My (28M) brother, Mark (26M), used to date my fiancée, Jenn (26F) a year ago. For context, they dated back in August 2022. They were only together for a month before he broke things off with her because he was bored of being in a relationship and never really wanted to settle down anyway.
At the time they were dating, I was in a different state, so I had no idea he even had a girlfriend and I had no idea who Jenn was until I met her. Jenn and I met at a bar when I moved back in October and hit it off really well.
She was easily the most beautiful and intelligent woman I ever met and we met up a few times more before we made it official. Fast forward to December and I finally bring her up to my family and propose them meeting her at Christmas.
They knew I was in a relationship but I’m not the most open about my personal life so I kept details about her to a minimum until I knew how serious we really were. My parents asked to see pictures and they started passing my phone around the dinner table.
Mark saw it and blew up calling me a horrible brother for dating his ex girlfriend and he demanded I break it off with her. I refused. When I asked Jenn about it, she confirmed they dated and gave me the details about their breakup. It took a few weeks but eventually Mark stopped bringing up me dating his ex and I thought he was over it.
On Jenn’s birthday this year, I took her out to a fancy dinner with both of our families and her closest friends and I asked her to marry me. Mark flipped once again and blew up about me proposing to her, which I and my sisters immediately shut down.
The incident happened this past weekend. Mark had been pretty quiet about the whole thing for the last two months. I didn’t see him much and figured he went Low contact with me which I had no problem with, then he invited me and Jenn for family dinner at his apartment with my parents and sisters.
I thought it was weird but my parents and sisters were also going so we agreed to go. The dinner was nice, nothing too fancy, and we moved to the living room to talk. About 30 minutes into normal conversation Mark stood up and told us he had an announcement.
He made a long speech about being happy to have his family around for his big moment then got on one knee and pulled out this cheap ring while asking Jenn to marry him. Jenn was confused and obviously uncomfortable and demanded that he put it away and stand up.
My dad tried to make a grab for Mark but I got to him first. I won’t repeat most of it, mostly because I was too angry to even listen most of it, but he said something along the lines of wanting to show me that Jenn wasn’t really into me and just wanted to get back at him.
Before it could get worse, my parents rushed me out and promised to talk to him. It’s been a few days since it happened and I’m still so angry. I don’t know what to do at this point. I’m scared Jenn might have second thoughts marrying me because of this. Any advice?
EDIT: (Same Post, later that day)
First, thanks for reading and responding. I’ve been reading the comments between last night and this morning and valid points were made. There isn’t an update since the only people I’ve spoken to since that dinner is jenn and my little sister. I want to clarify a few things that I saw in the comments.
Jenn and I are newly engaged. It was one of those feelings where we both knew we were in it for the long run. As fast as it is, I’m sure about her. When we met, I was the one who approached her, not the other way around.
Whether she knew or had suspicions of us being related I don’t know. I asked after finding out they dated and she says she had no idea. I didn’t have a reason to doubt that, but I can admit this (seemingly) overreaction on Marks part does raise red flags.
I had no idea she and Mark dated when I met her. Mark and I aren’t close at all. We used to be but, as we grew up, we drifted and talked less and less. Before I moved back, we didn’t really speak much aside from special days like his or my birthday.
Jenn knew of my family but not much until I decided I was ready to introduce them to her. When she and Mark met (again) I didn’t get a sense of any residual feelings on either part. She didn’t treat him like a stranger but she also wasn’t overly affectionate with him either.
I was told this was a relationship that lasted a month. I didn’t think I needed permission from Mark to ask her to marry me, but maybe that was wrong of me. I’m not sure.
That being said, I plan to talk to Mark this weekend to lay everything out on the table and figure out what’s up. I never asked for his side of their relationship, which is my fault for not doing my due diligence. If anything major or enlightening happens, I’ll update. But for now that’s all I have.
I think it’s clear that your brother doesn’t even like nor want Jenn. He doesn’t even see her as human. He sees her as an object, a toy that he didn’t want, but seeing someone else with it makes him go “NO. Mine.” like a fcking child.
So he’s acting out and trying to drive a wedge between y’all in order to get his way. If he liked her, he would care about how she feels. If he liked her, he’d want her to be happy. He doesn’t like her. So forget the tantrum he’s trying to pull and block him. No need to entertain that sht.
