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Yes, I think what you say could be the case. As my partner says, he didn't care for 6 years so what's changed? Well, he's had a child and suddenly all is supposed to perfect between us.

I think talking on this forum has helped and I will try and implement what you suggest.

Thanks.

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I'm not understanding what you mean when you say:

'The overcompensating tone is pretty unbecoming, though. There's probably a reason beyond your history that your brother doesn't get much social value from your interactions beyond sharing these photos'.

What I'm saying is that there's often something about a personality which would lead someone to preemptively qualify their life decisions or cynically take offense to benign gestures ("not childless," "we don't see the point in marriage," taking offense when your life perspective is being so timidly challenged by having pictures sent to you or to your partner being referred to as an uncle, etc.) that, quite simply, doesn't lend itself to that person being particularly fun to talk to. I couldn't tell you if your brother is simply not all that mindful of you or if it'd be like pulling teeth to have a natural conversation with you, whether for your part or you two not having much to be familiar over.

 

I think people are giving you an out with all this internal deflection and family drama jazz when, at least in relation to this issue, it's an overcomplication. For whatever history you may have, your post makes it abundantly clear you're simply not close to him and thus have as low a threshold you would for anyone else trying to bond with you over things you've, at best, got very little interest in.

 

And about the worst way to normalize a relationship is to strike abnormal conversations. He's your brother, not your husband. If you want to talk about things beyond the kid, then bring up things other than the kid. Don't ask him to ask about you. Lead by example, and he either follows that lead or he doesn't. Blood doesn't guarantee a bond, and it just may be this kid is about all you two have to meaningfully link you to each other.

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I love my brother and I do want a relationship with him, but I want a more balanced relationship. I suppose what I'm looking for is some sort of interest in my life from him.

I think this is the root of the problem.

It's all about him, always has been, and I have always been the big sister (by 3 years) who has been forced into the parent role.

Because my mother was not very capable of being a mother to him...I seemed to fall into that role and I resented it.

And I still do.

I want to be a sister, an equal. For him to respect and accept me as I am.

 

Any way lots of food for thought on this forum. Thank you for all your replies.

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I love my brother and I do want a relationship with him, but I want a more balanced relationship. I suppose what I'm looking for is some sort of interest in my life from him.

I think this is the root of the problem.

It's all about him, always has been, and I have always been the big sister (by 3 years) who has been forced into the parent role.

Because my mother was not very capable of being a mother to him...I seemed to fall into that role and I resented it.

And I still do.

I want to be a sister, an equal. For him to respect and accept me as I am.

 

Any way lots of food for thought on this forum. Thank you for all your replies.

The thing is you were both forced into positions that you never should’ve been . He wanted you to be a sister not a mother and you wanted to be a sister not a mother . All we can do is lead by example . Exemplify what you want from him .

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It sounds like your problem is less about the kid and more that your brother got in touch with you and then asks nothing about you and just spams you with kid pics. I wouldn't like that either - doesn't sound like a productive friendship. I would try to reach out and talk to him about non-kid stuff. If he doesn't reciprocate, either block him or just mute him on the family chat and move on with your life. If he's still self-centered, you don't really need that in your life.

 

As for the nephew, it's up to you how much you want a relationship. If you want a bond with the kid, then obviously you need to keep one up with the dad. So if you decide to not have your brother in your life, the nephew goes too. This may be worth it for you though. Not everyone is keen on being an uncle/aunt (I know I'm not, and I am thankful neither of my siblings have kids) and that's okay too.

 

As for the talk about childless/childfree distinction, I actually do think it's worth making the distinction simply because the two groups are so different. Like you, I don't want kids, got sterilized years ago now. I actually work with a number of women who are childless and are either TTC or looking for a partner to have kids with. Our lives couldn't be more different. They have this really big, important focus and structure their lives and time around that. I just don't. Our priorities, finances, goals, dreams, and mindsets couldn't be more different. It's not about being happy without kids, it's more about goals and how childless people want that in the future. It shapes a lot. Back when I was dating, I would not want to be lumped into that group because those people were not compatible with me and I wasn't with them.

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Good grief. This is a great example of first world problems. I'm sure as the child gets older, the obsession with sending pictures will stop. If not, just block them. It doesn't seem like a huge issue to me.

