Living Near Your Children…Bonus or Bad Move?

Written by Allen Unrau

livenearHalf a century ago most families stayed in the same area. You lived your life in close proximity to most of your relatives. Children would marry and move away from home. This “moving away from home” usually meant a few miles or at most it may have been the next town where they established their roots.

There is an old Dutch proverb that says: “A happy new home is one where you can’t see the smoke from your parent’s chimney.”  That may be true, but everyone you knew lived within an hour of each other.

Things changed dramatically in the last half of the century and Canadian families are now spread out geographically.

Children went to the city for further education and never returned to the area where they grew up.  Maybe they met their future husband or wife and ended up moving across the country when they married.  Good jobs required moves and relocation if you wanted to move up the ladder.  Transfers moved families all over this country.  You’ve done your best to keep in touch, but it’s just not been the same as living near your family.  Some of your grandchildren are already as tall as you and you don’t feel you really know them as well as you would like to.

Retirement gives you a lot of choices

Should you stay where you are or have you always wanted to move closer to your children and grandchildren? Do you know for sure that they want you closer to them?  Will you be able to make new friends when you move or will you be relying totally on your family for the relationships you need in your life?

Will you end up becoming a baby sitter, cook, cleaner and gardener for your adult children?  Maybe you can’t wait to be able to help them out, but you need to consider these things in advance.

What about your son-in-law or daughter-in-law?  How do they feel about having you closer?  Have you been open with each other and talked through all the issues in advance?  Do they have blended families and how will you grandparent role fit with stepchildren?

Maybe you are moving because of guilt. You feel that you haven’t spent enough time with them or they want you near because they feel guilty about not having made enough effort to get together with you in the past.  Adult children and their parents sometimes play games with each other.  Adult children may send messages they feel their parents want to hear or messages that will not upset their parent, rather than what is true.  So, be careful and above all be honest with each other before you pull up stakes.

What if you follow the kids and they don’t have time for you?

Remember, their life is probably a balancing act right now.  They are responsible for many things and many people and their schedule may be very full!  You probably have expectations about the help you would like from them at this stage of your life.  Can they meet your expectations and will it be a joy or a burden for them?

“Knowing what it would be like” is often difficult to achieve without “actually doing it.”  If you move, you would be wise to arrange for help from other sources for some of your needs so as not to rely totally on your family and overwhelm them. Make it a comfortable transition for everyone involved.

Do you get the feeling they want you closer?

If so, you are the most fortunate person in the world!  Seize the opportunity…family is everything!

Article © Allen Unrau, used with permission

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144 Responses to “Living Near Your Children…Bonus or Bad Move?”

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Love your rocking chair story Janice!! That’s a great reminder for all of us that God does provide in His time which isn’t always our time. Also, since your son and dil love coming to your place by the river, it will be a place that your grandchildren will have fond memories of as well. Our grands love coming to Nan’s house even though it is a long trip for several of them.

  • Mary says:

    These posts have been very helpful to me too as I struggle with trying to decide if we should move closer to our daughter. Doris sent some advice my way earlier this year. Our youngest son is still in high school, so we wouldn’t make a move for at least another two years. My concern is that there are friends and family that think it’s a good idea and others who think we are crazy to leave a nice house, small business and everything we know. I still have at least 10 to 15 years to retire and I’m a teacher, so pension is of a concern. I know I could get a job as a teacher or something in the education field, but it’s just tough because we also miss our daughter very much. Our sons are young enough and willing to move as well. She needs to live in this part of the country for her job so it’s pretty safe to say that she’s set. She misses us and wants us to move there as well. I love the stories you told about how things work out for a reason somehow someway but I think we need to make the ultimate decision. I also agree that sometimes those decisions are made easier because of signs described in recent posts! I keep praying on this every day!! I am grateful that she is healthy and safe and happy. I just wish we were there too!! I realize kids grow up and move on and I’m glad that I can look back and know that we did a pretty decent job raising them. It’s just hard to explain because part of me thinks that if there is a chance for us all to live around each other and be happy, why not just do it? Life is too short and I don’t want years to go by and feel this same way!

  • Kate Kate says:

    Great story Janice. Thanks for sharing here.

  • Janice says:

    Doris, that is what we are thinking….that we may be able to keep our place at the river too. The reason we don’t want to sell it is because places on the river aren’t easy to find, and if they are, they are not cheap. But now that our place is paid for, it is cheap to live here. But, it is not where our son is. In addition, there are activities that take place in our town that my son and daughter-in-law enjoy coming for…like Farm Days, Antique Car shows, etc. So, by us keeping our place, we would all have a place to stay. Yes, it is amazing how God works. While here I must tell you a story concerning this. Years ago, while I was working, I was talking to a friend who worked across town. I had made the comment that I had been looking for rocking chairs for the longest time but could never find any. She said, “When God gets ready for you to have rocking chairs, you will have rocking chairs.” Then my friend said, “Let me call you back. Someone is knocking at my door.” In a couple of minutes, the phone rang and my friend was obviously shaken. She said, “I am still shaking. The person at the door asked me if I knew anyone who wanted to buy rocking chairs!” We have told our rocking story many times. It shows that God is concerned about our big needs, and the small ones too. If the person behind the door had asked if she knew someone who wanted watermelons, or tomatoes, or anything, there would be nothing odd about that….but…ROCKING CHAIRS. That would never happen again in a million years. And, yes, by night fall, I had my rocking chairs.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Janice,
    I love how God works, bringing to mind that conversation that you had with the worker at the Salvation Army Store. Who knows, perhaps if you could get an apartment in that building you might not even need to sell your place by the river but keep both and be able to move back and forth.

