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My older brother met a girl 10 days ago. Yesterday he announced to the family that they are engaged, and today we were told that they would be getting married sometime next week.

The whole family is in shock. My brother is 10 years older than me (he's 40, I'm 30) and he's had several girlfriends and one broken engagement in the past couple of years. He's desperate and we're very concerned he's going to make a decision he regrets.

I would really like to caution him to slow down. Even if it's just for a few months. Surely if this is the real deal, he can wait a bit longer and not rush into this. I know that he's in love. I know he's a grown man and it is not likely that he's going to listen to me. But I really would like to caution him nonetheless. We all are very worried about him. It is likely that we will not be able to attend the wedding, and we feel hurt that he is not including us at all and that we won't be able to meet her until next year.

How do I approach this very delicate situation and express my concern for him and my hurt at not being able to be part of his wedding?

Some more detail:

My brother lives ~1000km away from everyone else in the family and they will be getting married in his town. We're not obligated to come and it won't be possible to organise on such short notice. I would have loved to have gone to his wedding and celebrated with him. We're not even going to be meeting her until March due to their travel plans. All of our Christmas plans have been completely thrown off by this news.

We are a religious family (he is religious too) and so for the most part divorce is not an option. This decision is a lifelong one in his eyes and ours.

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    If he's grown up and won't listen to you, would it perhaps be better to concentrate instead on retaining your relationship with him? Love can make people be very irrational, so he may not see any request for caution as positive. – Rory Alsop Dec 13 '17 at 17:32
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    @RoryAlsop I was hoping to be able to do both. We have a good relationship and I have no plans on ruining it over this. – user6818 Dec 13 '17 at 17:34
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    Knowing your cultural background (beyond "religious") would really help. I imagine that the answers will vary if you're Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, Hindu, Shia Muslim... and also if you're in the US, Latin America, eastern Europe, China, India... – Monica Cellio Dec 14 '17 at 1:54
  • Is sex before marriage ok for him/your family? (focusing on the religious aspect) – QEDemonstrandum Jul 9 '18 at 14:10
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    @QEDemonstrandum no, and this probably was a factor for his decision. It's now 9 months later and he's married, we've met her, and they are now pregnant. It's not an ideal situation by any means, but what's done is done. – user6818 Jul 9 '18 at 14:54
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This can be a very tough situation, especially given the distance. No one wants to be told that "the one" might not actually be "the one", after all.

The best approaches I can think of are an appeal to his love of family or to slyly get him to realize that he does not know this woman as well as he does.

The first approach was touched on in Lucio's answer, but I want to dive a little more in depth with it here.

How much does your family mean to your brother? Or, how much does the relationship between the two of you, at least, mean? If the answer is "a lot", you may be able to get him to give it time by appealing to this bond. Mention that you want to be there for the wedding, but can't on such short notice. If it makes you sad or upset that you can't, mention it. Don't lie about how this makes you feel. If it doesn't really upset you, don't tell him it does.

By making the waiting about having more people there to celebrate, you are not accusing him of not knowing what he's doing. Likewise, he has a legitimate reason to talk to this woman about delaying for a short time so that his family, or even just his sister, can make it to the wedding.

If you feel that is unlikely to work, try asking questions. Talk to him about this woman and just ask about her. What she's like, what she does for a living, where she's from, her hobbies and interests- Things you want to know about your soon-to-be sister-in-law. This will accomplish one of two things, hopefully:

  1. You will learn a lot more about your new sister-in-law, and may even learn that your brother knows her far better than any of you imagined. No matter how unlikely, this can happen!

  2. Your brother will realize he hardly knows this woman and may think about delaying the wedding to get to know her better.

Now, this method is not guaranteed to work, but it might. But the important thing is, don't judge and don't accuse! Don't tell him he knows nothing about this woman and is making a mistake- That will only make him defensive and possibly make him cut ties for even a short time.

All in all, try to be supportive while trying to direct his attention to the potential life-long mistake he is making.

If you haven't even spoken to this woman over the phone, there is a (very slim, in my mind) chance that this is actually just your brother trying to see how he would be supported and handled for making a rash decision. I highly doubt this is the case, but if it is... Not being judgmental or accusatory will show him he can count on you to have his back while still trying to steer him away from potential danger. Even as an older sibling, it's always good to know your younger siblings are looking out for you as much as you are for them.

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Since your brother lives so far away from you, I think the best you can do is to try calling him and expressing yourself just like you did here.

For the problem of meeting her: Say that all the family members want to go to the wedding but only a few will go because he just explode the news for you guys. Ask for him to delay a little bit the wedding so all the family members can go and meet her. If they are going to travel together, ask for the ceremony to be in March.

For the problem of knowing each other for just a couple of days: This is a very delicate issue, you don't want to confront your brother and cause a family battle, so in my experience, since he's 40, you need to assume that he's making the right choice, BUT you can talk with him about how long they know each other, (I don't know wich religion your family is) but you can ask if they are already living together (Cause that's the big problem in a marriage, the living together part is the most difficult, in the good and the bad times is when we know if we are with THE LOVE OF OUR LIVES or not. So I think you can express yourself in a calm way and try to lead the conversation to make him notice that he need to know her better.

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