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

EmailPrint

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

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Mary,
    You are most welcome! :-) I think that is always the question we need to consider when we are thinking of moving to be near our children. If they moved, would we stay there? Or would we want to move again? Since you still have other children at home, most likely you wouldn’t want to uproot them again, so then you need to think that through. I know in our situation, we would love to move to be near one of our daughters but both could easily move again and then we wouldn’t be near them again. So for now we will stay where we are.

  • Mary says:

    Doris,

    Thank you very much for your advice. I appreciate when you brought the great point that would I still be happy in California if my daughter moved. That is something I really need to think about. I know my husband and boys would probably be fine. I agree that it will be nice to be around my children and their own children when they are grown and out of the house. Thank you very much!

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Mary,
    There are several questions that you need to answer regarding this move.

    Is your daughter going to be staying in Los Angeles long term? If not, would you still be happy you moved even is she wasn’t there any more? You say that your husband has always wanted to move west to a warmer climate so that will play into your decision as well. If you were going to make that move anyway, then you might just as well move to where she is.

    I know many families where the parents have made that move to be closer to their children and they were glad they did, but you really do have to work through all the issues involved. As your children get older and marry and start their own families, you will be glad that you were able to live close enough to enjoy seeing them grow up.

  • Mary says:

    I wanted to hear advice from others on this topic. I am trying to decide whether or not to move closer to my daughter. She moved out to the Los Angeles area three years ago. I live with my husband and 2 teenagers in a suburb of Chicago. Most of our extended families live in this area as well. My daughter is happy where she is at but misses family. I miss her too, of course, but my other concern is that she has Crohn’s Disease and I have flown out to see her in the hospital. I would like to be closer to her for that reason as well. My husband has always wanted to move west to a warmer climate. He is in a position to do so. I am not so sure. My boys are willing to make the move too. We would miss our extended families, however, we find we are all so busy we usually just get together for the major holidays.

    I am just curious what others think of moving for the primary reason to be closer to your daughter (or son).

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Basisone I would beg to differ with your opinion. The closeness between a parent and child can in fact grow with long distance living, but it requires a commitment on the part of both the parents and the child. When all parties are committed to making the relationship flourish, you can indeed have a great relationship. 3/4 of our grandchildren live far away and we have awesome relationships with them…but it requires a commitment on our part and the part of our daughters to help those relationships grow and develop.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Jay,
    You make an excellent point! Parents should never move to be near their children without the blessing of those children. As you said, if it isn’t something that the children are asking for it can in fact do more to harm your relationship than to help it develop. Good point! Thanks for giving us a child’s perspective! :-)

  • Basisone says:

    Jay, We are oceans away from our children,clearly at the opposite end.When it’s morning at our end it’s night time at their end.We survive on weekend telephone calls,my children have no time for Facebook or emails.Our children visit as very rarely ,for short trips.Each time they depart we fall apart.We have been traveling to see them each year,but it’s very expensive to travel anymore.I have felt when children live far away,they move on and over the years they change.The closeness between child and parent ends with long distance living.Out of sight out of mind.

  • Jay says:

    I am a 35 year old man who moved cross country from Alaska to the South East two years ago. I was very excited to begin a new job, and start my family. Shortly after I had moved here, my parents who were planning on retiring came to visit. My mom didn’t really like the area, but my dad did. He liked it because I was here. He literally tried to buy the house that was next door to me, and we had a huge fight regarding “boundaries”. I thought that I got it through to him that I really did not want them moving because I was in a temporary position in my life. I wasn’t sure if I loved the area, and I didn’t have a wife, so I was free to do as I pleased. It didn’t matter to me that I bought a house; as that was just an investment and I have a good job.

    Well, come Christmas of 2012 I got the news that they bought a house in the same town I live in. Not right next door…3 doors down. Needless to say, I was NOT excited about the new neighbors.

    Ever since then, my stress level has been astronomical. I feel as if my sanctuary, and my territory was invaded by an overbearing presence. It has been. I am now unhappy with my job (largely from the stress of my parent’s retirement and moving here); and I am looking at a job in another state, Arizona. A large portion of this is to branch out on my own, as my own man, and to have my own family.

    Women I have dated have seen it as strange that my parents would follow me across the country, and have chosen not to engage in a long term relationship; as they see that their personal boundaries when we have a family will not be respected by my parents.