    In the meantime, enjoy the your place by the river and trust that this will work out for good either way.

  • Janice says:

    Bassione, I was delighted to find your reply this morning. Like you, I have never felt true happiness since my son left. But it helps me to have the support of those who are in a similar situation. This morning, I remembered talking to a worker in the Salvation Army store in the city where my son lives. She and I became very close, as I frequented the store a good bit in search for items for a flea market booth that we have here. Anyway, she mentioned to me that her mother lived in an apartment which was for seniors, especially those who receive disability (my husband does for a heart condition). I decided to call her and find out more about the apartment. I almost fell out when she said that her mother lived in a one-bedroom apartment (very large, she said). It had a walk in-closet and the living room and master bedroom was very large….and she pays LESS THAN $200 a month! Of course, that is based on income. That gave me hope. So I contacted the apartment manager via email, but haven’t heard anything back yet. So, things are looking up. If God wants us to be there, I feel that there will be no obstacles in our way. I have always been a person who was afraid of change. I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone. But, on the other hand, I look forward to a new adventure, or maybe the next phase of our lives, I should call it. And, most of all, I want to be near our son, and he and his wife want us near too. Let’s keep in touch. Perhaps we can help each other through this difficult time. Warmly, Janice

  • Bassione says:

    Janice,
    Thank you so much for the kind words.Appreciate your response.
    I am almost in the same position as yourself. It’s a hard decision ,GOD works in misterious ways,who knows what would happen tomorrow.
    Can you keep checking for homes on Internet,sometimes mobile homes are inexpensive.I am not sure what is your energy level but sometimes apartment buildings need a couple to manage their facility and give free apartments to reside.
    You must not deny change, your life will not improve if you deny yourself oppertunities.specially grand kids will give you great joy if you are closer.River life has served its purpose ,you raised your children ,now it’s time to move on.
    Stay in touch Janice and do pray for me too.
    Best regards.

  • Janice says:

    Thank you so much for responding, Doris and Bassione. And, here I was thinking I was the only person in the world who was going through this. Bassione, you hit the nail on the head when you said that you are sad each day. The day my son left, I lost my joy, and I have never been a depressed person in my life. Doris, I appreciate your kind comments. You both have given me something to ponder. Ironically, my son just called. I always ask HIS opinion about this, and he says, “You and Dad are the ones who must make the decision. I can’t tell you what to do….but, it would great to have you here.” He went on to say that we once said that we didn’t ever want to leave the river. But when it comes to your children, you would leave anything for them. Also, my son mentioned something that I think about. I am a realist, and I know that one day, something will happen to either me or my husband. I have NO family whatsoever, other than my son, and a brother who lives in Tennessee, who visits only at Christmas (he isn’t married). So, as I said, I would be left alone in the world, if something should happen to my husband. But, I realize that I would be left alone no matter where I was living. The ONLY thing that keeps me from moving tomorrow are finances. It’s difficult to find anything cheap where my son lives, and the advice given to me by my brother. He said, “You guys would be out of your mind to leave the river. There is no place in the world that you can live that cheaply.” I hate to admit it…but he is right. I have been asking God to give me guidance and direction but I’m sure He isn’t going to have someone call me one day and say, “Hey, I have an apartment you and your husband can live in rent free.” But another friend tells me that God works like that….well, not the free part…but He does open a door. Please continue to give me your advice. I need it so much. Thanks so much.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Janice,
    As you have seen on this thread, you are not alone in your situation! I have grandchildren both here in the city that we live in, and far away and can honestly say that I am just as close to the 6 that live far away as to the 2 that live here. But my husband and I have been very intentional in both visiting the faraway families, and making sure that we initiate texting, and face to face visits either with skype or facetime. It doesn’t ‘just’ happen to have a good relationship with grandchildren that live far away.

    Having said that, I also know of several couples who did move to be closer to their children and it worked very well. I think the key is that you realize that you will still have to work at having a life in that new location and not expect your children to be your all in all. This is not a move to be taken lightly but something that you and your husband need to talk about. Perhaps in your long term planning, when it is time to move out of your house, the next move could be to an apartment in the city where your son lives…..lots of possibilities!

