Dear Maura: My brother has no time for me

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
It is healthy to chat about how you feel

It is healthy to chat about how you feel

Dear Maura: Myself and my brother set up a business together. He had the money and I had the idea. Seven months later, he has no interest in anything I do. Even though I include him in so many aspects of the shop, he ignores my messages. I invite him for a coffee to chat about what I’m doing and there’s no reply. We have one other brother and the boys have always been close but they’re closer now since our parents died. They passed away within months of each other two years ago. I feel very alone and I don’t know why I’m being left out. My friend has brothers and they look out for her. This business is my dream but it’s hard to keep going when you’re on your own. I’d give anything just to meet once a week for a chat. The money is essential but it’s the friendship with my brother I want to succeed more than anything. I really thought this project would bring us together. How wrong I was. How can I make this situation better? Answer: I wonder if your brother feels that once he helped you set up the business, his work was done? Their behaviour comes across as heartless to say the least. I wonder if the deaths of your parents have had an influence on your relationship with them. Sometimes when parents die, the family can splinter. It’s as if the magnet to bring everyone together no longer exists and the family can break up. Talk to them and explain how you feel. Perhaps talking with a professional may help you understand this situation better. In the meantime, how about looking for a kindred spirit to work

I can’t stand my partner’s spoilt sister

Dear Maura: My boyfriend’s sister is a pain but he spoils her to bits. They’re the only kids in the family. She’s 16, he’s 26, same age as me. I don’t like her and she can’t stand me.

Whenever I’m at the house or when I call she’s rude and always has a few smart comments to make about what I’m wearing or about my hair and makeup.

It’s childish I know, and my mam says to just pass her off because she’s a spoiled kid. I get that, only the way my boyfriend fusses over her annoys me but I can’t say anything.

Answer: Unfortunately, I don’t see this situation changing and you’ll have to accept that. However, try to work on getting to a point where you can get on with his sister. At the same time, you shouldn’t have to put up with her little digs at you when you visit.

On some level, she sees you as taking her brother away. She’s young so work on ways to be friendly, to pass her off as your mam says. I know it’s the last thing you’ll want to do but maybe invite her for a bag of chips or a hot chocolate or something, to get a chat going, to make her feel good in your company.

You take the initiative. It will pay off in the end.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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