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Is this normal for younger, male family members?-update/clarifying in post 37


VeteranMom
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I have a nephew who is 27.  When he was little, my sister was a single mom and I took care of him and his sister while their mom went to night school.  I was very present in his life until he was 9 and I left our home state to go into the military.  Still, after I moved I would go back to visit and made a point of sending birthday cards and Christmas gifts.  I drove 8 hours (with 3 little kids) for his high school graduation.  I drove 12 hours to attend his wedding a few years ago.  I've always made an effort to be in his life and I understood this would be one-sided while he was growing up.  As he has gotten older, it very much feels like I make an effort still, but he does not.  His Mom makes excuses for him with everyone in the family.  It's always that he is busy.  I've had no falling out with him or his wife- both are very sweet people.  It's not like I expect much from him- just respond to my text to give me an address so I can send a Christmas card.  It's not unusual for him to take 2-4 weeks to respond to a text.  Honestly, my feelings are hurt and I think I have to give up on attempting further communication, since he obviously does not care.  That makes me sad.  Is this a normal thing for young, adult males to behave this way?  I don't have this issue with his sister.                  

Edited by VeteranMom
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Generally, I think young men are less communicative except immediate needs/issues. When my ds moved, I texted him to let me know his new address. It took him at least a day or two to reply. This is not an urgent request on his priority list. 3-4 weeks seems a bit long. Is he working full time? He may be very distracted with everything else that's going on in his life. Also, sometimes the sacrifices we make are not seen as such a big deal by others.

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This is DH, except he's 30. He goes to work, comes home and talks to me, helps wrangle food and kids and plays with them, then falls asleep laying down with the toddler. Rinse, repeat, every single day. And add in a chronic pain issue on top of that and slow-as-molasses house repairs on the weekends.

 

He has no time or energy for anyone outside of this house. I honestly don't know how anyone who has more than two kids does. Not friends, not extended family. Does not use Facebook. All of his phone's texts and calls are either to me or a doctor's office, and since he ignores so many reminder texts, I could easily see him forgetting one from someone that wasn't me.

 

ETA: We also do not send Christmas cards. I could imagine DH seeing a request for an address for a "Christmas card" and accidentally filing that away in the portion of his brain of "things I can ignore because we don't do" instead of realizing someone wants to send one to us. Or thinking we should reciprocate and forgetting the whole thing instead of telling me to buy a couple cards.

Edited by BarbecueMom
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I have similar relationships with a niece and nephew (sister and brother).  Parents divorced, I spent a lot of time with the kids when they were young.  Now they are adults, and I rarely hear from them.   Every now and then we reminisce and I know they have fond memories of the time we spent together, but their lives (and mine!) are different now.  And yes, it can take a long time to get an answer to a text.  I would not take it personally but I also would not invest any more than you are willing to give away, kwim? 

 

You (OP) didn't bring up "sacrifice" but someone else did.  My niece and nephew didn't see me as sacrificing to spend time with them, nor did I.  They don't owe me anything for spending all that time with them.  

 

:grouphug:

Edited by marbel
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I am 30 & female, but this is definitely me.  October through January I feel like I am being crushed by my mounting to-do list.  It makes me feel like a failure as a person.  I am unreachable by phone, don't use social media etc.  I really only email, and this time of year even then it is weeks to reply to a non-urgent email.  I realize this may feel inconsiderate.  I see both sides.  I understand how you feel.  But busy is genuinely accurate.  Often emails I fail to respond to in a timely manner require conferring with my husband.  My email time is almost always when my husband is unavailable, so I end up not responding.  Yeah . . . another thing to feel guilty about.   

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Personally, I think, yes, it is normal.  People are different, and honestly, I don't think it means he doesn't care.  What I would do is continue to love him, unconditionally.  Because love means loving someone without expecting anything in return.  And one day, he will be 47 instead of 27, and he will appreciate all the love you showed him, and realize how much you meant to him, and he just might do that same for his own nephew.  Or, then again, maybe not.  But I think we have to love without expecting people to act a certain way in return.  It's hard though.  But I would honestly still think of him as a young boy.  27, his brain is still developing!