  • Bassione says:

    Janice,
    Children do move away and it’s heart breaking.Follow your heart,life is short if you need to make a change go for it.I live oceans apart from my only son and daughter ,grandchildren and I have been sulking everyday of the life.I took jobs,socialised with friends but each morning that I wake up I have a sad feeling.There is looming sadness all the time.
    Look for a place which is affordable even if it’s not very dose to your son.Atleast you know you can see him and the grand kids of and on.
    All parents go through this dilima of loneliness ,my honest advise is move closer to your heart,your son!
    Best regards.

  • Janice says:

    I think God directed me to this blog. My husband and I are sad and hurting because our only son, who has health problems, married and moved to another state. He used to live next door to us, and we saw him every day. I cried for days when he left. I was happy for him, but I was sad for me and my husand. My husband also has some health issues, and sometimes I become so afraid because I’m afraid that something (God forbid) might happen to him, and I would be left all alone, in a place where I have no other family. We live on the river and we love the beauty we are surrounded with, but it doesn’t compare to the love we have for our son and his new wife. It would be o.k. with them if we moved to the city where they live. But we own our humble little abode, and we live rather cheaply. It is expensive to live in the city where our son lives. We are seniors but very active, and we visit when we can. But, I know, as we get older, that may be impossible. Please, please give me some advice, so I will feel some peace of heart and be happy again. When our son left, it felt like someone had died. And I can’t help but feel a little jealous because his wife’s parents live down the road from them. If my son and his wife should ever have children, they wouldn’t know us because we couldn’t visit as often. Should we sell our river place and move, or stay put? I am in such turmoil because of this situation.

  • Trish Hicks Trish Hicks says:

    I am not really sure on how to add my piece to this conversation, all I know is I can relate with this subject very well.Although I am a firm believer all things happen for a reason. I also am learning to trust and realize that God actually does work all situations good or bad or ugly,for the good for those who love him.Romans 8:28 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
    Whether I would have stayed in New York when my son was going through all his crazy drug nonsense, or moved to where I am now. My son would still be where he is today, 5 hours away from me married to his HS sweetheart with two beautiful children of his own. Praise God he is clean from drugs now.It is purely the grace of God because I was not as close to Christ as I am now.That in itself is a long drawn out story.
    Why i moved from NY.My point is I believe it is God’s maneuvering. My son and his wife are both in their 30′s. Being the young parents living their life I guess to what they call living life to the fullest. The only sad thing about hearing from my son he only calls me on my birthday,holidays and when he needs money. My second husband of whom I am with now,(its a whole another story why its not my sons father)he drives me to go see him but once a year.I live in NC my son and wife live in Virginia beach.So I only see them once a year.
    From the experience of having a sister who was quite the same way to my mom and dad when they were alive, around the same given age in the 30′s and maybe half into her 40′s late 40′s did she start to come around to my parents, meaning taking more of an interest in paying attention to them. but by that time my Mom had been suffering from Alzheimers and was dying ,But by then it was too late for my sister.My sister is now living with regrets.
    My oldest sister now has dementia, we assume is alzheimers and so does the drs.My sister is making up for her abscence to my parents to my sister.
    The point I am trying to get across here is from experience and from the mouth of my sister her self which is a social worker and knows about the thinkings of people of diffrent age groups. It is known that that is just the way the majority of young adults are. They are all out and basically most of them just are contemplating on how they want to play out their own lives. And although I guess its possible to be done purposely with some. But as a whole these kids who have turned to be married young adults, do have lives of their own as to the purpose of us parents rearing them to do.They don’t do it purposely. They just are not really thinking about calling mom and dad.But I just find it is ironic just like when they were young who was the first one they came running to when in trouble. Well that is exactly what I find my son is still doing. So I just want to add that as they grow and get older and unfortunately so are we older that is usually when they start thinking of their parents more.Although its hard to deal believe me right now I am there with all of you its just apparently a fact of life we have to accept. But when close and walking with Christ we can do it in his strength.
    I sincerely hope i have been able to shed some light maybe on this conversation.
    Sincerely,
    Trish

  • Marti, says:

