Your Turn: “My Boyfriend’s Brother Tried to Sleep With Me!”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My boyfriend and I have been dating for over 16 months now. We’ve overcome a lot of stuff, and we are doing better. But throughout the relationship, his brother has flirted with me on several occasions, even trying to get me in his bed at one point. I have flat-out refused him time and time again, but never said anything to my boyfriend until about two months ago.

At first, he was shocked. But now he doesn’t care — he still talks to his brother and gets mad when I get upset. But I feel worthless. He doesn’t seem to care that his brother tried to take me away from him multiple times. He still wants his brother in his life! The way I see it, his brother tried stabbing him in the back, and obviously has no remorse for his actions. How can I get my boyfriend to care? — Between Two Brothers


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. artsygirl says:

    LW – Of course your BF still wants a relationship with his brother…they are BROTHERS and by your account nothing has happened expect flirting. I would NOT deliver an ultimatum to your BF suggesting he has to choose between you and his brother, that is wrong and you are going to loose out. In all likelihood your BF’s brother downplayed what happened and suggested it was a joke (perhaps for him it was). Now you are obviously uncomfortable with the situation so that leaves you with two choices. 1. You can calmly tell your BF that you are uncomfortable with his brother and would prefer not to spend any time alone with him (fairly easy) or 2. by your own account your relationship has been rocky so you might want to just cut bait and run before you end up more in love with your BF and extracting yourself gets harder.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      The ol’ overcome so much together already. In 16 months? Come on. Just moa, this is too dramatic.

      1. That was my first thought, too. When people who haven’t been together for a long time (think 5+years), start off by saying they’ve ‘overcome so much already’, my first thought is that this is never going to work out.

      2. I disagree, it is entirely possible to overcome a lot in 16 months. My last relationship was 2 years, and my ex was there for me when my parents died, and some other factors that made the relationship a lot harder. Those were all outside factors that we overcame together and it made me want to fight for the relationship. It is different when the relationship itself has problems though.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Often its not like that though. Its overcoming issues IN the relationship.

      4. Dealing with what you had happen is different than what I meant. The way the LW phrased it sounded to me like they had a lot of issues within the relationship that they “overcame”. Dealing with the death of a family member or a serious illness or something like that is a whole other story, which if you make it through, often makes your relationship even stronger. Reading the rest of the letter and the tone of it all gives me the sense that the LW just ‘overcame’ a bunch of drama.

      5. I’m sorry you lost your parents Cara 🙁 <3

  2. Yikes! What kind of man would want to betray his own brother like that! Unfortunately LW it is your boyfriends brother! I say avoid the brother like the plague. Not sure what you are hoping for? Blood is thicker than water. If you are asking your boyfriend to choose you (who has only been in his life a little over a year) over his brother, then I’m sorry but I think you will lose.

    1. Your boyfriend seems okay with overlooking his brothers malfeasance.
      Tell him you’ve decided to sleep with his brother since he’s okay with it.
      I’m sure the whole problem will clear itself up quickly…one way or the other.

  3. If your bf is ok with his girlfriend being hit on by his brother, there’s likely some weird dynamic there — competition, jealousy, whatever; or maybe he’s the future inappropriate uncle to your kids because that’s how he is. Either way if you aren’t ok with it I would MOA. Especially if the guy TRIED TO CLIMB IN BED WITH YOU!?! Ewwwwww.

    Also. They are brothers, I don’t think your relationship is headed anywhere positive if less than 2 years in your trying to convince your bf to eliminate his brother from his life entirely for reasons that don’t involve words like murder and mayhem.

    1. 3 in a row for bros over… I’m not going to be vulgar so early. But I was thinking it 😉

      1. i was thinking the same thing!!!!

  4. “But now he doesn’t care — he still talks to his brother and gets mad when I get upset. But I feel worthless.”

    If you feel worthless that your boyfriend talks to his brother, it’s time to MOA.

  5. You can’t expect your boyfriend to ditch his brother because the brother was disrespectful. But you SHOULD expect him to respect your feelings and talk to his brother about the offensive behavior. If he’s not willing to help you create boundaries with his brother, you should get out. They have a dysfunctional relationship, and you really don’t want to get caught up in that. Frankly, the fact that he hasn’t done so yet tells me that he is not ready to set appropriate boundaries with his family.

    1. We really don’t know that he hasn’t done this. He probably has, and is sick of talking about it.

      1. Painted_lady says:

        But it sounds like it’s still going on. I’m not saying he should cut his brother out, but this behavior (climbing in bed?!?! FUCK THAT) is completely unacceptable in anyone.

        Someone who gets angry with you for saying, “Hey, this is making me massively uncomfortable” is not a safe person. I hate to be overdramatic, but climbing in bed with someone is scary as fuck and a serious boundary violation. If the brother goes further (and it sounds like he might), then what happens? Is the boyfriend going to be angry at the girlfriend for having the audacity to object to being violated further by his brother?

      2. You’re not the only one who’s saying he climbed into bed with her, so not to pick on you, but: I don’t think that’s actually what even happened? She says he tried to GET her in bed with him, which (to me) just seems like a vague phrase to describe some kind of verbal proposition. She doesn’t say he climbed into bed with her.