    I have a very good relationship with my Mom and Dad, but as the saying goes: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and sometimes being close can be too close”.

    Now I have to be made feel guilty about my decision to look for new career opportunities, as if I am abandoning my parents.

    Parents on this site, listen up: DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR ADULT CHILDREN ANYWHERE, UNLESS THEY WANT YOU TO. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like your kids’ spouse or not. You will cause unbelievable consternation if you do not get the blessing of both people in that relationship. God wants the husband and wife to be first and foremost in each other’s relationships on this earth. Mummie and Daddy dearest coming to the rescue will more often than not cause severe discord.

    If you do choose to move, please don’t live closer than an hour away. It won’t be appreciated if you do, regardless of whether or not your kid comes over to take food or complain about their spouse. In fact, your being there may provide an unhealthy outlet for frustrations that your children should discuss with their spouses instead of you.

  • Alfred Alfred says:

    Hi Mary Ann and D.Beck,
    In my opinion you have given great advice to Tracy. We (at age 77 & 74) are also about a 7-hour drive from our children and find that very convenient as long as we are still able to handle a vehicle. But one may wonder what do we do 10 to 15 years from now? I think you have covered this subject well. So, what more can I say, but to wish you the wisdom and the love to make right choices. Blessings to you all.

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Mary Ann you are so wise!! You ask some great questions the answers to which would help determine whether or not Tracy should or shouldn’t move.

    I think you also bring up a good point, that it is different if we are still blessed to have a spouse. In my case, my husband and I live in the same city as our son and his family and we do have a great relationship with our daughter in law and grandsons. But we try hard to not place expectations on them while still being very intentional about spending time with our grandsons as much as possible.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Hello Tracy,

    I’m married, 67 years old and live 435 miles from my sons. We see them often. Although my situation is different than yours, I know if I didn’t have my husband with me, I’d want to be near my children/grandchildren. It would be their call as to how often we’d get together – probably no more often than once a month, and it would be reciprocal. I understand what you mean when you say that if you had daughters you think you’d feel differently. Only mothers of sons would fully comprehend – no matter how wonderful our daughters-in-law are. You seem to be very independent and would avoid becoming a burden to your children. Most of us would not want to end up in a “nursing home”, but if one is ill enough to require daily care, we certainly wouldn’t want to impose such a responsibility on our children. On the other hand, while you’re healthy and independent, there is an opportunity to develop a closer bond with your family if the miles between you are shortened. Most adult children enjoy giving their parents a helping hand as long as it’s occasional and not a daily requirement. When your sons mention they’d like for you to move closer, do they say why? Do they have expectations of how often their families will spend time with you? Do they (or you) have expectations that may cause disappointment if they are not met? Can you enjoy your hobbies/activities as much if you move as you do now? Can you do as much for them as they may do for you?

    If you are happy where you are, and don’t think you’d be as happy if you move closer to your children, stay put. If you can be just as happy or happier by moving closer to your sons, pack up! Just my opinion, but either way, it may be good idea to make plans for your care that isn’t dependent on your children in the event you are unable to care for yourself in future. I don’t think parents should ever choose to move just to have the security of caregiving (again, just my belief).

    I wish you the best in this decision and the years ahead.

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Tracy it’s hard to know what the ‘right’ decision is in your situation. I’m definitely a ‘sandwich generation’ with my parents living far away and my children living far away. For years we encouraged my parents to move closer since both my sister and I lived in this area. They refused because they had their life there and didn’t want to move. However now as they age,(they are in their 80′s now) they realize that they should have moved since neither of us are there to help now. Do we wish they had moved? Absolutely!

    Having said that, I have watched people move to be closer to their children as they age and have found that to be a good thing for the most past, especially if their children are encouraging the move. Maybe a better question to ask is what will happen if you don’t move? You are still young enough to make new friends close to your sons and grandchildren. The older you get the harder a move like that gets.

  • Basisone says:

    Tracy,sorry I now understAnd,you meant your children live in one town but you are far away.In that case I really would move closer to the Children,1200 miles is a long distance.Hard for the children to drive up to you even on weekends.I know you will miss your friends and your surroundings,change may bring you closer to your own family.
    My daughters Neighbour sold her house to be closer to her brother in another Town.She stays in touch with her old neighbours via email ,but is happier being close to her family.
    I am in the same delima myself,like I said in my case oceans apart.We have our social life,but I feel distance increases gap between parents and children.Out of sight out of mind.
    Wishing you all the best.Tracy.

