Should I push in contacting this relative?

The last time I saw my maternal uncle in person was age 13, and at the time he didn’t even seem interested in saying hi to me.

I got his email address and phone number and was unsuccessful in contacting him at either.

Then he entered into a dispute with my mom over an inheritance that had been probated more than a decade prior. I emailed him during this interested in talking to him, I made clear I was NOT contacting him to spy for my mom or to support her but just to talk about the situation and help him understand her. No reply.

Recently I sent him a snail mail greeting card just asking him to email me or call my US phone number toll free, time went on and I emailed him repeatedly to ask if he got my letter. First email I ever got from him and it was one sentence “yes I did”


I’ve at a loss here, I honestly just wanted to talk to him. I don’t have much family and I’m kinda depressed that another member is alienated.

I guess I’d just like him to explain WTF is his deal?

Quit haranguing the man. If he wanted to talk to you he would have made the effort by now. At this point you’re just being a nuisance.

I forgot to mention he actually flew out to meet my mother in person for a week and obviously spent a great deal of time talking to her and upset her. He chose to do this a MONTH after my father died Only to then change his behavior at the last minute and had a lawyer try to fax me papers to sign to accept a 10% share in the house. I without anger decided I was not going to bother with that if he can’t talk to me or email me.

He also continues to send me a fifty dollar check every year with no communication at christmas, I haven’t cashed these in years. So I doubt he can think I want money out of him.

I just find the whole thing nutty, which is par for the course in my family. My wife finds it nutty, other people I’ve told find it nutty and encourage me to talk to him.

I hear ya. I’ve got an uncle who, a few years ago and out of the blue, set up an education fund for my kids. Kids he hasn’t seen in well over 10 years and doesn’t know at all. If I do speak to him once every few years, he seems sleepy and disinterested. By any measure, we’re estranged relatives.

I’ve learned to live with the nuttyness of the situation (the rest of our family is very close) and I don’t do more than send him a holiday greeting card from all of us once a year. I figure he chooses to distance himself for his own reasons and I don’t think about what those are or care to bother him to explain himself.

I’m struggling to figure out why you want to have anything to do with this jerk. I’m baffled as to why your friends are giving you the terrible advice to keep pursuing him.

This is a no-brainer: leave him alone.

Stop bothering him. And go ahead and cash the checks…you expect him to be friends with you after you’ve essentially been throwing his gifts away? Cash the checks, send him a simple thank you note,and be done with it. If you don’t feel comfortable using the money put it in an account for your kids.

The checks started as a child for christmas presents, I stopped cashing them in my mid twenties because I felt weird. And I could never contact him to say thank you, although bugged to by my family, because he refused to answer the phone.

I don’t expect him to be friends with me, it is his refusal to even talk to despite wanting me to take part of a house I can’t understand.

I had an uncle on my father’s side who estranged himself and his wife and kids from the rest of the family when I was about 9 years old. I’m 59 YO now. I never have found out what happened to cause this. Last summer he was dying of cancer so there was an attempt to have a family reunion. I live about 330 miles away and couldn’t travel that weekend.

I would have liked to attend as there were cousins that I’d never met. However I quickly forgot about it and didn’t even think about the reunion until I read this post.

In a nutshell, after all these years there wasn’t a hole that needed to be filled.

Last summer I met my aunt and uncle (siblings) for the first time since I was a teenager. I realized why they had never reached out or responded to my efforts to be in touch:

They are horrible people.

That’s it. I liked them as a kid, but I was a kid. I thought they liked me, but I was a kid. It hurts quite a lot: I’m a nice person! I’m interesting! What’s wrong with me that you can’t even muster a basic interest? How can you care more about the person in line behind you at the grocery store than your nephew / cousin?

But the fact is, they don’t care. They are horrible people. Mostly because they came from a family of horrible people and never learned to be better.

Well, he hasn’t directly asked you to stop, and has been making uncommunicative efforts to contact you all along, so I say carry on if you wish.

I don’t understand. You have tried contacting him several times over the years with no luck, or you are having trouble contacting him now because of the dispute? I’m also not clear on why you’re so desperate to be in touch with him? Just because?

I have family I like just fine, and haven’t spoken to in years. I don’t think anything of it. I also have family I don’t want to speak to, and will make no effort to do so. Further, some people just suck at keeping in touch. It’s tough to say what the situation is with this guy without more info.

Well he clearly has received the communication from you, he’s just chosen to not respond in a manner that you expect or want.

