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How to cope with relatives moving abroad

(16 Posts)
D886 Tue 04-Jul-17 11:30:03

My aunt and uncle (who are more like parents to me) have sold their house and are moving to Spain.

I have always been very close to my aunt as I'm my parents only child and my aunt couldn't have children, so a close relationship was always there. We became closer when I had my children and she retired. She's so lovely; always helpful, always there and always kind. I don't know what I would have done without her for some stuff.

I'm a lot less close to my uncle who is very old-fashioned in his opinions and behaviours. This move is more his decision, which although she is excited about and part of her wants to go, I think she's torn and is mainly going to keep him happy.

There are lots of other issues: Brexit and his ailing health worry me (he had a hip replacement which didn't go exactly to plan last year and has given him other problems, and he has a heart condition). I worry that she will be lonely.

Obviously, I have to let them go and should be happy for them. But I'm finding my own feelings overwhelming sometimes. I've been able to block the sad thoughts out for a few weeks (I was tremendously down and kept bursting into tears one weekend, but have managed to contain in since) but the news of them having sold the house has bought me back down with a thump. It feels like a slow bereavement. I know we won't be able to go over as much as she would like us to, for example. And I know the goodbye at the airport is coming. My kids (8y and 5y) are upset; my 10mo won't really know who they are.

Dawnedlightly Tue 04-Jul-17 11:37:16

Start looking at flights! That'll cheer you up as you could be able to visit them for about £100 or much less if you can get away on your own or just with the baby. Where are they going?

D886 Tue 04-Jul-17 11:49:19

Thanks for your reply. I had better start getting my head around it I guess and just look to the positives. I'm not sure which part it is exactly where they're going (my aunt becomes secretive when she is stressed) but I think their closest airport would be Alicante.

Lissette Tue 04-Jul-17 11:49:58

My parents emigrated to Australia but I found out they were going when they let it slip in conversation. They then refused to dtalk about it with me (they are very authoritarian parents and not affectionate). It's hard when people decide to emigrate but even harder if it's handled badly. My parents alienated a lot of friends and family before they left by denigrating our town, 'we're off to paradise' etc. I do recognise that people need to follow their dreams and wishes. I also recognise the slow bereavement feeling. The best advice I can offer is not to be hard on yourself and allow yourself to grieve. Recognise as well that you will continue to have a relationship and that there will be opportunities to visit and for them to come back to see you. It may not be as often as you'd like but you can write and Skype too. You clearly value your relationships especially the lovely relationship with your Aunt.

Lissette Tue 04-Jul-17 11:51:33

Cross posted OP!

Yoksha Tue 04-Jul-17 12:12:32

OP why are you posting that your aunt is coming across as secretive? Is it something you instinctively sense, or do you think your uncle is causing her to act in such a manner? I'm not posting this to cause upset, it's just what jumped out at me.

D886 Tue 04-Jul-17 12:19:51

That was a really lovely and very positive message, Lissette. Thank-you.

My aunt has gone silent with me about this move and at times, I feel too upset to ask her about it so it has become the elephant in the room. Or, I put a front on so it might seem like I'm not bothered, but I do that so it doesn't crush me. I find out most of the news through my DM.

She has stopped phoning as much and texts me instead. She doesn't visit as often. I know I should visit them more but she tells me they're always busy lately.

She told me they'd sold the house by texting, which is okay, but I don't think the most suitable way to communicate that kind of news. To be fair though, I think I would have been hurt any way I received the news.

I know I just need to keep focused on the positives. My DH though, understandably doesn't want to spend every one of our holidays and Christmases out there. I think he feels resentful that the expectation is for that, and for me go out with just me and our DCs at times like half-term. So there's that element which is a contentious point too.

D886 Tue 04-Jul-17 12:26:08

Yoksha, I will be completely honest and say that I think my uncle is EA to my aunt. She was only 19 when they married and everything is his way. He dominates her, and uses subtle punishment when she goes against what he says (she rarely goes against him). He's told her in the past how stupid he thinks she is (she certainly isn't).

I remember she got home late one time in the past - she'd been out with my parents to the cinema - and he locked her out of the house so she had to sleep in the porch as she wasn't home by the time he'd said.

I just worry that this isn't what she really wants. That she'd like a bolt hole out there, but not to sell up and live there all the time.

Lissette Tue 04-Jul-17 12:37:45

It's sounds like your Aunt may be finding the transition stage of the move difficult. As you have a good relationship with her, perhaps she doesn't want to upset you or get emotional herself. They are probably doing a massive clear out of stuff which is emotionally exhausting. I wonder if Spain and the heat is attractive for your Uncle's health, especially with hip problems. I know my mother's arthritis improved immeasurably when she moved away and that helped me to rationalise the move.

I think the visiting plans will sort out in time. It's one of those 'up in the air' things that will become clearer in time.

Ironically I had to move to the UK with dh's job so in the end I had to go through it too. That said, knowing what it was like to be left behind, I made a real effort with friends and extended family before and after leaving.

Lissette Tue 04-Jul-17 12:40:38

Sorry OP cross posted again. I can see why you're concerned about her. All you can do as a family is to be there for her.

Lissette Tue 04-Jul-17 12:43:32

I think there are two issues here: one is your sadness at losing a valued family member to life in another country. But also you fear that she's been railroaded into this. What does your Mum think?

Yoksha Tue 04-Jul-17 13:09:10

I have to agree with Lissette. Give it time D886.

It's emotionally charged ATM. So many dynamics operating here. Not all healthy. I'm not surprised at your uncle's behaviour. That says more about him than anyone else in this situation.

For you OP 💆💇💅💄👠👛....a virtual girlfriend list if goodies.

Lissette Tue 04-Jul-17 13:18:14

That's lovely of you Yorsha! I have limited goodies to add! wineflowers

D886 Wed 05-Jul-17 09:51:46

I love my goodies! Thank-you, Yorsha ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

My DM feels the same as me. My Aunt is very gentle and DM's younger sister, so Mum has always been protective over her. My DM and uncle have clashed at times over the years; Mum tends to stay quiet as she is aware of the emotional punishments that go on.

Ultimately, my aunt does have power but she chooses to stay with my uncle, so there isn't really anything we can do except support her. We are all worried that she is being railroaded, but that she is still making a conscious decision.

Yoksha Wed 05-Jul-17 11:52:18

Hi OP,

It's easy for those outside looking in to say this or that about "personal perspectives" regarding a marriage. Yes, you and your mum are probably spot on, but at the end of the day your aunt is an adult and she'll take the line of least resistance. All you can do is stand silently and non-judgementally on the outside. Your aunt will then at least have one less veneer of stress to deal with.

Your very welcome re your virtual goodies.

Lissette Wed 05-Jul-17 11:59:23

Also at least your Aunt knows that she has a supportive wider family. X

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