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Old 01-22-2021, 07:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BoodaGazelle View Post
For 20 years, we have hosted the siblings and their kids at our beach houses and gotten very little thanks for it. These visits end up making DW work like a chambermaid and she resents that.

I *sort of* see this in her, but sort of not. I believe that her younger sisters love her, and would be devastated by this move. The brother is another story.
Perhaps she could let her sibs know that all the work required to host at the beach house plus all the work plus the financial burden taking care of the parents have worn her out and she needs a break. Maybe the sisters at least would take the cue that older sis is older now and it's time for the younger sibs to step up.

In my experience, when one person busts their tail to serve others who are capable of helping but don't, the others tend to assume that person delights in doing it and gets a big charge from serving them. The others might not even consider that it's "work", but rather just something that person would do anyways, and it's no problem for them to just go along for the ride.
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Old 01-22-2021, 09:13 PM   #22
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together we don't have much in the way of immediate family. i have a sister, her husband, their son and his wife. my wife has a brother who was here with us for about 3-weeks ober christmas and new years. he'll be back sometime this summer. my sister refuses to be with us or her son. choices. we never spent much time together pre end-of-the-world other than at christmas. we occasionally speak on tne phone or text. so not much change there.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:52 AM   #23
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I like the idea of just stating that she needs a break. The "break" may come to an end, or it may not.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:53 AM   #24
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Everybody's situation is different.

Your wife is exhausted, over-burdened, stressed-out, resentful from shouldering the burden, disgusted and suffering from low level depression whether she knows it or not.

I suspect from the initial post, that you know which siblings actually care about your wife, and which one doesn't.

My opinion is that the siblings should be advised that DW is absolutely exhausted from carrying the burden of the parents. For example, if one of the little sisters call, you could even tell them that DW is resting, and you know she is absolutely exhausted . . .

With regard to staying at the Beach House, that's a flat-out-"No". Again, you and dear wife have to be ready for the request, and the response is "No, we are not having visitors, even family this year, DW's health will NOT allow it."

There is no need for a dramatic letter; and when the time comes, it is easy enough to cut back. After all, they don't live in the same house.

P.S. Re-read the first post. Edited to remove "this year" with regard to the Beach House. They should have picked up after themselves, cleaned the Beach House at the end of their stay, and taken you both out to dinner and bought groceries.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:54 AM   #25
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I recall a good line from Annie Lamott's "Bird by Bird":

And at this point I told her, as kindly as possible, that I needed a sabbatical from our friendship.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:06 AM   #26
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Your DW has oldest female child syndrome. She's just the right age for it. On the beach house thing, the only way people treat your house like a hotel for 20 years is if you let them do it. Parental care same deal.

At any time you and your DW could have skipped a year, started asking the guests to pitch in and do something. If you don't it's pretty much on you.

A lot of things can change when the last parent passes. If there is no outright conflict between the sibs I suggest your DW just quietly take a break without sending letters or saying anything dramatic. No need to burn bridges at this point. Now if a sib has been deliberately nasty or aggressive that's another thing. The decision is up to your DW of course.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:17 AM   #27
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I hope she decides against a letter, which could be tremendously painful for the recipients. A conversation would be so much better in that emotions and body language can be utilized to soften the message and allow time for the recipient(s) to respond. Letters are absent both aspects, and they are forever, good or bad.

I have an awful, awful sibling, as in the wrong side of the law, abusive, and drug addicted. I have elected to not engage with them at all, but have never even considered sending a letter in that I'm not sure what purpose it would serve since I've already elected not to engage. To make myself feel better at their expense? Not engaging gets me to the same place while leaving a space for compassion should it ever be earned, I mean forthcoming(!).

A time out with no explanation given will provide the respite your DW seems to be seeking. Best of luck to you both.

Edited to add (ETA): A letter is often times more about punishing the recipient. I would encourage your wife to give this some thought as she will ultimately be living with the fallout.
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:59 AM   #28
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I would not give advice on something like this since there are too many variables and differences in relationships. I only know what my wife and I have done in regard to family relationships.

We each have brothers a couple of years older that live in town. Both of those brothers skimmed quite a few dollars from the parents retirement savings since they had POA. Once the last parent passed away we stopped any further communications. We have no intention of reestablishing contact with the brothers ever and don't feel a loss anymore than if they had been strangers that scammed our parents.

Your wife has some decisions to make but fortunately has plenty of time to think about what she wants to do. She has lots of options but needs to figure this out herself.

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Old 01-23-2021, 11:00 AM   #29
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I also think the formal break is going to be bad for long term. I do like the idea that your wife needs a break and therefore little to no emails, phone calls, or especially in-person visits. Letting the siblings know why, leaves that relationship on for any future need to rekindle. Just say no to the beach house vacations, from now and into future; you can adjust the answer in future if you decide.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:05 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by BoodaGazelle View Post
Thanks again for more responses. Remember I am not pushing her to do anything, except to be a decent human being and not unnecessarily hurt them.

One way to describe DW is: the anti-Facebook. She wants to keep her (our) business to herself, and really does not care about your grandkids (or grand-nephews) soccer games.

