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Old 09-08-2015, 01:25 PM   #21
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I would try to find compromise, even if it feels like you're giving in to him.

Perhaps he also has work schedule issues, or his wife does, or their kids have sports commitments or school commitments. The times may not work for him for a variety of legitimate reasons, just like alternate times don't work for you because of rigid work schedules.

Having lost a brother who we fell out of contact with (at his choice/action) for a few years prior to his cancer dx, and having lost my parents... I make a big point of getting together regularly with my sister and with my step mom. I have regrets about not forcing the issue more with my brother when he withdrew from the family. Let your brother know you care, no matter what.
I'm sorry you have regrets about how things ended with your brother, looking back what do you think you could have done differently? I would love more contact with my brother and his family, he is the one closest to me in age.
I think I have done as much as possible and even pushed to the point where things got awkward and nothing really changed between us. I have now backed off and accepted the limited contact he seems most comfortable with. When I tried pushing and arranging family vacays or trying to meet up in alternate places, I felt quite a bit unspoken pushback and not a lot of cooperation.

Basically, I need to travel to his locale, about 1100 miles away,( luckily he lived in the same town as my sister for 35 years), then he and his wife will invite us all for the afternoon , feed us a wonderful meal and even though we are usually in town about 7 to 10 days, that is the only time we see him. When I type that out, it seems as if there are problems between us, but honestly, we have such fun on the day we spend together, that I have just accepted it on moved on.

The problem I am facing now it that my sister has moved to another area of the country, so I have no idea when I'll even see my brother again, it's only been a year since I've seen him, so I'm kind of waiting to see what develops.My brother does know I care, the issue is the way we want to express it to each other, not the actual feeling involved. He seems to have a more rigid line about what time=caring is then I do. He's never anything but loving to me when I actually see him.

So to the OP I say,you can't really get an adult sib to do anything they don't want to. You can bring up the parent situation and try and guilt them into, but then you are presenting yourself as the "caring" child and that probably won't go over well either.
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Old 09-08-2015, 01:29 PM   #22
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Yeah-I definitely don't want to try guilting him into anything.

Still deciding how I feel about the get together in the middle suggestion. Not a lot in the middle. And his extreme insistence on convenience has been... off putting.

Hard to feel motivated to get together with someone not willing to put forth much effort on their end.
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Old 09-08-2015, 02:12 PM   #23
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Yeah-I definitely don't want to try guilting him into anything.

Still deciding how I feel about the get together in the middle suggestion. Not a lot in the middle. And his extreme insistence on convenience has been... off putting.

Hard to feel motivated to get together with someone not willing to put forth much effort on their end.
Exactly the situation I was facing with my brother and I just do what works for me and then I try to accept the end result. Perhaps you just might say to your bro, we both seem to have a lot going on now, let's just give it a few years and see if things get less complicated for both of us. You might have one convo that just says, you seem to be kind of rigid in the way you want these visits to go is there something going on I don't know about? If he has a real underlying problem you might feel better about being more accommodating to him. Has he been a selfish person in the past or is this behavior fairly recent? There is always a lot of backstory with family issues, at least in my family.
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Old 09-08-2015, 02:46 PM   #24
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Your bro is probably busy with his own family, friends, work, etc and doesn't want to spend his limited vacation time and travel budget on family get togethers every year. I wouldn't take it personally - it's probably something he feels bad about but had to do for his own family's sanity and wallet. His wife may also play a role in shutting down the family get togethers because she wants to travel elsewhere, spend the $ on something else, or doesn't like getting together so often.

I'd give the bro some space and maybe try to meet up in another year. Keep getting together with your parents when you can and invite the bro if you want.

It could be worse - my bro lives in the same town as my parents and me, yet refuses to have anything to do with my family or our parents and prevents his wife and children from seeing us or our parents as well. Including calling the cops if any of us show up. I've already reached my drama limit so just avoid him and don't push the issue.
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Old 09-08-2015, 02:52 PM   #25
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Yeah-I definitely don't want to try guilting him into anything.

Still deciding how I feel about the get together in the middle suggestion. Not a lot in the middle. And his extreme insistence on convenience has been... off putting.

Hard to feel motivated to get together with someone not willing to put forth much effort on their end.
Maybe it's not him, but someone else in his family, and he is not sharing that with you as he tries to manage his own family dynamics.
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Financial aspect/Competing demands/In-Laws
Old 09-08-2015, 03:30 PM   #26
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Financial aspect/Competing demands/In-Laws

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Your bro is probably busy with his own family, friends, work, etc and doesn't want to spend his limited vacation time and travel budget on family get togethers every year. I wouldn't take it personally - it's probably something he feels bad about but had to do for his own family's sanity and wallet. His wife may also play a role in shutting down the family get togethers because she wants to travel elsewhere, spend the $ on something else, or doesn't like getting together so often......
Keim,

Is it possible there is a financial aspect to your brother's reluctance to continue the traditional get-togethers? Are he and his wife saving for their childrens' college educations, or their own retirement? Is it possible they are not in as stable a financial situation as you find yourself in? If the cost of traveling with the family means their budget takes a hit, they may be embarrassed and unwilling to admit that is the reason. Obviously I don't know anything about their (and your) financial situation, but differences in financial ability/lifestyle certainly have caused unintentional conflict in my own extended family in the past.

