Would you have a destination wedding without your sibling?
I need to vent...
Am I off my rocker? Or am I somewhat in the right? [keyword, somewhat… read on].
I should probably seek professional advice, as this particular issue has caused me more stress in my life than getting laid off or moving. It has created this intense rage in me, a person who, normally, is just calm. I don’t hold grudges, I’m not a hater, I get over things and I move on with my life. This particular issue, has caused grief, hurt, strife between my wife, my family and I. . .it’s a mess. Is it all the proper route, or ‘normal’? I don’t know. I’ve got nobody impartial to talk to about this and so here I am.
This is going to be a long one and I need to add in some back story, I’m sure details will be left out…
My brother and I for some reason, have not been super close as of late (last 8 years or so) after I got married. My wife took him in as her own brother, and invited him to everything we did, but there came a point where he would always ask what we were doing on a Friday or Saturday and would say “ok, if nothing better comes along I’ll come”… ok, sorry you asked what we were doing, leaving us with the obligation to invite you, but our plans are not good enough for you? Other times if we did things in a group and we’d invite, it would be a similar answer just about every time. He’d come to my wife with girl issues (as she said, “hey, I’m trying to be like your sister, you can talk to me”), but he would become so obsessive and didn’t want to hear the truth, she finally had to say “you’re not hearing me out, you only want to hear your positive visions reiterated and that’s not being truthful, I cant talk to you anymore about these issues if you wont listen to what I have to say”. He had learning disabilities when he was a kid, ADD of sorts, and had an abusive kindergarten teacher which kicked off a life time of “oh poor kid, you do whatever you want, you get whatever you want”. So he grew up acting like he was entitled to everything and while I did love my brother and none of this bothered me, once I got serious/engaged/married, my wife saw the inner workings of my family and spoke out to me about it- not that there’s anything wrong with my family , but why is he so babied? He acts like he owns the world, isn’t humble at all, and made himself look like a [prick] to many people (our friends). It was weird. And while I pushed her aside, gave the whole “how dare you speak of my family that way, your family is just as disfunctional” speech, I started to recognize this. While I felt bad about it, I felt that I had to speak up and tell my family to stop babying him.
He was 18…then 21…and now nearing 29 he can do no wrong and nobody bats an eye. Ok... Now, I have 2 small children, and I work a lot- aside from my day job, I’m a musician on most weekends, and if I’m not playing locally, I’m flying across the USA. I do this because 1) I enjoy it, even though it makes things a little tough for my wife and 2) it helps pay our mortgage. So, when I’m not working/performing, I JUST want to be with my wife and kids. Occasionally a friend will invite themselves over, or we’ll go to my in-laws for dinner. But that’s it. I don’t even see my friends. When there is downtime during the year, then sure – I talk to my buddies all the time and they understand whats up in my life and we’re pretty good. However, by my doing that, every time he’d say “hey want to hang out?” I’d get thrown back to the “I’ve got nothing better to do” days, and respond with “well, no, I can’t I’m doing something with my wife and kids” or, “sorry, I cant, I have a gig”. I’m not lying about it, but I get it, it does look like I’m putting him off. He IS my brother, but I DO have a family of my own. If I wasn’t gigging every weekend, things would be different of course. Nonetheless, we’d get along fine at family gatherings, etc.
Now, for the last 2.5 years, he’s been dating this girl – who is very nice. So nice, she’s uber-nice and has an oh my God uber-loud personality, it’s sickening. I love nice people, but it seems so fake that I nor my wife can handle it (I’m convinced that, while she is ‘so nice’ she has an agenda). We have no idea how he fell so hard for this person, and whatever, it’s his right, but we feel so uncomfortable around her. She knows absolutely everything about absolutely everything and then some. And doesn’t close her mouth. Like, I’d love to just walk up to her ask her politely to please stop, her voice and articulation is giving me an arrhythmia. She’s everywhere. She’s at my parents home more than I’ve been there in the last year- ok, they got engaged just over a year after they started dating, and decided they’re getting married less than a year after that (where the issue comes). So, I get it, she’s going to be at my parents house. My wife has been around my family for 15 years, and while she came from a slightly different upbringing, my home life was a little uncomfortable for her. But, she tried to fit in (she’s a perfectionist, OCD mania) she did and still does everything she can for my family; she loves them dearly, is [was] very close with my mother, invited them on nearly every vacation, every outing, EVERYTHING. My family is very close, but it’s all on my moms side more-so than my father’s. My wife’s family is very close too, but they even it all out on both sides as hard as they can so no one side feels that they are missing out on family time…mind you most if not all of my Mother in Law’s side is in Greece. Anyways…
My brother decides he wants to marry this girl whom, Ok, I can’t stand her, but she seems harmless…fine. I can deal with it. Great, congrats… my wife and I start talking and she starts saying how “I bet the wedding is going to be in Greece…ugh… fine..” . We were just there last year to baptize our son (which cost us A LOT), surely they’ll think about the entire family who should be at the wedding and consider everyone’s situation. Sure, it’ll probably be next summer, sure, they’ll think about us. But, hopefully the wedding is here in the USA.
