Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
What Would You Do? (Issue with family get togethers)
Old 09-08-2015, 12:22 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Keim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,128
What Would You Do? (Issue with family get togethers)

I've found this to be an unusually level headed board. Curious how you all would handle this situation:

Until recently we have had two family get togethers per year, involving my family, my brothers family and our parents. My family hosted one, my brother the other.

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. I asked, and he was clear that my family had done nothing to offend. Aside from responding that I would have difficulty outside of traditional times due to my rigid work calendar, I dropped the issue and haven't brought it up since.

As time went on he made it clear that he would like to get together at different times of the year, in locations between our homes.

I have since noticed a pattern as we try to make plans-everything must now be at his convenience. He went so far as to have the parents move there 50th anniversary celebration from their desired MT location to a place near him in OR.

I value family time, and in the past have been willing to be inconvenienced to make it happen, but admit this perturbs me greatly. To make the decision a little more difficult-the elderly parents have been clear. They like having us all get together, are willing to flex for his convenience, and pushed me to do the same until told to back off.

What would you do?
__________________

__________________
You can't enlighten the unconscious.
But you can hit'em upside the head a few times to make sure they are really out...
Keim is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-08-2015, 12:42 AM   #2
Recycles dryer sheets
cooch96's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Lakewood
Posts: 442
Eeks! Not sure there is a good solution to this. Sounds like your brother values family less than the rest, so he has nothing to lose by demanding things be done as easily for him as possible.

The only thing I can think of is to clarify this with your sibling. Point out, politely, as if it weren't obvious, that parents' anniversaries are for the parents and should be done at their convenience. Discuss how your brother's actions make you feel, but try very hard to not be defensive.

I'm optimistic that others on this board will have sounder and more helpful advice. Good luck.
__________________

__________________
Why be normal when you can be yourself?
cooch96 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 05:30 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,976
Doesn't sound unusual to me. I know people who visit family monthly if not more, and I know others who visit family annually or less. Distance is usually a factor. And age is usually a factor, when we get older with dear families & friends of our own, we might visit immediate family less. You value family time, that does not mean other siblings place equal value on family time.

It sounds like you and your brother are in different camps, he's not wrong, but neither are you. My DW is one of 5 siblings, each visited or phoned their Mom at very different frequencies. If anything, having the 5 siblings visit/call separately meant she had more visits!

Quote:
In short, they had become inconvenient and boring...
Are you sure your brother is less available because it's "inconvenient" (as you allege), or maybe it's also (largely) because it's "boring?"

These days one can communicate as often as you like via phone/text, email, FaceTime/Skype - daily if you want. It's not necessary to be present, physically visit, that often in many people's views.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 05:52 AM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 332
My family used to get together all holidays and over the summer while our father was alive. Once he passed, we quit T-day/Christmas/NYD and just spend with our immediate families. We still get together for the summer holidays at the family cabin. To tell the truth I like this much better.
__________________
Idnar7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 06:18 AM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 16,433
I think you both should be able to meet up for dinner or even a day together occasionally at spots in between where you each live at times that are mutually convenient. I suggest that you propose 3 dates to get together... if he rejects all three and fails to propose an acceptable alternative... then there is a message there for you.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 07:19 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,705
To me 'traditions' only work as long as they work. Doing something that you don't really want to do year after year is no longer a tradition, it's a chore.

People sometimes just 'move on' and form their own lives separate from family. For example, my paternal grandparents lived less than a mile from us growing up. We saw them maybe once a year or by accident at a store...a few times they didn't recognize us until we told them who we were!!! (maternal grandparents made up for it though)
__________________
Living well is the best revenge!
Retired @ 52 in 2005
marko is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 07:26 AM   #7
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 728
How about you and your brother take turns setting the place and date for your get togethers. And, put together a short list of acceptable spots to meet....both of you put together the list. And.....do this looking him in the eye and say that this is "fair" to all. And, stress that a key goal is to please your parents and keep all conflicts away from them. Many families have had this type of problem....kids grow up, getting together is boring, especially to the kids, and it's hard to change the pattern. Open, honest communication between you and your brother is the key.....if you both agree to a plan it will work.....otherwise it's a hassle. Good Luck!
__________________
jerome len is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 08:04 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,472
Living out west in places like Idaho and Oregon it can indeed be difficult (and dangerous) to get together, especially in the winter. My husband's best friend lost his entire family on a Thanksgiving holiday visiting relatives when he was only 13, due to weather.

Growing up my dad's side of the family got together regularly near but not on the holidays (except we always got together on Thanksgiving), when everyone lived in California, almost everyone in the Bay Area. It was simple. They rotated houses from event to event.