    Ive been trying to resolve these kinds of things. I have five grown children and had two long term marriages behind me when they were living their own lives. In 2010 I met a gentleman and we decided to live together with marriage in mind…two months after I moved to be with him he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We were together and I took care of him, then did some trips when he was feeling up to it, until we finally got through all of the ‘red tape” etc and married in May 2012. He died Dec 30 2012 six months after we married . I have one son here in this state and they wanted me closer to them so I moved to the lower/basement level of their home in March of that same year. In June after I moved up here, my son had strokes, lost his job which had brought him to this state. They have two teen aged boys, and one is autistic. Daughter in law has lived with me in the past; we get along fine when shes feeling like she wants a friend/mom around. She is also an alcoholic, but a functioning one and works. They are both working now. My other children live in states far away. Because of circumstances with my last husband not fulfilling his plans to “reimburse” me for all the help I gave him when we were together, I m not in a good financial situation so cannot get my own place right now…and am helping quite a lot here. It isn’t a good life. I am once again in a new area and know no one. I should mention that I have moved MANY times over the years and feel worn out about starting over. I did start therapy and managed to convince my daughter in law to start. My point is that I have been trying to decide whether I should make the best of things here find a way to live alone somewhere. I have no driving need to live in any particular place. If I had the money, Id have my own place and go and visit my kids as I could but as long as I have to help here, Im too drained to do much. How does one find outlets, ways to meet people when living in someone elses home? I have used Match.com in the past, at my sisters insistence(while taking care of my dad for five years), but I don’t even know my area and how to get around. I am 71 but don’t look it Im told and would like to just have some quiet enjoyment in life. Im not a sewer/knitter/granny on the porch type lady but Im also not a party girl either! lol What does one do when there is no base to build on? Yes there is a church in another city of my faith but would mean a bit of a drive and walking in as a total stranger, alone. I like people but that’s hard. Just want to get some responses if I can, men and women both… I have always had a “partner”, happy marriage or not, and find myself alone AND in a strange area with little to no support. Ideas? Suggestions? Oh and one more little item…I am NOT a woman who just strikes out and drives all over areas Im not familiar with: no sense of direction or confidence about heavy traffic. Know this all sound pathetic! Just a bit desparate to start my own life even if I have to be here for awhile……

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Mary Ann, as you said so well, the problem really boils down to expectations!! When we have expectations, either as parents or as children, we are bound to be disappointed. Instead we should be more concerned about what we can give one another. Our happiness should never be determined by the actions of others…but how we choose to live our own lives.

  • Mary Ann says:

    This subject of whether living close to your children is a bonus or bad move can’t be generalized relative to how families respond. There disappointment expressed from many on this forum from both sides – children and parents. Parents complain that adult children expect unlimited babysitting or that their children have no time to see them. Adult children complain that their parents expect too much of their time. If we can all let go of our expectations, it will alleviate some of the pain.

    As Sarina suggests, parents of adult children need to take responsibility for their own entertainment and happiness – not rely on their children/grandchildren. It’s also important for retirees to have a plan for their healthcare and not expect their children to take care of them as they age or lose their health. If our children are willing to help, as Sarina is, we’re especially blessed. When my parents were independent and healthy, I didn’t see them or speak with them as often as I did after they became ill. When they needed help, I was happy to pick up groceries, prepare meals, take them to a doctor appointment, etc. Even then, they didn’t make demands of me or make me feel that they were my responsibility. I wanted to spend as much time as I could because I knew my time with them was limited, and I’m so thankful for the time we shared.

    I live in a community of retirees and as soon as one gets sick, they head back “home” to the kids. That’s fine if they want to be closer to family, but it’s not fair to make a move so the children can “take care” of them. In my opinion, adult children should never be expected to be primary caregivers of their parents or grandparents. Bravo, Sarina, for your commitment to never burden your children by making them responsible for your healthcare and happiness when you’re a senior.

  • Rashid says:

    Hi
    Sarina well said I agree with you when grand parents was young they did care for no one and not even for little but now they are older and they expect you to be closer and get involved in v hold rent life because of their benefit.
    My marriage was fail because of her parents they want us to be living next door and live the life of old ways what they have been living unsuccessfully.
    What they earn from it? Nothing just upsetting their d a ugh terms life.please don’t take me wrong I love and respect both family including grand parents but please we will help you if you need but don’t get in b o loved in our life let’s us Rais our children the way we want before they norn. I tell in laws ruind life

  • sarina says:

    I love my parents and in-laws so much and want to help them as they get older and need more of our loving care. However, i am seeing alot of aging parents/grandparents from the “me-me-me” generation who would love for their kids to stop their lives and concentrate on them and their personal happiness. It’s not fair to party out your young years, then get older, retired, bored, then expect the kids and grandkids to stop living their lives to keep u happily entertained. I vow not to do that to my son and his future family. Keep yourselves busy and entertained. Your life is not over. But dont be afraid to ask for assistance once it is really needed.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Bassione,
    We have to remember that our children are busy with their own families and just because they can’t talk doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want to….it’s a fact of life. I am just on my way to visit my daughter and even though she doesn’t initiate conversation/communication very often I know that she loves us but it’s just a very busy season of life. Part of it also depends upon the child…some are just better communicators than others.

  • Bassione says:

    DONA, it’s been same story with every family.I am learning from everyone else.We live oceans apart from my children.We miss them enourmously.My daughter never calls,I have to call every weekend just to stay in touch,she has never called,never left a message ,never asked us how we are doing.she is married with two children.Last couple weekend when I called,once she sent a message she can’t talk because she is driving,following week she said she can’t talk because they were rushing out of the house for dinner with house guests.It hurts when they ignore us,specially because we go out of our way for them.I can’t understand her.
    Our son will call ,but he is not married,once he gets married I think that one call will be over also.
    I feel sad for my husband ,he is diabetic,has slowed down,he misses the children but it seems like one way road.
    Glad you are getting married,that’s the right thing to do.Dont be sad,you are not alone.
    Best regards.

