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Hanging out with ex's brother/sister


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Old 30th October 2014, 10:54 AM   #1
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Hanging out with ex's brother/sister

Hello again... just wanted to say this forum has been wonderful in recovering/coping with my breakup. I check it almost every day.

My ex's brother is younger than me (I think 23) and I am 27. We have a few things in common. I wouldn't call us "close" during the relationship with his sister, but we definitely got along well. I see him at the gym every now and then and am always glad to talk to him. The main thing is that he is bipolar and I understand some of the struggles he has everyday with the disease because I have seen first hand what that can do to a person (a good friend of mine).

Also, being four years older and knowing what I went through at that age, I feel like I could try to inspire him to become something more and be happier with himself.

He still lives at home with his mom (as well as with my ex) and I just want to try and be a positive influence.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this? Does anyone still hang out with their ex's siblings or family members?

Thanks again!
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Old 30th October 2014, 11:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbentley87 View Post
Hello again... just wanted to say this forum has been wonderful in recovering/coping with my breakup. I check it almost every day.

My ex's brother is younger than me (I think 23) and I am 27. We have a few things in common. I wouldn't call us "close" during the relationship with his sister, but we definitely got along well. I see him at the gym every now and then and am always glad to talk to him. The main thing is that he is bipolar and I understand some of the struggles he has everyday with the disease because I have seen first hand what that can do to a person (a good friend of mine).

Also, being four years older and knowing what I went through at that age, I feel like I could try to inspire him to become something more and be happier with himself.

He still lives at home with his mom (as well as with my ex) and I just want to try and be a positive influence.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this? Does anyone still hang out with their ex's siblings or family members?

Thanks again!
I still talk to my ex's brother and sister very often. We were friends all those years I was in the relationship with my ex, so there is no real reason why we couldn't get along now.

I'm more close to the brother, we used to do a lot of stuff together while I was dating my ex. We developed a close friendship. He is 2 years younger than me (I'm 27, he is 25 now) and we still hang out very often.

With her sister, its more of a friendly call/coffee every 1 or 2 months to catch up. We also got along great, just not that close. However, she always considered me like a part of her family, so she always talks to me on chat/facebook/wup to see how I'm doing.

It is, however, a bit awkward at first, because the subject of the break up might pop up. But if you both make a promise to ignore it, then its totally fine.

My ex was a bit freaked out at first, but she understood we were friends, despite she and I were no longer dating.
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Old 30th October 2014, 3:30 PM   #3
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If you didn't go out of your way to spend time with him when you were with his sister, don't try to start a relationship with him now. Continue to be friendly when you do see him but don't press the friendship. If you previously did stuff together, there is no reason to stop unless he feels disloyal to his sibling for talking to you.
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Old 1st November 2014, 6:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jbentley87 View Post
He is bipolar and I understand some of the struggles he has everyday with the disease .... Does anybody have any thoughts on this?
Bentley, if he suffers only from bipolar, it is very unlikely that he struggles with it "every day." Although there are exceptions, bipolar typically occurs only once or twice a year. It is caused by body chemistry changes that usually take two weeks to develop and the resulting mood changes typically lasts about two weeks. If those moods appear as often as four times a year, the bipolar is called "rapid cycling." (Ultra-rapid cycling is possible but much more rare.)

If your Ex's brother really does exhibit strong mood problems on a nearly daily basis, it is far more likely that he's exhibiting traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) -- unless he has a serious alcohol or drug problem. One reason is that BPD mood changes take only ten seconds, not two weeks, to develop. A second reason is that it is common for doctors and therapists to mistake BPD for bipolar. A third reason is that, even when they correctly diagnose a person as having both, they usually will tell that client only about the bipolar and not mention the BPD diagnosis (for the client's own protection). And a fourth reason is that, if the brother really does have bipolar-1 disorder, there is a 35% chance he also suffers from co-occurring BPD.

I mention all this to address your question about the wisdom of drawing close to him so as to help him. If he has strong BPD traits, drawing close would be unwise. The vast majority of BPDers are "high functioning," which means they do fine when interacting with casual friends, business associates, and total strangers. The reason they do so well is that NONE of those people pose a threat to the BPDers two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. That is, there is no close relationship that can be abandoned and no intimacy to cause the suffocating feeling of engulfment. Once you draw close to a BPDer, however, you will unavoidably start triggering BOTH of those fears.

If you are interested, I describe the differences I've seen between the typical behaviors of bipolar sufferers (e.g., my foster son) and BPDers (e.g., my exW) at 12 BPD/Bipolar Differences. I also provide a list of BPD red flags at 18 BPD Warning Signs. If most of those BPD signs sound very familiar, you will find a much more detailed description of them at my post in Rebel's Thread. If that description rings many bells, I would be glad to discuss them with you. Take care, Bentley.
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