Is it Wrong to Want an Older Brother?

Reader’s Question

Firstly, I would like to thank you and appreciate your taking the time to read my e-mail. I am posing two questions.

The first question is as follows: is there a mental condition for wanting to have an older brother? I am a 17-year-old male, and I feel that my relationship with my older brother has caused me to yearn deeply for an older brother/role model. Allow me to explain; my brother is 30 and he is half-blood related brother via our mother, and throughout my entire life he has come and gone into my life. The best way I can explain it is that it’s like having a brother but not yet having one, he’s there but he really isn’t. So I have always tried to fill that void in my life — trying to find and pick out role models, but — to make an extremely long story short — none of them have ever felt the same way or committed. I mean, it is extremely painful sometimes to not have an older brother to go out and do guy-things or brother-activities with. He (my older brother) and I have never done anything together like that, and what’s worse is that he is jealous of me too. It sucks. So am I in the wrong for wanting a relationship with an “older brother” figure? Is it bad for me to yearn that? I mean, I really feel that he (my brother) has ruined our whole relationship. I love him, but I don’t feel like I want a relationship with him anymore. I mean, he says hurtful things to me and yet he calls me his brother? I don’t see the love there. So I guess the real question is thus: is it wrong for me to pursue trying to find a relationship with an older male who could be a role model/brother to me?

I mean, I just want a friendship where an older guy would want to do things with me that my brother never did: go see a movie, go to a game, go play some baseball, etc. Is that wrong for wanting that?

My second question is actually more peculiar than the first: is there anything like an aqua obssesive compulsive disease? Haha, I know that sounds odd — but I love the sound of the shower water running…I could listen to it for hours.

Psychologist’s Reply

It’s totally normal to desire a good role model in your life. While many people have older brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters, and grandparents — those folks in our lives may not be the ideal person for that role. Exactly as you describe, many people have older individuals in their lives but they’re not good or ideal role models. Do to age differences, it’s not uncommon to have an older brother who doesn’t actually relate to you. When this happens, exactly as you describe, people seek an appropriate role model. These good role models are often teachers, other relatives, and even neighbors. To replace older brothers we often have good friends that fill the same role in our lives. It’s also possible to realize that you can be the older brother to someone — providing a good role model to younger people in your family or community. Keep in mind that a good “older brother” role model doesn’t have to be older than you — just someone who is more mature, responsible, and willing to provide positive guidance.

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To the second question, there is no aqua disorder here. Most people enjoy the sound of running water (unless your bladder’s full), ocean surf, or rain on a roof. These sounds are very soothing and relaxing. In fact, these sounds are so calming and relaxing that you can now purchase “sleep machines” that duplicate the sound of running water, ocean surf, babbling brooks, rain, and wind for an entire night’s enjoyment. It is for this reason that many folks sleep with a fan going in the bedroom. The “white noise” is not only soothing, but masks the normal creaks and noises that a house makes as it settles for the night. Almost any large department store has the sleep machines, although I don’t know if shower sounds are available.

In short, “You’re normal” is the answer to both questions.

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