  • Tracy says:

    Thanks for the reply. But It seems you’ve misread my post as to locations. My sons both live in the same town. I, however, live app. 1200 mi. from them. If you re-read my original post with that in mind it would be interesting to hear your take on my original post.
    thank you.

  • Basis one says:

    Tracy,read your comment.I am glad you are in the same Town as your sons and not oceans away like me.I think it’s important to be close to your family at later age.You may not interact with them but the feeling of them being close is quite gratifying.Hope you never end up in a nursing home, you must have a vistor at the house .Family can convientaly drop in if you live closer.Friends are great company,maybe you can stay in touch with the on the phone and FB and visit them on monthly basies.
    We all have same issues,
    Wish you all the best.

  • Tracy says:

    I came across this site clearly by accident. I am in a somewhat similar situation as many who have written. I am a 70 yr. old woman and I have been a widow for many years. I have two sons, two daughters-in-law and 5 grandkids. Both of my son’s families live in the same town but far from me. They have both suggested several times that I move nearer to them but i am reluctant to do so. While it would be nice to have someone to turn to as I age and perhaps at some point need help with things I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do. If they were daughters I think I might feel differently. Both sons are involved in the aviation industry and are frequently away for weeks at a time. While I like my daughters-in-law I’m not sure it’s correct to expect them to watch out for me. With each having children with school involvements and friends of their own age I think they might soon find me somewhat of a burden. In addition I would want friends of my own age but I know it’s difficult to find those when you reach a certain age in life. I happen to still be in good health and quite active with my photography hobby established in my twenties. So it sounds like I should stay where I am but I do think about what I will do when sooner or later I encounter some health issues. How does one go about handling that? The last thing I want is to end up in some nursing home because there is no one to give me a hand if I need it

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    I’m a bit surprised to see all the comments suggesting Jill sell her house – she clearly states that the house is on the market but that it’s not a great real estate market in her area at this time.

    So what can she do?

    I echo the commenter earlier who suggested that there might be some discomfort in the relationship because the parents were paying part of the mortgage and then moved out. If there’s embarrassment or if they feel like they were treated poorly in some way then that damage will need to be repaired for the relationship to move forward in a healthy way.

    It stood out to me that you noted what your parents offer you when you go to see them. Did you notice it because it was different? Or because you felt you were owed more? Do find that tend to keep track of things like that? You’ve listed out all of the things you’ve given or provided. Are you someone who keeps score? Is it possible that you did more than they wanted you to and now they feel like they could never measure up so it’s easier not to try?

    If your parents feel like they are being judged, or if finances are so tight that coffee or a coke is all they have to offer then that could definitely affect your time together. Think about the way you talk about finances in front of or with your parents. Is it possible that they feel like you are blaming them for your current situation? Might they be worried that you’re going to ask for money and they won’t be able to give it to you?

    What else is going on in your life right now and what are your expectations? You wrote that, “I am burned out and hurt that they cannot do one thing to help out”. Are there other stressors in your life that might be getting transferred on to your parents? In an ideal situation what do you think they should be doing that they are not doing now? I wonder if you are adding to your own distress by having expectations that might not be realistic?

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Anita,
    I am so glad to hear that you have decided to stay with your husband! A wise choice! May I make one more suggestion? Try looking for 3-5 things every day to be thankful for….I have done that for the last two years and it’s amazing what that attitude of gratitude does! Changes our perspective that’s for sure!

    And keep coming back here…we are here to pray for one another and put feet to the verse…let us consider how to encourage one another to love and good deeds.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Christina,

    There are a couple of things to consider here, but let me start with this: the decision to move or not is up to you and your husband and it sounds like the two of you have made an excellent decision together. Where you live is not your daughter’s decision to make. It would be different if you were facing a severe health issue and it was no longer safe for you to live alone, but that’s not what is happening here. This decision is your and your husband’s to make and you’ve made it. Be confident in that choice. You know your own financial situation and what is the best course of action.

