Author Topic: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"  (Read 3873 times)

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guihong

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How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« on: December 10, 2012, 07:06:53 PM »
Hi, all:

I know that seems like an odd question to ask my own brother, especially as we're not estranged and email every week.

My brother married his second wife, "Cher", about a year and a half ago.  From the start, they seemed to have an arrangement in which they lived apart but often visited (for want of a better word) at my brother's much larger house.  I met her briefly when I was in Oregon visiting our father, and then again last Christmas.  All went fairly well.

"Cher", as my brother confided and I noticed, is a nice person but a bit kooky.  She didn't seem especially hardy emotionally.  Christmas almost stressed her to the max, trying to make things just so.  She has no real career except for selling art once in a while, while my brother teaches.  I don't know how they had enough in common for a relationship, let alone marriage, but she seemed to genuinelly care for him during his health crises, so if that's the arrangement he wanted, so be it.  He told me something like he'd married her to make sure she would be taken care of after he died. 

Note: I am *not* saying that a woman needs a career.  I know many of us, including myself, are or were SAHM''s.  I mean, they have no children and she doesn't seem to be able to support herself for long periods.

My dilemma: Brother hasn't mentioned her nearly all year.  Is it OK to ask "How's Cher?", or would that be butting in?  It could be they live entirely seperate lives.  How do I address the Christmas package? 

Another option would be to call his grown daughter (she is the daughter of his first wife, but he legally adopted her and we are close) and suss out the info that way, but that seems too indirect and not necessary.

If helpful, my family is traditionally the opposite of gossipy and chatty; I often don't know anything about new babies or deaths until long after :(.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 07:10:57 PM by guihong »



Only me

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 07:11:01 PM »
HI

What an interesting dilemma. Is there any way to say "haven't heard anything about Cher"....

Onlyme

JenJay

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 07:29:12 PM »
In the next email could you say something like "Do you and Cher have any special plans for the holidays?" or "Tell Cher I said Merry Christmas!"

despedina

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 07:50:28 PM »
I don't think it should be strange to your brother if you asked How he and Cher have been doing. I mean, she is his wife or at least as far as you know she still is.
Any package you send should probably be sent to the both of them.

Ceallach

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 08:41:53 PM »
I don't think it should be strange to your brother if you asked How he and Cher have been doing. I mean, she is his wife or at least as far as you know she still is.
Any package you send should probably be sent to the both of them.

I agree, after all, you haven't been told otherwise so it wouldn't be fair for you to be expected to know if the situation has changed.   I think it's fine to cheerfully mention her in conversation.  It's up to him to let you know if the circumstances have changed - he introduced you to a wife, it's fair for you to assume he still has a wife!
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Hmmmmm

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2012, 08:45:31 PM »
In your next email just say "how is Cher? You haven't mentioned her in a while."

TurtleDove

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 08:46:04 PM »
Yeah, I would just casually mention her and assume they are together.  I don't think it needs to be a big deal at all.

gramma dishes

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2012, 08:56:35 PM »
In your next email just say "how is Cher? You haven't mentioned her in a while."

I think this is good.  Simple, to the point, non assuming either way.  Since you email so regularly it does seem very odd that he hasn't mentioned her in a year!  I don't think there'd be anything at all wrong in that simple combination of question and statement. 

He may have wanted to tell you all along but was afraid to bring it up for fear you'd be judgmental toward him or even her if the marriage didn't work out or if she's currently in residential therapy or something.

Margo

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 09:33:14 AM »
In your next email just say "how is Cher? You haven't mentioned her in a while."
POD

If he hasn't mentioned anything about them being separated, or her being unwell, or away, then there's no reason why you should magically be expected to know. This gives him an opening to respond and let you know either that they're fine, or that they are not, and you can then go ahead with your christmas cards and gifts accordingly.

If you don't hear anything, assume that they are still together unless you're told otherwise. Assuming that they'v split up is far more like to cause offence than assuming that they are still together when you have not been told that they aren't.

Yankeegal77

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 07:26:11 PM »
I would just ask.

You two seem, from this post, to be on friendly terms and openly communicate. As long as you're asking like you are genuinely interested in Cher and her well-being and not "concerned"-- i.e. not making an assumption as part of your question, you should be fine. There's a world of difference between:

"Hey, bro, hope you and Cher are doing well! I saw a piece of art that reminded me of her...how is she doing these days?"

and...

"Bro, I'm concerned. You haven't mentioned Cher in some time, and I'm wondering if you two are still married. No one I ask seems to know. What is going on?!?"

Make sense? :)

BeagleMommy

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Re: How do I ask my brother, "Are you still married?"
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2012, 12:47:23 PM »
In your next email just say "how is Cher? You haven't mentioned her in a while."
POD

If he hasn't mentioned anything about them being separated, or her being unwell, or away, then there's no reason why you should magically be expected to know. This gives him an opening to respond and let you know either that they're fine, or that they are not, and you can then go ahead with your christmas cards and gifts accordingly.

If you don't hear anything, assume that they are still together unless you're told otherwise. Assuming that they'v split up is far more like to cause offence than assuming that they are still together when you have not been told that they aren't.

POD