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I wonder if he suffers from anxiety or depression. I know this is totally out of left field, but if he did, he might see your text and feel an enormous burden of guilt because he knows how great you've always been and that he hasn't reciprocated. He might think he should really call instead of just text but he doesn't have time right now, so he'll call tomorrow.. Tomorrow is another busy day and the more time goes by the worse he feels and the less he wants to deal with it. 

 

Grasping at straws maybe, but it happens. 

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I have an adult nephew who I knows cares deeply for us, but he also is seldom in contact.  It's just not his way.  I would let it go and accept him the way he is.  

 

ETA:  I would not be surprised AT ALL if someone texted my DH for an address and he totally flaked about getting it to the person.  Christmas, etc. cards are not on most men's radar.  

Edited by MomatHWTK
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my brother is the same way. He's the youngest, the only boy and I think missed out on having to take care of younger siblings at a young age. He never learned was it was from the very beginning to be responsible for someone else and to someone else. He doesn't initiate contact. I think he sometimes calls on my birthday, lol. I'm his eldest sister so I am part of the soundtrack of blah blah blah, like our mom.

 

OTOH, he is married to an amazing woman, I have no idea what he did to deserve her, and she does maintain contact to some extent. He also seems to be an involved and caring father to his two little ones. I know because his wife emails pictures on a very regular basis.

 

I don't have my brother's mailing address and he's lived in his house for a few years. I can email him, but I don't have his number to call. I doubt he ever gave it to me.  My youngest sister prob does. She is closest in him in age and is closer to him.

 

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I don't think it is a male/female issue, I just don't think young nieces or nephews view time in the same way as their older extended family.  I remember being a newly-wed and thinking that I had "just" seen my favorite aunt.  My mom had to inform me that it had been almost a year.  Oops.  You could say it was a testament to my relationship with that aunt.  She was so constant that I never felt the insecurity of needing to maintain the relationship.  I knew I could call anytime, and pick right up where we left off.

 

Yes, nephew should call his aunt.  Yes, it is okay to feel hurt.  No, it doesn't mean he no longer cares.

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I have a niece and nephew that I spent soooo much time with when they were little. This was before I was a mother. My niece is 27 now and she does respond to texts and however I contact her. And she sees my mom fairly often...at least a couple of times a month. Her brother is 3 years young and totally checked out of the family. I am with Cat...I consider it terrible manners.

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His Mom makes excuses for him with everyone in the family.  It's always that he is busy.              

 

It's nothing personal against you; he's this way with everyone.  (Does he have ADHD?  Out of sight = out of mind.)  Honestly, I think it's great you get a response, and I wouldn't worry about it too much.  I have a 27 yo nephew that is always glad to see me when our paths cross, but he doesn't respond to texts or emails for weeks, if ever. He's slow responding to his parents and siblings, too, and he adores them, so I know it's not anything personal against me.  He's just extremely busy.  I don't worry about it.  We catch up when we can.

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I kinda got an ADHD vibe. I dunno why. My husband has trouble managing his social calendar or responding to out of town family etc. He's not inconsiderate or rude...he means to respond but forgets. He has to respond immediately or else it ain't happening. He reads basically no personal email and doesn't check social media. Push notifications for texts on his phone are a blessing and a curse. A blessing because then at least he sees it. A curse because it's just another distraction.

 

His family know that I'm the one who takes care of that stuff. It may be horribly retro, but it's pretty common for wives to take the lead on this stuff so I don't think anyone looks too askance at it. Good thing I do not have ADHD, lol.

Edited by LucyStoner
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He is a grown and marred man, so his mother should not be put in a position of having to explain, agree with your criticism, or make excuses for him.

 

I sympathize, though. It's very sad and hurtful. I think sometimes kids grow up having their parents do a lot of the family communicating, and don't recognize that those relationships are theirs to sustain. He is at an age when he probably doesn't appreciate those extended family member or realize that people get old, things change, and then we have regrets.

