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|Tue, 08-19-2014 - 6:34pm|
I'm 52 years old, and have been in a committed relationship with a wonderful man for over eight years. We have many things in common and truly enjoy each other's company. I genuinely love this man and know he loves me, too. We both have demanding jobs and busy lives, but we plan to have a future together. He has two sons and I am part of their lives - they've both told me that I'm the closest person to a mom they've ever had. (He has raised them alone since they were babies.)
What is troubling me is that, of all his family other than his sons, he is closest to his brother. It’s not a close family – we usually get together at the holidays and have a family gathering during the summer, but he rarely talks with anyone but his brother at other times. Although I'm invited to these rare family get-togethers, when his brother invites him to, for example, go out fishing on his boat, I am excluded. His brother has just invited my guy and his sons out on the boat this coming weekend. I am not invited. This has happened several times in the past, and the brother's live-in girlfriend is included, but I am not. I have tried to explain why I feel hurt and excluded, but my guy makes excuses (from my perspective), such as, "but you don't like to fish." No, but I love being on the boat and the ocean, and sharing in the fun. We did go out as two couples one time and everyone seemed to have a great time. I'm not sure if the exclusion is on his brother's part, his, or both. He knows it's a hurtful subject for me and I'm not sure he's telling me the whole story. When I’ve asked in the past, he’s told me that he’s not sure – maybe his brother doesn’t like me, maybe he just wants to spend time alone with his brother. I have no reason to believe his brother doesn’t like me, as he is always kind and I get along well with the brother’s girlfriend, but it has made me feel very unsure of myself.
I know this sounds cliché, but in so many ways what we have is great. We can talk for hours, cook dinner together, and have fun just doing mundane stuff. I just can't help but wonder why he doesn't even think it's odd to exclude me in these outings. Whenever I have a family function, he is included. My family understands that we are a couple and always includes him. It's not just a male-bonding thing, because the brother's girlfriend is included. Please help me - tell me if you, too, think there's something odd about this or if you think I'm overreacting. I want to be strong and just shrug it off, but I really am feeling hurt and it’s hard to pretend it doesn’t matter.