In addition to a possible financial twist, how old are their children now? I am childfree myself, but I have noticed over the years all my friends with children go through complicated juggling acts at every holiday - his parents want to see the grandchildren; her parents want to see the grandchildren; sometimes aunts and uncles demand some time; and the poor parents just want to throw up their hands and stay home for once and have a simple family holiday with their kids.

How often do your sister-in-law's parents get to see your brother and his family? Do your own parents get along with your sister-in-law?

Families can be complicated (understatement of the year!) and often trying to please everyone and meet all the competing demands on ones time can lead to hurt feelings.

As others have suggested, you might want to just make plans to see your parents on your own, and see if in time your brother is more amenable (or able) to resume the group visits.

Good luck to you - I hope your relationship with your brother is not permanently damaged by this change in the routine.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:46 PM   #27
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One day my brother called as I was arranging my annual get together stating his family would no longer be coming, and they would also no longer host their get together.

A few months later I politely inquired about the change: He felt the six hour drive to get together at one of our homes was overly long, the traditional times were no longer convenient, and we tended to always do the same thing at our get togethers. In short, they had become inconvenient and boring.
What would bug me if I were you is that he first told you of his unilateral solution, and only much later did he discuss the problem.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:49 PM   #28
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I've found this to be an unusually level headed board. Curious how you all would handle this situation:

...

A few months later I politely inquired about the change: He felt the six hour drive to get together at one of our homes was overly long, the traditional times were no longer convenient, and we tended to always do the same thing at our get togethers..

...

What would you do?

Don't feel too bad as for my family (siblings), for some driving over 60 miles is way too far.

In may case, there are some siblings I don't see in years. Or only if there's a family event like a wedding or funeral. Others more often.
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Old 09-08-2015, 04:44 PM   #29
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Since DW's mother passed this year, I think it will be interesting to see what "get togethers" occur between us and DW's brother. We're only ~60 miles away but w/o the mother to be a reason to gather, I doubt the holiday gatherings will occur (and that's fine with me and DW). Family dynamics. They're all over the place.

For us, DS is in Africa and DD was in London but now DC. Despite DD w 4 kids and DS with one, we make a big effort to visit and collect all at Christmas. We just accept that that's the price of being a family. We also make an overseas trip in summer to keep things in touch; Skype is only so so for real interactions (and it doesn't work that well in some places like Africa).

As for Keim's situation, it's just really hard to prescribe the perfect solution without knowing all the relationships, as has been pointed out. Your brother could be being a real ass, or as others have pointed out there may be other drivers there. Lot of good analysis here, but only you can navigate a solution that ends in harmony or possibly makes a split that can't be repaired. Best of luck.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:53 PM   #30
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In addition to a possible financial twist, how old are their children now? I am childfree myself, but I have noticed over the years all my friends with children go through complicated juggling acts at every holiday - his parents want to see the grandchildren; her parents want to see the grandchildren; sometimes aunts and uncles demand some time; and the poor parents just want to throw up their hands and stay home for once and have a simple family holiday with their kids.
The kids might also be getting to a certain age (around teenage years) where hanging with family isn't nearly as cool as moping in the basement texting friends or hanging out with friends in real life. Dad (kiem's bro) might be the messenger for his kids who don't want to drive 6 hours each way for a family gathering.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:00 PM   #31
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The kids might also be getting to a certain age (around teenage years) where hanging with family isn't nearly as cool as moping in the basement texting friends or hanging out with friends in real life. Dad (kiem's bro) might be the messenger for his kids who don't want to drive 6 hours each way for a family gathering.
The kid answer is kind of a cop out IMO...I'm guessing the kids don't drive all the dynamics in the house...I'd hope "boredom" by the kids wouldn't trump family closeness. You can still text in the car!
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:03 PM   #32
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The kids might also be getting to a certain age (around teenage years) where hanging with family isn't nearly as cool as moping in the basement texting friends or hanging out with friends in real life. Dad (kiem's bro) might be the messenger for his kids who don't want to drive 6 hours each way for a family gathering.

Yeah, the only thing that beats moping in the basement is moping at home and retired .
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What Would You Do? (Issue with family get togethers)
Old 09-08-2015, 08:07 PM   #33
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What Would You Do? (Issue with family get togethers)

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All good advice above.

To be clear-I can deal with the change in dates/locations. I'm certainly not upset he wants to change the date/location of his traditionally hosted event. And I'll continue inviting him to mine-he can simply not come if he doesn't wish to.

It is the extreme focus on personal convenience I'm having trouble digesting.

My guess is there is something there you cannot yet see. It seems OK to me.