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Well, my DH is....the same, I think.  I told him he is not allowed to buy cards anymore, bc he would buy them and then never send them.  He didn't thank a few people that were very helpful to him during his father's illness.  I thought it was horribly rude and inconsiderate, but....he didn't thank them.  He kept saying that he should, but he never did.

 

I had a huge fight with him a few years ago bc he would not check his messages on his cell or messages on our home phone and there were numerous times that I really needed him and couldn't reach him.

 

Just two days ago he told me that he feels bad that he didn't answer a very long email from his friend that was sent to him in May!!!

 

So.....I really do hope it's a "male" thing bc otherwise it would seem that I am married to inconsiderate person.

 

BTW, I am trying to teach my kids better, hopefully, I'll be successful. 

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Is he single? I don't know if I would say specifically it's a male thing but prior to settling down, marriage, and family I don't think it's unusual for young adults to be flakey. I didn't marry until29, and I think that was true of me. Remind yourself the male brain doesn't fully develop until men are well into their 20s and let it go. If that means you don't worK as hard for the relationship, that is fine. Some day he may appreciate family and come around.

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I'm a lot like your nephew. I don't know why. I don't know what's wrong with me. I like people, yet I don't like contacting them. I honestly don't know what my problem is, but I just hate initiating contact.

 

I do respond to texts, but if the person has sent a really long text (or email) sometimes I think, "Oh, I'd better send something long back...when I have time," and the time never really materializes. I'm learning that it's best to at least send a little message back rather than nothing at all.

 

I don't know if it's more common in males or not. I remember from my sociology class that most males do things as groups and don't make deeper one-on-one connections, while females are better at the one-on-one connections and don't do things as large groups. From what I remember, that was the only difference between males and females across the board in all cultures. All the other stuff we say about men or women don't hold true in all cultures or across all time periods.

 

So...perhaps he, as a male, doesn't contact you as often because males don't work best one-on-one.

Edited by Garga
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I was like that. I don't think I realized that a lot of people are like "you have to respond right now or my heart hurts" until I was like... 30. I didn't realize they were waiting on a response. I certainly never was. I don't even now. If I need a response I'll ask for it.

 

I would guess that more males are like this than females but I wouldn't generalize to all males.

 

If I were you, I'd speak directly to him and tell him that you know he means well but when he doesn't reply, you get worried that he didn't get your message, and you really care, so please reply soon. 

 

Believe it or not, it takes me longer to reply to people I love because I wait for a time when I can really concentrate on it. So like, e-mails to my neighbor--5 minutes. E-mail to my aunt with whom I haven't had a good chat in years, though I love her dearly? A week. She deserves me THINKING about it.

 

So that is another way to look at it. As I've gotten older, I've started replying, "I got your mail and was so glad to hear from you. I will write back this weekend when I really have time to focus on this!" Asking for a note like that, a got-it-love-you note, would actually help him in the long run. Let him know how you feel and what he could do to help. He's still learning.

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Males on my husband's side disappear after age 21. When they show up, they are loving and sweet and devoted. And then they disappear again. It's the women who keep contact.

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My dh is 55 and he has always acted this way with his family.  He writes his dad about 3 letters a year, and e-mails his younger sister on her birthday.  He rarely acknowledges his older sister's birthday.  They all love each other, and enjoy each other when we get together.  He goes to see his dad once a year (more when we can all make it).  This is normal for them.  

 

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Do you think that he could be redefining his own social circle?  Perhaps the graduation and the wedding were the last vestiges of doing what his family expected, and now he wants to pull away and do his own thing?  I do think that he should be answering your texts, but he may not know how to do that whilst still pulling away from the social group that he grew up with, which might not be the one he would choose now.

