Family Matters
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Long Distance Family

For anyone that has family (parents, siblings, etc) that doesn't live in the same state: what are your ways of dealing with it? My H and I live in Florida, and my family is in Illinois. While my H's parents live 10 minutes away, my family is a 3 hr flight and 200 bucks...

Sometimes this is really hard for me. I know I am starting a new family here, but I have always been close to my family, and being away from them is hard at times. I feel like my H doesn't understand because he has never been through it.

Any suggestions?

Re: Long Distance Family

  • I am in the same boat - my ILs live in Nevada and my parents live in Washington (we moved last year from WA to NV).

    I personally just try to be really good about talking on the phone a lot.  I'm hoping to maybe be able to get up to WA for a few days this year but we don't really have the money and my parents also live three hours apart in WA. 

    It really sucks sometimes :(

  • We live far away from both of our families. We're in AZ; my family is in MN; his family is in PA. We talk on the phone a lot, Skype, e-mail, write letters and visit a couple times a year (both sides). I see my sister almost every month it seems!

     We've both been away from our families for 10+ years, so maybe we're used to it, but it seems to work out OK.

    Now that we have a kid, the distance thing is a little harder though ...


  • My goodness, what a lovely bride you were!
  • image Libby33:

    Now that we have a kid, the distance thing is a little harder though ...

    That is probably my biggest concern of all! I want my parents to be part of my child's life (when that time comes). I think that will be the toughest part of it all in the long run.

    But as you said, it gets a little easier...I HOPE! But my parents aren't getting any younger, and I want to be there with them if anything happens.

     I guess I am wallowing in my own pity!

  • image ReturnOfKuus:
    My goodness, what a lovely bride you were!

    Thank you!

  • I'm in this boat too.  DH and I live in Illinois and are families are on the West Coast.  We are really good about regular phone calls and we plan trips to see them numerous times a year.  IT still sucks though...I miss them all the time.
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  • I'm in a similor boat only my folks are in another country and we with with with one of his sisters on the floor below us, he mom use to live above us till she got married last month. We not have someone else above us who is again part of his large family but is isn't blood kin (but her children are). 

    I miss my folks big time, to get a flight to see them is 330 for one person for a one way ticket (as of yesterday at any rate) round trip is out of budget for me and big time for both of us. 

    I do the best as I can by talking with them over skype as much as I can. Its not the same and I miss my folks a lot, not to mention all the people I use to hang out with from time to time and other stuff that I left back when I moved with my Husband back to his home area. 

     I know to a degree what my husband was going though while he was up living with me for the time he was. Though he doesn't have the same relationship as I do with my folks, he's the only male child of 5 girls born to his mom and he's also the last child born the unwonted complication.

  • My sister and her family moved a few states away and we keep in touch on FaceBook. I know she calls my mom and dad once a week and they put everyone on speakerphone so that helps.
  • I haven't lived in the same state as my parents since I was 18. We are really close, but we don't have to see each other to maintain that. I talk to them about every other day.
  • You figure out how to make the most of the time you DO have to spend with your family.  I'm in a similar situation to yours: my family lives far away (parents in Indiana, one sister in California, one sister in South America) and DH's parents are ten minutes away.  Until his sister and BIL and their two kids moved out of state in June, they lived twenty minutes away.

    DH knows how important it is to me that I spend time with my family, and he's been a great sport about using his vacation time to take trips with them and having them stay with us when they come to visit and making the drive to see them.  Most of the time, we try to visit them as a family, but it isn't always feasible.  I've taken DD and gone to visit my parents and my sister in California by myself on a couple of occasions when DH didn't have the time to take off from work. 

    Because we aren't able to be together for birthdays and holidays for the most part, we tend to celebrate these things when we're together -- we'll have a big dinner and birthday cake and celebrate all the summer birthdays at one time, for example, or open Christmas presents at New Year's.  I'm very careful to call and send cards for birthdays and other special occasions.  We get on Skype and talk to each other, or email, or send Facebook messages.  Now that my next-oldest sister and I have children, we have websites with photo galleries that we keep updated so that everybody can see the babies' pictures regularly.

    If your parents are like mine, believe me, they will be a part of your children's lives!  Even though Elizabeth only sees my parents every couple of months, she sees their pictures regularly, she hears them on speaker phone or on Skype, we talk about them, and when she does see them in person, she doesn't even hesitate for a second before she clamors for them to pick her up.

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  • image scherza:

    If your parents are like mine, believe me, they will be a part of your children's lives!  Even though Elizabeth only sees my parents every couple of months, she sees their pictures regularly, she hears them on speaker phone or on Skype, we talk about them, and when she does see them in person, she doesn't even hesitate for a second before she clamors for them to pick her up.