 

I agree. And no not all new parents act on their focus on their first baby by spamming people with photos. We were "obsessed" and understood that no one else was except immediate family and tons of photos of what the baby looked like made no sense to send. It's easy to put on ignore and since there's no message, no need to respond. How often is your partner going to hear "uncle" anyway? How often do you see them?

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j.man - I make the distinction between childless and childfree because some people don't realize you can be happy and content in life without having children.

 

Some people actually believe women who don't have children are miserable and I think it's important to point out that this is not the case.

I am secure in my decision. That's why I say childfree. You see the distinction does have to be made as people who can't understand it will always doubt it.

 

I'm not understanding what you mean when you say:

'The overcompensating tone is pretty unbecoming, though. There's probably a reason beyond your history that your brother doesn't get much social value from your interactions beyond sharing these photos'.

 

Some people believe a lot of things. So? Why do you need to "point it out" that you are happy without having a child - that's obvious about you and about many other people I am sure including empty nesters who are happy to be empty nesters. I agree with Jman that you protest too much. I've never ever felt that a woman who doesn't have a child is miserable unless she tells me so. I wasn't miserable and I knew from early on I wanted to be a parent. Both were true. Some people will always misunderstand what you mean and will make assumptions. Not just about parenting about everything. Someone assumed yesterday in one of my parenting groups that I must be rich. Others have assumed I'm sure that we rent because we cannot afford a house. And yet others assumed I wanted to have a second child after my first. So? That's just life.

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That's because near universally, we apply a -free suffix to what's conventionally considered negative or a burden. It's to be free of something. Not that parents consider their children burdens, but it's kinda the inside joke. Think tax-free, toll-free, debt-free, hassle-free. If "childless" is being consciously avoided for whatever connotation, then the colloquial aspect of "child-free" should be given its own consideration. I know more than a few women who don't want to have kids. Not one of them has ever called themselves "childfree." If I had to guess, it's because they legit don't want kids nor have much interest in talking about it, so they prefer to say "I don't want kids" rather than double down on risking a conversation using an odd and potentially antagonistic term. I might have honestly just overlooked it as saving letters had the OP not gone out of her way to note "not childless." And even then on its own, it wouldn't mean much. Just happened to kick off what appears to be a very egocentric attitude on her part, so I noted it within the pattern.

 

And actually, give "childfree" a Google and just take a quick gander at all those social groups. Whoo-boy. I personally don't take any offense to OP choosing the word. But I again do think there's a good chance her motivation to identify very specifically with it may be tied to a socially unattractive attitude or personality, and if she'd like to be more personally familiar with folks, including her brother, it's something to reflect honestly on.

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^^Right. To ME, 'child-free' could also mean your kids are grown and on their own. In fact, that's what I would automatically think when someone said he or she was 'child free.'

 

Yes, in my moms groups parents who can take a vacation sans kids ask for things to do/places to see and note they will be "child-free"

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I'm sorry about your brother assaulting you long ago. Even though he apologized, there are some cases where an apology is simply never enough. That type of painful memory will stay with you for life. I commend you for allowing him back in your life though. You are definitely a bigger person than I would ever be, amco43.

 

I agree with others regarding ignore / mute for photos. Or, you can nicely ask them not to send photos to you anymore. And, if your partner prefers not to be referred as uncle, then speak up. If they do not respect both of your wishes, then the risk is estrangement. Either people are mature enough to respect your wishes you all of you will part ways.

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The best thing to do is mute unwanted communication. Do not focus on your values/lifestyle vs your brother's and all sorts of politics, etc. The issue is being bombarded with too much communication. Address that. If there are understandable lingering resentments regarding your brother then create better boundaries and steer clear of unnecessary comparisons, etc.

 

This is not a who's right who's wrong sibling rivalry, is it? Or is it the over-enthused expecting gf? Short term therapy may help sort out what family drama happened in the past. It may also help to sort out whatever is or is not happening in your own life and if you feel jealous of your brother's happiness.

the real issue is I feel my brother doesn't take any interest in my life.
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If they send too many pictures, you can mute the whatsapp conversation. They are probably (over)excited and want to share their excitement with you. If you don’t reply to every picture, the might start sending fewer pictures/videos.

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Has the communication with your brother been all about the pregnancy/baby since he got back in touch, or is the one-sidedness most noticeable since the baby was born?