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I have a nephew who is 27.  When he was little, my sister was a single mom and I took care of him and his sister while their mom went to night school.  I was very present in his life until he was 9 and I left our home state to go into the military.  Still, after I moved I would go back to visit and made a point of sending birthday cards and Christmas gifts.  I drove 8 hours (with 3 little kids) for his high school graduation.  I drove 12 hours to attend his wedding a few years ago.  I've always made an effort to be in his life and I understood this would be one-sided while he was growing up.  As he has gotten older, it very much feels like I make an effort still, but he does not.  His Mom makes excuses for him with everyone in the family.  It's always that he is busy.  I've had no falling out with him or his wife- both are very sweet people.  It's not like I expect much from him- just respond to my text to give me an address so I can send a Christmas card.  It's not unusual for him to take 2-4 weeks to respond to a text.  Honestly, my feelings are hurt and I think I have to give up on attempting further communication, since he obviously does not care.  That makes me sad.  Is this a normal thing for young, adult males to behave this way?  I don't have this issue with his sister.                  

 

 

I think, unfortunately, that while you invested heavily in those first nine years, it's unlikely he remembers much of that.  And while you made it for major events, it doesn't translate to a close, intimate relationship in his eyes.  I am sorry for that.  Most likely he has some very close relationships but they were there for the mundane, day to day stuff.  While I understand that that hurts you and I'm sorry, he just sees this relationship through an entirely different set of eyes.

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I kinda got an ADHD vibe. I dunno why. My husband has trouble managing his social calendar or responding to out of town family etc. He's not inconsiderate or rude...he means to respond but forgets. He has to respond immediately or else it ain't happening. He reads basically no personal email and doesn't check social media. Push notifications for texts on his phone are a blessing and a curse. A blessing because then at least he sees it. A curse because it's just another distraction.

 

His family know that I'm the one who takes care of that stuff. It may be horribly retro, but it's pretty common for wives to take the lead on this stuff so I don't think anyone looks too askance at it. Good thing I do not have ADHD, lol.

 

This is how it is among people I know, too.  The wives do it all.  If I invite people to something, the wives get the invitation for the couple.   I don't think it's retro so much as just one of the differences between males and females.  Now that I'm thinking about it, when I sent invitations to a party a few weeks ago, the single guys never responded. 

 

My husband is very bad about contacting people.  His family is not close; they don't fight or dislike each other; they're just not a warm fuzzy lovable family.  I have stopped nagging him to call his sister on her birthday.  He doesn't keep in touch with old friends very well, either. The wives manage the Christmas cards.  :-)   I guess if he'd had an aunt  who'd spent a lot of time with him as a kid, she'd be annoyed with him.  And he's 51, not a young man.

 

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Well, my DH is....the same, I think.  I told him he is not allowed to buy cards anymore, bc he would buy them and then never send them.  He didn't thank a few people that were very helpful to him during his father's illness.  I thought it was horribly rude and inconsiderate, but....he didn't thank them.  He kept saying that he should, but he never did.

 

I had a huge fight with him a few years ago bc he would not check his messages on his cell or messages on our home phone and there were numerous times that I really needed him and couldn't reach him.

 

Just two days ago he told me that he feels bad that he didn't answer a very long email from his friend that was sent to him in May!!!

 

So.....I really do hope it's a "male" thing bc otherwise it would seem that I am married to inconsiderate person.

 

BTW, I am trying to teach my kids better, hopefully, I'll be successful. 

My dh is 50 and is the same.  We have been together 30 years and me and our children are the only relationships he maintains I'm not certain what would happen with his relationship with our children if I die first.

 

He often feels guilty and talks about calling/writing  but has never done it.  He has one poor aunt who I have never meet who has sent him letters and cards throughout our 30 years together and he has NEVER once replied yet she still sends mail.  I have purchased cards for him to reply to her but he doesn't.

 

We lived within 10 minutes of his grandfather, several aunts, uncles and cousins I never met them.  Yet he would travel with me 13+ hours to visit my grandparents and 2.5 hours in another direction to visit the other grandmother, aunt/uncle and first cousins.

 

Several years ago his step-mother berated me while out to dinner that I should be maintaining all these relationships (mind you I have never laid eyes on these people) for him.  It pissed me off to the point that my (already limited) relationship with her was cut almost off.  