Wow, he’s that ex. It sounds like your brother needs more time away from Jenn before he can be a normal acquaintance/FBIL. You and Jenn should go LC for at least 6mo to 1y to ensure he moves on properly.
I think he is moved on... they dated a month, and he broke up with her. He doesn't see her as a person, but he puts down the toy he doesn't want, and now someone else is touching it, so he is having a tantrum.
Block your Brother out of your life for good, that's the only way you and your fiance will be able to live peacefully. Don't listen to "he's family" BS if anyone tries to give it to you.
Your brother sounds like a petulant child, if your girlfriend ends up going back to that over you (which going by what you’ve said I’d say is highly unlikely), then you’d have dodged a massive bullet.
First I want to thank everyone for reading. It’s been a busy weekend so I haven’t had the chance to reply to many people, but I did edit in responses to the most common questions I saw in the comments of the original post. Again, thank you. I appreciate it all, even the criticisms.
Now for the update: I called Mark and asked him to meet up with me at my place to talk. I told him I would prefer Jenn to be around for the talk as well, but I was cool with it if he didn’t want her there. He agreed to talk to both of us and showed up at my place around noon today.
It was pretty quiet for a few minutes before I started the conversation. I apologized for not warning him I would be proposing to Jenn. He said it was “whatever” but he appreciated the apology. I told him what Jenn had said about the relationship and breakup when I asked her about it and I asked him to confirm if it was true.
I pretty much said that his reaction throughout the is whole thing has been extreme and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding their relationship or downplaying how serious they were.
He confirmed that they only dated for “a few weeks” and he broke up with her because he lost interest. Jenn asked if he was acting like this because he still had feelings or regrets about ending things with her. He said he could admit he thought she was more attractive than when he last saw her, but there weren’t any feelings or regrets.
He said he just didn’t like seeing a girl he dated, even if it was short term, with his older brother and as a man I shouldn’t have violated him by pursuing things with his ex. I reminded him that I had no idea they dated so it wasn’t like I consciously did this knowing their history together.
He shrugged me off and said it didn’t matter, I still should have broken it off. He was adamant that if the roles were reversed he would have done the same thing which I doubt.
I asked him why he proposed to her if he didn’t have any lingering feelings. Basically, to sum it up, he was talking about it to one of his buddies who was around when Mark and Jenn dated and the guy put the idea in his head that maybe Jenn knew from the start that we were related and was doing this to get back at him, considering Jenn had been hung up on him after they ended.
He and his friend thought it would be a good idea to test it and see if they were right, so he came up with the idea to propose and see if she dumped me for him.
Jenn asked him to elaborate on why he thought she was hung up on him and he told her that he heard she was asking about him following the breakup and still hanging out at the places they used to go to so it was a valid assumption. Then for her to pop up randomly with his brother affirmed his suspicions.
Jenn told him she’d only asked about him once following the breakup and she’d been hanging out at those places with friends before they started dating and she wouldn’t avoid them because of a breakup.
She also told him she was offended at the idea that she would go as low as to pursue me, just to get back at him. He shrugged and gave her a half apology, but said she had to see it from his point of view.
He asked her if she really didn’t know and she told him that she didn’t see the resemblance in us until we were in the same room and we act nothing alike so it never crossed her mind and he said okay. That pretty much wrapped up the conversation.
He did tell me before he left that I could take back his invite to the wedding because he can’t bring himself to support our relationship knowing he used to date her. I told him he didn’t have to worry about that as he was most likely going to be uninvited anyway.
It’s been a few hours since our talk and I do feel better. My parents aren’t too happy about him being uninvited but they understood that it was a mutual decision and probably for the best. My sisters told me they knew he didn’t have a good reason for being an ahole and they don’t blame me for not wanting him at the wedding.
As of now, I’m going to limit contact with Mark and I doubt he’ll reach out to me any time soon either. Once again, I want to thank everyone for reading and commenting and if anything significant happens, I’ll update again.
I can’t get over the fact that he only dated her for a few weeks, doesn’t tell you at all, and then still expects you to break up with someone that he apparently was not interested in at all.