    Second, it’s time to let go of the guilt. Guilt is an incredibly powerful emotion because there is nothing any of us can do to go back and undo the things we’ve done. The past is an untouchable country. If she chooses to, your daughter can bring up the past for the rest of your life and you’ll have no defence against it. That’s why forgiveness is so important. If she wants to have a relationship with you she’s going to have to find a way to forgive you. Forgiveness is hard, but it’s the way forward. Otherwise you’re left using guilt a weapon. (There’s an article about that here.)

    Also, you’re going to need to forgive yourself. In your comment you talk about accepting some pretty harsh treatment from your daughter. Do you let her speak to you that way because you feel you deserve it? Are you still punishing yourself for choices you made in the past? Do you listen to her resentment because you feel you owe her that? Have you ever had a chance to talk to a pastor or a counsellor and work through all the things you’ve been through? Sometimes when we feel guilty we’ll let other people treat us in ways we wouldn’t normally because we feel like that’s all we deserve, that any attention is worthwhile. You are so much more than the worse choice you’ve ever made. Don’t reduce yourself to just the hard parts. You made good choices too.

    I don’t know if you have a faith perspective or not, but one of the things I love about the Bible is that Jesus is always talking about second chances and starting over. He promises to make us new people and he doesn’t hold our mistakes against us. There’s an article about starting over with God here.

    Guilt will smother you if you let it. It may be time to set some new boundaries with your daughter and to let your husband know that you hear his concerns and that the two of you are a team.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Dear Jill,

    Margot and Bibi shared some wonderful advice.

    You have been very generous with your parents and it is unfortunate that you are now in the position of trying to manage two mortgage payments and feeling hurt that things didn’t work out as you’d planned. I do hope you’re able to sell the home now that the market is looking brighter. I just want to add that I get the impression your parents are slowing down and their finances are limited. Perhaps 1/3 of the mortgage they paid while occupying your home was all they could afford, but they didn’t think it was sufficient. (Our independence is valued more than ever as we age). I sense that you have some resentment about that part of your situation, and resentment is rarely silent, even when no words are spoken. Please take care not to project your discontent if you truly want a closer relationship with your parents. Let it go so you can fully embrace and accept the love that remains between you. Parents enjoy knowing their adult children value their company, and I’m sure they take great joy in seeing their little grandson. We parents often worry that our adult children will consider us “needy” if we initiate visits too often. You are blessed beyond measure, and this temporary financial crisis can be managed. Assure your parents that you’re optimistic about your financial situation and make certain they don’t feel guilt for adding to that stress. It’s up to you to get through the important relationship issues and you obviously long to be emotionally closer to your mom and dad. I send prayers and my best wishes to you and your family.

  • Margot says:

    Hello Jill, I don’t know if you do, but please don’t if you are feeling bad or betrayed by your parents moving out of the home you rent them at a cheaper cost than your mortgage. Speaking for my very own experience, I much rather live in an apartment than a home, because a home takes more energy to care for. An apartment is much easier to be handled by older people. I understand you feel like they are not visiting often, I give you the same advise I was given when I moved closer to my daughter and her family. Give them space. If you want to see them more often, talk to one or both of them say how you feel about not seeing them enough, and offer a solution. A once a month brunch at your home, or a breakfast every six weeks. I have the feeling we are only reading your side of the story, but there maybe more to it that this. Parents don’t move closer to their adult children to be near their grand kids, and then become too busy to visit them. By the tone of it the relationship maybe hurt, I would just take it very slow and easy, and be the one to make the first move. Be the one to compromise. Your parents are not going to be here forever, and whats a house compare to the love of a family? Think about it. Rent your place, sell it. Many people have lost money in Real state, you are not going to be the first one. If you need to seller at a lower cost, do it. Think of it as one less stress.

  • BibI says:

    Jill,
    Read your story,you are facing a difficult situation financially.Good to know you-are happy with your husband and your family.Don’t have expectations from your parents,maybe next time you go take food with you share with your parents and enjoy their company.Maybe if you could sell one property you could save some money.
    Best regards.

  • JRB says:

    My parents decided to move closer to my husband and me (Litchfield, CT) after our son was born. This was their choice after a decade of my mother complaining about where they live (Black River NY).

