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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 3 months ago, my wife's brother had accepted a contract job and moved to Seattle, WA, which is where we're currently living. My wife initially wanted him to live with us but i adamantly refused because I value my privacy. But I told her that he could live in our house for however long it took him to find a place of his own. He stayed about 6 weeks before finding an apartment near his work place in Everett, which is about +1 hour drive from our house. Now he comes to our house every Friday night and stayed in his room until Sunday night and only comes out of his room for meals and bathroom breaks.
Prior to his arrival, my wife didn't care much for cooking. But now she's taken interest in preparing elaborate dishes. Every Sunday she would spend hours cooking and afterward,
packed food for her brother to take home. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, she would prepare good exotic dishes for dinner for him (and me of course)... this has never happened before in several years of our living together.
Last Monday she cooked a dish for dinner and said "Let's eat just half of it, save the other half for him." He's already gone back to his apartment the night before. I didn't say anything but i was expecting that he would come and pick up the food container that night. That didn't happen. The following day i drove her to a night class and she brought the packed food container in the car so she could give it to him after class. I asked her to phone him to meet us at the school
to pick up the food after class; she said "No, because that would require too much effort on his part. Let's meet him at the Northgate mall after class when we go home".
I told her that the Northgate mall is in the opposite direction and was not near the school and it was 9:00 PM but she insisted. Well, after class she phone him and he didn't answer. so we drove straight home.
Now she'd organized parties at our house inviting my friends so that her brother could make new friends. Prior to this, whenever I want to have a party she always complained about how hard she had to work to make it happen. As a result I never asked again.
Whenever my friends invited us to a party she brought him along too.

Now Thanksgiving is approaching and she's planning a getaway trip... at first it's just for the 2 of us. But as you already guessed it, she has just emailed me and him about the possible location for the trip and ask for both my and his opinion about it.

Am i being selfish here for feeling that my privacy is being invaded? I realize that I am benefiting from her sudden interest in cooking but I'd rather she did it because she wanted to
and not out of obligation to please me (or him). I understand that she's trying to be a good sister in accordance with her Asian traditional values but I'm wondering where the line should be drawn. Please share your thoughts and advise me how to deal with this situation.
thank you.
 

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Was she a caregiver for him in the past? How was their relationship when they were growing up? It's possible that this is giving her a chance to relive her youth or an opportunity to have a second chance at a relationship with her brother that might have been lacking in the past.

I'd feel the same way, I like my privacy as well.
 

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Is she the older sib? Maybe she still feels "responsible" for him. Or maybe they had a rocky relationship growing up, and now she's trying to make up for it. (I can relate!) Or maybe he asked her to help him get into the friend/dating scene in your town, and he isn't confident enough to cut the cord yet, OR, your wife didn't know when to quit.
But, I like my privacy as well, and I live furthest away from my family, so, yes- I would resent this "intrusion", too. Come to think of it, if my wife's brother came to live with us, I wouldn't like it one bit. He's the baby of the family and a little, uh, "weak", and my wife is the eldest sister, and her culture dictates that she nurture the family when mother is gone, which isn't too far off, so I guess I have to throw in my lot with the OP.
 

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Interesting... so by her bending over backwards to accomadate him, she is making things more uncomfortable for you. Give it a little bit of time, and if this doesn't slow down, i say after Christmas, then i'd politely explain to her how i feel. I mean, i agree with what other are saying, she is just trying to be a loving sister and doing things for him reminds her of childhood. So i must say tread carefully on this, because if you word this the wrong way you'll come off as being petty and jealous of her relationship with family. No matter what ever happens in life, she will always be his sister.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you F-102, Rob774, FloridaITguy, Pandakiss for your response. Her brother is 2-3 years older than she is. He's socially inept and my in-laws, including my wife, have been pampering him like a baby even to this day, despite his age of 39-40.
I guess he kind of get used to this kind of treatment therefore wouldn't mind receiving more of it.
i don't believe my wife would ever stop "caring for family. because that's what family is about..." I know this is
a very touchy issue for her. I would guess that she rather divorce me than "losing" her brother.
There's a saying in our Asian culture "spouses are like clothing. you can change clothing anytime but not family". I guess she's living out that guideline.
 