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Old 09-08-2015, 08:46 PM   #34
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What would bug me if I were you is that he first told you of his unilateral solution, and only much later did he discuss the problem.

Yes, that is a major part of what causes my annoyance. I'm all ears and helpful when asked to help with a problem or determine a mutually satisfactory solution. If I wanted dictation I'd be a secretary.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:50 PM   #35
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Keim,

Is it possible there is a financial aspect to your brother's reluctance to continue the traditional get-togethers? Are he and his wife saving for their childrens' college educations, or their own retirement? Is it possible they are not in as stable a financial situation as you find yourself in? If the cost of traveling with the family means their budget takes a hit, they may be embarrassed and unwilling to admit that is the reason. Obviously I don't know anything about their (and your) financial situation, but differences in financial ability/lifestyle certainly have caused unintentional conflict in my own extended family in the past.

In addition to a possible financial twist, how old are their children now? I am childfree myself, but I have noticed over the years all my friends with children go through complicated juggling acts at every holiday - his parents want to see the grandchildren; her parents want to see the grandchildren; sometimes aunts and uncles demand some time; and the poor parents just want to throw up their hands and stay home for once and have a simple family holiday with their kids.

How often do your sister-in-law's parents get to see your brother and his family? Do your own parents get along with your sister-in-law?

Families can be complicated (understatement of the year!) and often trying to please everyone and meet all the competing demands on ones time can lead to hurt feelings.

As others have suggested, you might want to just make plans to see your parents on your own, and see if in time your brother is more amenable (or able) to resume the group visits.

Good luck to you - I hope your relationship with your brother is not permanently damaged by this change in the routine.
While I can't know his finances, he just took the family to Europe for a two week vacation. I suspect he is doing fine.

As I've said-the change in routine isn't what continues two perturb. Tho it did at first. It's the extreme call for his own convenience (getting the parents to move there 50th anni celebration to a more convenient location REALLY!?!)
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:14 PM   #36
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While I can't know his finances, he just took the family to Europe for a two week vacation. I suspect he is doing fine.

As I've said-the change in routine isn't what continues two perturb. Tho it did at first. It's the extreme call for his own convenience (getting the parents to move there 50th anni celebration to a more convenient location REALLY!?!)
I have to agree with you there. Asking them to relocate the celebration for his convenience was pretty selfish, IMHO.
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:16 PM   #37
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The kids might also be getting to a certain age (around teenage years) where hanging with family isn't nearly as cool as moping in the basement texting friends or hanging out with friends in real life. Dad (kiem's bro) might be the messenger for his kids who don't want to drive 6 hours each way for a family gathering.
That could well be. I'm not sure 12 hours in a car with surly teenagers would be my idea of a vacation!
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:01 PM   #38
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While I can't know his finances, he just took the family to Europe for a two week vacation. I suspect he is doing fine.
Maybe he's capped at 2 weeks vacation/yr and that's it for 2015. And perhaps the Mrs. and the kids want to do things like go to Europe for 2 weeks and not do family get togethers to burn some (?) or most (?) of the vacation time.

We've been lucky to have most of our family local here in town so get togethers are an afternoon or evening with a 5-20 minute drive.

However I see many friends that have family spread out all over the country and their travel and vacation schedule is basically a week to visit family 500-1000 miles away (and sometimes they drive to save on airfare) and another week to visit other family or maybe sneak away somewhere for a few days for just their immediate family. Maybe they enjoy those vacations, but maybe they also want to do other things with their allotted 2-3 weeks per year but can't due to annual family get together plans.

Just spit ballin' here. I'd not take what your bro is doing too personally and just hope for the best. You guys will figure out some way to see each other eventually.
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:34 PM   #39
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Maybe it's not him, but someone else in his family, and he is not sharing that with you as he tries to manage his own family dynamics.
+1. In America, once someone is married everything changes, as particularly for men, the cost of marriage conflict is just too great. And marriage conflict is all too easy to encounter.

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Old 09-08-2015, 10:34 PM   #40
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My brother went through a phase where he was inexplicably super-self-centered. His convenience was the only factor that mattered. So I get it. It's very disturbing. Really made me feel as if he didn't value family at all.

Here's the thing: after a few years, it got better. He was always a bit selfish but nothing like those years. I still don't know why it happened. It was clear to everyone else in the family, but he felt he was being reasonable in demanding that all others accommodate his whims/convenience. And he'd explain his reasoning about why he was entitled to have everyone else do his bidding. It was bizarre.

From my experience: do what seems reasonable to you. Maybe meet him a little more than half way, even, so you don't feel later that you should have done more. But don't feel compelled to acquiesce to all his demands. I expressed my unwillingness to do things his way in the midst of those problem years but did not dwell on it.

Things change, he may not be this way forever. Try not to make it a bigger deal than it is. He may 'recalibrate' in a few years.

My brother and I are closer than ever. That wouldn't have happened if I made it a bigger issue.





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