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Dh is just not a particularly "chatty" person. He can carry on a great conversation when it relates to something he loves or work or whatever. But he doesn't just "shoot the breeze" well, and he is greatly annoyed by family politics. So though he cares about his brother very much, he only initiates a phone call maybe once per year, and it has been years since he talked with aunts and uncles since they live in California and we never travel there. It is not that he doesn't care, he just isn't comfortable with a lot of the talk.

 

I find that my dd is pretty good at making chit chat, and my eldest boy is definitely better than his brothers, but even he is probably not going to be that great with the "communicate with relatives" thing, and the younger two are very much like their father.

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My son is kind of that way, not to that extent, but somewhat.  I don't know if it's a male thing, but my daughters are not that way. 

 

I live near my son though and I see him a lot, so I know what his life is like.  It is crazy busy.  He works full time, is back in school full-time, and is writing a book.  He also is married and tries to carve out special time with his wife.  I honestly don't even know how he keeps it going sometimes.  He rarely has his phone on.  He maybe turns it on for 5 minutes/day, once/day.  On top of that, I think he has mild ADHD or something!  It's extremely hard for him to keep a schedule, or remember things that to me seem so obvious.  I never understood this while he was living at home.  The only way he could remember anything was to write it on his hand.  He would have entire lists written on his hand.  He has learned to compensate, but he still has problems.  He is very intelligent but doesn't remember when his own birthday is!  He is very kind and caring, but you might not know it if you were relying on his communications!

 

 

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My dh is 50 and is the same.  We have been together 30 years and me and our children are the only relationships he maintains I'm not certain what would happen with his relationship with our children if I die first.

 

He often feels guilty and talks about calling/writing  but has never done it.  He has one poor aunt who I have never meet who has sent him letters and cards throughout our 30 years together and he has NEVER once replied yet she still sends mail.  I have purchased cards for him to reply to her but he doesn't.

 

We lived within 10 minutes of his grandfather, several aunts, uncles and cousins I never met them.  Yet he would travel with me 13+ hours to visit my grandparents and 2.5 hours in another direction to visit the other grandmother, aunt/uncle and first cousins.

 

Several years ago his step-mother berated me while out to dinner that I should be maintaining all these relationships (mind you I have never laid eyes on these people) for him.  It pissed me off to the point that my (already limited) relationship with her was cut almost off.  

I just thought of something else it is going to show me as a really P/A bitch but so be it.  The aunt who continues to send letters/pics sent the last set in June 2014.  I did as I always do and cut the return address off the envelope for him because "he is really going to write her back this time".

 

I was pretty sure that was not going to happen but I stacked the pictures with the return address on a shelf on his bookcase right beside his side of the bed.  That stack has not been touched in 18 months.  I have not even dusted that one shelf.  I have cleaned and dusted as normal except where that stack of pictures are and I doubt he even knows.  He has to see them every day as that is where he unloads his pockets daily, puts his cell phone etc.

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I was like that. I don't think I realized that a lot of people are like "you have to respond right now or my heart hurts" until I was like... 30. I didn't realize they were waiting on a response. I certainly never was. I don't even now. If I need a response I'll ask for it.

 

I would guess that more males are like this than females but I wouldn't generalize to all males.

 

If I were you, I'd speak directly to him and tell him that you know he means well but when he doesn't reply, you get worried that he didn't get your message, and you really care, so please reply soon.

 

Believe it or not, it takes me longer to reply to people I love because I wait for a time when I can really concentrate on it. So like, e-mails to my neighbor--5 minutes. E-mail to my aunt with whom I haven't had a good chat in years, though I love her dearly? A week. She deserves me THINKING about it.

 

So that is another way to look at it. As I've gotten older, I've started replying, "I got your mail and was so glad to hear from you. I will write back this weekend when I really have time to focus on this!" Asking for a note like that, a got-it-love-you note, would actually help him in the long run. Let him know how you feel and what he could do to help. He's still learning.

This is me!

 

The idea of writing, "I'll write more when I have time," is perfect. I'm going to do that right away.

 

Keeping up with relationships doesn't come naturally to me at all.