  • Donna says:

    I’m sad..Have been a widow for 6 yrs.was married to my husband
    For 42 yrs. when he past..I have a son married and 4
    Children, my Grandkids.We we’re all so close while my husband
    Was alive..I lived just cross town, 30 miles from my
    Son, and he kept saying move closer u will be
    Able to see us/Grandkids more..Well I did. Do I see them
    More, no!! Now my son mentioned he would like to move
    To Austin or SAN ANTONIO. He said it’s only 3-4 hrs away!
    The only thing that keeps me going is I met a man whom I will be
    Marrying in December..Why can’t children
    See when your parents get older they need you, just
    Like they needed their parents when they lived home..
    My heart hurts every day, and I have to keep a smily
    Face on..Depressing :(

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Mary Ann you are so wise!! I love reading your comments and so appreciate what you have to say. I have to totally agree with what you said that ‘ I now realize she was desperate for my attention and affirmation.’ As our parents get older it seems more important to affirm them and let them know that we still need them. Which reminds me that I need to call my parents and tell them that again too! :-)

  • Mary Ann says:

    Jenny, I’m sorry you’re hurting. You’ve lost your father, but have probably been so busy dealing with your mom’s needs, that you haven’t had time to fully grieve your loss. Your brother’s drug addiction and estrangement is also a terrible loss for you and your mom. You have a lot on your plate. Try to remember that your mom is at a late stage in her life and it really is a bit more difficult as we age. I don’t think she’s trying to “punish” you, and she’s probably not serious about moving. She knows she can’t, because of her financial situation, but she has figured out that it’s a “hot” button for you…it gets your attention! If you can react with patience and love, it will probably affirm her “worth” to you.

    My mom (at age 67) declared she was moving to another state to live near my cousin. I was hurt, because we had always been very close. She said her daughters didn’t “need” her or have time for her. I now realize she was desperate for my attention and affirmation. It’s apparent that you give your mom a great deal of care, but do you take time to let her now how important she is to you and how much you love her company (oh, don’t we all love to know we’re “good company”)? So often, when we’re “doing” for our parents, our “care” can give them the impression that they are a “burden” for us. You’re probably very busy and find it difficult to fit in all you do for your mom – that’s how it was for me when my parents needed help. If she perceives a “hint” of inconvenience to you, her first response may be to make the “move away threat”. My mom passed when she was the age I am now (67), and I’d give anything to re-live that period of time when I had no idea what words my mom needed to hear from me. Looking back, I realize she wanted to feel “needed” and to know how much I enjoyed being with her. She didn’t want to hear how busy I was and how sorry I was that I couldn’t be with her more often. That said…….

    You say you have “no one”. You may not have other family available to you, but friends can be as close as family, and I hope you’ve cultivated a support system of people who will be there for you and help you deal with your sadness. If not, please consider the offer you’ve received to work with a mentor on this site. You have reached out for help, so be willing to accept it.

    I hope the best for you and your mom. Treasure the moments….

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Bassione,
    Interesting hearing your perspective as well from someone whose children are oceans away as you say. I cannot even imagine having my children and grandchildren oceans away…on opposite ends of the continent is already to far!

  • Bassionemuslims says:

    Jenny,it has been educational to know your story,specially because my children and we are oceans away.We miss them and try to stay involved with friends ,family,house,pets etc. just trying not to miss our children.But believe me life is like hell without them.If your Mom goes to Irland,she may initially like the change but her family will start picking on her and she will miss you and would like to come back.Family looks great from a distance,but when you get closer they come to bite.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Jenny,
    I do see your side and understand that you are hurting. It sounds like your mother not only has some unresolved childhood issues as you said, but also has some very unrealistic expectations of what life back in Northern Ireland would be like. You are so right when you say that visiting and living there would be very different.

    I am so sorry that you aren’t ‘enough’ for her as you said. At this point all you can do is continue to remind her that you love her and that you want her to stay around. Let her know how much you would miss her. If you would like to talk more to one of our online mentors just fill in this form at http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/ and one of them will email you.

    Let me pray for you and your Mom right now:

    Heavenly Father,
    I do lift Jenny and her mother up to you right now. It sounds like both are really hurting…her Mom because she is desperate enough to consider moving back to N. Ireland and Jenny because she doesn’t seem to be enough for her Mom. Lord, help them to open the lines of communication with one another and be able to express their love for one another. Help her mother to be realistic about this threatened move and open her eyes to the love she has right there with her daughter close by. Amen.

