Wedding Woes

You can leave the door open, but he may never come through.

Dear Prudence,

Last year, my dad, my brother, and my sister got into a huge argument. I wasn’t a part of any of it and refused to be. My family is terrible at communicating or talking about our feelings. I knew what the argument was about, but I didn’t know their side of things. Now, because of the argument, my brother is refusing to have anything to do with anyone in our family.

My dad turns 80 years old this year and likely doesn’t have much longer to live. My sister-in-law sent my Dad a letter, telling him the full reason why they would not be talking to any of us ever again. The reasons are petty, and they made a lot of assumptions about things that weren’t even true. Some things were partially true, and some things… I wasn’t there for it and have no idea who is right. They have not allowed us to talk to them about any of it, explain our side, or even allow us to apologize. Still, both my dad and I have tried sending letters, my wedding invitation, etc. I sent my brother a Christmas gift, and he immediately threw it away. (My sister-in-law told my dad he did in the letter.) I did nothing to them, and my sister-in-law in her letter confessed to hating me—this is something I’ve always known—over something that happened 16 years ago.

I love my brother very much. Where do I even go from here? We were all close to my mom, and her passing just completely obliterated my family. I’m all for picking up the pieces, but how do we fix this? I was tempted to send my brother a picture that included my mom as well as a picture from when we were kids with our handprints in the cement at our old house to remind him that he is from a family that loves him, no matter what. Maybe it will further anger him, but… I’m not sure what else to do. At what point do you just give up on your family? Do you give up on your family? Do you keep trying to work on things? I don’t want to cut ties with him, even though he wants to cut me from his life.

—Where Do I Go From Here?

Re: You can leave the door open, but he may never come through.

  • You refused to be a part of the argument but does your brother feel like you’re taking Dad’s side? Also sending a picture of your late mother could be sen as manipulative. I’d you want to reach out explain you weren’t a part of the argument, and don’t want to hear about it from anyone, but that you love him and don’t want to cut ties with him. 

    But then it’s up to him and you can’t force him to have a relationship with you, or anyone else. And he may always seem anyone who has a relationship with Dad and sister as siding with them so be prepared for that. 
  • I'm sympathetic to the LW, but they need to stop bugging their brother and his family.

    It might be unfair they have chosen to go NC.  But that is what they have done and the LW needs to respect it.  If the brother wants to get back in touch, he knows how to do it. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I dunno, something isn’t passing my smell test here. 

  • He's made his choice to be NC completely clear. You need to respect that, grieve the relationship, and move on. Do not try to guilt him with photos of your mom or about how your dad is going to die someday. 
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