How to save relationship with uncle?
May 29, 2011 12:08 AM Subscribe
Is there any way to save my relationship with a relative who has suddenly distanced himself after marriage?
posted by timsneezed to Human Relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My uncle and I were very close when I was growing up. He was like a father to me. When my parents separated and my dad moved out, he moved in for a year and I became very attached to him. He was young compared to my parents, so in addition to becoming like a second father to me he also felt like a friend. He gave me a lot of attention and love, and he was also a constant source of fun and adventure. He accepted me and made me feel special when my dad was absent and kids at school bullied me.
Our relationship remained good through my teens. In my early twenties we didn't see each other for a few years because we lived too far apart, but that is no longer a problem and we recently saw each other again one year ago. Since then we have seen each other at a number of family functions. His behavior toward me has completely changed. Completely. He barely acknowledges my existence.
He married and had a kid last year, and I think this has a lot to do with the change. My mother has said that when he gets involved with a woman, he pools all of his affection into her and becomes distant to everyone else in the family. She has said it's much more extreme, though, now that he's gotten married. My grandfather died of lung cancer not too long ago, and I guess my grandmother was really upset at my uncle because he was barely present while my grandfather was dying even though he lives nearby. He was too wrapped up in his wife and kid to visit more often.
I saw him at another family gathering this weekend, and he ignored me again. I was sitting at a table directly across from him and he barely said two words to me the whole meal. I tried to engage him once, but it didn't go anywhere.
I have been feeling really depressed about this. I know he is narcissistic (he always has been), but I still long for a connection with him. I don't understand the extreme shift. I mean I know he isn't just doing this to me, yet it still feels like a rejection of me on an emotional level.
As for his wife, I don't think she's trying to keep him away from the family at all but she's kind of cold and she seems to wear the pants in their relationship. He spends all of his time trying to please her.
Any advice or insight?