Brother's girlfriend

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LinzZ Posts : 683 Registered: 12/13/07
Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 4, 2010 11:12 PM

My younger brother and I are very close. My cousin (MOH) is my absolute best friend.
For the first 4 years of my relationship with DH he lived at home ( going to college). He was really good friends with his next door neighbor, Drew. Drew was dating Lynn. DH's friends and my friends became a very tight circle. Fast forward a few years and Drew and Lynn go through a bitter, drawn out break up. About the same time, my cousin, Rae, breaks off an engagement. Rae and Drew hook up and Lynn freaks out. She starts going to school and meets new friends. She introduced my brother to a girl. He and the friend started dating. Lynn moved in with the friend and then things went south with the friendship. Lynn also started shit talking my brother and us and all of our friends. But she remained friends with my BIL. She started Harrassing Drew, screaming inappropriate things at Rae in a bar. All kinds of things, including kissing and "grabbing" Drew while he was passed out after a night out then sleeping it off at my BIL's (Drew's best friend). So needless to say we pushed Lynn out of our lives.
Here is the part I need your help with. Apparently my brother has selective memory and doesn't care how people treat his friends and family because he has started dating Lynn. The tension between Lynn and Drew&Rae keeps them from being in the same room. I also have a lot of issues with the way she has treated my cousin ( I haven't even begun to tell you what Lynn has done to her/ them). I don't think I can forgive her. Especially because the general feeling is that she is using my brother to keep tabs on Drew. She has told people ( reliable people) that my brother is reading more into the relationship than it is, "broke up" with my brother once because she had feelings for his best friend, Steve. These happened a few months ago though. They are officially BF and GF.
I don't know how to handle the situation. I can be coldly polite but that's about it. I just don't want this to damage my relationship with my brother. I would like your input. Am I being rediculous? Should I get over it all for the sake of my brother? If you think I should talk to him, what should I say?

 

Cherish Yesterday, Dream for Tomorrow, Live Today!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 5, 2010 7:35 AM Go to message in response to: LinzZ

Dear Lin,

Put yourself in the place of a Mom whose child comes home with a boy/girlfriend you do not like. What's your best course of action?

Answer: Polite Neutrality.

How would you feel if your mother was trying to break up you and your guy?

If you actively try to break them up, that might push them closer together. "I'll show her she's wrong."

It's a lose-lose situation. If they eventually break up, they blame you. If they stay together, then you look bad, and you've got a long-term bad situation.

However, if you stay neutral and welcome the new girlfriend politely, then it's win-win for you. If they eventually break up, then no one blames you. If they stay together, then you can build on neutrality.

My suggestion to you is to let the relationship play its course. If she's really that bad, Brother will figure it out for himself. Let him. In the mean time, just be as nice as possible, as you would be nice to anyone. That's not hypocritical. You are keeping your Private Thoughts to yourself while your Public Actions are courteous and polite.

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LinzZ Posts : 683 Registered: 12/13/07
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 5, 2010 3:51 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Aunt, that has been my stance so far. I've never done anything that could be considered rude or unwelcoming because I don't want her to be one of the many women on here complaining about what a bitch her in-laws are. I'm having a birthday party at my house next weekend and have made it very clear she is welcome and so is my cousin's BF (her ex) but their drama stays outside my home.
I had a conversation via text with my brother last night letting him know I respect him and his decisions but I just don't think I'll ever have a relationship with her. The whole thing came up because she Friend Requested me on Facebook and I wanted to know if he would be pissed if I declined. I know I could have just accepted her to keep the peace but I'm not comfortable sharing the details of my life with her ( I have tight privacy settings and I'm picky about who I accept). I also strongly believe she wants to keep tabs on Drew and Rae.

 

Cherish Yesterday, Dream for Tomorrow, Live Today!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 6, 2010 8:27 PM Go to message in response to: LinzZ

Dear Lin,

So far, you're doing great. I encourage you to keep on that way. Good for you! (pat pat pat on the back)

Here's what I want you to consider, and remember that I am 55 years old and have seen the long-term ramifications of these kinds of things.

I know of two couples where the parents were adamantly opposed to the respective marriages. Both the couples have siblings.

Fast forward a "few" (ho ho) years. Yes, at my age 30 years feels like a "few" years. I was 25 thirty years ago, a time in life when many of my contemporaries were getting married.

Of the two sets of parents involved, only one person is still alive. One of the mothers is still here; the father and both mom and dad in the other set are dearly departed.

What about the marriages? Both marriages are intact. One going on 28 years, the other 41 years.

Now, consider the position of the siblings. They know that their respective parents were not happy with the marriages. On the other hand, today in 2010, the siblings are the only family left, with the exception of a very elderly mother who is in early stages of dementia. The siblings are the family.

