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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Noire Offline
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What the heck is my brother doing? - March 15th 2018, 10:25 PM

Two and a half weeks ago my older brother posted a message on Facebook, in all caps, saying he needed a place to stay because he couldn't be in his house that night. Obviously I was alarmed and messaged him to see if he was okay. I assume he had had a fight with his wife. Turns out I was right, but it wasn't just an ordinary fight; my brother told me they're getting a divorce and that it was a "long time coming." I was surprised; they'd seemed so happy when I last saw them together a couple of months ago, and last time I saw my brother were was no mention of marital strife. About a week and a half ago I messaged my brother to ask how he was doing. He told me he felt "so much better" now that he had separated from his wife. I didn't know what to make of that.

Today I got more of the story from my mother, whom, by the way, my brother did NOT call the morning after he posted that message like he said he would. My brother's wife via an incriminating text message essentially caught him cheating on her. He hid his phone and swore he wasn't doing anything but she saw a message that said "I miss you, mi amor" and was obviously like what the fuck? That's when the fight happened and he left.

He must've decided right then and there he wanted a divorce, because that's what he told me was happening the night he posted that message. And he stuck with it. Like I said he didn't even tell my mom; she found out from his wife when his wife asked for my grandmother's address to write her a goodbye note. When my mom asked him about it he said he's "been unhappy since January" and "his therapist told him to leave the marriage." My mom, sister, and I are like what the fuck? My mom is trying to reason with him, talking about how marriages are hard sometimes and they require compromise to work (referring to the fact that his wife wants to adopt be doesn't want to, which is STILL news because up until two weeks ago he was on board and they were looking into the process) but that they can still work and both people can be happy. She's implored him to talk to his wife, to try counseling instead of just getting a divorce, but he'll hear none of it. Just like that eight years together, boom, gone.

I'm disappointed and angry in my brother. His behavior is unacceptable. Even if he somehow isn't cheating on his wife he still told her she was unattractive, which made her cry, and that breaks my heart because she's a sweet girl and she doesn't deserve that. She doesn't deserve any of this. Why is he acting this way? I mean, my brother has issues. He's impulsive and a compulsive liar, so this behavior doesn't surprise me, but is he really going to give up on an eight-year-long relationship, four years of marriage, just because of a rough patch that, if what he's saying is true, has only last two months?

How do I manage my anger and disappointment? How do I still interact with my brother in a way that isn't colored by my upset?


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Re: What the heck is my brother doing? - March 16th 2018, 12:23 PM

Maybe you can find new ways to release your anger. For instance, you could rip up paper, scream into a pillow, take a shower, or go for a walk/run. Is there anything you currently do for your anger that you find helpful? Someone told me once that their anger subsides when they do positive things for other people; maybe you could volunteer or offer support to your brother's wife.

If possible, maybe you can take some time to yourself before you interact with your brother so you have time to process and begin to cope with what you're feeling. When it comes time to talk to him, maybe you can take a deep breath and think about what you want to say (more so than usual) to make sure your feelings aren't in your words or tone. If things get too hard or intense, you can let your brother know that you need to walk away for a little bit.


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Re: What the heck is my brother doing? - March 17th 2018, 07:11 AM

When my sister stabbed me in the back by becoming best friends with my ex-girlfriend, I learned a hard lesson: only I can control what I can control. Just like my sister is going to go off and do her own thing, whatever she feels is best, so will your brother. However, the bottom line is that it's his life, and not yours. He's enduring the decisions he makes, and he'll learn from his decisions/mistakes. But that's part of the human journey. As long as it doesn't negatively impact you, you've got nothing to worry about. You can encourage therapy, bail him out of jail when you get a phone call, but...at the end of the day, it's his life. If my sister wants to fuck her life up, that's her decision. When she got a DUI, I bailed her out of jail, but why feel anything towards that? She shouldn't have drove intoxicated. She's a fucking idiot. However, she's the one who has to pay the court fees, go to DUI school, etc. Not me. I've got a perfect record. I'm gravy. Unless I feel that she's a danger to society, I can't intervene because it's her life to live. I've got my own shit to worry about, just like you. Being upset about what he does isn't going to change your life; it's just gonna make you upset. Now...if he comes to you and asks for help, absolutely help him. That's what family is for. Unfortunately, people make their own choices and as much as we hate watching people's lives fall apart, there are just some things out of our control. It's a hard reality to accept, but you can't let people bring you down. Control what you can control. That's all you can do.
   
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Re: What the heck is my brother doing? - March 24th 2018, 12:33 PM

Hi Dance Commander,

It's difficult to manage one's anger and disappointment. I know how difficult it feels when one half of my family being aristocrats expect everything to be given them for little effort on their part. Like your brother, mine have done the exact same, heavily and unfairly criticising their spouses without giving due regard for their own faults. I need to remind myself every day how much I don't want to be like them, and feel you should do likewise towards your brother - but as Brandon said - 'it's his life'.

It's all too easy to rant against a sibling, but feelings of anger won't solve any problem so we must find ways of coping. When I feel anger rising from my aunt's latest foolery, I bite my lip and not retaliate and I stop to consider what I should say lest I become like her. Instead if possible, I go off for a walk somewhere, like last week when stuck in a hotel while she drank like a fish, I walked downstairs to get away from her and sat in the foyer.

We need to take time out for ourselves. Get away from arguing siblings, like you with your brother. Take some exercise go for a walk if the weather is dry, or hole up in our room listening to music, calming music and picking up a good book to read. That's what I do even picking up a history textbook - anything to take my mind off stupid family members.

Perhaps when you have cooled down, you could write your brother a letter? At first, draft it to get all your anger out because an angry letter will only build higher walls between you two. Give it a day before writing again, even leaving fellings to simmer down, and then set out a carefully worded letter explaining your feelings and his poor wife's, even suggesting that some counselling would do him a power of good.

As you obviously like your brother's wife so much, write her a letter, too. Make her feel wanted and loved in writing to her will help take the sting of her separation from him. Good friendships can deepen at times like this and you will have gained a friend, someone to love and look up to in your brother's absence.

Wishing you all the best,

Belle
   
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