 

I think if you’re truly committed to building a relationship with your brother, then it’s going to take some time and effort and I would try both to show interest in his son and to also bring up other topics of conversation. I do understand your frustration; my sisters-in-law will frequently contact me (say hello on Facebook or another chat app), but will then let me do the heavy lifting of conversation. I ask them questions about how they are, they answer, and they almost never ask me about my life. That being said, I chat with them to keep up a relationship and have also accepted that they’ll never be my BFFs. I would assume your brother and his partner are in a bit of a “baby fog” after having their son, and may just be overexcited and assume you’re enjoying all the baby pics. Reply less frequently, and perhaps ask for a good time to call for a real conversation. As you and your brother re-acquaint yourselves, you could bring it up, and say you love it when he asks you how you are or contacts you to see how you are doing.

 

As to the “uncle” issue, I think giving your partner that honorific is a way of trying to include him and to validate his “status” - my friends may tell their children I am aunt Sophie even though I am not related, and it’s always a compliment as to how they view me and my importance in their life. Once your nephew begins to talk, your partner can have him call him whatever he prefers, or you can just refer to your partner by his name and that’s what your nephew will call him. So I wouldn’t make a fuss about that as, while I respect your partner’s point of view, I think bringing it up with the explanation you put on here makes your partner sound uninterested in developing a relationship with your nephew (whether that’s true or not).

 

If you don’t think your brother wants a real relationship, then it’s all much easier. Just reply generic replies every once in a while and I’m sure they will understand that you don’t wish for such frequent baby-related contact. I think - from personal experience - that it’s hard for a child to be close to an aunt if his parents are not close to the aunt in the first place, but close may not be on the table given how infrequently you see them anyway.

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I was a new mother once and my husband and I took a ton of photos and videos of our kids as they grew up. I'm sure we were annoying too because I'd send a lot of photos through the snail mail (postal mail) to many friends and family. Close friends were referred to aunt and uncles, too.

 

When you step back and look at relationships, ask yourself if you want to make issues out of every nit picky thing. Ask yourself if it's worth disrupting peace. Foresee the outcome from being too fussy, too demanding, too commanding and noisy. In relationships, friendships, in-law / relatives / family relationships, you have to keep the peace if you want it. You can't blow things out of proportion all the time otherwise you'll risk escalated arguments, feelings of ill will, people hold onto grudges, become bitter, resentful and you'll make the relationship feel fragile and rocky which is so unnecessary.

 

Be pleasant. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Ask yourself that question. Dynamics are complicated and a delicate dance. Many times you have to walk on eggshells in order to make it work and remain harmonious with everyone. You can enforce and exercise your own set of healthy boundaries without getting ugly about it.

 

The mute / ignore method is good. The uncle reference is a form of endearment and don't take it to heart and get all uppity about this. Peace is best. Keep your spirit at a happy medium and take it easy. No Getting upset and angry over this is petty. No sense getting your feathers all ruffled over this.

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^ exactly!

 

This is why the mute button exists. No need to make an issue. Just mute and move on and only look at the pics when you feel like it, if you ever feel like it. I can tell you personally that I have muted a number of people once they have kids. Why make an issue and cause problems when there is an easy, discreet solution? (mute) They won't ever know and it solves your problem!

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I have responded to every single photo and video they have sent.

 

Skip that, and you won't feel so put out.

 

I'd just roll with it and stop responding to the pics unless you come across one that legitimately thrills you. You can also block their feed without blocking them.

 

Plenty of people, including neighbors and other non-family members are referred to as Aunts and Uncles as goodwill inclusion rather than a formal Mr. or Ms.

 

Does any of this really need to be a big deal?

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For sure, a baby does not erase nor instantly heal up all the pain you and your brother have been through nor the rocky relationship.

But if consider how important your nephew is to him, and that he wanted you to be part of that, I would say your brother does care about you. He has limited ways of expressing it, so do you, but this could be a beginning.

Try to look at the positives here. I can tell you love your brother.

I really hope the two of you can both find peace.

 

And yes,vid stop replying to every photo. Try to assess the role you had of being a mom to not only your bro but your mom. It doesn't have to be like that anymore. It will take time and effort, but there is hope in building a new dynamic that is more balanced.

 

.

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