How about you? Imagine yourself 30 years in the future. Your parents might have died, by then (I am really sad to be writing these words, believe me), and you and your brother are the only two remaining members of your original nuclear family. Your BFF is long departed, moved to Paris with her rich husband and you've not heard a peep from her in 20 years. (This happens.) You see your cousin occasionally, but they've moved away.

Who's left from your childhood and young adulthood? Brother and his wife. Yep, the girlfriend you dislike now. She's the mother of your nieces and nephews and aunt to your children. With your luck, she'll be their FAV aunt.

Best to try, today, to get on a good footing with her. If Brother ditches her, then great, you've got nothing to lose. Right now your best course of action is to be as nice as possible and keep your negative thoughts to yourself.

I'd go ahead and be FB friends. Sure, I understand your reluctance. But you might as well. You can always de-friend her if Brother dumps her.

Please believe me on this. I've seen it again and again over the years. The "match made in heaven" couple divorces two years later. The "what do they see in each other" couple stays married 30, 40 years.

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 1:15 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Aunt's advice is great, but I'm not sure about the facebook thing (What did your brother say, by the way?) My inlaws are on my facebook and I really really wish I hadn't done that, as they occasionally use stuff on there against me.

(For example, they refused to call us back when we found out the gender of our baby when I was pregnant, because they wanted us to tell them in person. They live in another province. Then when one of my friends accidentally mentioned on facebook that we were having a girl, they got mad at me.)

So...I'm not sure about that one.
Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 10:27 AM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Re Facebook:

Go to Settings > Privacy Settings > Privacy

You can manage who sees what, who can post what, who can comment on what.

For example: My parents are on facebook and I did not want my stuff to appear in their Newsfeed (because I get calls from them when DH or I post anything in the status...it's annoying. If I want them to know things, I will tell them) But I inadvertantly made it so that when they went to my profile page, they could just see what you'd see if I had not friended you. And yes, mom called me on it.

You could always friend the annoyance and then manage her access.


Misty

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 12:39 PM Go to message in response to: CatStandish

Misty - thanks for that info. Do you think it would be totally rude of me to manage my inlaws settings...change them a bit?

My sister-in-laws are fine with it (although maybe if I change their parents I should change theirs too so it doesn't look suspicious?) I have the same issue - we get phone calls every time something is mentioned on facebook, even when it isn't a big deal.
Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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LinzZ Posts : 683 Registered: 12/13/07
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 2:18 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Aunt, Everything you have mentioned is actually my greatest fear. I've thought through every possible scenario (including the ones you have mentioned) and I'm so torn. I know what I SHOULD be doing, trying to find a way to tolerate her so my relationship with my brother doesn't suffer. I've told him I don't care who he dates that's completely his decision, I just don't want our relationship to change. But with this girl, it has changed. It drives me nuts and she makes my skin crawl. I don't share this with him, or course.
I guess I didn't realize I could control what "friends" see on facebook. I assumed that friends had free range of your info. Thanks for the tip Misty.
I have already "ignored" her friend request, but I'm thinking I might request her myself and tell her I think we need to have a conversation. If I can get some things straightened out, some questions answered, and be reassured she is not using my brother, I would feel a lot better. What do you ladies think? Would this conversation be a bad idea? If it's just her and I, not my brother, not my cousin, not even my husband (who tries to be everybody's friend).


 

Cherish Yesterday, Dream for Tomorrow, Live Today!

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TheNewMrsJ Posts : 754 Registered: 1/6/08
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 3:42 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Bird,

I don't think so - I've done that in the past with my father in law as it seemed like everytime DH or myself mentioned anything about having a drink or alcohol he'd get up on his soapbox... one time he even went off on DH for mentioning drinking on 4th of July in his status, claiming people on his list could see it, etc, not seeming to understand how privacy settings work and was refusing to listen when we tried to explain that no, we have our profiles set to private, unless his friends are our friends (and they aren't, except for an honorary 'uncle' of DH's) they cannot see what we post. it got quite annoying so we both set our profiles to limited view when it came to FIL and honorary uncle). And what we posted was pretty tame compared to what our 'friends' who are still in college post on a weekly basis, lol...

And LinzZ,
Sibling dating drama ALWAYS sucks - especially when you know and have connections to both parties. the best you can do is remain neutral. My 16 year old sis and DH's 17 year old brother dated for like a year after our wedding despite us all telling them it wasn't a good idea and they just broke up last fall. Let me say, it HAS NOT been fun for us hearing all the drama the past few months(and little sis being little sis comes to me and mom for advice too) - hearing my brother in law has been saying some mean stuff about my sister, and then hearing that she's said some mean stuff about him the past... it's typical high school but it sucks being the middle as DH and I related to both of them and yet they can't be civil towards each other now... one thing everyone keeps telling us, it will blow over eventually and they'll grow up and get over it someday. So just keep telling yourself that - hopefully things will work out with them and everyone will be able to just get along and be civil at some point.