Well, as we are Googling their wedding registry to get them an engagement gift, we come across their wedding website…low and behold, before anyone knows anything about this event, we see the location and date. In Greece, this summer. WTF. On “her” remote island, which is so out of the way from where we go…I call them all out on it – my mother says she had no idea, he says its just a site, the fiancé put it together but nothing is certain, etc. OK fine. Nothing is certain? We’ll see..
Not that anyone needs my permission to do a destination wedding ,but wouldn’t you think they would at least say “hey, this is what we are thinking about doing”.. I was asked to be the best man and I said straight: “if the event is here, absolutely. If you have any idea that this thing is going to happen in Greece, then its very unlikely I can make it. I just spent upwards of 10k last year with my event, trying to recoup that, I’m also planning on finding another job to better support my family or go back to school for my MBA since my current company will pay for it…I’m going to need to do summer classes and I need to get my life moving along.” His response was “Ok, I understand”.
Next thing we see is a save the date card with exact date and location as we saw online. If he didn’t know, she certainly knew and played him. Apparently, HER “entire” family is there and since “THEY” are giving the wedding, they get to decide. How about, you have just a few aunts and uncles there, and a grandmother there. How about, make those few people come here to the USA since your future husbands ENTIRE family and extended family are all here. How about my brother put his foot down and say “you know what, my brother and his family need to be at my wedding, we do it here in the states”. Just like I did when I found out that he wasn’t going to be able to make it to my first child’s baptism in Greece had we done it there. My WIFE even said “no, that’s selfish, I would never do that”.
My parents said something about it when they met her family. The family said that’s what we want to do..”sorry!” I think my brother should have said something, I think they shouldn’t have been so obsessed with having their event there, I think my parents should have said “maybe you guys can just wait another year?”. Really, if this was another year from now, I’d have no issue. But hey, guess what, I found a new job, AND we’re moving to a new home. Even if I was able to get off of work for 5 days to rush to Greece and back, do you think I’d have a clean conscience considering I JUST started the new job? I couldn’t leave my family like that either.
What has this caused? Grief. Why? Because my family was supposed to be SO CLOSE, they are soo tight knit, yet they can’t admit that anything wrong went on here. You think I’m going to go to this wedding considering my current situation? No way. I can’t . I said this from there start and they said “ok, we’re going to do it anyway”. I said to my parents and brother from the beginning, “think about this, your grandchildren, and your niece and nephew will NOT be there. They WONT be in the photos, they WONT be at the event, and you people are going to be OK with that?!” Their answer, OK if you can’t go, you can’t go… what?! What do you mean? They proceeded to book their flights and everyone is now getting ready for this event and I’m left out. My wife, who has shared more of her life with my mother than her own mother is shut out. She is so hurt, if she tries to talk to my mother, my mother takes it as a bash against my brother and his fiancé. My wife is hurt, she plans EVERYTHING around my parents, she’s invited them on every vacation, and now because things are weird, they book their trip and tell her nothing.
I’ve garnered up so much anger that I lash out at my parents. My wife and I, we start conversations which turn into blowouts. I yell at my mother who seems to not understand what my issue is, I can’t speak to my brother, I can barely look at his fiancé, I barely speak to my father- my family , I feel, has abandoned me. I’m hurt and the more they think I’m crazy and that there’s nothing “wrong” the more livid I get. I’m in my mid 30’s, I have 2 kids, I’m trying to keep successful in my job (and I’m enjoying it, really), I’m too old for this crap. I just want to enjoy my family, I want to be silly with my wife and kids and not worry about this.
We have Eastern Orthodox Easter coming up next week and I went to my parents house just the other day, unannounced, to pickup the spit bbq (for a whole animal roast- don’t judge me, I like it) as I’m hosting the holiday. I figured I’d see my parents for a little and break the equipment down with my dad to put in my car. I walk into the house and they’re all (with her) sitting there having dinner. Why wasn’t I invited? Granted, it was an impromptu thing, her dad brought my father some seafood as a gift and since she stopped by with my brother to pickup some tools (they are fixing up their future apt..which is the basement of her parents house….oh boy), they stayed to eat. I walked in at the right time, I kissed my mom hello, saw them all there and said “wow, everyone is here…where’s our invite??”. They knew I was pissed. Every time I go back to my parents house since this whole thing started (back in September), there hasn’t been a single time where the girl isn’t there. I’d like to be able to just walk into my own home and not feel so awkward. She makes me uncomfortable and I feel like it’s a stranger in my house. I shouldn’t, I suppose..