      3. Painted_lady says:

        Yeah, you’re right. That’s vague. At the same time, she’s made it clear she’s not interested (at the very least, by not leaving the boyfriend for the brother), and I’m not sure I’m okay with needing someone to be “uncomfortable enough” with something like that in order to be taken seriously. She’s uncomfortable, the brother isn’t respecting that, the boyfriend needs to back her up. I’m not sure why he’s angry with her that his brother hasn’t quit harassing her.

      4. You don’t know that he isn’t backing her up, she because he chooses to still have a realtionship with his brother does not mean he hasn’t talked, and set boundries with him. It sounds like she is trying to force her BF to never to talk to his brother again.

      5. To me it sounds like he has stopped this, and hasn’t done it in a while, and now that things are better with her and her BF she decided to spring this on him. He also didn’t try to get into bed with her, he tried to get her in his bed, there is a huge difference in those two things.

      6. Painted_lady says:

        You’re right about the getting in bed thing – I misread that. If he *has* said something, the LW didn’t mention it. I’m not saying he needs to cut off contact, but if the brother’s still being inappropriate while she’s said that she’s uncomfortable with it, then it’s still a problem, and he’s angry with her for continuing to be offended by something she was already offended by, that someone else is doing, not her. She definitely can’t make him care about this, and she absolutely needs to decide what she personally will not accept…and then she needs to be backed up, which we don’t know if that will happen because she hasn’t tried it yet. I read it, though, that he’s dismissive of her claims – maybe because of the way she’s asking, or maybe for other reasons (put them in my post). And if he continues to be so after she sets some boundaries, it’s time to go.

  6. I feel like I’m about to dismiss this letter with a “you all sound very young” & I don’t really want to do that, but where do I begin? I hate the whole “boys will be boys” thing, but in this situation, these two guys just seem like they’re being…guys? (I’m not very eloquent today). They’re young, I’m assuming, & your boyfriend’s brother just seems like he’s trying his chances with you/practicing flirting. LW, you don’t mention what he actually said or HOW he tried to “get [you] in his bed at one point” so I have nothing to work with, here.

    “How can I get my boyfriend to care?” Um, what is telling you that he DOESN’T care? I’m not a fan of your attitude here—it seems like you want him to defend your honor or something, which is kind of bullshit. “He still talks to his brother and gets mad when I get upset.” So you want him to stop talking to his brother? That’s real nice. “… his brother tried to take me away from him multiple times.” Oh, please. Calm down. A few comments here or there (sorry, without any details, I’m having trouble taking this guy’s “flirting” seriously) doesn’t mean he’s trying to steal you away.

    I know I’m being harsh, but the vibe I’m getting from your second paragraph is that you want some crazy dramatic “How dare he!! He will removed from my life immediately!!!” reaction from your boyfriend, which—to you—somehow equals caring. I’m sure he cares (you did say he was shocked at first) & is just getting sick of you implying he shouldn’t talk to his brother anymore. It’s his BROTHER; they will be in each other’s lives forever. I’m pretty sure you won’t.

    1. Exactly! Sounds like LW has a major princess complex.

      And LW, you are the one making the choices. The brother can’t take you away; you can choose to go with him or not. Nothing he says or flirts can steal you away. Obviously, your boyfriend trusts you, so why would he worry about losing you to his brother? It’s one thing that you feel uncomfortable, which he should certainly address, but it’s quite another thing to ask him to worry that you’ll be stolen from him.

  7. “How can I get my boyfriend to care?”

    The thing is, this is sort of a silly question since you can’t control other people’s feelings. My feeling is that your boyfriend obviously trusts you. Yay! So he’s not worried that his brother is trying to “take you away from him” (kind of a yucky phrase, to be honest, I mean your’e not a toy). If you want your boyfriend to care, don’t try to convince him you’re a possession about to be stolen. Focus on your own feelings — the brother makes you very uncomfortable. If your boyfriend doesn’t care about your feelings once you explain them, you can’t make him care. If that happens, then you’ll know you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t care that you’re uncomfortable and feel harassed, and at that point you should probably leave.

    But make this about you and your feelings — don’t try to dictate their relationship unless the brother does something bad enough to warrant it. I’m talking rape or murder. (DON’T give the brother a chance to do this if you’re uncomfortable. You should never have to be alone with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable and you can refuse to spend time with him at all if you want — that’s completely your prerogative.)

  8. Avatar photo the_optimist says:

    Are you sure he hasn’t spoken to his brother about your feelings? Has the brother tried anything on you since you’ve informed your boyfriend of what’s happened? Not to generalize, but the guys I know usually have a conversation (or, um, all-out fight on some occasions) about whatever is bothering them, and then drop the subject. So, unless the brother’s still harassing you, I think it’s safe to assume they’re both over it. And I think you should be, too.

    And why do I think you should be? Because you don’t even really seem to be upset over the brother’s behavior anymore. You’re pissed at your boyfriends reaction–or lack of reaction– to his brother’s behavior. You can’t ban your boyfriend from seeing his brother, and if you can’t handle that fact, you need to end this relationship now.

  9. “How can I get my boyfriend to care?”

    You can ‘t. You can never MAKE another person care about something. You can’t control omeone else’s thoughts or feelings.