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Also--I was cared for by a beloved godmother until I was about 10. I was never very chatty as a youth. We lost her when I was still in my 20s. I was sorry not for writing. I think of her almost every day. I don't think it's true that you can't forge close relationships like that. You have to be patient through the "thin years" when they are establishing their own families.

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I have a nephew who is 27.  When he was little, my sister was a single mom and I took care of him and his sister while their mom went to night school.  I was very present in his life until he was 9 and I left our home state to go into the military.  Still, after I moved I would go back to visit and made a point of sending birthday cards and Christmas gifts.  I drove 8 hours (with 3 little kids) for his high school graduation.  I drove 12 hours to attend his wedding a few years ago.  I've always made an effort to be in his life and I understood this would be one-sided while he was growing up.  As he has gotten older, it very much feels like I make an effort still, but he does not.  His Mom makes excuses for him with everyone in the family.  It's always that he is busy.  I've had no falling out with him or his wife- both are very sweet people.  It's not like I expect much from him- just respond to my text to give me an address so I can send a Christmas card.  It's not unusual for him to take 2-4 weeks to respond to a text.  Honestly, my feelings are hurt and I think I have to give up on attempting further communication, since he obviously does not care.  That makes me sad.  Is this a normal thing for young, adult males to behave this way?  I don't have this issue with his sister.                  

 

I don't think the bolded is a necessary explanation and it's making you sad. There are explanations other than that he is being deliberately rude or that doesn't care about you: 

 

 
 I do think that young adult  males are more prone to this type of thing than females are.  I have four older teen/young adult sons and I still remind them to call their grandparents, whom they ADORE. Their lack of contact has no correlation with the bond they feel with their gp's. For one of my sons, when I want an answer asap, I text both him and his gf. Or if I haven't heard from him in response to a text, I text both of them. My son loves me and I don't consider him rude. He's just... whatever it is that it is at his age!
 

Additionally, many people with ADHD are like this. In fact, for a lot of them, anxiety builds and paralyzes them. For instance, they may want to respond in a very special way, and start to think/dream/plan about what that would look like. Then they forget to follow through. (Or they get interrupted before they follow through. The same thing will ensue.) So four days later, or whenever it comes back to mind, they now have guilt. The guilt/anxiety can become paralyzing. Instead of doing what would be obvious to other people and just following through right then, they respond by avoiding the issue causing the anxiety/guilt, usually with a reason to self that allows that, like, "I want to give her a complete response but I don't have time right now. I'll do it tonight." 

 

So if I were you, I would depersonalize it. Assign the most benign explanation that you can since you really can't absolutely know what is going on in his head. You love him. Keep loving him. Just repeat a text when you don't get a response. Try calling/texting his wife or including her in the communications if you haven't already. 

Edited by Laurie4b
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Op Here...he doesn't have ADHD or depression and he is typically very social.  He doesn't have kids.  I don't expect him to reply to a text with a lot of chit chat- it's usually just a question that can be answered with a line or two.  I don't expect his wife to help me have a relationship with my nephew- that's not her responsibility and I'm sure she's busy, too.  Honestly, I don't expect him to pay attention to me or cater to me in any way.  I understand what it's like to be busy.  I don't complain to his mother about him.  I've heard her talk about discussions she's had with his grandparents about his lack of returning calls, emails, etc.  I don't give input one way or the other when I talk to her.  He's an adult and it's his choice how to behave.  Yes, I can love him and that will never go away.  My reaching out to him over the past few years has gotten less and less, though.  It's hard to feel like one is always talking to themselves and know that a reply may take 3 weeks or may never come.  I imagine he treats his friends better than this.  I certainly can't imagine how he maintains other relationships (if he doesn't respond to them)- and yes, he does have friends.      

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if you texted saying you need an address to send a Christmas gift to him/wife and he didn't respond for 2 weeks, I would think something is wrong or he's rude.  Do you have the wife's phone #?  I would start there.  If no timely response and no one knows of any personal emergencies, I wouldn't bother.  