My mom's cousins all lived in the Bay Area and they had an annual picnic from the time I was 15 until I was about 40. They tried a lot of different parks in the Bay Area.

My sister and I scattered, so our lives are very different. We keep in touch, and get together about once/yr even though we're 2800 miles apart. My husband cannot tolerate his brothers at all. One volunteers in soup kitchens on the holidays and we have no clue about the other one.

We have grown to enjoy quiet holidays.

Perhaps it's the time of year, the changing lifestyle of your brother's family, or perhaps it's an issue with his spouse and her side of the family.

It probably isn't you.

Maybe try to get together at a different time of year-say a 3-5 day trip to an agreeable location.

As an aside, you could lock in an agreement to be together on 8/21/17. You both are in prime territory to view the total solar eclipse that day.


Sent from my iPhone using Early Retirement Forum
__________________
EastWest Gal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 08:54 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
JPatrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,494
I see nothing unusual here. Been there done that for many of the reasons noted by previous posters.
You and your brother seem willing to negotiate so don't give up yet.
__________________
JPatrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 09:23 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
kcowan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Pacific latitude 20/49
Posts: 5,720
Send a message via Skype™ to kcowan
We have cousins (once removed) who always get together on the NC shore in a large rental. The cousin from OR rents it and the rest of the family drives there from Florida and Virginia. Others from farther afield attend sporadically. They all chip in for the food. The cousin from NH never attends.

(Different strokes!)
__________________
For the fun of it...Keith
kcowan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 10:09 AM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Keim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,128
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.
__________________
You can't enlighten the unconscious.
But you can hit'em upside the head a few times to make sure they are really out...
Keim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 10:32 AM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ivinsfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,198
How old are your parents and where are they located distance wise relative to you and your brother? Will your parents travel to see you?

If your parents are infirm and can't travel much, I see where multi-family get togethers would be very appealing to them.Parents always have a sense of which child is easier to "guilt" into something or conversely which child has to be accommodated so there is no pushback. You have been chosen are the most sensitive, accommodating son. (OTOH if you are female, this is pretty much the way things roll all the time) no slam on women here, most families will back off from pressuring DIL because that can be pretty tricky.

The sticky part about twice yearly or less contact, is that something could be going on at your brother's end that you aren't privy to. People tend to put on a good face and might not go into problems they might be having.

You might a)...just tell your bro, I'm not getting much feedback on these get togethers, is there something going on you're not telling me about?

b) just say I want to go to an alternate planning schedule just as we did before so that my family and I have some input.

c) just say nothing and do it for your parents, but my personal experience was that once your parents are gone, your sib will be so ingrained in this pattern that if you change it you will almost never see them.

Is this brother your only sib? I have a brother ( the one I have almost no contact with) and a sister 1500 mile away who I see pretty much yearly and seldom go more then 2 or 3 days without some form of contact between us. She has the same relationship with our brother that I do, so the fact we are close kind of makes up for the lack of contact with him, we have no disagreement with him, he just prefers the maybe yearly phone call and the occasional text message.
It's a hard call to make,so I hope some of these posts are helping you.
__________________
ivinsfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 10:33 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,275
I just wonder about his motives....

If there are two get togethers, one at your place and one at his.... are you both not driving the same amount of time during the year Who drives the parents? If you do, then you are doing more going to him than he is coming... unless either of you have kids...


Our family get togethers are usually 'here' where the most people live... you have the option of coming or not... we have a brother who lives 3 to 4 hours away and he comes sometimes and not others.... there was about 5 years when he did not come because 'nobody told him'.... well, one of my sisters said he knows Christmas is Dec 25th and we have always met on the 24th (going on 50 years now)....


I would only do what he wants if it does not inconvenient me that much... the old way evened things out... the new way should do the same...
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 10:39 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Cobra9777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,132
All families are different and traditions change and evolve over time. I see nothing wrong with that. My family all lives in a specific area along the Gulf coast. I'm the only one who moved away from that area, which is 8-9 hours by car. So, it's sort of incumbent upon me to make the trip for get-togethers, and I've done this for the last 35 years. I don't mind, although we've been going less and less over time, especially since both my parents passed. When my parents were alive, we made the trip twice a year; it's now once every two years or so. I miss seeing my siblings and their kids/grandkids but we are very much in touch with each other via email and Facebook, and in fact maybe more than before. We love sharing photos and comments on Facebook and have a small "close family group" to facilitate this.

