-- H. G. Wells
My brother and I have led very different lives. He is a few years shy of being old enough to be my father. And though he came of age during the turbulent sixties, the sexual revolution pretty much passed him by. As a teenager and young adult, he was passive and reserved among strangers and I don't think he dated until he left high school.
I remember him having only one girlfriend before meeting the woman who is now his wife. From the very beginning, she was the dominant force of the couple -- she was even the one to propose marriage.
They've been married for around thirty-five years and he's just as passive as ever. Whenever I've spoken to him over the phone, I can always hear the wife bickering in the background, and his attitude toward his marriage and his life seems more resigned than content to me.
As those who have read my blog for any time, my life is entirely different from his. I'm not the slightest bit passive when it comes to pursuing the opposite sex, nor have I ever allowed a woman to lead me around by the nose, nor would I abide a woman who constantly bickered just to hear her own voice. And I can't imagine myself staying in a situation that I was merely resigned to stick out, and not there because it made me happy.
Several years ago, when I was still in my brief marriage, not long after my son was born, my brother abandoned his passive nature for once and took it upon himself to lecture me about my tomcatting, telling me that I ought to settle down for the sake of my wife and son, that what I was doing was "disgusting", blah, blah, blah.
I didn't take kindly to this, as I never discussed my personal life with him and felt like it wasn't any of his business and I told him so, noting that he didn't seem particularly happy in the life he led.
He never mentioned it again, but ever since, there has been an invisible wall between us, and we've never been entirely comfortable with one another since.
From the perspective of years, I've realized that part of the motivation to his meddling was jealousy and, of course, "sour grapes".
I've not seen him in over a decade, nor spoken with him in about five years or so. I'm perfectly willing to do so, but I'm not going to go out of my way to do it, either.
It's too bad because we always got along fine when I was a kid and before he got married.