When Your Family Lives Nearby And His Doesn’t

November 13, 2017  |  
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If you’re fortunate enough to live near your family (or unfortunate, depending on your relationship with them), then you know how they can be a real factor in your plans and schedule. When your family is just an hour or so drive away, you feel a little pull to go up there every time someone is recovering from a simple dental surgery or celebrating their dog’s adoptaversary. “It’s just an hour drive…” you hear them say. Even when they don’t say it, your own guilt echoes it in your mind. If you’re in a relationship, your partner gets dragged into this, too. Meanwhile, if your partner’s family lives far away, things can feel a bit unfair. Your partner spends a lot of time with your family, and expects you to travel home to see his. But driving an hour and spending $300 on a plane ticket are two different things. These are just some of the dilemmas that occur when your family lives nearby and his lives far away.

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He spends more time with your family

Your partner naturally sees your family far more than you see his. This not only makes his parents a bit jealous—because your parents are getting to know your partner very well, while his parents barely get to know you—but it also can make your partner a bit resentful.

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Your family gives you two some leeway

Since you visit your family so often, when you see them, they give you some leeway to do your own thing. It’s not a huge deal if you and your partner want to spend the day alone, in your family’s town, because you’ll be back in a month.

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Visiting his family is expensive

Visiting your partner’s family is a real expense. Not only do you have to pay for the plane ticket, but you may also need to take days off of work to make the trip. He may spend a lot of time with your family, but you spend a lot of money on his. And you’re happy to do it! But you just hope he sees that you do make a big effort.

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He spends small holidays with your family

Your partner drives home with you for your parent’s wedding anniversary and your sister’s birthday party. When you live near your family, there is always something to celebrate every few weeks. Sometimes your partner feels that your family monopolizes your weekends together.

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And would like you to spend big ones with his

Since your partner spends all the little holidays with your family, he thinks it’s only fair that you spend the big ones with his. After all, the big holidays are really the only time he has enough days off work to visit his family. But it’s hard for you to tell your own family you won’t be home for Christmas.

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If you miss one trip, you may not see them for two years

Your partner might only visit his family once or twice a year. If you cannot go with him on a trip for whatever reason, you may go nearly two years without seeing his family. So yes—it’s a big deal when you can’t take the time off work to go home with him.

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You experience his family during vacation

Because your partner rarely goes home, when he does, his family clears their schedule. He usually visits them during major holidays anyway, so everybody is in vacation mode when you’re there—they’re happy and relaxed.

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He experiences your family during real life

Since you and your partner visit your family more frequently—even for little day trips—he experiences them during real life. He sees your family stressed out, juggling work schedules, and decidedly not in vacation mode.

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Visiting his family requires a lot of planning

When planning a trip to visit your partner’s family, you have a lot of schedules to contend with. You have to make sure you, your partner, and his family can take the time off of work to spend time together.

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Your family expects you home too much

Your family really does expect you home too much. They always say, “It’s just an hour drive!” But it winds up being a day-long excursion no matter what. There’s traffic both ways, and you get sucked into staying for five hours instead of three, and before you know it, there goes your and your partner’s Saturday.

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Getting your two families together is nearly impossible

You might date your partner for years before your two families can meet. That rendezvous requires the collaboration of far too many schedules and can take half a decade to make happen.

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Sometimes, your partner wants to fly solo

You get plenty of chances to have alone time with your family, but your partner doesn’t. Sometimes he wants to go home without you, but it’s a bit of a sore spot because that means you just don’t see his family for a year.

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When his family visits, it’s for a while

Because your partner’s family visits so infrequently, when they do, it’s for a while. They may come to town for a week or two at a time. It may be a bit stressful because they’re there during your workweek, but you’d like to try to find time to see them at night.

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And they may want to stay with you

If his family comes to town for two weeks, paying for a hotel room all of that time can get a bit pricey. As such, they may need to stay with you and your partner.

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And the social expectation is higher

Another dynamic that occurs when his family visits so infrequently is that, when they do, the social expectation is high. They naturally expect to see you and your partner every day they’re there because they’re almost never there.

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