He has some shitty friends, the fact that he doubled down tells me he’s looking at your wife more as property or used goods rather than a human being... not to mention the disrespect on a personal level to assume that you’re not deserving of happiness if he’s already been with that person. He has a really bad mindset. That’s likely going to paint a very bad picture in the future of him.
Glad you got some closure and truth on his actions. I hope you and Jenn have a great wedding and marriage! For anyone who says you moved too fast, sometimes you just know. I got engaged 5 mos into dating and married 9 mos later (14 mos total). Been married 21 years this week!
Your brother's ego is enormous. Sounds like he doesn't believe your fiance wasn't hung up on him after the break up. Makes sense that his friends are the same way. You're better off uninviting him and possibly taking a break from him all together. Chances are, in his brain it'll all be because of Jenn's "lingering feelings".
It would be one thing if they came even remotely close to a serious relationship…but a few weeks, WEEKS? That’s hardly even dating, let alone a relationship. Definitely sounds like your brother is immature and knows he screwed up and is now just being petty and obstructive.
I couldn’t post this to the same forum so I’m posting this directly to my profile in case anyone is interested in an update. It’s been a while since I’ve posted but a few things have happened since my last talk with Mark.
So I’ve been low contact with Mark since our last conversation. I haven’t called him and he hasn’t called me, and our only interactions have been in family settings. As it stands, my mom is now upset that Mark is still uninvited from my wedding.
It started with a comment made during my younger sister, Sophie (22F)’s birthday. Her boyfriend of (I think) 4 years proposed to her at the end of the night and we sat around talking about what she envisioned for her dream wedding.
She talked a bit about wanting a destination wedding and her ideas for the cake and dress then she said something along the lines of “Teddy I know Mark’s banned from your wedding but you won’t care if he comes to mine right?”
I laughed it off and told her I can’t get mad about her guest list even if I wanted to. My mom gave me this weird look and asked if Mark was still not invited to my wedding. I told her yes and she got irritated. She told me she thought I was joking and said I was being unreasonable to go through with banning him from the wedding since he’s family.
She accused me of holding a grudge just to be petty. I reminded her that he and I agreed on him not coming. I then told her that this wasn’t the time to talk about my wedding since the day was about Sophie and if Mark or her want to talk about my wedding they can call me another time.
Sophie laid into my mom a bit about trying to make her special day about Mark and my mom dropped the issue. For those of you who might be wondering, Mark wasn’t at Sophie’s party because he apparently had to work and couldn’t make it.
A few days later, my mom stopped by my house and said she wanted to discuss my wedding. She asked me why I was so adamant about Mark not coming to my wedding. She said that I shouldn’t be so insecure about Mark and Jenn’s previous relationship and that uninviting him was a step too far.
I told her that Mark and I mutually agreed on him not coming to the wedding and he can come to me about it himself if he has a problem with it. We got into an argument and she said that if I wasn’t going to reinvite Mark then she would not be coming either because I’m ostracizing her son.
I shrugged and told her if that’s what she wants then she can toss her invite in the trash because I won’t beg her to be there. She asked me if I would really be okay with her not attending and I told her it wouldn’t be the first time she missed an event of mine because of Mark.
She said I was being an AH for throwing her past mistakes in her face and she stormed out. I then started getting messages and phone calls from her and a few family members about the whole situation saying I was in the wrong and urging me to invite Mark just to keep the peace.
Jenn’s also been getting messages from my mom asking her to talk to me and get me to change my mind but to my knowledge she hasn’t been responding.
So far, most of my mom's side of the family are standing in solidarity with her and not attending while my dad and his side of the family, which is only my aunt and uncle and their two kids, agree with me and are still coming. My sisters are also still coming to the wedding and of course jenn’s family too.
Also, I talked to Mark about it and asked him if he had a problem with not having an invite. He said he uninvited himself in the first place and he doesn’t get why they’re making a big deal because he still doesn’t want to go.
He told me to leave him out of the fighting because he’s not involved and he says he’d tell her the same. As of now, I’m back to being low contact with my mom but my dad and I are still on decent terms.