Meanwhile, our own family has grown and put down deep roots here in Texas. Both kids are married, first grandchild on the way, and we've become close with both spouse's families. We convinced the in-laws to move here several years ago when they hit 80. Plus, we have some longtime friends here that we always spend holidays with. Just let things evolve naturally and keep it positive.
__________________
Retired at 52 in July 2013. On to better things...
AA: 55% stock, 15% real estate, 27% bonds, 3% cash
WR: 2.0% SI: 2 pensions, some rental income, SS later
Cobra9777 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 11:11 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerome len View Post
How about you and your brother take turns setting the place and date for your get togethers. And, put together a short list of acceptable spots to meet....both of you put together the list. And.....do this looking him in the eye and say that this is "fair" to all. And, stress that a key goal is to please your parents and keep all conflicts away from them. Many families have had this type of problem....kids grow up, getting together is boring, especially to the kids, and it's hard to change the pattern. Open, honest communication between you and your brother is the key.....if you both agree to a plan it will work.....otherwise it's a hassle. Good Luck!
+1

Compromise is the best path. If not possible, continue to see your parents as your w*rk schedule permits and leave it at that.

The only thing you have control over here is your own planning.
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
What Would You Do? (Issue with family get togethers)
Old 09-08-2015, 11:16 AM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
RetireAge50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,121
What Would You Do? (Issue with family get togethers)

If my brother said he was sticking close to home I would say "that is cool". Then when he said let's meet halfway and hang out I would say "sounds good see you there".
__________________
RetireAge50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 11:16 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keim View Post
It is the extreme focus on personal convenience I'm having trouble digesting.
Again, I am wondering if that's (all or in part) a cover for "boring" (your/his word - he did say that evidently) or just not as interested as you evidently are. But you'd be a better judge than any of us...

What makes you right, and him wrong in this situation? He may well think you're pushing your agenda on him, and you are no?

Not unlike the earlier thread on volunteering when most people decline citing 'don't have time' when that's really not it at all.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 11:58 AM   #18
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Westborough
Posts: 9
This kind of thing could be a whole lot easier if we could read minds. It's like "pushing a rope" as an acquaintance once said many years ago.

Consider these possibilities:
1) He really doesn't want to take the time to get together. It's not important enough to him.
2) He really wants to get together but a dominant force (maybe his wife) doesn't want to do it and he's just covering it up.
3) He really wants to do it but other factors in his life make that trip difficult.

Obviously you are the only one of the two of you with your parents best interest at heart. If I was in your situation, my parents' interest would come first. Here is the kind of thing I would do:

1) Identify a reasonable midpoint for you and your brother to meet for the get together;
2) Ask your parents to be honest and say how close to that point they are willing to travel, and pick a new point based on that;
3) Ask your parents in what time-frame they would like to do this; and
4) Once that's all figured out, tell your brother that you are setting up a get together and give him the time and geographical constraints. Make sure your parents know that's what you are doing and that they should leave it up to you to make the arrangements, to ignore any whining from your brother to them if it occurs.

Based on what you said, he will probably balk at your offer. Find out if it's the time-frame or the location.

If it's the location, ask him what he would suggest while taking into account the fact that his parents are getting older and probably don't want to travel too far from home. If you do not think that his offer is consistent with the needs of your parents just say "no".

If the location is OK but the time-frame is the problem, that is something you can work with.

If it ends up that he doesn't want to get together under terms that are consistent with the best interest of your parents, then plan a get together with them on your own at a time and place of your joint convenience. Leave it up to him to do the same if he wants.

Repeat this process every year until he finally attends or tells you to stop.
__________________
PokerGrumpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 12:15 PM   #19
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,817
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.
__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2015, 12:34 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,428
Do you like him? Enjoy his (and his family's) company? Or is it just a grind and a tradition getting together? I personally will put in a little effort to meet up with family members I like, and also will put in some effort for the occasional (not yearly) duty visit. But if it's just a guilt-based get together, let it slide. Visit your parents whenever possible, since they won't be here forever. Get together with brother when it works, and don't worry about it otherwise. I read the first couple of pages of a book called The Dance of Anger once, and it made the point that if you change your behavior in a situation, other people will change theirs to respond. If you stop being so accommodating, maybe he'll be a little more. If not, what have you lost that had any value anyway?
__________________

__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
family member asking for money - domestic violence issue :-((( simple girl Other topics 80 09-08-2015 10:05 PM
Family Issue RitaR551 FIRE and Money 110 10-16-2013 08:57 PM
New Issue and Reopened Issue Bonds CaptainO FIRE and Money 15 08-22-2013 11:16 AM
What would you do? (warrantee issue) JayOh Other topics 25 07-09-2008 09:14 PM
If you could beqeath to one party outside the family, who would get the $ ? Mr._johngalt Other topics 33 10-18-2006 02:49 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:13 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.