If there are things that you wish to get off your chest and share, then you should do it via e-mail. He clearly receives them. But you may not get a response or at least have the dialogue you expect.

Stop stalking him. If he wanted to be in contact, he would be. He doesn’t owe you his time or his friendship. It would be nice if he wanted to know you, but it’s plain that he doesn’t. Respect that. Or don’t respect it. But accept it.


If thinking this helps you cope, so be it. But you just don’t know. I cut off an entire side of my family because contacting them is a painful reminder of the childhood abuse my insane alcoholic father put me through. Breaking off contact (and eventually moving away from the area entirely) is what I needed to do to cope and move on with my life. I may re-establish contact with some of them after my father dies, but who knows. It was nothing personal for most of them.

I’m not a bad person, although my aunts and cousins may think I am. The truth is, you just don’t know and aren’t entitled to the truth. Let it be.

He may feel that certain things are an obligation because of the family tie–like birthday gifts and a share in an inheritance. It’s about him satisfying his sense of right and wrong and has nothing to do with you.

Let it alone. He doesn’t want a relationship.

It seems to me that Dr. Drake decided they were horrible people based on his/her meeting with them, not simply because they never responded to her/him.

Yes, that is correct. My grandfather’s death has brought us back into contact, and without second-guessing their day-to-day lives, I have seen plenty of behaviour to make a judgement. They’re not evil or anything; when I say “horrible,” I just mean that they are utterly lacking in positive qualities. A lot of this has to do with the deadly combination of strong religion (one that discourages independent thinking), limited education, and limited exposure to a wider world. On top of an emotionally stunted childhood spent in poverty, it would be a wonder if they weren’t horrible.

I think that the ones who are encouraging you to talk to him are nutty; that, or else they are jerking your chain.

WTF are you thinking? HOLD ON! You mentioned being depressed-first question:

  1. Are you on medication for depression?
  2. Are you on any medication at this time?
  3. What else are you not sharing at this time, that is relevant to this case?

Don’t talk to somebody who doesn’t want to talk to you.

Agree with I don’t get why your friends are encouraging you. I figured you forgot the missing “not” or whatever, but since you never corrected it - I guess you mean it.

We don’t know all the facts here, but:

  1. He doesn’t really owe you an explanation. Maybe your mom and him have issues and he thinks your mom is crazy and doesn’t really want anything to do with her. You telling him you aren’t spying for your mom is just weird to me.
  2. Him sending you money may be a safe way for him to show you he cares. Maybe he thinks he can’t talk to you for whatever reason. For all you know your mom is crazy and made him promise not to.
  3. People change over time - in ten years - maybe he will be more family oriented - or get over what ever issues he might have. Trying to force the issue now isn’t going to help. You probably could stalk him enough to make him tell you something, but that isn’t necessarily going to be the truth - nor is it likely he is going to do a 180 and start sending you kitten videos he finds on YouTube.
  4. I don’t think there is anything wrong with you maybe sending him a card every year updating him on your life (unless you have been asked not to) - if that makes you feel better. Just don’t try and corner him into talking you - or ask him a bunch of questions.

I’m sorry you are unhappy with your family situation. Too bad there isn’t some sort of exchange program - as I’m sure there are lots of Uncles out there that are in the opposite situation you are.

People do change with age. Not saying it will happen. I’m guessing it won’t, but there is still a reasonable chance - if it happens - it happens.

Seriously though - I would ask your friends why they are encouraging this. That just seems very odd to me. I could be wrong of course, but it wonder if they are just telling you what you want to hear. If so - be careful in trusting their other advice.

Are you hallucinating? I never mentioned being clinically depressed, if I did say depressed it was in a hyperbolic use “this situation is depressing”. I’m guessing you just wanted a chance to accuse me of being on medication as a slander(I’m not on any psych meds).

But yes I remembered why I stopped cashing the checks, because I heard through a third party my uncle had made a remark about why he had to mail toy money to a twenty something. Did he actually say it? Who knows!

Anyway I have always given up talking to him, but then he starts it up again by trying to get me to accept share in a house or whatever. Like I said I give up, then he does something to bring the issue back up. Hell next he might put me in his will who knows.

I told him I wasn’t spying for my mom because I wondered hey is that why he doesn’t want to talk? Or thinks I’m angry at him? Shrug.

Anyway he is one of three living family members and is in his 60s, if he wants to leave me alone stop frigging giving me stuff and then telling other people how ungrateful I am behind my back. It is very possible it is just a psych game he is playing I admit.