Family vs. Relationship, what choice do I make?

BTW, I found it a little disturbing that you refer to an older guy “taking care of you”. Do you have a job? If this relationship fell apart tomorrow could you afford to live on your own?

Take the guy, and your family, out of the picture for a minute.

Think about where you are and where you come from, and which is the best environment for you. Which has the better job market, the kind of social choices you prefer, even the weather you like? Where is the best place for you to be if your you and the BF break up or your nieces and nephews go off to school?

If you want to be part of a child’s life… Big Sisters? If it’s got to be a kid who’s genetically related to you for the relationship to be meaningful - then you do want kids. You may have decided not to have them, but you want them.

I tend to agree with those who suggest that maybe your relationship isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. I would move away from every family member in a heartbeat to be with my spouse, no question. (Instead, he did the same thing to be with me.)

I think, for most people, a good partner/romantic/sexual relationship will trump any other sort of family aside from their own kids. So when you say that you might be willing to dump the relationship on behalf of the other family, that tells me that your relationship isn’t fulfilling what you need from it.

I wouldn’t change my life around my nieces and nephews, no matter how much I love them. It’s an impermanent situation. Kids have a habit of growing up and leaving.

I was a CA girl most of my life and only moved to the Midwest when my husband’s job came here. I’ve noticed that most of the people I know in the Midwest are far more deeply into their extended families than the people I knew in California (LA area, mostly). Plenty of exceptions in both cases, of course. I have some friends here who would never have dreamed of moving too far from their birth families with an SO - it seems so strange and unthinkable to them to even consider such a thing. Maybe there is a cultural/regional component?

For me, as others have stated, my home is with the family I chose - my husband. I can’t imagine being so close to anyone else that there would ever even be a question in my mind. Also, even though I am quite close to one of my sisters and was quite close to her daughters as children, they have all scattered and are engrossed in their own lives and families as adults. Would have been a huge drag to get so enmeshed in their lives that I was left alone in my forties.

I wonder, having several native midwestern friends who left for the big city and came back, do you hate California? It seems a common enough feeling that I hear a lot more “how could you have ever stood it out there” than “why did you leave and come here”.

My advice, if you care - if you aren’t over the moon about your SO, you should probably pack it in and leave. At the three-year relationship mark, there will be enough difficulties (the death or readjustment of your romantic life, the risk of familiarity breeding contempt, etc.) without all the outside stress of hating where you live.

It sounds to me like you have a bad case of being home sick.

I think SO wins over family if the SO is the right person and you have a strong and loving relationship.

And as one poser stated the nieces and nephews are going to grow up and move on with their own lives one day.

There are plenty of ways to stay close to family even though they are far away.

[Emphasis mine]

Well, dang, that wasn’t very nice! :smiley:

Thanks, all, for your honest words.

I think that after my most recent visit, I’ve really been in panic mode about this homesickness I’m feeling (you’re right, Some User Name).

I’m not going to start another thread on the children issue, but I’ll leave it to say that I tolerate other people’s kids, but I would throw myself in front of a train for my sister’s kids. I don’t know why—we hated each other in high school but we started getting really close after college. I was there and watched my first nephew be born, and I swear some maternal hormones started flowing when he arrived that made me really connect with him, especially. As the other kids came, I just found myself making a relationship with them a priority in my life. Why not kids of my own? I just don’t think I’m emotionally mature enough to tackle the job. I’m very much like my own mother who was also not a very stable/together person, but she had 5 kids anyway, and then gave up after she got sick of the job. An unhappy childhood/young adult life and 10 years of therapy later, I don’t care to repeat that pattern. My sister is less like my mom and very dedicated to the job of motherhood, therefore she’s fully capable, and her kids’ great personalities really show it.

I haven’t even mentioned that I have a brother with kids who I don’t have a close relationship with, purely because he’s never made himself or his family very available to get to know.

I guess I have to decide whether I truly will find value in ending a loving relationship to be near and live vicariously through my sis/family, or whether I need to stick to my guns in the life I have now and realize the value in my own life and relationship and experiences. And visit the nieces/nephews a whole lot so as to keep the love strong.

