So… I’m really just looking for opinions. I’m not really sure which side of right and wrong I fall on, that’s probably not the right way to phrase it anyway.

 

I’ve been thinking about dating. I’m 25, so yeah I’m pretty late to the whole thing. I have a fairly good head on my shoulders I’d like to think, despite everything. I’m not remarkable in anyway, if anything I’m remarkably average across the board. Well, mentally maybe not so much. I have a lot of anxieties and insecurities. It’s not the best. I don’t do much besides play video games and bike around. I’m pretty boring.

 

I’m worried about my brother. He’s attractive, it’s one of his main personality traits, what I mean is that it’s something he’s very proud of, he’s not shy about it either. That wouldn’t be a problem but… well me and my brother have an awkward sort of relationship. I’ll say a few things just to put a picture in your head of what he’s like I guess. He’s not a bad person. When we were younger he used to bully me a lot. Like everyday. He’d beat me up for things I didn’t quite understand why, or things I did understand like beating him at a video game or something like that. He always stole my clothes and my money and basically everything, sometimes he’d make me hand it to him myself, or take of the shirt I was wearing. Beat me up if I said anything, or just because he thought I had said something since my clothes were always disappearing and my mom was trying to figure out why. He’d call me ugly and say all sorts of things why nobody likes me. Fat, even though I wasn’t, stupid, pussy. All that sort of stuff I’m sure you can imagine but I won’t go into major detail. He’d hit me if I talked back, which my dad did too so it’s not like he wasn’t going through things as well. He’d tell all the people in my class all the embarrassing stuff about me, making a few things up too. I didn’t make many friends because of it. To get the full picture, hard as it is to admit, when I was very young he used to make me do oral on him, things like that. I think he thinks that I don’t remember. I’ve never had the courage to mention it to him. I feel responsible too somehow. I probably shouldn’t but I can’t deny that the guilt is there.

 

During our teens he’d still hit me and say stuff about me, it slowly tapered off though. We had moments where we’d get along somewhat. We became more civil with each other, even if he still had an occasional insult. When we got into our 20’s we pretty much just left each other alone. He was doing his thing and i was trying, am still trying to work out my issues. Then he came out as gay a few years ago, and now he wants to be really close to me. It’s like he’s competing to be my best friend sometimes, but it’s too weird for me so I haven’t really been responding in the same way. I can tell it makes him mad, he gets really condescending when I don’t react to certain things. Or if I have a different opinion, which usually is why I don’t react.

 

This is still about dating, I’m getting there. lol. You can probably see where this is going anyway.

 

I want to maintain a relationship with my brother, but I don’t think it’s possible for us to be as close as he seems to want us to be. It’s just hard too look at him sometimes and I don’t know how to get over it. I’ve tried but it might just be too much for me. My mom desperately wants us to have a good relationship, but by good I think she means the same thing that he does. I think we have a good relationship for what we went through, but I feel guilty also that maybe we COULD be closer. I’ve never told her everything that happened, I think it might devastate her if I did, I don’t want that. I don’t want her to look at my brother that way. He’s been through things too, he’s not actually a bad person. He has a good heart. He’s very sensitive.

 

So my brother has told me if I ever brought a girl home he wouldn’t try and sleep with her. I was trying to open up to him about having no experience in dating since I knew he had, he’s sort of known for being ‘that guy’. He was being candid I think, this was during the time that he was and is trying to be closer to me. Roughly a year after he came out as gay though, which wasn’t very long ago at all, he slept with his best friends wife, which ended up in a split and a custody battle of a 2 year old. As far as I’ve been told, it was an experiment to find out whether he was gay or not, that was the conversation apparently between the two. Whether it was planned on his part I don’t know. They don’t hang out anymore, any of them. Now, the way he talked about this best friend is the same way he talks about me, which is alarming to me. He says he’s gay, but since he’s been gay he’s slept with two women that I know of. He’s never said anything about having been on a date with a guy yet and I’ve never seen him with anyone but girls. This and the past makes me doubt his word, that if given the opportunity he really just might not be able to help himself.

 

To sum up I guess, I want to start dating, but I’m worried about my brothers intentions since I’d also like to maintain the relationship with him. But if he’s going to get in the way of what I want out of life is it even realistic for us to have that sort of relationship?

 

I’ll have to introduce whoever to my mom eventually, and she’ll insist that my brother be involved as well, then it’s just a question of whether or not his games begin. I’m fine when I’m around anybody else, but with him I fall apart. It could be the thing that finally breaks everything for me, that scares the shit out of me.