    I say MOA. Off the top of my head I cannot come up with a single scenario in which a boyfriend would pick his girlfriend of a year over hiw own flesh and blood, and this certainly wouldn’t even come close.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Read ‘you can’t control omelet’s thoughts’ lol

  10. parton_doll says:

    I don’t think this is a matter of getting your boyfriend to care, so to speak. It sounds like you are posing an ultimatum to him … either pick you or his brother. On top of that it’s a classic he said/she said Family will usually win out with in cases like this.

    You don’t really provide any background on your bf’s relationship with his brother or what your actual conversation was with your boyfriend. Did you ask to set new boundaries like not wanting to be alone with his brother, limiting contact with the brother and bf when you do things as a couple, asking him to have a discussion with his brother about crossing lines, etc? If you haven’t done that, try and see what happens. It could be that your bf didn’t know how to approach the situation and wanted to keep peace. If you did try that and your bf is unreceptive to your concerns and blatantly ignoring them, this just may not be the relationship for you.

  11. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

    Quoting MMcG:
    If your bf is ok with his girlfriend being hit on by his brother, there’s likely some weird dynamic there — competition, jealousy, whatever; or maybe he’s the future inappropriate uncle to your kids because that’s how he is.

    Well, for starters, I think we would need A LOT more evidence before we started down the “inappropriate uncle” path. There’s a big difference between flirting with someone your own age and making inappropriate comments to children. As for the “weird dynamic,” I don’t think it’s that weird. Call it validation, call it competition, call it whatever you want, but guys like knowing their significant others are desirable. I’m a little thrilled when my wife walks in a room and heads turn; I mean, other guys find her attractive, but she’s here with me, and that’s kind of awesome, you know? I’m not going to get all offended if other guys double-take or anything, because that would be silly.

    LW, you need to calm down a bit about your boyfriend not making a big deal about this. For one, your letter doesn’t seem to indicate that the brother has tried anything since you told your boyfriend about it, which leads me to believe your boyfriend quietly told his brother, “Dude, you’re making her uncomfortable. Chill the hell out.” And as for your grand Shakespearean dramatic approach to this “he tried to steal me away from my boyfriend” thing . . . well, I’m not trying to be mean here, but that kind of assumes you’re all that and a bag of chips and that his goal was to steal you away, and I’m kind of doubting you’re right about that. I’m pretty sure the brother was flirting with you because you were around and — more importantly — because he knew nothing was ever going to come of it. Another newsflash about guys: just because we flirt with you doesn’t mean we mean what we say. Hell, I flirt shamelessly with female court clerks every day in the hopes they’ll squeeze in my hearings or take my case next so I don’t have to wait, and it’s not like any of them believe I’m going to leave my wife no matter how many times I say we should run away to the Cayman Islands. 🙂 I’m pretty sure if you ever said to the brother, “Ok. Let’s go for it,” he’d have gotten so tongue-tied and frozen you’d have laughed your head off.

    I’m not saying the brother was right for doing it and making you uncomfortable, but is the brother actually still flirting with you? If he is, then talk to your boyfriend about limiting your time around the brother. If he isn’t, then assume your boyfriend’s shock resulted in a conversation to his brother and that it took effect. But, seriously, stop with the dramatics. As other people have pointed out, you can go right ahead and demand your boyfriend choose, but I’ll put all the money in my pockets right now that his choice is going to leave you single again.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      “I’m a little thrilled when my wife walks in a room and heads turn; I mean, other guys find her attractive”
      There is a pretty big difference between random guys turning heads and your own brother looking your wife up and down, no?

      I agree with what you’re saying otherwise.

    2. Your second paragraph is very important for the LW to read, I think.

      People like feeling validated, and most of the time, flirting is harmless. And it’s fun.

      When I was engaged and wearing the ring, I was hit on all the time. A lot more than when I was single? I’m pretty sure it’s because people just wanted to flirt, knew nothing would come of it, and have their fun.

    3. I get what you’re saying. But trying to get someone into your bed is a bit beyond harmless flirting to me, especially if it upsets her. It may have been meant as a joke, but she clearly didn’t take it as one. Plus, that’s kind of a mean joke: “I really want you. Nope, just kidding!”

      To the LW: You can’t make somebody care. They either do or they don’t. I can understand why you would be upset by the brother’s behavior. It shows a clear lack of boundaries and respect. If your BF is making you feel worthless and downplaying your feelings, that’s not respectful either. If you’re waiting for him to challenge his brother to a duel, that’s not going to happen. He’s his brother, he’s blood. What is happening is that both these guys are making you uncomfortable and they don’t seem to care. So, MOA. You don’t need them.

  12. GatorGirl says:

    You can not make someone care. Seriously. You can not force them to care.

    “We’ve overcome a lot of stuff, and we are doing better.” So you’ve only been together for one year and 4 months and you’ve already had a phase that you’re “doing better” from? This isn’t worth your time. Move on. Find a guy who doesn’t have a creepy brother and who you don’t have to overcome a lot of stuff in the first year of your relationship.

  13. I think you’re concerned with the fact that because your boyfriend is still close with his brother it means he doesn’t care about you. He may very well have spoken to his brother and closed the matter up. Have the comments continued since you told your boyfriend? If not, then I would say he talked to his brother and they patched things up. Just because he wants to keep his brother in his life does not mean he doesn’t care about you. The brother said some stupid comments – he didn’t rape you (God forbid).