 

I experienced this with lots of Dh's family.  I felt guilt for years.  I finally stopped communicating. No calls.  No cards.  No presents.  Guess what?  No one has ever called, send an email/card, or asked us why we aren't around.  :-)  

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Have you shared with him how you're feeling? :grouphug:

He is who he is and I need to accept that, so I need to leave it alone.  It would probably just cause his mom to feel defensive of him if I said something.  This post has been therapeutic for me and it's been good to get it out and here about other's experiences.  Do I think my nephew is being rude?  Yes, to a certain degree.  It's probably an immaturity thing.  I had really worked to be a good aunt, since my 4 aunts (2 without kids) basically ignored me and my siblings when we were growing up.  I am fortunate to have a good relationship with my niece, his sister. We keep up with each other and have transitioned to an adult relationship.  She and I text a couple times a month and keep up with each other on facebook, etc.  

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I think that your nephew's actions are common and probably personality.  I have a very conscientious, thoughtful nephew but that seems less common among his crowd of friends and peers. Honestly most of the young people (teenager to about 30) I know seem to be this way  My advice is to keep the line of communication open and not take it to personal as this is probably how he treats everyone save one or two people.   You don't have to go to extraordinary lengths.  If he doesn't send an address, don't send a Christmas card, but send a text saying Merry Christmas or something similar.

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I think it's pretty common with the men I know. Most of the time, it is the wife that maintains the family relationships, even with the husband's side. I always know way more about what is going on with dh's family than he does. I know it's not universal- but it's true in my family and with a lot of my friends.

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I imagine he treats his friends better than this. I certainly can't imagine how he maintains other relationships (if he doesn't respond to them)- and yes, he does have friends.

This isn't necessarily true though. My best friend sounds a lot like your nephew. Even if she initiates a combo via text and I reply immediately it is a crap shoot if she'll respond today or in a week. That is just how she works. It used to annoy me a lot and we got in many arguments over it in the beginning of our friendship. But I decided that I valued our friendship enough to just deal with this personality flaw. She has certainly gotten better, we met when we were 18 and are both 29 now.

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Op Here...he doesn't have ADHD or depression and he is typically very social.  He doesn't have kids.  I don't expect him to reply to a text with a lot of chit chat- it's usually just a question that can be answered with a line or two.  I don't expect his wife to help me have a relationship with my nephew- that's not her responsibility and I'm sure she's busy, too.  Honestly, I don't expect him to pay attention to me or cater to me in any way.  I understand what it's like to be busy.  I don't complain to his mother about him.  I've heard her talk about discussions she's had with his grandparents about his lack of returning calls, emails, etc.  I don't give input one way or the other when I talk to her.  He's an adult and it's his choice how to behave.  Yes, I can love him and that will never go away.  My reaching out to him over the past few years has gotten less and less, though.  It's hard to feel like one is always talking to themselves and know that a reply may take 3 weeks or may never come.  I imagine he treats his friends better than this.  I certainly can't imagine how he maintains other relationships (if he doesn't respond to them)- and yes, he does have friends.      

 

I hear what you are saying about his friends, but honestly, my mom means more to me than friends. So does my dad. It takes me longer to answer those about whom I care because I care. It's a "big deal" to answer a letter from an aunt whom I haven't seen in a long time. They don't have to be long e-mails. When my mom texts "How is it going?" it is a short text with a long answer, or at least, an answer that takes thought. It's not like a text from a friend, "Wanna do pizza this Friday?" It's just not that easy to answer.

 

I am not trying to invalidate your feeling of hurt, but I don't think that it's fair to say that it's either "how men are", or there's no excuse and he's being inconsiderate.

 

The way you treat text relationships with non-immediate family is not how he treats them, but it doesn't mean either one of you is right or wrong, you know?

 

I really think if you have a specific expectation you need to tell him. "Thinking of you and missing you. You'll make my day if you answer this text right away even if you just send a smiley!" Tell him. If he ignores that, then that's kind of rude. But just expecting him to share your sense of urgency is unrealistic and that's why you are feeling disappointed and hurt.

 

I hope you can find a way to communicate in a way that respects both of your life stages right now.

Edited by Tsuga
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