Wedding Woes

Your brother sounds terrible.

Dear Prudence,

Ten years ago my brother had a child under less-than-ideal circumstances. He abandoned that woman and their child, met someone else, and right away had another baby with her. He has two children one year apart (his paternity was established in both) but has never met or done anything for his first child, my nephew. My nephew has been raised by his mother and her partner, a wonderful man who is my nephew’s true father in every sense. I’ve stayed in contact with my nephew’s mother for updates and had a chance to meet him a few years ago. I told my brother about that possibility out of respect, and he told me that he’d be very angry if I did meet the boy. I chose to do it anyway. It was very fulfilling and emotional, but I was sad I had to walk on eggshells just to be in my nephew’s life. My brother didn’t speak to me for months.

Recently I had another opportunity to see my nephew, and I took it, this time without telling my brother. It felt awful to have to keep a secret, but I’m a grown woman with every right to have a relationship with my own nephew. I don’t want to have to choose between them. I don’t mention my nephew to my brother. He’s part of my life, but my brother tries to dictate to me, saying if I continue to have a relationship with my nephew, he won’t speak to me. Do I continue in secrecy? Is it my brother’s right to know if I have a relationship with my nephew he does not parent? I bite my tongue so much with my brother because of his temper, and it’s stressful. I just want to love both my brother and my nephew without being cut off.

—Agony Aunt

Re: Your brother sounds terrible.

  • "You made the choice to be a sperm donor only.   I did not choose that.   I won't tell you about the goings on of your other biological child and won't tell you what to do and the same goes for me." 

    My personal feeling is that he's an asshole.   
  • My only concern is that there might be more to the underlying first story than LW knows?  Even if there is, the nephew/aunt relationship shouldn't be burdened by that story.  It sounds like she is going to just have to walk the line and keep the secret and have both things she wants.

    Also, brother does sound like an asshole, just b/c of the temper comment.
  • If there is more then it’s on the brother to explain that, but sounds like he’s just an ass. 

    If you can be family to this kid then do that. There’s no limit on how many adults can care about a child. 
  • I normally wouldn't suggest someone lie to their family member, but the brother's attitude is so ridiculous.  Why would he even care, except to be controlling of his sibling.  It sounds like it is just as easy for the LW to just not mention the visit, since they are few and far between anyway.  Plus, the brother has been clear he doesn't want to hear anything about his son.  So, he won't.  Not even that the LW visited.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Why do you ant your brother in your life?  He sounds like a piece of shit.  Good riddance. 
    I was thinking the same thing, lol.  It sounds easier to just remove toxic brother from their life.

    But the LW clearly wants a relationship with their brother and I can understand that also.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • This 100% sounded like a situation my friend was in - except she was the mother that had been bailed on.

    If LW wants to continue, they don't owe that sperm donor anything. They continued the relationship, and if the mother allows that's main point.

    Tbh I would personally talk to the mother if I were LW - just to see what she thinks on situation. She may not care but she may very much care.
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