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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK - not sure how to handle this situation. My older brother and I have never had a great relationship as adults - it's always been strained and difficult. As an adult, he found religion and became extremely judgmental. He got married young; I have never been married; he's a Republican; I'm Dem; he has four kids; I have none; I love animals; he does not. But the larger issue is that my brother has never come to terms with some childhood stuff and is sort of stuck at age 19 when it comes to our family of origin (mom, sis, bro and me). He's a great dad and husband - been happily married 26 years, but for some reason he reverts to behavior that we used to do when we were growing up in our dysfunctional house - he condescends, puts me down, criticizes, name calls - crosses all boundaries of respect. I have long since discarded the behavior I learned growing up and it is totally unacceptable.

He moved away at age 18 to go to college out of state and pretty much never came back - got married at 20 or 21. So it's like he's never had a chance to get to know me and my bro and sis as adults (despite all of my numerous attempts and efforts to visit, etc., which he never reciprocated) - he thinks we're still that same dysfunctional family. His family seems to be very healthy (from the outside and what I can tell) - but when he deals with us he can't control his anger or attitude.

I put up with it for years, but about four years ago at age 42 we had another disagreement in which he e-mailed me and my sister, putting us down, name calling, etc. I'd had enough and didn't respond to his accusations, but just told him that no one talks to me that way and that unless he could talk to me with respect and constructively, I didn't want to hear from him. So I didn't hear from him for years. Last year he, out of the blue, adds me to some e-mail group list he has to whom he sends all his brags about his kids. I just e-mailed him and said that I was really surprised he would do that, considering we'd been estranged, that unless he apologized for the things he said, I did not want to have contact with him and to remove me from his list. He sent another nasty e-mail back.

I never had a close relationship with his wife or kids because a) they live out of state and b) I never was close with him. But I tried to be a good aunt - for 20 years I sent them b-day and Xmas gifts. When Facebook started, I e-mailed his now grown kids and said that although I wasn't close with their dad, I loved them and was thinking about them. None of them e-mailed me back, one finally friended me on FB about a year ago and I accepted. She's never e-mailed me or said anything - she doesn't post on any of my statuses, so I can't help but wonder if she just was curious about what my profile looked like or so she could share it with her siblings. She's made no attempt to actually have a relationship.

Now this morning, my bro's wife sent me a friend request for FB. I find this very strange considering she knows that my bro and I haven't spoken in years. I find it especially strange since she didn't even send me an e-mail saying, "Gee Leslie, I know things have been strained with you and your brother, but I'd like to stay in touch" or anything. Just acted like there was no issue. I don't know what to do - accept it or ignore. I don't trust that she won't share my FB posts with my brother who will then use them as ammunition against me. Or that then my brother will try to FB friend me (he already poked me once, which I ignored). I don't have anything particular against her, perhaps she's tried to talk to my bro about the issue and he won't. But I can't believe she's oblivious to his awful behavior.

What does everyone think? Accept her request or ignore?
 

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Well first of all {{{{{{{{{{{{HUGGSSSSS}}}}}}}}} Its unfortunate you have to deal with any of it!
I think that if i were me....befroe I accepted I would email SIL and see if I could get an understanding as to what her actual intentions are. Thats really hard. FB is great but sometimes....I just dont know. Sorry I am not much help! Good luck and keep us posted
 

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I'd ignore unless I truly wanted to get to know her. Its your Facebook, its your world, do you want her in it? You'll have to set boundaries regardless if she does start telling your brother stuff, he starts ranting to you, etc.

Also, did you know you can customize your status messages? Every time you post you can choose who sees it out of your group of friends.

I let my mom see generic ones. My default setting is to lock her out. Its just what works for me and my relationship with her for now. In fact I've unlocked it a few times and every time she manages to remind me why she's locked out.

It only locks them out of the status messages, she can still see my entire page, pics, anything I've allowed her to see. (you can do the same with photo albums if there are some you don't want that person to see)

good ol' technology, you gotta make it work FOR YOU, not against you.

Oh, and I think we are related, in many areas of your post I think we have the same brother. hugs.
 

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I think that sometimes we put strange and foolish pressures on ourselves socially and wind up doing things that are not good for us because of it. I think you would be wise to ignore.

We have a responsibility to do what is best for us and from what you shared it seems you already know in this instance to leave well enough alone. Own that....it is ok to do.
 
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I think too many people read too much in to FB friend requests. The young people have the right idea and most understand it is a public friendship type of thing - like saying "hi" in the hall. Those of us who are older try to read too much more into it. Friend her and remember whether she is on it or not FB is not as private as we like to think it is.
 

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I'm thinking that she's tried to reach out to you a little bit. You can send her a Fbook message (they are private and not on the wall) and, like mom23boyz said, just a sentence to say "oh, I was surprised to hear from you." and maybe something non-threatening like "are you on Fbook a lot?" (I don't know ... just thinking outloud) I wouldn't say much and would be very careful to not start an argument.

It's been a lot of time gone by and maybe they are trying to build a relationship with you again. Facebook can be very casual -- many people just read and post photos of kids & stuff but never really talk.
One more thought -- don't forget that every. single. thing. you write on Fbook will be seen by more people than you think. It's not like your sister in law will 'share' things with your brother -- just by definition he will see everything you post that she sees.

You have to decide if you want them in your life again.

(there are ways to set up your account so only some status updates go to them, but if you're like me ... that's too much trouble)

I found your post interesting 'cause my brother totally dumped me a few years ago and I'm constantly dealing with the emotions of that.
 

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thanks, krbshappy -- your post made it a little more clear to me how to set up who gets what post.