I’m still deciding on whether I’ll reinvite my mom and her family (should they change their mind about the boycott) but the chances are low and I told my dad this too which he understands. For now, Jenn and I started looking into downsizing the venue since the guest list is significantly smaller.
Update 3: My mom is uninvited from the wedding indefinitely. About two weeks after she decided to not come to the wedding, she stopped by and said she wanted to clear the air and talk about everything. We agreed and invited her in to join us for dinner.
Jenn made her a plate of food and I asked her if she was still planning on not coming to the wedding. She said that while she wants to, she can’t get over me not inviting Mark because of a simple mistake. I reminded her that his simple mistake was proposing to my fiancé with me sitting less than three feet away from him and she said it was just a joke.
Jenn asked her why she wanted to talk if she was maintaining the same stance on Mark coming to the wedding. She said she wanted to talk to Jenn and she was hoping Jenn would hear her out and talk me into inviting Mark again.
She apparently assumed I was at work and she’d be able to catch her alone. Jenn politely told her that she understood her thought process but she wouldn’t have had that conversation anyway without me present since this is about my brother.
My mom made a comment somewhere along the lines of Jenn being spineless and unable to have a conversation without me “thinking for her” which started a pretty heated back and forth between the three of us before Jenn told her to get out.
She got up and started walking towards the door and my mom followed her still screaming at her. By this point she’s yelling about her tearing our family apart. While Jenn was unlocking the front door my mom grabbed her hair and pulled her to the ground still screaming. She hit her and tried to claw her face and I dragged her off of her and threw her outside.
She banged on the door for a few minutes while I made sure Jenn was okay before she left and called the both of us repeatedly. When I was sure Jenn was okay I texted my mom and told her not to bother reaching out again because we’ll never speak to her again.
I called my dad and sisters and told them what happened too. My dad was surprised and tried to make excuses, saying she’d been stressed about this whole situation for a while. My sisters said they knew she’d snap eventually since she’s always been a “crazy bi-“ and they said they’d come make sure Jenn is okay.
I asked Jenn if she wanted to press charges but she declined and said she only wanted to cut contact with her for good. I told that part was obvious but she should still talk to the police since she was physically assaulted but she doesn’t want my mom to get arrested. My sisters and Jenns mom came by to comfort her thankfully so she’s doing okay.
My mom is blocked on everything until Jenn says otherwise. I genuinely don’t know what to do now. Jenn doesn’t want to make an issue because she’d feel guilty having her in trouble over this, but my sisters and I want to convince her to, and I’d at least want documentation in case something happens in the future.
Well, now we know where Mark gets his crazy from. Yikes! I bet update 4 will be that momma shows up in a white dress and makes an announcement how Jenn has torn your family apart. Update 5 will be how at your sister’s wedding, she will talk loudly to anyone who will listen how horrible you both are. She needs therapy. STAT.
Mark is the golden child...duly noted. It's also so sad Mark won't at least tell his mommy that being uninvited to your wedding was his idea and you just agreed with him after he requested it. I guess that's too much to ask.
I've read your previous posts. I'm so sorry the both of you are having too deal with this. This is supposed to be a happy time for you both and a one month relationship many years prior does not bar you from having a long-term relationship with your brother's ex... One you didn't even know about until after you both became serious.
Brother dearest is still very immature and needs to get over himself. Maybe get some therapy. Your mother sounds like a narcissist and needs to cut the cord to Mark. Stop protecting him and recognize that she has more kids to mother than Mark.
Unfortunately, and I hope your fiancé knows this, we can’t choose who our family is. We can choose to not maintain relationships with them, and I think you’re handling this the best you can. Your mom is going to reach out again, probably through your brother, so be forewarned.
Some people were asking questions about my mom and my decision not to be open with Jenn about my relationship with my parents. I figure I could give some background on why we’re so strained. Like some of you said, Mark was the golden child. Mark was my mom’s “baby boy” and she didn’t do much to try and hide it.
They didn’t spend much time with my sisters and I like normal parents did with their kids unless they had to, but they’d spend time with Mark as often as possible like taking him out shopping while we stayed with a sitter, or bringing him home his favorite food and toys from the store when they’d shop alone.
