The wife and I, unfortunately, have ended up by random chance living in the same city as her brother.

We avoid spending time with him and his family as a rule because for one thing we don't enjoy each others company and they have never been close.

This of course is suboptimal as far as her parents are concerned so every no and again we realize we have nothing to do but meet up with them.

But here comes the other reason. Following this visit, as with all the rest...

A few days go by and... the wife's parents get very upset with her and attempt to give her quite the scolding because as ever, something that we did, didn't do, said, didn't say, intimated, insinuated or seemed to indicate has caused her brother offence.

This time it was that we didn't spend the required amount of time cooing over his infant son.

This, because his a parent, ergo insane, is a huge slight. And because he's a man child sent him running to his parents to complain of our rudeness.

@rpcutts Sounds a strange chap. Firstly, to be slighted that you don't admire his offspring and then to go bleating to Mummy.

@andyc fucking weird, right? (It's daddy, always daddy, but you have the gist)

@rpcutts Christ - if my son ever came bleating to me with similar complaints, I think I'd disown him and/or give him a damn good talking to.

@andyc @rpcutts I am appalled you have not spoken to me this morning. Please DM either your mother or mother-in-laws number so I can tell them what a selfish individual you are!

@dick_turpin @andyc I can't tell how much this nonsense just never goes away. It's always just around the next corner. Another inexplicable episode.

@rpcutts @dick_turpin I'm not close to my sister and we can go months/years (she emigrated to Oz for 13 years) without seeing each other but we still get on (or maybe that's why :-).

While it's horrid to be for your wife to be estranged from close family, is it really worth maintaining this relationship ?


@andyc @dick_turpin we try not to maintain it, but that brings wrath from her parents. "You are blood! You must be nicer to your brother". Old school Catholic, nothing is more important than family, do as your father tells you etc etc.

@rpcutts @dick_turpin ...but the obvious symmetrical argument is that 'You must be nicer, more patient and sociable with your sister'.

@andyc @dick_turpin we are spending Xmas with my mother, sister, and 2 year old nibblings for the first time while the rest of Maria's family are all together in a holiday cottage.

@rpcutts @dick_turpin Oh good. That should be a more pleasant experience.

@andyc @dick_turpin this went down like a lead balloon with her family and I received repeated emails from several of them about how they had to be all together and it was important.

The counterpoint that I hadn't had xmas with my family group for 6 years and not since my sister had had her kids... well this fell on deaf ears.

Relies like "when is a good time to call you so we can talk about this"

I just had to be exceedingly blunt in the end.

@rpcutts @dick_turpin Can't you just agree to alternate each year ? That's what we used to do...

@andyc @dick_turpin we sort of do this but every few years they do a big family get together in a holiday cottage. This time we aren't going, because last time was hell.

@rpcutts @dick_turpin Eeek ! I don't envy you that dilemma for the rest of your days 😟

@andyc @dick_turpin

This is verbatim:

"The parents told me that you're not keen on joining us over Christmas. Let me know when you can talk and let's see what we can sort out. "

"I've made plans with my sister. It will be our first together with my niece and nephew"

"I understand all your reasons. But we haven’t had xmas together in 3 years. So have a look at the details of the house and let me know if you're ok with the location"

"I'll be spending that Christmas with my sister"

@rpcutts @dick_turpin Some of this is getting a little private but...

'I understand all your reasons'

...but choose to ignore them.

Maybe you should spend Xmas with one half and New Year with the other although I suspect there's no easy solution here.

@andyc @dick_turpin we were going to drive down and back on boxing day but given the goings on of the last few days, the wife has no wish to go at all.

Just exhausting. All very alien to me. I have a small family that leave me mostly alone. We hang out with the family we like. Don't all get together to pretend we are BFFs only to fight the whole time.

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