    My husband is 54 and I am 49. Our son is now almost 3 years old. We found true love after unmarried adulthood of professional careers and were blessed with news of our pregnancy upon return from our honeymoon. A lovely and completely unexpected blessing. Not for us, but also for our families.

    My husband and I are both accomplished, working professionals. My parents moved to the town in which we live into my home which I owned before marriage. They agreed to pay a portion of the mortgage, but they did not tell me what portion they would pay before moving. I asked several times, knowing my husband and I may not be able to afford the situation. Upon relocating, my parents disclosed they would pay 1/3 of the mortgage. Two years later, they decided to move from my former home to an apartment also in the same town.

    Since that time (August 2013 to present), my husband and I are carrying the full mortgage on an empty property plus our own mortgage at a home we purchased a few doors down from my former home.

    I feel conflicted about the situation, as it is causing financial hardship on my family (my husband, son and me). My former home that I owned before marriage is on the abysmal real estate market, and we are stretched financially to pay two mortgages plus heat and electric in both homes.

    I know my parents do not have the financial means to help us out to a great extent. They left my former home and moved to an apartment and wiped they hands clean of the situation.

    The crux of the issue is that my parents do not visit us much and they are not “up” for gatherings. We invite them over a lot even if it is for Super Bowl festivities, Sunday dinner, etc. I feel like I moved my parents here at their request, but I am lonely and hurt that they do not want to spend time with us. They never come over and when we go to see them, my parents never offer anything except coffee or a diet coke in a can. When they first moved near us, they have been to our home many times with full-on service with endless dinners, lunches, brunches, dinners, cocktails, hors d’oeurves, hosting all holidays, etc.

    I am burned out and hurt that they cannot do one thing to help out or have us over for a sandwich after 30+ years of not living near one another. Now they live 1/4 of a mile away and I feel further from them than I did when I was 18 years old.

    Do you have some advice to calm my soul?

    Hurt with my parents but happy with my husband and son,
    Jill

  • "Christina" says:

    I have a similar problem to Anita’s. I have an adult daughter – my only child – who wants ME to move closer. She is almost 40. Her husband makes very good money and she is a stay-at-home mom. My husband (not her father) does not want to move. She has many resentments about him which I won’t go into right now. Frankly, it is cost prohibitive to move and to live where she does. While I would love to be closer to her and the grandchildren, I am not in a financial position right now to do so. I have told her that I haven’t put it off the table, even though my husband does not want to live there. Having been through a bankruptcy and home foreclosure in the past 3-4 years, I am trying to get a job to enable me to bank some “retirement” money. I am 65 and we lost everything and are now living on social security. My husband recently got a job and we are trying to get on our feet again. (He is 68.)

    Several months ago my daughter browbeat my husband and me when we were there for a visit, with our financial plight and really alienated both of us. Over the next couple of months, when I did talk to her on the phone, she blasted me with her resentments for my past marriages and relationships with “all these men”. She has made many nasty comments to me over the years regarding this. (This is marriage #4 for me…not proud of that, but it’s a fact.) She has abandonment issues because I basically kicked her out of the house after she refused to attend school or work, when she was 17. I did pay for her apartment and bought her a car. For the most part I raised her as a single mother prior to that episode.

    After her blast, I went through a horrible period of feeling almost suicidal. We didn’t talk for a month or two. I don’t think she has a clue how terrible I felt about my past choices, myself, etc. etc. I finally wrote her an email letting her know that I was sorry for hurting her but that I could not change the past. Now I feel I’m being motivated by guilt to move closer, not by a desire to live where she lives. I do feel good about the fact that she wants me closer, but she wants it on her terms. I feel pulled between her and my husband.

    My friends have basically said that I should do what I want to do, not what she wants me to do and that our financial situation is not her business. We have NEVER asked her or her husband for any money and I would rather die first than do so.

    I guess I need affirmation that I am OK and that I did the best I could raising her under very difficult circumstances. I know that this touches only the tip of the iceberg in terms of everything that happened, but I would like some feedback and to hear other similar circumstances and what was done to help alleviate some of the guilt.

    Thank you.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Wonderful news, Anita. You must be a very special lady to be so loved.

