Dear Savvy Auntie,

I'm Auntie of a nephew who now has three half-siblings, so I'm an aunt to four. While my nephew now has a fantastic stepfather, his father (my brother) basically is not in his life and my heart is broken because my brother won't step up, be involved or keep promises he's made. Do you have any advice for this Auntie?

Brokenhearted Sister

Dear Brokenhearted Sister,

I can only express my sympathy for your pain and tell you you are in very good company. There should be a "sorority" of Aunties, grandmothers, and mothers-in-law - all of whom suffer the frustration and upset of family relationships that go on without their input and differ from their ideas of family.

The advice I offer is the old saying: "Keep your mouth closed and your wallet open." This is not very satisfying! It helps to remind yourself that it is their lives. Your brother may have his reasons for not having more of a relationship with his son, and it may be temporary. I am glad to learn that there is a positive connection between your nephew and his stepfather. This is beneficial to your nephew - and a sad loss for your brother.

I suggest you take a look at your personal history and check if your current situation echoes your past which will clarify some of your feelings and ease your sadness.

Sadly, there is nothing you can do to change the situation except keep being a loving Auntie.

Good luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Homepage photo: GeorgeRudy
July 20, 2017

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