    Do you want him to duel for your honour or something? I mean seriously – just be flattered that the brother thinks you’re hot and ignore him. And next time he says something and it bothers you just tell him you’re going to let your bf know and let him know.

  14. Sunshine Brite says:

    Wow, I already had to delete a response I believe would’ve been too harsh to hear my point. I feel like this is unsustainable and unthinkable to expect someone you’ve been dating a matter of months to cut off their immediate family due to something that you didn’t even appear to communicate well about. He’s only known what’s happened for 2 months and I don’t know how you put the advances to him but clearly you let it build up bigger than what he’s taken it to be. This is his reaction. Either accept his brother’s presence in his life or MOA.

  15. I’m on the fence about this. On one hand, your boyfriend shouldn’t get mad at you for being upset that his brother tried to sleep with you. On the other hand, this is not worth cutting off ties with his brother. I think that if he did, he’d seriously regret it later in life. So, I don’t think that you should be so taken aback that his brother is still in his life and that they continue to speak. I’m also curious how you mean the brother tried to get you in bed. Just heavy flirtation? Like actually kissing you? Because flirting with someone is not a disownable offense.

    Anyway, if you feel worthless, then you should MOA. You can’t make someone care about something they don’t. And continuing to try to make them is just going to make them more frustrated, which is going to make you feel even worse.

    Also, I imagine that the reason your boyfriend is not super upset is that he trusts you and doesn’t think his brother has a chance. You phrase it as his brother “trying to take you away from him,” but you’re not property, and no one can take you away without you making it happen.

  16. Drama!
    Seriously though, this –> “But throughout the relationship, his brother has flirted with me on several occasions, even trying to get me in his bed at one point. I have flat-out refused him time and time again” <– is not ok. If brother has propositioned you, and you have clearly said no, and he does it again, and your bf knows this, then he needs to talk to his brother. This isn't about your bf having to pick only one of you in a relationship, it's about the need for clear boundaries. Think about whether this is a family you want to invest more time in though – going after a sibling's love interest just strikes me as icky.

  17. Ok, so you have been going out for 16 months now, which isn’t a ton of time, but this seems like all of this happened very early on in your relationship, when maybe things weren’t as serious, or when you were having all sorts of other problems with your BF. If he hasn’t done this in a while, why make such a big deal about it now. Your BF already knows about it, and I’m sure this is going to keep his brother from hitting on you in the future. So I say either layoff of your BF, or if it still makes you that uncomfortable MOA, because you clearly aren’t going to break up that family.

  18. I think you are clinging to a bad relationship to salvage the work you’ve already put in overcoming a lot of difficulties. I agree with the others who say there just shouldn’t be that many difficulties in the first year of a relationship that is going to succeed. If it’s been so tough and you feel he doesn’t stand up for you by telling his brother to back off and keeping his brother away from you, then what is there in the relationship that has you clinging on for dear life and feeling awful about yourself at the same time. Good relationships make you feel better about yourself. They may have difficulties, but they just don’t have tons of difficulties at the start. That is a strong sign that you are ignoring that you and your bf are a mismatch.

  19. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    Too much information is missing. We don’t even know which brother is the hot one.

    I’m kidding. I can’t muster up anything wise these days, so I say go with what others say!

    1. It would be a lot easier to advise most LWs if they would only specify who’s hawt and who’s nawt.

      1. we would have to create some sort of scale for the hawt and nawt-ness though…. like, *you* might think hes hawt, but is he like matthew mcconaughey hawt or joseph gordon-levitt hawt ? you know?

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Eww Matthew Mcconaughey is not hot. He looks like he has a lot of sexually transmitted diseases. No offense to people with sexually transmitted disease. Some of my best friends have ’em. I’m just saying. Also, he seems like an ass, which makes him not hawt.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Who’s that cute guy who played on My Week with Marilyn? I could l kiss his face off!

      4. Painted_lady says:

        Eddie Redmayne. Gorgeous voice, too, if you haven’t seen Les Mis (though I wouldn’t recommend it, just YouTube it).

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        In love with him.

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        That’s him. He is adorable.

      7. Wait. Are you saying you wouldn’t recommend Les Mis??

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Have you seen it? I have not. And I really don’t want to. So I welcome everyone to tell me it sucks so I don’t have to see it…

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        I loved it. Sorry.

      10. Painted_lady says:

        It wasn’t my favorite. Hugh Jackman made me crazy vocally, and Russell Crowe looked like he had no desire to be there, though he wasn’t as bad as I thought. I found it too long, and I thought there were a lot of things that work better onstage (I do like the stage version quite a bit). I know there were a lot of people who loved it, and it wasn’t awful…but if you’re not already a massive fan, it’s likely (not definitely, just likely) going to irritate you.

      11. You’re the first person I’ve known who didn’t love it. I loved it, btw, and I’ve never seen the play, though I was familiar with a lot of the music, and I read the book in high school. I was a bit iffy about Russell Crowe, but I thought Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were amazing.

