My brother recently got married for the second time and I’m happy for him.
However, his new wife has been mean, especially to me.
When celebrating our parents’ anniversary among 15 people, I didn’t have much chance to speak with her.
My brother told me she was extremely insulted by this. I wasn’t pleased, as she could’ve also made an attempt to speak to me.
No one else thought that I’d done anything wrong.
Later, my brother emailed details of how I’d insulted his wife repeatedly since they started dating.
This ruined the relationship with my brother. He sees nothing wrong with his email and is unapologetic.
My wife doesn’t want to have anything to do with either of them.
I believe his wife’s extremely petty, insecure, and looking to cause trouble.
Example: When her mother passed away, I didn’t offer condolences when I saw her afterwards because she was extremely upset and crying constantly. I didn’t want her to start bawling in public.
When my father-in-law had passed away prior, she never called or said anything to my wife or me. I wasn’t offended.
She’s been mean to others, including my mother, but has directed her hostility towards me. I’ve been quiet but respectful around her.
How can I repair my relationship with my brother?
You can’t “repair” your brotherly relationship without dealing with his wife and her issues.
You can suggest that you and he meet and maintain contact on your own, but it’s unlikely she’ll let that happen, even if he wants it.
You can apologize to her for offending her, saying that wasn’t your intention, and explain circumstances like not having a chance to talk to her.
But there’s more bothering her.
Yes, she’s insecure. There are reasons for these feelings in someone and unless you make a full-hearted effort to assure her that you like and accept her, she’s going to dis-trust you.
That’s what insecure people do when they fear another relationship (the one between her husband and you) can affect theirs.
If sibling and family peace is your priority, instead of continued squabbling and distance, you need to make the first move.
Your brother’s stuck with soothing his bride.
Look at the choices and decide how to handle this. Then make sure your own wife is onside with your plan.
My sister’s husband lost his job. She has a very good job with a good income but all their expenses are based on a two-income budget.
He’s positive so far about finding another job and is doing a proper search.
But when does the family need to step in to help them out, without making him feel like a failure?
It’s never too early to be encouraging and supportive emotionally.
Keep alert yourself to where there are job opportunities to suit his skills, check out any contacts you have that might relate to his field. Use these as suggestions without pushing them.
Invite the family for a meal, take their kids out on the weekend so he has time to pursue job leads online, but don’t become overwhelming and intrusive.
As for financial help, wait for a hint from your sister.
Pride’s crucial in a person’s job search, depending on how/why he lost his job – whether from downsizing or his work performance.
If their situation becomes very tight, then any arrangement to lend money through the bank or privately should be done contractually, to avoid problems later.
FEEDBACK Regarding the male writer’s belief that women are "money grabbers" after divorce, wanting every penny they can get from their ex-husbands (October 14):
Reader – “This belief is a widespread myth. In reality and on average, American women face a 27% decrease in standard of life after divorce, while men see a 10% increase in standard of life after divorce.
“Women have to deal with the wage gap, discrimination in the workplace, and are also often stuck with custody of children without receiving adequate child support payments.
“The #1 way women and children become impoverished is through divorce. Also, a disproportionate amount of the demographic of “poor” people is made up of women.
“So maybe this man's wife is trying to ensure that she’ll be able to keep herself out of poverty.
“Check out articles about the feminization of poverty.
“I'm a family social science major, and this information comes from scholarly journals.”
Tip of the day:
If family peace is your goal, understand another’s insecurity and apologize for any offences.