One more thing ... your sister-in-law may have been just happy, or perhaps drinking, or whatever when she clicked 'friend'.
You could friend her, lock her out of your status messages and whatever else you want to lock her out of and even 'hide' her so you don't have to read hers.
She'll just think you never post much, lol
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone - very thoughtful and insightful responses. I think I'm going to just continue to think on this one. I do like my SIL (more than I like my brother), but it would be a weird situation. No rush to make a decision right now. But as always, you guys are very helpful!
 

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after reading your post... i think you already know your answer...

I get the impression that your still mad at your brother and could care less to have anything to do with him...it's okay... I have two brothers...one i get along with fine..the other well I don't make any attempt to stay in contact with him.....long long story in regards to how he acted when our dad was sick etc...and now i just don't have the ambition to deal with his ignorance....so i would just ignore the request....don't push confirm or ignore.....and if something is ever said about it..I would just play dumb...good luck...

OK - not sure how to handle this situation. My older brother and I have never had a great relationship as adults - it's always been strained and difficult. As an adult, he found religion and became extremely judgmental. He got married young; I have never been married; he's a Republican; I'm Dem; he has four kids; I have none; I love animals; he does not. But the larger issue is that my brother has never come to terms with some childhood stuff and is sort of stuck at age 19 when it comes to our family of origin (mom, sis, bro and me). He's a great dad and husband - been happily married 26 years, but for some reason he reverts to behavior that we used to do when we were growing up in our dysfunctional house - he condescends, puts me down, criticizes, name calls - crosses all boundaries of respect. I have long since discarded the behavior I learned growing up and it is totally unacceptable.

He moved away at age 18 to go to college out of state and pretty much never came back - got married at 20 or 21. So it's like he's never had a chance to get to know me and my bro and sis as adults (despite all of my numerous attempts and efforts to visit, etc., which he never reciprocated) - he thinks we're still that same dysfunctional family. His family seems to be very healthy (from the outside and what I can tell) - but when he deals with us he can't control his anger or attitude.

I put up with it for years, but about four years ago at age 42 we had another disagreement in which he e-mailed me and my sister, putting us down, name calling, etc. I'd had enough and didn't respond to his accusations, but just told him that no one talks to me that way and that unless he could talk to me with respect and constructively, I didn't want to hear from him. So I didn't hear from him for years. Last year he, out of the blue, adds me to some e-mail group list he has to whom he sends all his brags about his kids. I just e-mailed him and said that I was really surprised he would do that, considering we'd been estranged, that unless he apologized for the things he said, I did not want to have contact with him and to remove me from his list. He sent another nasty e-mail back.

I never had a close relationship with his wife or kids because a) they live out of state and b) I never was close with him. But I tried to be a good aunt - for 20 years I sent them b-day and Xmas gifts. When Facebook started, I e-mailed his now grown kids and said that although I wasn't close with their dad, I loved them and was thinking about them. None of them e-mailed me back, one finally friended me on FB about a year ago and I accepted. She's never e-mailed me or said anything - she doesn't post on any of my statuses, so I can't help but wonder if she just was curious about what my profile looked like or so she could share it with her siblings. She's made no attempt to actually have a relationship.

Now this morning, my bro's wife sent me a friend request for FB. I find this very strange considering she knows that my bro and I haven't spoken in years. I find it especially strange since she didn't even send me an e-mail saying, "Gee Leslie, I know things have been strained with you and your brother, but I'd like to stay in touch" or anything. Just acted like there was no issue. I don't know what to do - accept it or ignore. I don't trust that she won't share my FB posts with my brother who will then use them as ammunition against me. Or that then my brother will try to FB friend me (he already poked me once, which I ignored). I don't have anything particular against her, perhaps she's tried to talk to my bro about the issue and he won't. But I can't believe she's oblivious to his awful behavior.

What does everyone think? Accept her request or ignore?
 

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I have 5 sibling that I don't speak too and have never been close too (not by choice, just by my birth) and non of them have been excepted on my facebook,, I do have a lot of their kids tho'... I also have a sisters ex-husband on my...

Your bro sounds a lot like my BIL and I wont have anything to do with him or his wife.... His last move was sending all his siblings and parents a short typed letter pretty much telling them everything was their fault and his disgust in them... We have nothing to do with his sister, but my hubby as done nothing to his brother, but just try to be a brother.... He had his bro and SIL on his facebook, till we got the "letter", them boom delete...

I've never had much room for drama, but the older I get, the room for it seems to be less and less....

So on your question, I say NO!!!
 
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I agree with a previous poster, I think a lot of us who are older read too much into facebook. I would accept her friendship request because she might have perfectly good intentions and is trying to reach out to you. However, if you're one to post all about your life on fb as some do, I guess I would then hesitate. I try not to post such personal things on my account. I have a sister that posts so much personal stuff on her account it's embarrassing and my dh and I even blocked her status updates because we were tired of cringing every time we read it.
 

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Ignore it. If they really want to make amends they will do it in person. Your SIL may want a relationship with you but I'm wondering why she waited so long if that's the reason for the FB request. She could have had a relationship with you wether you and your brother got along or not. Like you, I think this is just a way for someone to be nosy. If it's because she is trying to get you and your brother back in good graces, she should know an apology doesn't belong on FB, an email, or in a letter. It belongs verbally face to face. Case closed. DH and I are in a similar situation with his parents but I will not hijack your post.:hug2: Hope things turn out for the good and let us know what happens.

Cat
 

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I personally could care less about facebook....if someone wants to talk to me pick up the phone....I have had problems with my husbands family inviting the family to baby showers or bridal showers but not sending out invitations. Problem with that is one of my sons and is wife don't even have a computer the other one doesn't go on face book....so does that tell me that we are not invitated? Tried to tell them that and I get "well you know that you are always invitated to everything here and tried to them that if I don't know about it how can I come...so face book is a really sore spot for me...sorry...had to vent....
 
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