He usually got better things compared to the rest of us like new expensive clothes while ours were thrifted or new toys just for him compared to old toys we had to share with each other. If my sisters and I got gifts, they were for us to share, but my mom made it pretty clear that Mark’s things were only for him and we shouldn’t touch it.
When Mark would screw up, I’d get punished for not being a good role model and showing him the proper way to behave. For example, Mark went through a phase of breaking his toys and I got the beating because obviously he learned that behavior from me.
When he was 8, Mark got in trouble at school for trying to push a kid down the stairs. I was grounded for two weeks and told to apologize to the kid for not teaching my brother right.
When I turned 13, I pushed for my parents to start giving me an allowance. They agreed as long as I did household chores like mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, raking leaves, etc. It was usually somewhere around $25 a week to help me start saving.
Mark saw that I was getting money and he begged my parents for an allowance too. Instead of making him work, $10 of my allowance money was given to him each week because “we” were doing such a good job with our chores (that he never touched) Whenever I asked him to help, he’d tell me it’s not his job to do chores so why should he bother.
It was around this time that I started really distancing myself from my brother. By the time I entered high school, we only talked to each other when we needed small favors or when we absolutely had to.
I got my first job when I turned 17 because I wanted to finally get my own car and make money that they couldn’t force me to give to Mark. My oldest sister Maggie helped me start my own bank account and showed me how to properly budget and save my money. I got my first car at 18 after all of my hard work.
When Mark got his license, my parents asked me to let him use my car to get around and for extra practice behind the wheel. Reluctantly I agreed and for a while the arrangement was fine. Mark used my car when I didn’t need it and helped maintain it pretty well.
When he expressed wanting my parents to buy him his own car, my mom came to me and told me to give him my car because he needed it more. When I refused, she threatened to kick me out.
We got in a fight that night which ended with her giving Mark my car and taking me to transfer ownership of it to him within the following few days. Since I didn’t have anywhere else I could go at the time, I just sucked it up and signed it over.
When I graduated high school, both of my parents skipped my graduation because Mark didn’t want to sit in a long ceremony just to see me get a piece of paper, and my mom didn’t want to leave him alone for the night.
So I only had the support of my sisters and my Aunt and Uncle who wanted to take me out. They ended up having to bring me home at my parents request because they made me dinner to make it up to me. It was a dinner I couldn’t eat because my mom put shrimp and chicken on the same serving dish and I’m allergic to shellfish.
IMy first year out of high school I worked two jobs to buy myself another car, and at the start of the new school year I moved away for college and cut contact with them. They (mostly my mom) tried to reach out for the first few months via social media and Sophie.
But I never responded and I told Sophie she would be cut off too if she kept trying. When she couldn’t get to me through Sophie, she tried going through my older sister Charlotte, and a few times through Maggie and Mark until I threatened to file a restraining order for harassment. It was a bluff because I had no idea how to do it.
But it managed to scare her off and the most I got from her was Happy Holiday texts over the years. Around the time I moved back, Charlotte told me they had been seeing a family therapist (at Charlotte’s request) and my parents wanted to apologize for their treatment of us. I was hesitant but I agreed as long as they would be genuine, and the reconciliation process started when I moved back home.
That doesn’t even scratch the surface of everything they put me through, and it took a lot for me to even begin to let them back into my life. When I met Jenn, I wasn’t sure where my relationship with her was going or where my relationship with my parents was going.
I didn’t want to mention my family at all mostly because I was ready to cut contact again if I needed to. Jenn was understanding of it being a sore subject and didn’t press for more. I hope this helps shed some light on some of the questions I’d been seeing pop up.
I would find it really hard to forgive all of that, and that's not even all of it. You're a bigger person than me to be entertaining reconciliation at this point, I'd be so done with them. So good for you for trying, I hope it works out for the best.
F me, I hated reading that last bit.
Those people are monsters.
I cant wrap my head around these people. Mark thinks Jenn still loves him. Instead of flirting with her in private to see her reaction, he thinks she'd totally agree to ignore the dating step and accept a marriage proposal. In front of everyone.
Even if she was dating the OP just to get at him, I doubt she'd jump at that. And then the mom decides physical assault is the way to go... for a decision her own precious golden child agreed on.
Mark is definitely the AH but.... this is a lot of family drama.