Boyo Jim, no he doesn’t finance me/my life. I actually have two jobs. The job I got before I moved here (that was our agreement) and a business I’ve started on my own. And I make dinner every night and buy all the groceries and…and… The “taking care of” is more of a doting/emotional nature. If I don’t feel like walking the dog, he does it, no question. If I want to spend an hour and a half shopping for the perfect skirt, he is patiently there by the dressing room to tell me how it looks (that happens maybe 2 times per year, so don’t cry ‘abuse’!). It’s that kind of taking care. (I take care of him too, in a thousand ways). So, no worries there!

I think you are a little homesick. That happens quite a bit, and maybe you are idealizing back home a little. Remember the things that made you leave originally. If you move back, how is the job market?

I did the “move back to be closer to family” thing about 5 years ago, and I’m glad that’s not the only reason I moved back. Granted, I was away much longer than you were (13 years more or less) and I don’t have the close relationship with my nieces and nephews you describe, but overall it’s very different than I was expecting. Yes, I like being close to my family… but if that was the only reason we moved, I can definitely say it would have been the wrong decision.

Visiting is very different than living here. Relationships aren’t as strong on a day to day basis as they seemed when we were only in town for a week or two. Heck, we barely ever even see the brother & wife we were closest to before we moved here.

Yeah, you come in for a few days and everyone changes their schedules to see you. You live there and not so much with the changing schedules to see you.

It’s like comparing a regular day to Christmas.

There may be something to this. I grew up geographically and emotionally close to my grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins. It’s very important to me that my kids have the same experience if possible. The thought of only seeing my parents once or twice a year is unacceptable to me. My husband feels the same way, and we’ve made career trade-offs to keep us close to family. I know that doesn’t make me any more loving than people who live far from their families, but I just cannot imagine being happy living 3000 miles away from them.

Oh crap…oopsie :smack:

I am very, very close to my family - and it is a big one. I grew up with cousins on top of cousins, saw my aunts and uncles weekly, and my family means the world to me. My wife means more. She is my partner in crime. She is my best friend. She is my sounding board, my harshest critic, my biggest fan. We’re lucky that we live within an hour’s drive of my family, but I wouldn’t move back even that short distance if it meant picking between her or my family.

Think very long and very hard about what you’ll gain by moving back to be close to your family. Look at it from their perspective. Will they be as glad to have you back as you are to be back? What if they’d just as soon not have a terribly close relationship? If you move back, it doesn’t work out like you planned - then what?

A hard decision, and one I don’t envy; however, whatever you decide make sure you don’t second guess yourself. Make a decision, don’t waiver, don’t look back.

Someone needs to repeat what Kalhoun said. I think the only way you’ll have any hope of getting a definitive answer is to go home for a while. You’ve said yourself that you didn’t really know what it would be like to be so far away from your family unitl you moved away. Just so, you won’t really know what it’s like to be away from your boyfriend and back with the family unitl you move back.

Find a way to move back near your family for at least three months (six would be better). Commit to staying that whole time. Then at the end, see how you feel. I’ll bet that you’ll have a lot more clarity then than you do now.

It’s not that I don’t think that’s a great idea, but it’s a logistical nightmare for most people.

The world is a pretty small place right now. CairoCarol mentioned staying in touch more with your family via Skype and email, etc. I think that’s a great idea.

You could become special email or snail-mail penpals with your nieces and nephews. Try being video penpals (you can post videos privately on Youtube - only available to certain accounts). Or ask them to keep a video journal and send you discs every so often. Ask them to send you artwork, and you send them artwork too. When they’re old enough, have them come visit you in the summer or over winter break. Heck, try video conferencing (try Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo messenger). Get a VOIP account with Skype or Vonage and have the kids call you once a week.

If they don’t have access to do this sort of stuff, offer to help your sister by going halfsies on a video camera or a better computer. Or if they’re tiny tots, pitch the idea to your sister as a way for HER (and even grandma) to journal the kids’ lives.

If traveling all the way back home is a burden on you, ask family members to coordinate vacations that meet in the middle and just spend the weekend in a hotel watching the kids swim in the pool.

You can be very close to your family, and very involved, without being physically close. If you want to stay in CA, this may be your best option to a win/win situation.