  • Jenny says:

    I have a different perspective. I am the eldest daughter to my parents who were born in N. Ireland. My younger brother is a drug addict and has removed himself from our lives. My Father passed 5 years ago and just my Mother and I are remaining. I have done my very best to help both my parents, even more so since my Father passed. I had to deal with a divorce, Dad’s passing, selling my own house and moving and selling my Mother’s house and moving her, all in the same year. Now my relationship with my Mother hasn’t always been easy and my Dad was always the middle man. She suffers from childhood issues and has very low self esteem and this comes into our relationship often and how she deals with conflict – which isn’t well. Lately we had an argument in which she was very wrong, hurtful and selfish. We didn’t speak for 3 months, wasn’t for lack of trying on my part. We have since made amends but she has decided after this (3 month episode) that she wishes to move back to N. Ireland at the age of 72. How the hell does she expect me to react to this news? To me – it is punishment for our argument. If she leaves I am the only family member remaining in this country – I have no one. A very small part of me thinks she is entitled to happiness but the rest of me thinks she is cold and unloving. How could she leave knowing full well how much I try to help her – I visit and stay with her every other weekend – always lists for me to do and I don’t begrudge it, in fact I love her company but now she tells me it’s not good enough? I live too far away (I’m an hour away). She misses her “family”. What the hell am I? Sorry but do I not have the right to feel unwanted right now? She is thinking she’ll be happy with her “family” but she hasn’t lived there in 50 years and visiting and living are two very different things. I am full of anger and hurt and can’t even speak with her right now. The only thing stopping her (if she choses NOT to go) would be money reasons. IF she loses too much money in the exchange/taxes etc.. she wouldn’t go. So now I’m left with the fact that the only reason she stays is because of her money – not because of me. How else am I supposed to be feeling? Does no one see my side?

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Carl,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your divorce.It sounds like your wife had some unresolved issues that she was struggling with over these past years. Perhaps losing her own mother made her realize that she wanted to be closer to her daughter, but it’s sad that she didn’t talk to you about it and try to find some kind of resolution. Having just returned from a week’s visit to my own daughter I know how important it is to take the time to build those relationships, and when they live far away, it takes more work that’s for sure.

    You obviously need to talk to a lawyer, but even more than that you need to talk to someone who can walk alongside of you on this journey. Do you have a pastor that you can talk to? If not, we have a great team of online mentors who would love to walk alongside of you…just fill in the form on this page and someone will email you back. http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

  • Bassione says:

    Hello Carl lowe,
    Sorry to learn about your divorce case.
    33 years was a long relationship,I think your wife might start missing you once her daughter starts taking advantage Of her.
    Best regards,Bassione

  • Bassione says:

    Sorry,Carl Iowa,my deepest sympathies with you.Your wife must have inherited some money from her mother,she probably wanted to live independanatly.
    I am Muslim,we do not walk away from marriage.I have been married for forty years,and so are all my friends and relatives still married.there is never a perfect marriage,all marriages have some short comings,but in our culture and tradition,we hang on to the marriage for the sake of our children,family,and companionship.
    I understand the agony and pain you are suffering,May Allah be merciful on you.
    best regards.

  • carl lowe says:

    My wife of 33 years has just left(divorced) me.

    Her mother passed away 8 years ago,,My wife would spend hours at her mother’s grave.

    My wife’s daughter and son-in-law recently moved to Minnesota, My wife filed for divorce ( the daughter paid for the lawyer) and moved out secretly to Minnesota to be with them.
    Is this some kind of commitment phobia??
    Now I’m standing on the brink of ruin financially,,Where can I turn for help?
    I have a lawyer,,,do I need to hire a psychiatrist also?
    Carl

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Deedee,
    As a mother and grandmother myself I have to agree with what Claire Colvin said above…..you need to seriously consider what is it that you want? If your daughter is already shocking you with her demands, you need to be realistic. It’s only going to get more difficult…..

    As a single mother you have sacrificed much for your daughters and it is time for you to take time for yourself and get away from this situation that you yourself have admitted has made your life a nightmare. Your daughters are all adults and old enough to be responsible for themselves. Living two hours away will give you distance but you will still be close enough to help out as needed without taking over the responsibilities of raising twins.

    As many of said before in this thread, living with or near your children isn’t always the best for everyone concerned. Certainly making a decision like this to actually buy a house together needs to be very carefully thought through and it sounds like her responses should give you a clear indication of what will be in store for you should you do that. That little house in south jersey sounds awfully good to me! :-)

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Deedee,

    I am sorry to hear that things are so difficult right now with your family. Here’s what I know for sure: your living situation has a MASSIVE impact on your entire life. This is a really important decision. If you were to buy a house with your daughter and you thought you were helping her out and she thought she was doing you this big favour, it’s hard to see how that would lead to anything good. Combined living situations can work really well, so long as everyone is a grown-up and the ground rules are fair, clear and agreed upon.

    From what you’ve written here if I were in your situation I would probably not buy a house to share with this daughter. Your daughter is an adult and she needs to make her own decisions. She mentions wanting to be completely separate perhaps it would be better to let her sort out her own housing. I know that you want to help but it is not your responsibility to care for her twins, or her dogs.

