...to get back in touch with the family I miss?

(16 Posts)
EssentialHummus Mon 20-Jun-16 12:11:28

Not sure what I'm asking for exactly, but here goes.

I've been in the UK for around 8 years now. When I first moved here, I was taken in by a local family - I was studying for my master's and was hired to help the dad with a work project in the same field (psychology), but very quickly started joining the rest of the family for meals, birthday parties and so on. My work and involvement there grew exponentially. They (well, my boss) told me that he and his wife though of me as their daughter but all grown up. It was an intense dynamic, made more so because my boss was an older dad who I think had real anxiety at not seeing his own (then six year old) daughter get to my age. They were incredibly supportive of me in lots of ways. I felt that they were like family. In retrospect they were very welcoming of a random twenty-something from the other side of the world landing on their doorstep.

Then it all went wrong. I'm still not exactly sure why. From my point of view, I felt like I was suddenly excluded from stuff. From their point of view (my boss said at the time), they felt that I was somehow pulling away or not that interested in them anymore. That doesn't really match my experience of things, but it was a very difficult, uncertain time for me - money worries, immigration worries, general "what the hell am I doing with my life" worries. I quit my job with him, and when he got in touch very soon after I asked him to please not get in touch, and that I'd do so when/if I wanted to.

A few years have passed. I'm now in a very different place - 30 years old, qualified in my profession, with my own home, about to get married. I live on the other side of London. I don't know whether it's my upcoming wedding, or my ropey relationship with my own mum and dad, or the fact that it was Father's Day yesterday, but I am suddenly very keen to get in touch with them again.

Should I just do it? I guess I'm scared that it'll be different to how it was, and that I'll somehow be disappointed with what I'll find. (I.e. the toddler who used to sit on my lap for cuddles must be a couple of years into prep school now; my former boss is now much more well-known and probably busier than he was after finishing the thing we were working on together.) I'm scared that they won't want to see me, I guess, or hold me at arms' length.

WWYD? Help me out on this rainy Monday.

WaitingForTheMan Mon 20-Jun-16 12:17:44

How long did you live with them before 'it all went wrong'?
My own feeling is that you should put it all behind you, you're happy, in a stable relationship and are now qualified and hopefully have a good job.
Don't go upsetting yourself, it's in the past.

WaitingForTheMan Mon 20-Jun-16 12:18:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EssentialHummus Mon 20-Jun-16 12:26:33

How long did you live with them before 'it all went wrong'?

About three years. I wasn't living with them, just being there, if that makes sense.

EssentialHummus Mon 20-Jun-16 12:28:01

I guess I can't help thinking, What if they miss me too? Do they wonder what I'm up to?

smileyhappypeople Mon 20-Jun-16 12:32:49

Could you send a letter, that way there is no 'door slamming in your face' kind of thing and it leaves the ball in their court??

Arfarfanarf Mon 20-Jun-16 12:38:17

Will you be able to cope if they aren't interested in meeting up/talking to you/having you back in their lives? Or if they take the opportunity to tell you how they felt and it isn't positive?

I always think if someone is prepared for the worst case scenario then they should give it a go, because there's every chance worst case won't happen. But if they know that they couldn't bear it if it went to shit - it's best to leave it and make their peace with it as it is.

Floralnomad Mon 20-Jun-16 12:40:49

I think it would be fine to get in touch provided that you are able to cope if they don't want to rekindle the relationship .

fluffyjumper123 Mon 20-Jun-16 12:48:32

I agree with Smiley. I would write a letter and then the ball will be in their court and less awkward and upsetting if they are not interested in rekindling a relationship. I would also explain what you have in your op - you didn't intentionally 'pull away' but had a lot of concerns/anxieties re other life issues at the time. I would imagine that they most likely do still think of you and wonder what you are doing especially as they seemed so hurt at what they felt was you rejecting them. At least you can say that you tried and won't have to live with the what ifs!

StayAChild Mon 20-Jun-16 13:01:43

I don't think I would. I can understand your reasons, but what do you want from them? An update of the family's lives since you left them, or to rekindle the relationship you had with them at that time?
Some things are best left in the past.

I'm very cynical, and I feel your Boss had developed issues with you being around; maybe feeling pressure to help you through your own issues at that time, or other reasons, such as the project was coming to a conclusion?

At the very most, I would send your boss a short, friendly update of your career and upcoming wedding, with thanks for their help and hospitality, but I wouldn't ask any questions that require a response from him, as you will be on tenterhooks waiting for a reply.

Well done you for getting to where you are now with your career and congrats on your marriage. flowers

EssentialHummus Mon 20-Jun-16 13:09:02

stay, if I'm honest, I would want a relationship with them again. This weekend I found myself thinking of the daughter, how she'd be a teenager soon, and the kind of relationship we could have now. I was (and am, writing this) in tears at the idea that I could do fun stuff with her now she's at "that age" and becoming a bit more independent. That sounds so silly, I know.

I'm very cynical, and I feel your Boss had developed issues with you being around; maybe feeling pressure to help you through your own issues at that time, or other reasons, such as the project was coming to a conclusion?

Probably, but he's in a profession where being aware of your own issues is Priority No. 1, so I kind of assumed that whatever issues anyone had, could be worked through.

Conniedescending Mon 20-Jun-16 13:11:17

I wouldn't ...the whole thing just sounds really quite odd

StayAChild Mon 20-Jun-16 13:26:30

Essential Hummus

In that case, together with the fact that you told your boss you would be in touch if/when you wanted to, then how about a brief update email to him, and see what happens next.

You don't say how long it is since you left, but working it out roughly I'd say 4/5 years? The daughter may not even remember you that well.

Perhaps you could also work on improving your ropey relationship with your parents to a more satisfactory level? You may even have your very own family to concentrate on soon.
All the best whatever you decide to do. smile

EssentialHummus Mon 20-Jun-16 13:33:51

Thanks Stay flowers

Not sure how much hope I have with my own family (we're in contact, just not close at all, with not much chance of improvement there), but I think I'll think about things for a while longer - not least because there's the small matter of a wedding and honeymoon these next few weeks - then see whether i feel up to getting in touch with this lot.

Yes, the daughter may not remember me at all sad That has also gotten me crying.

plimsolls Mon 20-Jun-16 13:39:00

As someone who works in the psychological field, I would advise you not to bank on the fact that he should be aware and able to work through his own issues. I know lots of psychologists who are terrible at doing that! (I guess like there are lots of unhealthy GPs?!).

My instinct reading your post was that something about the original dynamic became a little unhealthy. I think it would be good to also work through your motivations.... I don't think you ought to bank on this now teenager wanting to do all this fun stuff with you independently. The fact you're nearly in tears thinking about it suggests you might be vulnerable to being hurt. I also wonder if there's something else going on for you that is making you feel so strongly about a family you essentially walked away from and cut ties with. Something to do with moving into the n t stage of your life maybe.

As POs have said, write them a letter with all your news and maybe include reflections on what they meant to you/how they helped you/etc, maybe with some reasons as to why you e started thinking about them again. Tell them you'd love to catch up in person.

But only do this if you can cope with the idea they may not be interested in anything more deep or meaningful than a brief catch up.

EssentialHummus Mon 20-Jun-16 16:29:52

plimsolls You're right - I know it's not a coincidence that all these feelings are coming to the fore in the week of my wedding (which my family won't be attending). And I think you're absolutely right that I'm vulnerable to being hurt if they aren't as keen on me anymore.

I think it's "Do nothing" for now, then see how much this is still on my mind when I am Mrs Hummus grin. I also have a long-suffering therapist that I'll be discussing this with.

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