I recently became engaged in the same month that my older brother’s wife left him. I’m obviously elated that I am taking a great step forward in my relationship, but at the same time devastated for my brother. I’ve tried not to talk much about the engagement in front of him and just focus on how he is, but he keeps telling me not to go ahead with it and has actually said that he doesn’t want to be there at my wedding.I know he’s upset and feels broken by his own experience of marriage, but I am hurt that he is opposing my future plans, when I was so happy for him when he got married. Not to mention the fact that I want him at my wedding – he’s my brother. Will it all blow over or should I try to confront his decision now? Olivia
Your brother is feeling very wounded and it’s impossible to tell whether he will feel healed enough by the time your wedding comes around, but you cannot allow that to infect you – if it doesn’t blow over, it’s his problem not yours.
If there is any possibility of injecting a bit of lightness and humour, then you might suggest that he could come and support you on your venture into the minefield. He can wear a hard hat and a flak jacket… or if he doesn’t come he can make a donation to charity or spend the day working as a volunteer – either of which could cheer him up.
Although he might be convinced that you are deluded, remind him that you are also perfectly entitled to make your own mistakes, and in the absolute worst-case scenario further down the line, he will be able to say to you: ‘I told you so’.
On the other hand, he might just meet someone fabulous at your wedding.
Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line