Maybe I shouldn’t take this all to heart. I’m writing this out because I have nowhere to turn. I don’t think anyone is going to read this in full, and say their thoughts. There is a whole lot of drama that has occurred between my wife and mother because of this all; lack of understanding, refusal to listen or admit that they [or she] were inconsiderate.
Nobody needs my permission to have a wedding and that’s not what I ever wanted. I just wish we all had a conversation about it. I just wish we acted like a family instead of pretend and boast about “how close we are”. I get gipped out of going to my brother’s wedding. My daughter is 5 and all she wanted was to be a flower girl at her uncles wedding. My heart breaks for her. But, we need to move on with our lives. I don’t hate my parents, or anyone. But I’m so hurt. We lived together for 21 years. He was my baby brother and I cried for him as a kid when he went through his troubles in school, when he got hurt. I remember bringing him home from the hospital when he was born and how happy I was. We may have grown apart some, and his stupid/silly antics may have helped that, but I cant believe this is all happening. The fighting with my wife has made my crazy. I’ve drank myself to sleep so many nights, I’ve hurt myself to numb the pain. I’ve stopped that madness. But this still just bums me so much.
Maybe I’m wrong about it. Maybe I shouldn’t care so much. My wife and I have all mutual friends. I don’t want to speak to any of the about it because I don’t want them to be more on one side or another. I really have nobody neutral.
Thank you for reading, hoping something constructive comes from this.
My youngest daughter was married on a Friday and on a beautiful beach 1500ks from anywhere. None of us knew a thing about the location until the invites went out. Half the family couldn't make it because of the distance and work commitments. To top it all off, because I was the Father of the bride, tradition dictated that I pay for it, which I gladly did.
After giving it much thought at the time(and I was damned angry),I realized it was her day and that she had planned it with her future husband whose family lived near the wedding beach..all of them. Not much I could do except cop it on the chin and get on with being there for her on her special day.
On the flip side, I could of ranted and raved about shelling out 30K for a wedding where half my family couldn't get there but wanted to, and demanded that they rethink their location and time but then I didn't have any right to do so. So I just rolled with it and organized a family get together for them when they returned from their honeymoon. That way my family weren't left out...and the bride and groom were good enough about it all to have family wedding photos taken all over again.
Your brother's life is his own and it's his business who he marries, all you have to do, is wish them well. If he was babied when he was young and still is being babied, then that's his lookout because the people who are babying him won't be around forever. You, on the other hand, need to get on with your life and make it as comfortable as possible by concentrating on your career and your marriage. You need to be happy and healthy so your wife and children can also be happy and healthy. Once you get over this situation and can accept it without the anger, then your wife will also be on the way of getting over her hurt. While you nurture each others pain and anger, it'll never go away.
Take your own advice and look for professional counseling...there's no guarantee that it will fix your issue but you have to go there first to find out. Be very assured that where there's a will, there's a way.....
It's very common in situations like yours - where the couple has made a destination wedding that is out of $$ or travel prohibitive for many of the guests - to have ANOTHER celebration here, afterwards.
So, tell your brother (with a big smile and hug) to have a wonderful wedding, and you will throw a reception for him when he gets back.
Is that something you could do for them?
You got fed up of taking care of 'baby', then taking care of baby by proxy of your wife (whom herself got fed up with his constant haplessness) and so withdrew. Someone else stepped in (Mrs Bossy Know-It-All) but, instead of being the panacea-on-legs you'd have hoped for when passing on that baton, is someone who looks fit to just exacerbate his 'kittenification' rather than help him grow and develop out of it, MEANING, you can see into your mind's crystal-ball that sooner or later it'll all end in tears, as will require you to step back in to that vacated position all over again. So you're hoping that by 'ultimatum-ing' your brother, he'll feel forced to finally step up and defend himself (as well as his extension of himself - his family) so as to quickly put the relationship onto a more equal, mature footing.
You really think this roundabout way of having this 'conversation' with your brother isn't going to go right over his immature, not-plugged-in little head considering how not even great big neon signs in the form of 'YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO WHAT I'M SAYING!' didn't manage to get through his cloth ears?