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Ask Amy: Younger brother wants sibling to try harder to stay in touch



Dear Amy: My older brother and I are the last ones left of our immediate family. I’m gay and have had a tough time being close to him.

My brother and his wife are conservative and never ask me about my personal life. I feel like I’m the one doing the heavy lifting to stay in touch, now that our mother is gone.

Last year his youngest son, my nephew “Rick,” had a wedding reception on the East Coast. (Both Rick and I live on the West Coast.)

I attended the wedding and had a fairly good time.

They had a second reception in a Southern state the following fall.

I traveled there for the weekend to show support.

We were supposed to have dinner the night I arrived but then they bailed at the last minute. (My sister-in-law never made room for my mother or me when my mother was alive, but I thought it was because she didn’t like our mom.)

Every attempt I made to get together with them was canceled to accommodate her family, and I was told that they didn’t have time.

I’m so mad at my brother. I haven’t talked to him since then.

I’m the one that usually calls him on holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries.

I don’t want to hold a grudge, but I don’t know how to talk to him about this.

I know he’s going to be hurt when (or if) I bring it up.

How do you think I should deal with this?

– Hurt in San Francisco

Dear Hurt: Your brother’s lack of connection over the course of your adulthood upsets and hurts you. And yet you are worried that if you unpeel even the outermost layer of this family onion, he will be hurt.

No. I suggest that the only feelings you should worry about right now are your own.

Given that your relationship seems to have deteriorated to almost nothing, now is the time to state your own truth, plainly and without reservation.

“We are the only two left in our family. I would like to be closer. I’ve tried many different ways to do this, but you haven’t been receptive. I’m wondering if you can try harder, in order for me to stop trying so hard. I’d be so sad to lose this connection with you.”

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.





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