  • Anita says:

    Thank you so much Doris, Margo and Mary Ann for your insights, thoughtful words and advice. I am happy to let you know that I will be staying right here with my husband. Between reading the article above and all the comments from people with their own stories/dilemmas, I was able to view my situation in a different light. All of your comments, however, really brought it home for me and helped me in making my decision. You will never know how much I needed to hear from all of you! My husband is grateful also! My sons just want me to be happy no matter where I am. Thank you again and God Bless.

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Mary Ann,
    You make a great point that by Anita’s description it sounds like a wonderful place for family to come for visits. I have two of my ‘faraway’ grands here this weekend while their parents are away and they have been counting the days down on a calendar until they could come and visit. They were so excited because they get to come and stay overnight without their parents. That’s what you have to look forward to in the future too Anita. You have been in my thoughts and prayers…..Doris

  • Mary Ann & Tom says:

    Anita, I’m so sorry for your pain. I was unable to respond earlier, but wanted to affirm what advice you’ve received already. I got the impression that your sons are single at this time. If/when that changes, so will your relationship with them. I’m the mom to three men, and no matter how loving my “daughters” are, they are first in my sons’ lives, as it should be. Your husband deserves to be returned to that position in your life as well. It seems he’s willing to make time to visit your sons more often, and that should help. Your home sounds ideal for family to come to for visits, and you say you “loved it the first few years”. Re-read what you say immediately afterward. Be very sure you are not motivated by guilt to return to your sons. You could forfeit all you and your husband have built through the years for the unknown of returning to sons who have lives of their own to live.

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Margot,
    Thanks for taking the time to weigh in and tell Anita about your own experience. I think that is exactly what I was saying in my previous comment, that when we move to be near our children, we have to be prepared to realize that they might not necessarily stay there forever, nor will we definitely have lots of time with them. Our husband should be our first priority above our children.

  • Margot says:

    Hello Anita,

    Thank you for sharing your concerns. I can relate. I always placed my children before my husband, and in a way this somehow contributed to my divorce. Now I am by myself, and my daughter is married and has a life of her own. If I could do thing differently, I would have given my ex-husband the place that he deserved. Head of the household. Not me, or my children. If you love your husband, I recommend you stay with him and try to work things out. Its lonely being alone.

  • Bassione says:

    I am feeling lonely in our new house.Its just my husband and myself.Children are abroad.We don’t have electricity ,nights are tough.we are in a farmhouse.Please help.

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Anita,
    I can’t help but think that you need to stop and consider what you are planning to do. Listen to yourself…..do you really want to leave your husband?

    You asked the question, ‘ Is longing to be near my children worth breaking up my marriage?’…the answer is ‘no’! What guarantee do you have that once you move your children are going to stay in that area? Are you planning on moving every time they do? And even if you do move, how much time will you be spending with them? Is it enough to give up your relationship, your home for that?

    We have three children, one of whom lives here in the same city and two that live far away. I can honestly say that we have a great relationship with all three, and with all 8 of our grandchildren. Does it take work to have a good relationship with the ‘far aways’? Yes! But with skype and facetime we can talk several times/week and we make sure to plan to see each other at least 3 times/year. Our relationship with our ‘far away grandchildren’ is every bit as strong as it is with those that live here in the same city. And what is interesting, in some ways we almost know them better because when we visit we stay with them and see them 24/7 for a week or two at a time.

    Anita, please reconsider what you are planning. The cost is far too high and your marriage is worth fighting for, regardless of how far away your children are. And who knows, maybe they will be the ones to move next time and end up in your neck of the woods as it were.

  • Anita says:

    I need help. I am on the verge of leaving my husband (who is not the father of my children) to be near my sons who live across the country.
    My husband and I are both retired from the military after 30 years. We met later in our careers (12 years ago)and were both living in the same area as our children when we met. We were transferred a number of times after we were married and in my mind at the time it was okay to live away from them because it was due to our jobs.
    We had an opportunity to buy a piece of property on a lake close to my husbands parents hometown and decided to buy it not knowing what we’d do with it as we were not living around there at the time. Well, about a year later, we were offered a transfer near that area and took it. Given it was close to his family we were both excited and were looking forward to finally being around family (I love his family). We both ended up being unhappy in our jobs and decided that retirement was doable and we went for it. We built an year round lake house and deemed that to be our retirement home. For the first few years I loved it. It is a beautiful house on a beautiful lake and initially it was where I wanted to be. My two sons unfortunately did not have the opportunity to get to know their grandparents or even family of any kind due to their father’s and my career choices and never being around our own families (who did not make an effort to get to know them anyways). My sons love me very much and make an effort to keep in touch regularly. My husbands children don’t. We are somewhat isolated where we live also and it has been weighing on me for quite a well that this is not where I want to be for the rest of my life. I want to be close to my children. My husband doesn’t see it that way and is not interested in moving near them. He thinks that if we visit more than we have been that it should be enough. It’s not enough for me. Now I sit here all alone waiting for our separation to become final by me flying out to stay with my one son until I get my life together by myself. Am I doing the right thing? Is longing to be near my children worth breaking up my marriage? Wow! Did I really say all that in one comment? I am hurting right now.