      12. painted_lady says:

        I know I probably sound like a complete theatre snob. It’s not like “Ohhhhh, it was awful!!!” There were some AMAZING parts (Anne Hathaway, I love you), it just didn’t pack the same power. And yeah…I only know about three people who didn’t care for Hugh Jackman’s voice (though the acting was solid). It’s so weird because I feel like I saw a different performance than anyone else.

      13. Haha, I didn’t think you sounded like a theatre snob. Everyone can’t love it. I’d love to see a live performance some time, though.

      14. ok, fine, the matthew mcconaughey goes on the “nawt” side. im not making the rules, im just sayin we need rules for context purposes… lol

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        Also, he has really short arms.

      16. Painted_lady says:

        And he looks smelly. Or maybe that’s just because I read he was.

      17. To give the site gender balance, I’ll arbitrate the Scarlett Johansen vs Maggie Gyllenhaal hotness scale. As to Matthew, my missus simply can’t get past his character in Dazed and Confused, so for her, he will forever be Wooderson.

      18. ok, big question: where does eva mendez sit on your scale?

      19. Eva can sit anywhere she likes on any part of my scale. Would that I were the scale…

      20. lets_be_honest says:


      21. i knew i liked you.

      22. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        haha. if i were a dude, i’d be in love with: diane lane. isn’t she so beautiful? she has the prettiest face ever! you know who i would not love if i were a dude: sarah jessica parker.

      23. As a dude, I agree with both judgments. As an older dude, I used to like young Diane Lane, and always thought she was underrated and deserved a bigger piece of the glamour.

        As for SJP, to borrow an old Celine Dion joke, why the long face?

      24. Yeah, I think Wooderson was the highlight of his career.

    2. What if neither of them is hot? 😉

      1. Then we need to know which one is hotter? Relatively speaking.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        And which one makes more money, of course.

  20. bah so much weird stuff.

    1. so many problems in 16 months = bad
    2. brother trying to sleep with you = bad
    3. you feel worthless = bad
    4. “his brother tried to take me away from him multiple times” = good lord, grow up
    5. you want to “make” him care = bad.

    just bad, all around. yuck.

  21. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    I say you go for it. That’ll show your boyfriend for not disowning him.

  22. OmniaParatus says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. Idk if your boyfriend is dismissing your feelings bc he doesn’t want to believe his brother would do that to him, or if you’ve tired him out with this topic bringing it up very frequently. I do believe your bf should take your feelings into consideration (provided he hasn’t), but I don’t think you can expect him to completely cut all ties with his brother over verbal accusations.
    Regardless, the phrase “blood is thicker than water” immediately came to my head once I read this letter. He’s made is clear he’s not going to cast aside his brother over this, so you can either suck it up & get on with the relationship, or MOA. Like others have said, if you guys are 16 months in & have “been through so much,” it may very well be time to throw in the towel.

  23. Have you seen The Vicious Kind with the awesome Adam Scott? It’s about a chick (Brittany Snow) whose boyfriend’s bro gets infatuated with her and hits on her. Just a thought.

  24. Painted_lady says:

    LW, you have a right to be upset. Being harassed by your boyfriend’s family member is not okay. Those concerns being dismissed by your boyfriend are unacceptable. But make sure you make the distinction between “boyfriend isn’t taking concerns seriously,” which is a very valid concern, and “boyfriend isn’t defending my honor,” which is, frankly, ridiculous. You sound very young, and it’s hard when you feel icky about something and betrayed by someone to figure out why.

    It is not your boyfriend’s job to cut his brother out of his life. That is something unfair to ask. It isn’t unfair for you to ask your boyfriend to believe you that his brother makes you uncomfortable. It isn’t his job to “fight” for you and defend you against his brother’s advances. It IS his job to let his brother know that treating a woman this way – ANY woman, girlfriend or no – by continuing to make advances after she has told him she is uninterested. And I feel like you also have a right to know that he has said something. It’s your job to set boundaries for yourself (the only one you can control), and it’s your boyfriend’s job to respect those.

    The way you expressed all of this is bad. What you’re asking for right now is unfair. But the problem is not unreasonable. Part of the reason some men ignore boundaries is because no one who matters (ie, no one with a penis, for these guys) holds them accountable for it.

  25. I kind of need to know what kind of flirting we’re talking about here before I can even weigh in. I mean, is it just flirting-flirting? The kind people do every day, like Guy Friday said, to make life a bit easier and other people smile? Maybe the brother is just a flirt and flirts with everyone. I know guys who will sit and flirt and charm your grandma all day, but have no intention of sleeping with Grams or stealing her away from Gramps. So, if it’s that kind of flirting, I definitely get why the boyfriends is all “Eh, whatever” and annoyed that the LW is incensed that he isn’t out dramatically denouncing his brother. It’s kind of no big deal.

    Was it talk about her body or something? Overtly sexual stuff? Touchy-feely stuff? Because then, the LW’s freaking out makes more sense, and I get why she wants her boyfriend to talk to his brother about it. That’s gross and offensive, even if he’s just joking around. But, still, asking her boyfriend to write his brother out of his life because he’s a boorish ass with no social skills is a bit much.

    All in all, if the LW feels disrespected and is this unhappy and the only thing that will make her happy is for her boyfriend to never speak to his brother again, I’d say MOA. There are plenty of guys out there who don’t even have brothers, much less ones who make you uncomfortable.