I tend to write long posts - short and simple doesn't exist with me!
That's how I am, take it or leave it.

Find Your Own Bridal Look with my Virtual Makeover Tool!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 5:32 PM Go to message in response to: LinzZ

Dear Lin,

" but I'm thinking I might request her myself and tell her I think we need to have a conversation. If I can get some things straightened out, some questions answered, and be reassured she is not using my brother, I would feel a lot better. What do you ladies think? Would this conversation be a bad idea?"

I think that kind of conversation would be a bad idea. I will tell you why.

Fantasy imagined conversations almost never go the way you want them to go. The only exception to this rule is when you need to convey some kind of one-way information to a person. ("You are fired.")

You want to get some questions answered and be reassured. What if she does not answer your questions and what if she does nothing to reassure you? "Yeah, I'm using your brother. He's a big dope. So what? Got a problem with that?"

What if you feel even worse about the whole scenario than you do now? And, yes, it can get worse.

My suggestion to you, based on a lifetime of experience, is to let sleeping dogs lie. The more you stay OUT of the relationship, the more you stay neutral, the LESS they have invested in staying together. The last thing you need is for them to get the idea of "It's us against the world".

Ideally, you would like Brother to figure out for himself that his girlfriend is a big jerk. Then, when they break up, you can say "Well, Brother, win some lose some. You might remember when High School Horace dumped me. Oh... and there's this really nice new co-worker that just came into my office. She's single, and like you, she's a diehard Trekkie. She has a photo of herself, on her desk, in Vulcan ears and makeup. Etc."

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LinzZ Posts : 683 Registered: 12/13/07
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 9:09 PM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

Aunt, you're right. The conversation is a bad idea. I don't know that I could trust anything she would have to say anyway. I'll just leave it alone and come what may, I'll deal with it. Thank you for all of the advice and support. I truly appreciate it.

 

Cherish Yesterday, Dream for Tomorrow, Live Today!

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 7, 2010 11:53 PM Go to message in response to: LinzZ

Dear Lin,

I understand you sincerely want to help your brother. I truly do.

In that regard, you are like my father. He was a Fixer. His job in the company that employed him was, essentially, that of Fixer. My dad had a real talent for talking to the various employees and getting to the bottom of a problem, then working it out. In the working world, that was a great talent and it took him to the top of the company.

Unfortunately, he tried to apply his Fixer talents to his family, with very mixed results. It's one thing for the company president to say "OK, from now on it's this." It's a totally different thing for a father to tell his adult children "You should do that."

I had some real issues with my father, as much as I loved him, because he would try to fix my problems. Then he would be mystified as to why I did not do what he suggested. Why not? Because most of the time I only told him part of the issue. The rest was not his business. Or because I just did not want to do his line of thinking.

In retrospect, my father would have done better to stay neutral in certain issues. This is what I am advising you to do and this is what I try to do with my own children. I am loving and supportive, but I do not try to step in and solve their problems for them. If one of my sons was dating a woman that I disliked, I would do my best to try to find some kind of common ground. The last thing I would want to do is see some hypothetical future daughter-in-law coming to a message board such as this with something like "My FMIL hates me." I've seen a lot of that on this message board and in real life. I don't want that to happen to me.

I know you want to fix what you perceive to be a problem that your brother has, namely, an idiot girlfriend. I have a nephew whose past two girlfriends have been real losers. (Look up "dreck" in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of these two girls.) My brother, SIL and I all tried to be neutral towards these ladies, and I use the term "ladies" loosely. In both cases, Nephew has voluntarily broken up with them.

"Yay!" we all say to each other.

"Tsk tsk tsk." we say to Nephew.

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 12, 2010 1:53 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

FACEBOOK QUESTION

Is there a way to restict someone from seeing my status updates, but still allow them to see photos I posted? I'm confused..
Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Feb 12, 2010 12:00 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Dear BL,

Facebook is ever-changing and ever-confusing. I never figured out what was the diff between News Feed and Life Feed, and I guess now I never will.

My best suggestion to you is to poke around the internet and find some Facebook forum where some expert can tell you exactly what to do and where to click. Then hope they don't change it all again.

Or just put the photos in a non-FB account like Flickr.

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Kimberly212 Posts : 972 Registered: 9/12/12
Re: Brother's girlfriend
Posted: Sep 12, 2012 12:41 PM Go to message in response to: LinzZ

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