In my childhood home, there was non-stop fighting and arguing.
My mother was a wonderful parent, did everything for my dad, brother and me.
My dad did almost nothing but criticize Mom about her apparent “failures.”
He eventually left for a woman aged 21 (when I was 19)!
They had four children. I tried to maintain some contact.
They split up two years ago.
Days ago, I received an email from someone I know to be my older, biological half-brother.
I’d heard and disbelieved, when young, that my father had a son before he and my mother married.
I know now from my mother that she’d urged my father to connect with his son years ago.
I was so happy to hear from this new brother! He was very kind, simply wanted to say hello, and possibly meet.
However: I have minimal contact with my father now, speaking only once or twice a year.
I know that we love each other, but accept our relationship being this way.
However, he recently described my mother as “miserable” when he was the miserable one!
So, I’m fearful of how my father is going to treat his new-found son, who may’ve been searching for family, his father and answers most of his life.
Do I confide the relationship my brother and I have/had with my father and let him know not to get his hopes up?
I wouldn’t want to see my father crush this person. He’s come on so strong and involved about his son that it feels duplicitous to me.
My younger brother doesn’t ever speak to my father, and has said that he has no interest in meeting this new brother, ever.
I’m worried that my new brother is going to be hurt. Meeting him should be a blessing! New family!
I want everyone happy (impossible, my husband tells me) by ensuring this man feels loved and included while also not upsetting my younger brother who’s stated that I am his ONLY sibling.
I also worry about my mom, although she urges me to pursue this relationship.
She never fully healed from her split with my dad (24-plus years ago).
I don’t want to lie to this man.
My dad has informed me that my new brother is going to meet his ex-partner and their four children and that I should go!
I haven’t spoken to this woman in over two years since they split. Was I wrong to gently tell this newcomer in an email that I wasn’t very close to them? Was it too much info too fast?
When should I meet my new sibling? Should I have let him discover the dysfunctional stuff on his own? All I’ve every wanted was a functional family dynamic which always seemed impossible…
You’re setting yourself up for disappointment by focusing on everyone’s attitudes/behaviours from the past instead of letting events and feelings move forwards naturally.
The addition of a new brother won’t make your long-dysfunctional family perfect. It’ll simply be somewhat different, and, perhaps, have some improvements.
He’ll see some dysfunction, but it won’t impact him in the same way as it affected you, from childhood till today.
Don’t warn him or gloss it over. Instead, be helpful and caring. Tell him that he can ask you anything and you’ll answer truthfully. You can meet him as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, your younger brother needs to be reassured that you’ll never replace him in your loyalty and love.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding your request for stories about relationships affected by social media:
“We’re both late 70’s and met four years ago on a dating site.
We were both widowed but had had subsequent relationships. I had minimal expectations, just hoping to meet someone with whom I could go out for dinner and maybe travel together.
“My partner’s a wonderful kind, loving, smart, funny man.
We‘re true soul mates: We’d worked in the same profession, even for the same company at different times. We share attitudes, an optimistic outlook and sense of humour.
“Neither of us needed “a nurse or a purse.” We’re healthy and both can afford a comfortable lifestyle.
“We’re having a wonderful time, because we know what’s important and when not to sweat the small stuff.
“Also, because we don’t know how much more time we have.
“We talk daily about how grateful we are for each other and our life together.
Tip of the day:
Family dysfunctions are usually apparent. Be helpful to new members when its needed.