  26. First, you can’t expect your bf to cut his brother out of his life. You also can’t make him care, or make him react the way you want to. If it happens again I would let your bf know that his brother is making you feel uncomfortable and you’ve asked him to stop. You could then also ask your bf to talk to his brother and ask him to back off. If he doesn’t and your bf continues to get angry when you get upset (are you getting upset that he won’t cut his brother off or that he won’t back you up and say something to his brother?) then you have to decide if it’s worth staying in the relationship (although if you’re only upset that he won’t cut his brother off you can probably bet on staying upset). It sounds like the other issues you have/had are spilling over in to this issue. Making him choose you over his brother won’t make those issues go away or make your relationship any more valid. Creating open lines of communication and learning to respect each other can only help your relationship.

  27. You are never going to win this battle. Choice is yours now whether the relationship is worth it to you to put up with this brother dynamic.

  28. LW, is there a chance that you wanted to give in to the brother’s advances? Or perhaps even crossed the line even a little bit with the brother? I’m wondering whether you’re responding so dramatically to the situation because you feel guilty. Maybe you’re trying to place all of the blame on the brother to assuage your own guilt and because your boyfriend’s reaction to his brother doesn’t match your level of guilt, you’re freaking out.

    I don’t know, just a guess. I just have a hard time believing that the brother would continually pursue you if you didn’t give ANY indication of interest at all. I feel like you may have at least somewhat encouraged it. Unless it was a completely forced rape type of situation, in which case I don’t think you would have described it as “trying to steal you away”.

    I could be completely wrong and I’m not trying to falsely accuse you of something. I’m just suggesting that you make sure that you’re honest with yourself about how you really feel about the brother.

    1. Wait, this seems pretty unfair. There’s nothing in the letter that suggests anything happened between them. And there are so many guys in the world who will keep flirting after having been given no signs of interest, or even actual horror/brushoffs. Especially guys idiotic enough to hit on their brothers’ girlfriends in the first place. I mean, there are plenty of people of both genders who don’t respect boundaries, but guys in particular are socialized to think women don’t REALLY mean it when they deny them sex/attention/interest. And then when they cross boundaries, people inevitably wonder, “What did she do to encourage him?” The answer is nothing – the LW flat out refused his advances, according to her.

      (Whether or not he is ACTUALLY trying to proposition her or just flirting “innocently” as others have suggested, the fact is that she doesn’t find it funny, so I’m still going with “he’s a creep.”)

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Don’t see how that seems any less fair than people saying she might be flat out lying or a drama queen.

      2. Well, I think she would have to be flat-out lying in order for her to have encouraged his advances. To me it’s kinda not worth accusing LWs of lying because then how do you even give advice, right? But the reason this one struck me as particularly unfair is the sense that it’s somehow her fault when someone behaves inappropriately around her, which is just a really common reaction when men are sexually inappropriate with women.

        The drama queen accusation seems perfectly fair to me! (But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get to set boundaries, if that makes any sense.)

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        It does. And you’re right, by assuming she’s lying, its impossible to give advice.

      4. I don’t think the LW is lying, but the letter is pretty high drama.

        “We’ve overcome a lot of stuff, but we’re better now.” The brother flirted with her and she “flat-out refused him.” This went on for months and then the LW finally had to tell her boyfriend, and “at first he was shocked” (which is obviously the reaction the LW wanted), but now she’s decided that the boyfriend “doesn’t care” because “he still talks to his brother” even though “his brother tried to take [the LW] away from him multiple times.” The LW is upset about that because”he still wants his brother in his life” and the way she sees it “his brother tried stabbing him in the back” and obviously “feels no remorse” (because he hasn’t apologized to the LW?) and if her boyfriend doesn’t immediately cut his brother out of his life, it makes her “feel worthless” and she just wants to know “how [she] can get him to care” and disown his brother like he would if he loved the LW.

        That’s drama. Not saying she isn’t justified in how she feels, but that’s drama. And from the way the brother went from “shocked” to “not caring” to annoyed when she brings it up, I’m guessing he probably sees it that way, too. Fair or not.

      5. *meant boyfriend went from “shocked” to “not caring”

      6. As I said, I could be completely off base and if so, I’m really sorry for suggesting it.

        Also, just to clarify, I’m not saying that she’s lying. She may very well have vehemently refused his advances but there may have been a part of her wanted to give in to the brother’s advances and she feels guilty for merely having those feelings. Her reaction to this is situation seems a little bit unreasonable and I’m just wondering if there is a reason she’s reacting so strongly. I only suggest this because there have been situations where I have felt guilty about something and I projected a lot of anger towards someone else involved, I think as an attempt to make myself feel better. I’m just suggesting the possibility because if the LW recognizes what’s happening, she can better understand why she feels so angry and why her boyfriends anger doesn’t seem to match hers.

        However, I do realize it’s a long shot and I very well could be completely wrong. I am in no way trying to diminish the hurt that the LW feels nor am I suggesting that she should blame herself for what happened. I’m sorry if my initial response came out that way.

      7. Got it! Thanks for clarifying. Her reaction did seem rather outsized compared to the events she described, so I get why it led to speculation as to her motives (as everyone else has been doing).

  29. Sue Jones says:

    Ew. Don’t marry into this family. In fact I would MOA. 16 months is too soon to have this much drama.

