Sibling Relationship

My brother and I have never been very close.  As kids we fought almost daily, there was no love lost between us.  Now, as adults, we get alone well enough, but I would definitely not classify us as friends.  We are siblings so we see each other at significant yearly holidays and phone each other a few times a year usually because we are arranging some sort of joint gift for another family member or saying happy birthday to each other.  In fact, as we have contemplated the very real possibility of only having 1 child, I will admit I often use my relationship with my brother as an example of why having a sibling isn’t a guaranteed life long friend.

I have often said that if we weren’t siblings we would probably never cross paths and we  wouldn’t choose to be friends.  It’s not that he’s not a nice person, he definitely is.  It’s just that we are so incredibly different from each other that we have so little in common that we wouldn’t probably ever cross paths or have any reason to be friends.  Really, the fact that we are siblings is what ties us together.  And, that’s not a bad thing, at least not in my opinion.  I just look at is as being what it is.  (Which is interesting because other family member relationships like this have caused me way more stress and anxiety over the years, for some reason it just never has with my brother, which I think has to do with the fact that I’ve never expected anything more from our relationship, where as I have definitely expected more from other relationships in my life – anyways, I digress).


I guess I share the past history of our relationship because the most interesting thing just happened.

My brother, for the first time ever, asked me for serious advice!

Not advice like which color do you like, but more like I’m at a crossroads in my life and you can probably offer some constructive suggestions.  (I will not go into specifics of the conversation because it isn’t my storey to share nor is it the point).  The point is that I was so taken by the conversation, that Mr. MPB probably thinks I’m a broken record as I haven’t stopped talking about it.

Honestly, over the years my brother has been great at giving me unsolicited advice on every topic under the sun and at the same time he’s been great at ignoring my perspective to the point of not even including me in conversations while I’m in the room.  I’ve always assumed our relationship has been very stereotypical of an older/younger sibling relationship – big brother knows all, little sister knows nothing.  Which is probably somewhat appropriate when the siblings are 8 and 3 years old respectively, but at some point we both grew up and should have become more equal.

Needless to say our recent conversation completely surprised me.  And, it has left a lasting impact on me because it’s the first time in my life that I felt like I was taken seriously by him.  And for me, that was a notable experience simply because it has never happened before.

I’m curious, maybe this is the sign of a changing relationship?  I know one conversation isn’t about to change everything, but I do know that I’ll be more likely to engage in a conversation if I’m acknowledged to be in the room and if my opinion if valued.  I cannot help but wonder if maybe things are finally changing?  Or at least, maybe the door is opening to change, even if just a little bit?

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9 Comments on “Sibling Relationship

  1. It sounds like he may be opening the door to a change. That is really awesome that he reached out like that. Maybe he has just finally realized all the advice from the past was spot on as well and now see’s you as someone to confide in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally understand this dynamic. My older brother is 5 years older and this is a perfect description of our relationship. I will say though, he has never asked for advice. I don’t know how I’d react if he did. Sorry that I don’t have any advice but I empathize with your situation. I’d be more pessimistic about it and think it was a one off.

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  3. I always have strong feelings on the sibling category. Those who swear their daughter needs a sister to grow up with . I hated my sister growing up. We did not have this glorious childhood together. In fact, it took her getting a divorce, changing a lot and then moving in with me for us to get along. Sometimes it just takes the right time in your life but I’m glad we are finally there. Take this moment with your brother and see it as an opportunity. If nothing comes from it, that is okay too. 🙂

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  4. I don’t about this one. Our foster boy is an only child. When I’m at the agency dropping him off so he can see his mother my heart shatters. Most of the children are huddled with their siblings. Of course they’re often being awful to each other but there is an obvious bond and also a sharing of the burden. Little B just sits there, alone. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when life is at the extremes I think it helps to have a sibling to go through life with….if only to validate and process experiences. Of course- I believe strongly in chosen family and know there are other ways to feel grounded. I just thing siblings are a head start. I’m glad your bro came to you. Maybe as you get older that will increase and you can have an awesome Act II.

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  5. I hope this is a sign of things to come. It’s great that he came to you like that! Do you think you will follow up with him on the situation, and that he’d be receptive to that? Wherever things go from here, I’m glad you had this positive interaction with him 🙂

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  6. That’s so great. What a big deal that he came to you for advice. If you want it to be a continued change you could probably keep pushing it along by calling him for something soon too. Just a gesture back ( obviously something you feel safe asking him about). How lovely. I think siblings can be a gift and a burden- all depends on the family and people.

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  7. I know exactly the kind of relationship you are talking about as I had a similar one with my very different brother (he was younger but called me his little sister for some reason and never valued my opinion much, nor my company). Part of me craved more, though, so I hope this is a door open for your relationship with him to become something more? But I am probably projecting as I won’t have the chance to see what would have happened with my own brother after he started opening up – he left us shortly after…

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  8. I have 9 siblings, 4 bio, 5 step. Each relationship is different and changes all the time! Sounds like your brother has probably played the roll of bossy big bro who knows best but when things get serious, he knows he can rely on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with the thought that sibling relationships change all the time. My relationships​ with both of my sisters​ eb and flow constantly. I’m the Middle of three girls and I feel very lucky to be close in age with both sisters, it allows me to choose which is the best to talk to for any situation, hence ebbing and flowing. I think this could be a sign of a growing relationship with your brother!

      Liked by 1 person

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