I’m a successful businesswoman in my 40s, happily married to my equally successful husband, and we have two children.
The problem is my siblings. They haven’t achieved the same level of success in their lives. I feel that there’s a lot of resentment towards us because of this.
There are constant little digs at family get-togethers, comments that we spoil our children, that we can afford a big house and go on luxurious holidays.
There’s even the expectation that we should pay more than our fair share for restaurant outings, and for the retirement home expenses for our parents.
Both my husband and I have worked hard to get where we are today.
How do we get them to stop giving us a rough time about it? It’s getting so bad that I want to avoid spending any time with them at all.
With such good fortune, even when acquired through hard work, a generous spirit of understanding goes nicely with the territory.
Your siblings envy you. If they had made a fortune and you hadn’t, you might also wish your house was roomier, your vacations more upscale.
Don’t get me wrong, if they had written me with judgmental commentaries on your lifestyle, I wouldn’t respond that it’s acceptable.
I’d say, as I do to you: Siblings can do better than this.
In many families where one couple becomes the most prosperous, they often use their gracious home as a gathering point keeping siblings and your children’s cousins closely connected. Sharing.
Some affluent people regularly open their homes to Thanksgiving celebrations, milestone-birthday parties within a circle of close relatives. Embracing.
I agree that its off-putting to have family members accuse you of spoiling your children... but perhaps, with an inability to indulge their own kids on special occasions, you can afford, realistically-speaking, to let it pass.
Now for the big issue - the retirement home expenses of your parents.
The one thing the older generation needs most at this stage in their lives, is security.
A well-run retirement home that provides clean private rooms, healthy meals, and good supervision from staff, is the greatest gift you can all provide if your parents need to rely on financial support from the children they raised.
If your siblings can only afford so much... and if you can afford more... why is that expectation a surprise?
I’m not suggesting that you should be more responsible than the others, but that you should do the best you can. You and your husband know what you can afford - so maybe you cover some “extras” like the price of new technology for them to use, or the cost of a caregiver, if and when needed.
It would be wrong for your siblings to demand that you give more, but logical if there’s a need of your parents that they can’t meet but believe you can.
From what you’ve written, this divide between you and your siblings has just been allowed to grow - adding to mutual resentment.
Instead, invite them over (socially distanced, preferably outside, or online if necessary, to be safer during the pandemic).
Reach out with goodwill and rise above any comments you’d have formerly bristled at.
Show interest in their lives and that of their children. Focus on any positives that are mentioned.
Remember this: Envy is born from someone’s personal frustration/discontent with themselves. It’s more about them, than you. All the more reason you can afford to be understanding.
I’m a woman, 37, who always dated men from my same culture and background. I’d been raised to believe that’s how you eventually found your life partner.
It proved wrong in the living of it. Married at 29, I divorced at 33.
My ex-husband was self-centred, cheap, controlling, and “always right.” But I was miserable.
Two years later, I met a man from a very different culture and religion. But our backgrounds growing up weren’t that different when you overlooked variances in some customs.
Luckily, we both found delight in learning about those small differences and fell in love. We plan to marry later this year.
Second Time Happy?
Unions combining different cultures usually thrive when each partner purposefully learns more about the other. And with both exploring ways to combine differences into a relationship-sustaining mosaic of interests and habits.
You two have already started on that path. Second time wiser and better!
Tip of the day:
Sibling rivalry’s common in youngsters. But successful grownups should do better by being generous of spirit.