    1. Agreed, but I’m pretty sure LW brings the drama. So that shit will follow her wherever she goes!

  30. spark_plug says:

    Are you sure you’re not over-reacting? A lot of guys are total flirts, make inappropriate comments and are generally immature all the time. I have this guy in my gym class right now.. he’s really young and doesn’t know any better, but anytime he talks to me he only says something about how attractive he finds me. I’m twice his age and have no interest at all because I could be his mom in some cultures. But this boy just can’t help himself.. he’ll either not talk to me or say something that makes me feel totally uncomfotable.

    Sure, I can be like all like “you need to start respecting me.. stop hitting on me.. I told you no many times..” dramatic, or I can just smile, keep the conversation to hello and goodbye and walk away. Of course, its easier when the said guy is someone in gym class not your bf’s brother, but the point is, if its not totally sexist or inappropriate (not sure if “flirted” counts as inappropriate), the best course of action is just to brush it off and leave it alone. Maybe the brother is just that much of a douchebag.

    As for the drama of being upset b/c your boyfriend doens’t care.. I’m guessing that comes more from you feeling like your boyfriend doesn’t care rather than the inappropriate remarks made by his brother.

  31. You’ve been together for 16 months and have “overcome so much”, but you don’t specify what. It would have helped if you HAD at least given us some clue as to what you’ve “overcome”. Right now, it just sounds like petty drama. Was it cancer in one of you and chemo, followed by the death of a close loved one and a building fire? Or was it cheating, lying and theft of money for drugs? These are two very different scenarios with two very different pieces of advice for one person.

    Could the brother have been “testing” you? Whether with your boyfriend’s knowledge (or on his request) or not, you stayed silent about the issue for months. Instead of making your discomfort (and the situation) known immediately, you kept it quiet. Add to the (possible) drama of everything else you’ve “overcome”, yeah… no wonder your boyfriend is brushing things off. Either he put his brother up to it, his brother did it on purpose to test you, or his brother is downplaying it/making it seem like you’re making a bigger deal about it/exaggerating it.

    Either the two of you need to work on your communication skills, or you need to reevaluate whether this relationship is really worth it. What did you overcome? Deaths, illnesses and tragedy? Or was it lying, cheating and scandal? If it’s the second – then move on and don’t look back.

    1. It was cancer chemo after an escape from a burning building with Colonel Mustard. 🙂

      1. I was thinking: Lying about cheating with the maid in the library on the leather wingback, but whatever.

  32. I just have trouble taking the LW seriously at all. All the ‘trying to steal me away’ and ‘how can he have his brother in his life?!’ crap, just makes me think the LW is prone to blowing things out of proportion and making the everyday super dramatic, i.e. ‘we’ve overcome so much together already.’ CALM DOWN.

    Are you sure he was hitting on you? How did he try to get you in his bed? Did that even really happen or did you invent it? Also, are you a good writer? Because I have to write an adaptation of a folktale at work this week and I think the crazy plot points you’d invent would be PERFECT.

  33. Avatar photo Northern Mermaid says:

    “He doesn’t seem to care that his brother tried to take me away from him multiple times”

    I hate this attitude.You made me roll my eyes and let out a really loud sigh. You are not a thing to be taken away. You are a person with agency and autonomy. If you do not want to be “taken” you won’t be. Your boyfriend might trust that you don’t want to be “taken” by his douchey flirty brother. I bet he knows that you’re not going to hear his brother flirt with you and fall dramatically into his arms, swept away by his banter, as if you can’t help yourself. There. Now I made myself roll my eyes at you.

    ” The way I see it, his brother tried stabbing him in the back, and obviously has no remorse for his actions.”
    You might see it that way, but it sounds like your boyfriend doesn’t. You can’t make him see it that way, so drop it . I have a REALLY flirtatious and competitive little sister. She hits on my boyfriends, my guy friends, or any male that has an association with me. You know what? I don’t feel disrespected. That’s how she is. I know that when it really gets down to the wire, she’d back off, and I just choose to trust both the men in my life and my sister, rather than lose my shit and risk alienating my sister. I’ve known her for her entire life and she means the world to me. Maybe your boyfriend feels the same way.

  34. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    I don’t know if this is helpful but my father’s brothers hated his wife (she is the most wonderful person and step-mother). They were awful to her. Although my father begged them to stop, they refused. I know this is the flip side to your issue but the outcome is the same. He never stopped talking to them or seeing them or loving them. They were his brothers and nothing could break their bond.
    If I was in your shoes, I would tell the brother to find another way to compete with his brother–you’re not engaging in the game.

  35. So I’ve been in a slightly similar situation – though not as bad. On my first date with my fiance he took me to a party, where his older brother proceeded to ask for my number and try to ask me out. Since my fiance and I have been “officially” together (so no chance that his brother didn’t know that we were together) his brother has continuously made comments about how he “saw me first” and has said creepy things to me about the way I look and my body, etc. I hate this guy and he completely creeps me out.

