Wedding Woes

Do you call, reach out, extend the invite when you're not back home?

Dear Prudence,

Do you have any advice for someone feeling “out of sight, out of mind” with family? I’m the only person in my family to ever move out of our town, which was the right decision for me overall—except for the fact that I feel so distant from my family now. They have never once visited me in 10 years, declining even to come to my wedding six years ago. (My mom wasn’t well enough to fly and I guess everyone else felt like if she couldn’t be there, no one was going.) They don’t call, and in general, all of us are posting very little on social media these days.

I call to catch up every few months with my siblings, parents, and aunts, and make sure they always know there’s an open and eager invitation to come see me. I visit home at least once a year and our visits are great! We have a ton of fun and talk about how we wish we could see each other more often. I invite them to give me a call sometime to catch up, or to come out and let me be their tour guide in my beautiful state. Money and time off are always factors, but most of the people in mind do a few outings a year by road trip and plane—like an eight-hour drive to the next state over or a six-hour flight to Mexico, compared to the four-hour flight out here. I can’t really compete with a resort vacation, but my area is also a vacation destination full of activities I know they love.

I’m not sure there’s anything more I can say to inspire them to visit or call. I know they love me, but this is a pretty entrenched pattern at this point. Most of my friends here are from other states and their families visit several times a year, and it makes me really sad that I don’t have that kind of relationship with my family. I’ve talked to my therapist about it, but I just don’t know how to move on from wanting something that probably isn’t going to happen.

—At Sea in Colorado

Re: Do you call, reach out, extend the invite when you're not back home?

  • Options
    Do you bring this up often to your family?  Do you mention the specific things or events that are worth seeing?  

    Moving away from family is hard and it can also mean you have to face the reality that there may also be a bit of sour grapes on the part of immediate family even though your move is your choice to make.   
  • Options
    So eerie.  This is almost identical to my situation with my family, except for the wedding part.

    It's sometimes really hurtful, but I try not to let it bother me or think about it too much.  Saying something wouldn't change anything, except to make people feel bad so I've accepted it.  I hope the LW can come to a similar peace.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Options
    Sometimes this is just the way it is when you're the one who moves away, especially when you're the first or only one to move. 

    I moved to ATL with my parents when I was in high school. My mom was the first of her family to move and stay moved. (One sibling went away for college but went back). We go "home" to visit often, but the family have been here maybe 3-4 times in the last 25 years outside of stopping by on the way to Florida. I think my parents understand that it was their choice to move, so that shouldn't obligate the rest of the family to need to spend their vacation time and money coming here often. I would expect it would be even more so if we were talking about a flight versus a road trip. 
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