother in your life, somewhat?

    #963167 Reply

    In general, not everyone wishes to live a public Facebook-curated life, so perhaps her comments about so many of the family’s Facebook posts being about her reflect her view that her privacy and boundaries have been infringed. Not every spouse wants their life to be as meshed and constantly intertwined with their in-laws as your family seems to regard as appropriate. A lot of posters to this site complain about their bf/fiance/husband being so his birth family’s demands for time and input into his life that he is not independent and she comes in a distant second in his thinking. Could this be the problem? I also note that you make a big deal about you losing weight and her gaining weight and having decided that this is why she has turned against you. Are you overly focused upon her weight, have you made comment — in person or on Facebook? If you have, then it is only to be expected that she would be pissed. In general, for those not used to it, being constantly smothered within an extremely close, large in-law family group can very easily become off-putting, especially for an about-to-be-married/newly married spouse, whose natural focus is, and should be, about establishing a solid, new nuclear family with new spouse. That can take precedence over spending so much time becoming enmeshed in fiance’s/spouses birth family. Like, JUST GIVE US MORE ALONE TIME!, especially if new spouse is on the introverted side. You and your whole family seem to be extremely close. Question: are you this close to your own in-laws?

    #963169 Reply

    IDK. I’m not entirely in-line with FYI’s thinking. It sounds like this guy is now even alienated from his own children and grandchildren? It was hard to follow. But that’s a problem. Especially if they had a good relationship before with their father.

    Regardless, LW, you need to butt out. He’s allowed to make his own decisions.

    I do feel bad for his kids though, even if they are also adults.

    #963262 Reply
    avatarAndrea Letsen

    It’s a difficult scenario to comment on, mainly due to my own experiences on both sides of that fence. I have had ex’s family’s who have hated me with a passion, as well as ex’s family’s who thought I was the perfect woman. Weirdly, I’ve not changed much between such relationships but as I am the common denominator, I realised it’s a simple case of some people will like me, some people won’t.

    I agree with FYI in that you really do seem to have an extreme hate for this woman that is most likely fabricated from your assumptions of what has happened rather than facts. Nobody can make your brother do anything – he is a grown man more than capable of making his own decisions. Maybe she has encouraged his distance from the family, but he has the power to get in touch every second of every day. He has chosen not to. That is on him and him alone. Maybe she is the ‘inspiration’ behind his choices, but they are still HIS choices.

    Obviously this is on the extreme side of things but maybe take a look into the Chris Watts murder case. It is a very good example of blame being laid on people other than the only one truly responsible. ‘He wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for his girlfriend, he wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for his parents behaviour, he wouldnt have done it if his wife was better’ etc. (Not saying your brother is a murderer, just that case is very good for pointing out how people try to blame someone else for the action of another.)

    I have a relative who has basically disappeared from the family since marrying his wife. That’s the decision he made and as long as he is happy, I am happy for him. How he came to choose that path is irrelevant because ultimately HE chose it.

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through, I know it can’t be pleasant for you or the family. Just please try to be fair when laying blame.

    #963263 Reply

    Andrea —
    I think your experience isn’t uncommon and, in part, relates to how the parents view their son. This ranges from viewing him as a young Godling, whom no woman could ever be good enough for to being surprised he was able to attract a steady gf/wife. The first family is always looking for someone better. The second is determined that this woman won’t get away from her son. The first type of parent very often gives great weight to the family pedigree/wealth of their son’s partner and fears women from less wealthy families are just interested in their money.

    #963318 Reply
    avatarAndrea Letsen

    @ron I think you are absolutely right. I also don’t think these parents (on either side of that meter) realise the damage that they can do. When I was with a guy whose family disliked me, it of course knocked my confidence a bit and spent a lot of time worrying I deserved how they treated me. When I ended the relationship, one of my biggest reliefs was that I didn’t have to deal with his family anymore. On the flipside, when I was with someone whose family loved me, I was far more comfortable and confident in the relationship and whilst it didn’t work out (amicable break up), I found myself missing his family which I take as a positive.

    To LW – When a partner comes into the life of someone you care about whom you don’t particularly like, expressing that dislike is almost always never going to have the effects you want it to. I often call it the Romeo and Juliet Effect (being that they end up closer through a mutual feeling of ‘its us against the world’). Anything that you or another family member/friend has said negatively about her has only contributed to this, and this is a contribution to the situation that you need to take responsibility for. It doesn’t matter whether what you have said is true or not. There are always two sides to every story and I imagine her version of events wouldn’t cast you and your family as the victims in this situation.

    It does, however, sound like there’s a lot of growing up that needs to be done on BOTH sides of this equation.

    #963675 Reply

    As a man who was once in an abusive relationship with a woman, this all sounds very familiar. I think there is a strong possibility that she is trying to isolate your brother from the people who love him – the people who might comment if they find out that she is mistreating him.

    If that’s the case though, there’s really nothing you can do. Even while my marriage was at its worse, I never would have listened if any of my family or friends had tried to warn me from her.

    Hopefully, he will have an awakening some day, and he will return to you. Until then, you can just try to be there for him, and let him know that you care.

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