    Did I ever ask my fiance to stop speaking to him? No. BUT does my fiance talk to him all the time? Are they BFFs? NO. My fiance told his brother to back off, to leave me alone and has, since the creepiness started, never left me anywhere alone with his brother. Every time his brother does something that makes me uncomfortable, my fiance makes it clear that it’s unacceptable (though, obviously, since it has continued, it has made little difference). I would never expect that they would stop speaking because of this (though they’re not the verge of not speaking for other reasons – his brother’s creepiness is just the tip of the iceberg that is him being a total jerk).

    I don’t think that you can get him to change but I also don’t think that you’d be unreasonable for wanting your bf to tell his brother to back off. If he refuses to let his brother know that what he did was unacceptable, I don’t think that there’s anything you can do to make him “care.” If he has already told his brother to leave you alone, I think it’s unreasonable for you to expect him to completely cut off his brother because of this.

  36. My husband had a friend who hit on me before we were official. I told my husband about it, and he stayed friends with him. At first, I felt a little insulted, but then I realized it was my husband’s call, not mine, who he decided to deal with his friend’s betrayal or whatever you want to call it. I have no idea how or if he handled it, but the behavior stopped. We were 20 when we started dating. My husband’s friend has since matured a ton and actually become a pretty cool guy. We’re having dinner with him and his wife this weekend. I think my husband would be sad he got rid of that friendship over something that happened when we were all young and immature, and that’s just a friend! I think its unreasonable to ask him to cut out his brother. On the other hand, you can’t help how you feel, so it may be a MOA situation if you are unhappy.

  37. I think the best way to solve this issue is to just have a threesome with these brothers. At least that’s what I’d do….

  38. You Go Girl says:

    The LW is using dramatic language to describe her problem, which has caused some readers to not take her concerns seriously and to even suggest that what happened is her fault. Yes, she may be young and somewhat overly dramatic. But the bottom line is that the boyfriend’s brother has been making many unwelcome advances to her. Not only is the boyfriend unconcerned about her feelings and refuses to talk to his brother, he even becomes angry when she voices her concerns.

    I am sorry to tell the LW that this is a huge red flag. If you marry your boyfriend, you are signing up for a lifetime of trying to dodge your brother-in-law’s advances and a lifetime of your husband not caring about your concerns. Your boyfriend’s brother is violating so many boundaries with his inappropriate behavior that I am not even sure if your future children would be safe with him. I know the LW loves her boyfriend, and breaking up is hard to do. But this is a clear MOA situation because she cannot make her boyfriend care about her feelings.

    1. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      We don’t know that the boyfriend hasn’t talked to his brother nor do we know if they’ve stopped or not. What we do know is that she seems pissed that he has stopped talking to his brother, which is a ridiculous demand.

  39. bittergaymark says:

    Drama. Drama. Drama.

    Pointless drama.

  40. Willing to stab his own brother in the back to get what he wants? I have no doubt he is a Republican, because the Republican Party is full of sexual deviants that hate women and want to treat them like chattel.

    1. Like Clinton in the Oval Office? Menendez with underage prostitutes? Barney Frank with the brothel being run from his home? That kind of sexual perversion is sadly not absent from the (R)s but seems to be large and in charge for the (D)s.

      Perhaps you want to rethink that.

    2. Red_Right_Returning says:

      Teddy Kennedy?

      Anthony Weiner?

      Mal Reynolds?

      Chris Dodd?

      John Edwards?

  41. Sounds like you boyfriend’s brother is a little more clued in to how important your relationship is to his brother – it’s not. In your not too distant future, you may be offered up as a swap if your boyfriend’s brother finds a girlfriend.

  42. Marker Downe says:

    Here are two hard facts of life for you:

    (1) You are not your friend’s fiancé nor his wife. You are his girlfriend. By definition that is a temporary situation. His brother is his brother. He will always be his brother. That automatically places him higher in status than you.

    (2) If your boyfriend seriously considered you marriage material, he would be defending you. Since he is supporting his brother, not you…draw your own conclusions.

    My advice is for you to dump the loser and get some of your self-respect back. This guy is never going to give you the respect you deserve.

  43. You can’t get your boyfriend to care, so stop trying. If you had half a brain and an ounce of self-respect you would bang the brother out of spite and then tell them both to go jump off a bridge. But I’m betting on you accepting the humiliation in passive-aggressive fashion and whining about it to anyone stupid enough to listen.

  44. If your boyfriend is unconcerned that his own brother tried to sleep with you, I would assume that he does not see you as a long-term, serious girlfriend or wife material. If he did, he would be upset (I’m not saying he would cut off his own brother, but I would expect him to be at least a little angry about the situation and the betrayal).

    Given how unaffected he seems to be, it’s fair to say that he doesn’t care if someone else (whether it’s his brother, or any other random guy) is trying to ‘steal’ you away. Because he isn’t interested in keeping you. This is a huge red flag, and I think you should take it as your signal to walk away from him and never look back.

  45. All of this is terrible stop putting the blame where it shouldn’t be. You did nothing wrong. Your boyfriend if you love him and vice versa can love you and his brother but be understanding of his brother. If he’s getting upset with you being upset about this then maybe not the right person for you. but over all someone else’s behavior isn’t your fault. Keep a close eye all the time around him and try to stay away as much as possible. I hope you come to an understanding with ur bf where he’ll take care of you and see your side too but the brother needs help you can’t give. I don’t know if you believe in God but pray for guidance and safety you’re always loved.

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