    Take a minute and focus on that house in south jersey. What kind of emotions do you feel when you think about it? What would it be like to live with your sister? How do you imagine your life would improve there? You are allowed to make decisions for your own benefit. This is your money that you’ve worked for and saved up. You are allowed to have something for yourself. (All the more so if the person you were willing to sacrifice for does not seem ready or able to accept the gift.) If you do buy the house you wouldn’t be that far away. You’d still be able to help. It might be a good thing to be just far enough away that you couldn’t be called on to babysit three days a week.

    It sounds like perhaps your daughter has an incorrect idea of what kind of housing she should have at this stage in her life. Have you ever seen those real estate shows where it’s a first time homeowner going shopping and they have a “must have” list about a mile long? The realtor starts out by showing them what their money will actually buy and it’s pretty much always a shock. “That’s it?” they ask and there’s the inevitable depression until they manage to cut the list of NEEDS down to something that fits reality.

    I think it comes down to quality of life. If you go into a house that makes you unhappy and makes your daughter unhappy there’s a good chance everyone is going to be unhappy. Is that the life you want? Your daughter and her husband are adults and they’re about to be parents. Parenting is hard work, but they will figure it out. If you’re two hours away you’ll still be available to help. I’m guessing that as a single parent you’ve probably made a lot of sacrifices over the years. It’s okay to consider yourself here and think about what you need. Your daughter has been pretty clear about what she wants. What do YOU want?

  • deedee says:

    I just need to write this and see if anyone has a comment to help me with this huge burden..I have 3 adult daughters..have been divorced for 20 yrs and had almost made the decision to buy a small house with my sister in south jersey about 2 hrs away from the girls.. need to leave this area, where the girls grew up, for many reasons, the most daunting one is because 2 of them are addicts in denial and have made life a nightmare reality… It took awhile but withsome positive encouragement from my youngest daughter I made the decision to go for it.. Than Bam my youngest daughter finds out she is pregnant, ok, she will still be ok.. everyone has babies, works etc.. than find out its twins.. her and her husband postpone looking for a house until she finishes maternity leave and goes back to work.. in about 5-6 months they will have 2 babies and 2 dogs in a 2 bedroom condo and she will hire a babysitter to take over 3 days a week a few months after..I know them very well and this is gonna be huge for them.. She is already having trouble with her husband and this week they are living apart.. He feels the dogs were her desire,not his and wont even take them out.. Of course I now have them with me while she works cause he’s not there.. I worried so much about her I offered to forego the jersey house and offered to put a down payment on a mother daughter to help make this transition work out for her, she shocked me with her attitude about us living together, she will do it but I need to be completely blocked off in my own apt, no kitchen or laundry room sharing and she wants a big beautiful house, not gonna settle…she made me feel like she would be doing me a favor..When I got quiet she said..”See you get mad cause I don’t agree with you…”didnt you get the house u wanted, u didn’t have to settle, why should I” I am still reeling.. Can I still move away and just help out after the babies are born… Once I leave she will have no family because she has very minimal contact with her sisters& cousins,aunts etc aren’t in this area..Please tell me what I am doing wrong..Thanks for listening

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    You are most welcome Mrs C! This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart since I am not only a grandmother, but also a grandmother that has both ‘near’ and ‘faraway’ grands.

    I have seen so many women especially grieving over the reality that they live faraway from their children and grandchildren when instead they have much to be thankful for and there are both pluses and minuses for both cases. Although in a perfect world I would love to have all three of our children living in one location, I know that will never be. So instead I thank the Lord for the support my daughters who live far away have and work hard at having close relationships both with them and their children.

    And when I am when I am visiting them, I get to spend 24/7 with them!! What a blessing that is! For now, continue to pray, pray, pray for your precious grandchildren and your son and prayerfully his heart will change and you will once again have a close relationship.

    For all the grandparents on this thread, here is a great resource that I have found for grandparents… http://www.grandparentingwithapurpose.com/ You can sign up for their e-newsletter and they even send you specific verses to pray for your grands! I love it!

  • Mrs C says:

    Thank you for the response Doris, it is good to have your perspective. I struggle more with the way this is affecting the grandchildren. How do you maintain a relationship with little children when the parent is so full of anger and unforgiveness. My son wants us to be there for the grandchildren but he refuses to have a relationship with us. It makes things very tense and difficult to have any interaction with the children because of my sons controlling behavior and anger. So for now, I am continuing to pray about it and take it a day at a time. That is all I can do. The dynamics are not good for the kids. While it pains me to see where things are at, I am determined to enjoy the life I have with my husband. I hope things change but I have to face the possibility that they may not. I can’t spend my days and nights worrying over something nor someone that I can not change. It was good for me to share my feelings about the situation. I am glad I found this site. Thanks again

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Mrs C,
    I sorry to hear that your son is struggling with your move. But you are so right….you do need to take care of your and your husband’s needs. And your son needs to deal with his feelings. When parenting adult children it is always easy to feel responsible for their responses, instead of realizing that each one has a choice to respond to the various circumstances we face, as is evidenced by the positive response from your other children.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Jill,
    Glad to hear that you have been encouraged by all the comments! :-) And so neat to hear that your daughter seems to be ‘warming’ up to the idea….it takes time I guess. And yes, you are marking the right decision for both you and your husband. Blessings to you as you prepare for your big move!