You may judge her harshly, but she is happy living with just the two of us (we have no children).
When the time comes, let it go and go with the flow. She's been through too much already.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:15 AM   #31
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This thread really struck me emotionally. It's just so sad to see it. Your wife is obviously stressed, and as already mentioned, feeling the effects of all that is going on with her parents and having been the oldest child.

I can only offer this up from the other side. I moved away from home at the age of 20. When I was 25 my oldest brother (35) passed away suddenly. My biggest regret in life is not having had those few years finally as an adult, to have been able to spend more time with him, and to not have been able to spend more time with my parents before they too passed.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:15 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
DW finally cut off contact with her brother, her only close relative, a couple of years ago, much to my relief. As Gumby said, living 1,000 miles away is a wonderful thing. They guy is one of the strangest people you'll ever encounter, and he always has his hand out. She finally had enough of it, and I applaud her for it.
A friend of mine had a brother like that also. Mostly he sponged off of gullible women. Given that he was a good looking 'fun' fellow, and a real silver fox towards the end of his life, it was easy. A few months living with Ms. A, then she figures him out and he soon moves on to Ms. B, and so on C, D, E, F, G......

He even reached out from the grave to upset her. One day she received a letter and a photograph from young man who claimed he was her nephew! She never replied and the guy finally gave up.

There is nothing wrong with saying 'No' to things you don't want to do. And she doesn't have to justify everything to everybody.
The worst decisions are usually made in times of anger and impatience.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:18 AM   #33
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OP--I hope she chooses not to end relationships, because you never know what the future brings. It sounds like she definitely needs some time and space to relax and rewind from caring for her parents. Is there any reason why other siblings can not help with something to take some of the burden from her?
She and you are both within your rights to ask/demand space to breathe.
You don't have to allow visitors to your beach house, or if you do, lay out rules ahead of time.
Your wife sounds like more of an introvert, who needs quiet alone time to recharge. Putting herself out to care for her parents, being around and picking up after guests at the beach house all drain her. She is exhausted. Give her some space, hopefully she will not cut off family right away and will come back stronger and able to maintain relationships on her limited contact terms in the future.
But she will still have those relationships, rather than being totally cut off.
You are no longer in a savings mode.
You are now in a slow spend down mode.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:43 AM   #34
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My mom cut off all contact with me and the rest of the family over 20 years ago. Phone calls went unanswered, letters were never responded to. I even made the two hour drive over to check on her once and she didn't answer the door. I've never been close with family anyway, so while it was strange not to have contact with my mother, it wasn't something that I really gave much thought to. I wasn't hurt by it and didn't dwell on it, life goes on. If she hadn't had a stroke in 2017, I doubt I ever would have heard from her again. My wife thought I was cold, but I just didn't have any emotional connection with family. It was like losing contact with an old neighbor or something. You wonder what they're up to, but that's about it.

Anyway, I'm now in a bit more of a caregiver role with mom. I don't have many responsibilities, but it's still more of a hassle than a chance to reconnect. I'm trying to be the good son, but emotionally it doesn't go much further than that. I suppose that's the side effect of being an only child without stable parents and moving from home to home. I have no sadness, anger, or other emotional feelings about it. It just is what it is.

The rest of my extended family mostly live over 2000 miles away. Anyone I was really close to (grandparents and an uncle) died years ago, so I don't have any contact with folks back in my home town.

My wife has seven siblings. They all have different personalities and life goals, and she really has nothing in common with them. She is close to her mom, but I suspect once her mom is gone she will not make much effort to keep in contact. I don't think she would cut them off completely, but I don't foresee many phone calls or long visits. She'll probably keep tabs through Facebook though.

You can certainly have as much or as little contact as you wish. You don't have to "cut off" family with any ill intentions, but it's easy enough not to respond to email or letters if you don't feel like it. Or do, that's up to you. It doesn't make you a bad person, you just want to focus on your own family and life. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. I certainly wouldn't have a problem if a family member wanted to go their own way and do their own thing.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:36 PM   #35
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Seems obvious to me that COVID is a great reason to break the beach house get-together tradition. Even if you did it last summer, if anyone asks tell them that you aren't comfortable doing it this year.

Another very valid excuse is that she is just wiped out from taking care of the parents, and not ready to host people too.

The following year, she can say she just needs a break to unwind.

If they are still asking after that, maybe there is one sibling she is closer to that she can "confide" in and say it's just been too much work for her to have everyone, and can even add that it's harder as she gets older.

That gives some time to see if she truly wants to cut them loose, or reconsider if they will pitch in, or maybe host one family at a time.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:52 PM   #36
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Been there as well. I was the sole caretaker of my DF with dementia, and moved him into my home to care for him the last five years of his life. It cost me a lot.....including my marriage.

My sister, who is three years older than I, refused to assist in any way. Her exact words were "This is your gig. If it were me I'd kick him to the curb." He was a very difficult, arrogant man when we were growing up, and it only got worse over his lifetime.

When he died I told my sister that I needed a break for the time being. That I would not be in touch, but that didn't mean I didn't care about her. I just needed space and some perspective. She honored that request, and years later we are good.

I think being honest but kind is always the best approach to relationships.
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