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Why are you being so passive about what you want to do with your wife?

I don't agree with the whole tippy toe around what you say to your wife and when.

Asian cultural sensitivities aside, what about your cultural sensitivities?

If you want to plan a weekend getaway that doesn't include him, just say so.

And for future planning purposes, alert your wife that you want some alone time with her so don't plan on taking him for the next jaunt.

That man's about 40 years old. He can do fine by himself. If he hasn't developed social skills or a befriended anyone but your sister it really is not your 100% consuming problem.

Sure, include him in some things. But every weekend? As a house guest eating your food?

No way!!

I realize family is very important, I have a large extended family that i stay in contact with all the time.

All I know is that if you do not establish boundaries your wife sure is not going to do so.

If that makes you the bad guy, so be it.

You don't have to be a shmuck about it, just be firm about what it means to you to be a married couple as opposed to an appendage to familial obligations.

Plan fun, marriage-enhancing things on the weekends that by their very nature cannot include him.

Maybe start off by bribing him with tickets to a sporting event that you and your wife cannot use because you are going away for the weekend.
 

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If you want to plan a weekend getaway that doesn't include him, just say so.
:iagree:

I will go one further. Let it get to be a fight if needs be. Years of going along to avoid an argument and feeling like a rug are WAY worse than an argument now.
 

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:iagree:

I will go one further. Let it get to be a fight if needs be. Years of going along to avoid an argument and feeling like a rug are WAY worse than an argument now.
I agree with you.

I even think the guy should even approach the BIL on his own, without his wife and tell him he wants more time alone with her. That it would be great if he finds more things to do on the weekends. and even to tell his own sister he has other plans for the weekend in question.

Get the BIL to be a co-conspirator, as it were.

If the result is a whiney BIL contacting his sister, really? so be it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
:iagree:

I will go one further. Let it get to be a fight if needs be. Years of going along to avoid an argument and feeling like a rug are WAY worse than an argument now.
an argument i know i'm going to lose for sure. i know my wife, she will do just about anything to "protect" her family of origin. they just can't be wrong. i might as well prepare the divorce paper before going in on a fight.
 

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an argument i know i'm going to lose for sure. i know my wife, she will do just about anything to "protect" her family of origin. they just can't be wrong. i might as well prepare the divorce paper before going in on a fight.
Don't be so quick to hand over your cajones over this.

Just state your intentions without indulging in yelling and screaming.

If your wife goes all batsh!t crazy on you, that's on her.
 

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Please make your stance known now, in a calm and factual manner. Use "I" statements..."I feel uncomfortable when your brother comes over so much, could this be cut down to just one weekend a month?"

His lack of interpersonal skills and whatever other issues he has are not your wife's or your problem. In fact, he has these problems in the first place because your wife and her family baby him, so he does not know how to do for himself. Try to tell her that as well.

When you have this conversation with her, make statements that express how you are feeling and not how she or the brother are making you feel. Since she believes she has a duty to her brother, and her family treats their relationship like this as well, they may view you as the "strange one" for saying somethings wrong with them. You never want to feel like the odd man out in your marriage. Tell her you want boundaries for your sake, to make you happy, and not because the brother is such a loser (though that he may be, she will never see him that way.)

You must make boundaries with your in-laws from the start. I neglected to do so and my sister-in-law and her daughter have lived with my husband and I for 4 years now, rent free and eating the food I buy and make. I was patient and sympathetic to her situation for years, but this year I just snapped and we've told her to move out. Yet she is still in my house as I type this...I lost my backbone years ago and now she is taking her sweet time moving out because she doesn't think she will ever suffer any consequences. Because she goes and whines to the family, and paints my husband and I as evil people. There is only so much kindness you can give to a person who is not kind to you in return before you SNAP! Do not let this go on any longer, you have to make the move to change things because your wife and BIL do not have a problem with the situation and will continue in their ways.

If speaking to your wife does not produce results, then go to your BIL and tell him what is bothering you. If they both still don't get it, and continue to disrespect you.....then tell them that you do not approve of anyone coming between your marriage and will not stay in a situation where you are disrespected.
 
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