I've decided to skip my brother's wedding, for very good reasons. Help me figure out how to talk to him about this - it gets long, sorry.
Hi everyone. First, a bit of background (you can also read my previous questions
if you prefer): I'm female, in my late twenties, British-Pakistani but living outside of the UK with my boyfriend of seven years. My dad refuses to accept my relationship because my boyfriend is not Muslim (neither am I) and we are 'living in sin'. My mother would accept us but she is too afraid of losing my father to defy him - instead she puts endless amounts of pressure on me to get my boyfriend to convert to Islam.
I told my parents about my bf two years ago - he was a secret for so long because I've known since I was a child that my dad would never speak to me again if I had any kind of relationship with a non-Muslim, and I've always had problems with anxiety and depression related to this (yes, I'm in therapy). My dad was true to his word. I've spoken to him only twice since then. I went to visit once after a year, on my own, for his sister's funeral, when he hugged me and told me he wasn't angry with my anymore - but we didn't get a chance to speak after that. Another year later, he got sick and we thought it might be serious. He asked me to visit him in the hospital and I did, overjoyed he wanted to see me. He was polite to me (we didn't discuss the underlying issues, he was too sick for that), and replied to texts I sent him in the weeks afterwards, asking about his health as he recovered. But he never reached out, and then when my birthday rolled around he ignored it. That hurt a lot and I decided to cut off contact completely with him and my relentlessly pressurizing mother. That was six months ago, and I can honestly say it has just been so nice not being in touch. I have felt so much more free and calm about the whole thing.
My extended family still doesn't know the truth - they know my dad and I are fighting, but don't know about what. My parents don't want to make this thing public. Honestly, this is fine by me. Many of my family members are extremely conservative yet shady, untrustworthy people, and I am point-blank afraid of one of my uncles and my cousin - they have never been violent towards me, but they are violent men. My parents think I am absolutely ridiculous to be afraid of these men. My mum keeps telling me that my dad would never let them hurt me, that they would never defy my dad.
I have a kid sister and brother. I love my sister dearly, she has always been supportive. My brother was at first very harsh with me. When I first told my parents about my bf, he was there and he tried to get my dad to force me onto an earlier flight home, because he was so angry with me. Since then we have been in touch intermittently. He has been far nicer, though reserved. My mother insists he regrets his behavior, but he has never apologized. Things are complicated by the fact that my brother is on the Autism spectrum - he sees things in a very black and white way.
Now my brother is getting married, in Pakistan (an arranged marriage), and he emailed me asking me nicely to attend the wedding. There is no way I am going to this wedding. I am not traveling to Pakistan without my boyfriend, I just don't feel safe. I am not continuing this charade for my extended family of pretending everything is fine. I refuse to allow my parents to continue to save face, while I deny the existence of the man I love. Quite apart from that, I have my reservations about this wedding. My brother is religious, is desperate to get married so he can get laid, basically. He barely knows this girl, they barely even speak the same language. And yes, I am still deeply hurt by my brother's rejection of me. I have never told him how much that hurt me.
Not only is my brother Autistic, he has also been suffering from unexplained fits over the past couple of years. They seem to be brought on by intense stress. My parents have been very delicate with him to avoid causing a fit. Now I need to somehow tell him that I am not coming to his wedding. I want to explain why, and I want to talk to him about how much he hurt me, to find out where he stands on that today. But I am really afraid of stressing him out and causing a fit. If he has one, he will not be able to drive for another couple of years, which will seriously mess up his life.
Can you guys help me think of a gentle yet clear way to explain my feelings to him? What approach to take? Better not to explain, let him hate me? Bonus question: how do I get rid of this guilt for not wanting to be there for my brother on one of the most important days of his life?
Thanks so much for your thoughts, I'm really stressing about this right now.