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Mary Ann & Tom, you are so wise! I love reading your comments and totally agree with your last statement, ‘ Part of parenting is knowing when to step back in a loving way to let our children live as they choose. Make your choices, guided by love, without guilt or pressure to yourself or to your family. I pray you’ll find a way to handle this problem that will bring you all closer and give you some peace.’

    I too am a mother and grandmother and we have had to learn this lesson as we relate to our three married children. Each family has different values, different needs and we have to relate to them differently. We have chosen to make Sunday dinners a time when they are always welcome to come over and for the most part they love that. But I’m not hurt or upset if some weeks they choose not to come, but instead am thankful for the days when they do come. :-)

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    kc, that is a difficult situation to be in when your children have moved so very far away! Isn’t it wonderful that in this day and age we can use the internet with facetime and skype to stay in touch and continue to build your relationship even though they are far away? Try to see if your daughter would like to set up regular coffee dates where she gets herself a coffee, and you do as well, then sit on your computers and catch up. Sometimes it helps to make it more planned like that.

  • Mary Ann & Tom says:

    Dear Margot, I’m sad to know that after choosing to be close to your family in retirement that it’s so disappointing for you. You must be a bit bewildered. You are so wise to keep your feelings toward your son-in-law and his daughter to yourself. It would not be welcome and could strain your relationship with all of them. I want to make a few gentle suggestions/observations as a parent and grandmother and I hope you’ll open your heart to receive what I’d like to share. Once a week is too much for a busy family to fit it another person for dinner. Possibly, twice a month would be more comfortable for all concerned. It is obviously causing discord in their marriage with the current arrangement. You say he makes her happy, so he’s doing something well. Do you have them over to dinner? My Mom would have a Sunday dinner often, and the family really enjoyed it. It sounds like your son-in-law is open to going to your home. When dining out, why not make a new agreement to go “dutch” and take turns choosing the restaurant. I don’t know what your relationship is with your son-in-law’s daughter, but it would be nice to invite her too. If you’re going “dutch”, Mom & Dad would pay for her meal. I adored my mom, but saw her every three weeks or so to have breakfast, shop, or just gab. My husband loved her, but rarely joined us except when we went to her house or she came to ours. We talked on the phone often, but she often kept me on for over an hour (that was before cordless phones). If your daughter doesn’t have one, surprise her with a headset or blue tooth so shecan have a hands-free chat while she’s cooking dinner. Keep the conversation at less than half an hour. I have a 17 year old grand-daughter and she is required to do less than I (or my own kids) did or her age, but parents today want their children to enjoy their youth without a lot of extra responsibilities. Not our way, but they’re not our kids either. Leave that issue to the parents and try not to let it cause any stress to you. It is also your daughter’s responsibility to ask for help from her daughter and husband. If she’s content to work all day and still take on the many after-work chores…her choice. As for anyone looking after a parent when they’re “old and ill”, it makes me cringe. I dearly loved my parents and did take care of each of them in their own homes gladly, but it was exhausting and stressful. I won’t put my own children through that, and I don’t think any parent should expect it if there’s any other way to prepare for such an event. If you don’t have friends and hobbies in your new location near your daughter and you decide to stay close by, it’s imperative that you find your own activities to enjoy. Most retired people love going out to dinner together, so enjoy this special time in your life with others you have things in common with. If you left all of your friends behind, it may be a better choice to return to the life and friends you were comfortable with and visit your daughter a few times a year (keeping the visits at only a few days at a time). Your daughter needs her family at this phase in life more than she needs mothering, and it’s important to respect that. Part of parenting is knowing when to step back in a loving way to let our children live as they choose. Make your choices, guided by love, without guilt or pressure to yourself or to your family. I pray you’ll find a way to handle this problem that will bring you all closer and give you some peace.