  • Jill says:

    Thanks so much for your response the more responses I receive the more I realize that the decision is the right one. Its the months of waiting and the indecisions that produce anxiety. I especially appreciate the comments about the time to share with my husband. Hoping his health holds up through another big change. Looking forward to the warm weather and being outside. I have noticed my oldest daughter is starting to send me forwarded emails on subjects like she used to. Let’s see what happens as the months progress.

  • Mrs C says:

    We moved to a warmer climate 2 yrs ago. I cared for my elderly mother for several years. After she passed away, we took our first vacation in six years. We decided to sell our home and move. When we told our children, they were all happy for us except for one son and his wife. They felt we were deserting them, being selfish, sneaky and a few other things they accused us of. To them this proved that we do not love their children. Our two little grandchildren were hard to leave. My son and his wife did not have children for the first 12 years of their marriage. We felt with time they would all adjust. Part of the decision to move was for health reasons for me. We have gone back to visit each summer. We have arranged to see them when they brought their kids to a theme park nearby. They refuse to visit us. My son never calls. I have to do all the calling and traveling because as he puts it, we are the ones who moved away. It is true we were the ones who moved. Bottom line is that he has not forgiven us and is very angry and resentful. He says he doesn’t care what my feelings are. I poured my life into my kids and I love my grandchildren dearly, all of them, not just his 2 little ones. But my relationship with my husband comes first. We are now retired and doing a little traveling. There are no guarantees in life. People become sick, die or move away. When I was a child my favorite aunt and uncle and 2 cousins moved. I was heartbroken. But we maintained a relationship through letters and occasional phone calls. I never saw my aunt and uncle again but they loved me and I loved them. It just isn’t always possible to live near all of our family, children and grandchildren or extended family. Life is short, we need to make the most of life and relationships before our loved ones are no longer with us. This is what I hope for with all of my adult children. I took care of my mother and honored her. There were times when it was not easy. I don’t regret taking care of her. I am glad I could do it. But now I need to take care of mine and my husbands needs and hope time will heal my sons anger.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Bill, thank you for clarifying your feelings and I am sorry if I “over-read” the level of resentment that has built up over the years. It’s wonderful that you have a loving relationship with your grandchildren. My husband has no biological grandchildren, so it’s much easier for us since we don’t have to “split” our trips, etc. We’re also retired – that’s a huge advantage. It’s understandable that you need time with your daughter and her family. I truly hope that you can work through this with your wife. I also hope you have shared your thoughts about wanting/needing more time alone with your wife. Wives need to hear that! After a week with the grandkids, I love hearing my husband say “I need some Mary Ann time”.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Anjill,
    I think your daughter’s feelings are probably to be expected since she is ‘losing’ you in her world. She knows that your relationship will change and is most likely already grieving that in a sense. Hopefully though she will choose to continue to build your relationship with her children even after you move.

  • Anjill says:

    Thanks for your input. Your words hit the heart of my feelings. My adult daughter who lives here shares some of the same feelings as your oldest son. To date she has yet to inform our grandchildren we are moving. I think its because of her own feelings. We have a daughter in Kingston, Jamaica and look forward to spending more time with her since we will be a hop skip and jump from her. Stressing a little over where we will live look on line getting anxious since we are going down for a week in July.

  • Bill says:

    Mary Ann

    I appreciate your mention of my observation. I am not sure I am full of resentment, regret or just a little homesick for my family and friends 500 miles away. We do vacation with the kids, we do things alone as well, but not often enough. That isn’t by choice but due to work and other schedules and events.

    I love all of the grandkids. I just wish I could visit the one that isn’t here more often. Flights are so expensive and the drive is about as far as one would want to drive in one day. If only we hade high speed rail :(

  • Mary Ann says:

    I’ve followed this post since it began, and I’m always saddened that so many older people put their children and grandchildren above one another. Too often, those people end up with no-one to share their lives when they need it most. You cannot depend on your children and grandchildren to put you first…..ever. You shouldn’t. Our children would love to have us near so we could relieve them of their parenting responsibilities more often, but they manage. Our choice after we retired was to live in a state suitable and affordable for us to do the things we want to do in a mild climate. We’ve made new friends and have a joyful life together. We are almost 500 miles away from family and friends, but visit two of our sons often and they visit us. We see our children and grandchildren about 10 times a year. The oldest son has chosen to separate from us because of our decisions that didn’t meet with his expectations. Adult children can be very selfish and don’t always think of what’s best for the parents if it’s an inconvenience to them.

    Bill’s post was full of resentment because of choices made on behalf of children and grandchildren years ago. It’s my impression that their lives still revolve around her sons and their families instead of each other. Their “vacations” even include the kids. Keeping quiet when we hurt only makes us hurt more and resolves nothing. Time to share feelings in a loving way and start working on living a life that can include all of your family, but moves the focus to each other.

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