 

I want to just be able to trust that whoever I’m with wouldn’t do that sort of thing to me. Still, in the back of my mind I know that I’ve seen it before. I’ve met the people it happened to, people I’ve also thought wouldn’t do that. It just a trust thing really. I have to learn how to trust somehow.

 

I think that’s everything. Just wondering at what other peoples opinions might be. There could an insight I’m overlooking.

 

 

3 Comments
  1. SullenGirl76 8 months ago

    Wow… there’s a lot to unpack here. First, I applaud your bravery in sharing all of that. It can’t be easy to carry that with you on a daily basis.

    Secondly, I’m glad you waited to start dating until you were ready to. Contrary to whatever myths are born or perpetuated by books/movies/TV, there is very little benefit in dating before you are really ready to do so. All you will do is put yourself into situations in which you are not comfortable, and with people you do not know very well or trust. There is also no maximum age at which you should start dating. The fact that you decided to wait until you felt you were ready is what makes you remarkable. You’re also forgetting one of your skills: YOU WRITE! Some guys can barely communicate via emojis. You write actual words – entire sentences and paragraphs! That makes you remarkable as well.

    You mentioned that your brother was being abused but that he was “going through things too.” That stands out for me like a neon help sign. It’s one of the things that, until recently, I used to always say when discussing my childhood and my parents’ failings. Both were abused as kids. Both had mitigating circumstances that tainted their ability to make good choices. But that doesn’t mean what they did (or, in my mom’s case, neglected to do) wasn’t bad and didn’t hurt me. I have learned that this kind of qualification is very common among abuse victims, and it is a way of helping the mind cope with what was happening. As we get older, we just keep reciting the script because that’s how we’ve been coping and no one else has shown us another way.

    I wanted to share something my therapist told me, which flipped that script for me: no one asks to be abused, but you have to *choose* to be an abuser. In other words, what happened to you and your brother was horrible. Tragic. But you haven’t gone around abusing others, have you? And you’re working on getting help to process what you’ve been through, right? You’re making positive choices. That makes you remarkable.

    You aren’t expected to trust any girl completely on the first date. That is why you are dating – to get to know them. To see if they are a good match for you. Some may make it to a second or even fifth date before you realize you are too different. Some will click with you right away. Some will like you while you don’t like them, and vice-versa. In any scenario, as a woman, I can assure you that a *quality* girlfriend will not sleep with her boyfriend’s brother (or parent, best friend, etc.). Whether he’s gay or straight. Whether he’s Tom Cruise or Tom Arnold. Whether you’re Peter Gallagher or Peter Griffin. No girlfriend worth having is going to cheat on her boyfriend. Period. And you will likely know if you can trust her long before she meets any of your family. You save that part for when you’re picturing the two of you growing old on a porch swing together… not while you’re still in the dating phase. (And if your family cannot deal with that, TOUGH. It’s your life.)

    As for your brother’s other behaviors, just warn the girl ahead of time about how embarrassing your brother can be for you. If she really cares about you, she will be very understanding of how uncomfortable he makes you, and she may even be angry with him for treating you badly. Women can be just as protective of the men we date as men can be of us women.

    Finally, as for your mom and the truth about your brother… she probably already knows there was some level of abuse going on. Parents do get blindspots about their kids, but it’s hard to ignore maternal instincts when your child shows signs of being bullied. I cannot tell you what to do in that situation. There are benefits to you, psychologically, if you tell her. There will be ramifications for you, as well, if you tell her. Your brother will likely implode – or explode on you. Your mother may not handle it well. But, there is also every possibility that, if choose to tell her, it may not be that much of a surprise, and she may even apologize for not stopping it.

    Whatever you decide to do, you need to do what is in YOUR best interest. You are not responsible for protecting anyone else’s feelings. You don’t have to force yourself to be closer to your brother than you are comfortable being, and you are not obligated to tell your mother why. You are allowed to mistrust your brother’s intentions. And you are allowed to take actions to protect yourself – and whatever lucky gal you forge a relationship with – from the dysfunctional aspects of your family. (And, by the way, a lot more people have dysfunctional families than you realize.)

    Good luck to you on your journey. Feel free to drop a line if you need a sympathetic ear or some insight on something.

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  2. Author
    alaister 8 months ago

    Thanks so much. I needed to hear a lot of that.

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  3. SullenGirl76 8 months ago

    I’m glad it was helpful and welcome, Alaister. 🙂

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