  • Maria says:

    Hi,I have just read your message and felt I had to reply. What a Lovely Lady you are! Do what you feel is right for you! You have a right to be happy too. I have done the same as you and felt unappreciated by my daughters partner. It seems he is taking advantage of your kind nature. He makes sure on your meal turn you go to expensive places, but on his turn go to less expense. How sad you must feel to realise this is happening. This is not your fault, you are a good person and kind, and to see that your feelings dont seem to matter in his eyes must hurt you. I moved closer to my daughter too, the main reason was because I felt she needed me closer as her partner is an abusive bully Seriously! But she says she loves him so much that she wont leave him. I am sure he knows I am aware of his issues, but my daughter has made me promise not to say anything to him. It hurts so much but I have to allow my daughter to grow and see who he really is. As much as she loves him. I will be there with open arms for her if that time comes. For now I bite my lip for her sake. This is a difficult situation for you, but with your undying love as always for your daughter she may well one day see the error in his ways and say Hey!I have had enough of your selfish attitude! I love and respect my mum and you have to respect her too’. As hard as this may well be I would suggest the same places to dine as he does, your kindness should be appreciated not taken for granted. Good Luck x

  • Maria says:

    Hi,I have just read your message and felt I had to reply. What a Lovely Lady you are! I have done the same as you and felt unappreciated by my daughters partner. It seems he is taking advantage of your kind nature. He makes sure on your meal turn you go to expensive places, but on his turn go to less expense. How sad you must feel to realise this is happening. This is not your fault, you are a good person and kind, and to see that your feelings dont seem to matter in his eyes must hurt you. I moved closer to my daughter too, the main reason was because I felt she needed me closer as her partner is an abusive bully Seriously! But she says she loves him so much that she wont leave him. I am sure he knows I am aware of his issues, but my daughter has made me promise not to say anything to him. It hurts so much but I have to allow my daughter to grow and see who he really is. As much as she loves him. I will be there with open arms for her if that time comes. For now I bite my lip for her sake. This is a difficult situation for you, but with your undying love as always for your daughter she may well one day see the error in his ways and say Hey!I have had enough of your selfish attitude! I love and respect my mum and you have to respect her too’. As hard as this may well be I would suggest the same places to dine as he does, your kindness should be appreciated not taken for granted. Good Luck x

  • Margot says:

    Hello, thank you for sharing your experiences. I’ve recently retired and moved closer to my daughter. She is fine, and even takes me out at least once a week. The problem is her husband, if my daughter cooks a nice meal and invites me, I can hear him in the background saying; oh, we can also take it to her. Or if we go out to dine, the rule is I pay once and they pay next trip. When it is my turn to pay, he makes sure we go to the expensive restaurants, when is his turn, we go to a food court at at mall and order pizza. I think maybe I must have done or behaved in a way to cause him to dislike me, but for years now, I’ve been completely nice to him, buying gift on his birthday, Christmas, etc. Maybe he sense I don’t approved of him, because here he is not working, not cooking, or cleaning, and my daughter works 8 hours daily, comes home and has to do all the cleaning, and cooking. Hi has a sixteen years old daughter from a previous marriage, and all the girl does is come home from school and play computers. My daughter on her way home, stops by to get dog food, and buy grocers, because he is not even capable of doing this for her. He also plays all day in the computer. I feel my daughter deserves better, but I am also able to realize he makes her happy, and this is the life she chose, and I should just leave it at that, which I do. I give no opinion to anything related to them, and don’t even argue with him, about anything. He pretends to be nice, but in my mind is like he is thinking I only have a daughter and anything that’s mine will one day be hers, and consequently his. They have no children, he does not want to have one. I feel he is not being fair to my daughter, because she is an only child , and having kids may allow to be looked after when she gets old and ill. I have never argued with him or told my daughter how I feel, because I know deep down, if she has to chose between him and I, he will be the winner. I also think I maybe giving off bad vibes, because although we never argued, and always tell each other we love, I can feel his detachment. I am thinking about selling the place I bought and move back to my old town. Any opinions? Am I wrong?

Leave a Reply