    Thank you! That is definitely reassuring!!  It is nice to hear about someone with children making it work :). I always wondered how my "future" child would react to my parents if they haven't seen them for a while.

    I have a video camera and my parents do as at least I can do that. In the world today, technology is key for families to keep in touch. It is more the bad days that are hard for me.

    I guess I should be Mom always said that she would have to call "every Sunday" on a payphone to her parents when she was in college!

  • My S/O and I currently live in a different state from both of our parents (we're in Washington, his mom/my parents are in Northern California, his parents are in Southern California). It can be hard, but luckily flights aren't too expensive, and I talk tons of the phone with my parents.

    When I was growing up my grandparents lived in Southern California and we lived in Northern. We were still extremely close to them (I still talk to my Grandmother pretty regularly on the phone).

  • When I was growing up, my mom's parents lived in another state and my dad's parents lived in the same city. I was close with both sets of grandparents, but I was actually CLOSER to the ones that lived in a different state.


    In this day and age, its easy :D

  • H and I lived in Turkey for the first year and a half of our marriage.  Now we're in So Cal, but our families live in Milwaukee and Chicago.

    We call regularly, usually on the weekend when we're both around and can put it on speaker.  Even if it's just a quick 5 minute phone call, it helps us all feel connected.  My mom just learned to text to keep in touch with me, and she and my little sisters all got the same cell phone provider I have so we can talk more.

    I try to email a picture every week (usually something random, like the dogs or what we had for dinner or a new place we went).  Something that goes to the parents and won't be posted on Facebook.  His mom LOVES that.  She misses him terribly, he's the youngest and the only one to ever move outside a 20 minute radius. 

    We do "Wii night" with my BIL and his girlfriend and mutual friends.  We put phones on speaker, hook the Wii up to the internet and battle each other on Mario Kart.  

    We do random goofy little sister came to visit and we went to Rite Aid and bought greeting cards...a Rosh Hashana card...we're not Jewish, but it's a random excuse to mail someoone a card and say I Love You.  We got MIL a cat meows to the tune of Happy Birthday.  It's not her birthday, but it was really funny.   

    Twin boys due 7/25/12
  • We are in another country as well, and only see our families once or twice a year. It's hard, but we make it work.

    You mentioned that you were concerned that they were getting older and you wanted to be there if anything were to happen, we feel the same way. However, we keep an emergency flight home fund, just in case. It has about 4000 dollars in it, just in case we need to book a last minute flight home for any reason - it gives us peace of mind knowing that we can be "home" in 12 hours if we need to. 


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  • Don't normally post over here - but I'm in the same boat.  Most of our family lives in Nebraska, and those who don't in the border states.  we moved to Maryland almost a year ago.  At first it wasn't hard on me because I was going back for 2 weeks at a time to finish up work with my graduate degree.  Now that's done and I have a real job with limited vacation time so no more long trips back. I haven't seen my parents or 3/4 of my siblings since May and won't see them again until X-mas.  I am very close with my family - including my extended family so it can be hard at times.  I haven't yet met my cousin's 2 month old baby or my other cousin's fiance. Also - my sister ocassionally babysits for my SIL (DH's sister) and I feel like now she's closer to my neice and nephews than I am!!

    Facebook has been a real help - almost all of my relatives are on it so I know what's going on and I chat with lots of them that way. Also it helps that we get out and do things - today I'm going to my company picnic (I try not to skip out on any social activity), next weekend we're off to WV for white water rafting, and we're starting to fill in all of our sept weekends.  It also helps that someone we know from back home either needs to come to DC for work, or comes out to visit us fairly often.

  • Growing up, after 2nd grade, we never lived near family. It has been a way of life for us, and we are okay. We do live in DH's hometown. I only see my brother once a year, if that(he lives in Canada). I see my parents 2 or 3 times a year, and they only live 2 hours away. I'm in the camp that doesn't need to be physically close to someone to be close to them.  Granted, it was how I was raised. Sure, when my brother had his son, I missed watching him grow up, but emails, phone calls, facebook have all helped. 


    DH is my new family, and has been for a while. While I certainly still love and need my parents and siblings, I don't need to be physically close to them.

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  • Have you gotten SKYPE?
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  • All of my family lives in Kansas, and I live in Michigan with DH and his family. It helps that I am close (emotionally) to his family.

    I talk to my family on the phone quite often and I try to make at least one trip a year to see them.

  • My family all lives over 750 miles away.  My in-laws all live within a 2 hour drive.  We are both closer to my family and actually see them more often.  Go figure.  

    I think it really depends on the relationship you have with your family.  If you are close to them emotionally, the distance doesn't really matter.  You will find a way to keep in touch. 

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  • Thank you for all your feedback! It is nice to know that many of us are in the same situation and are dealing with it well.

    I know that my family is not my "new family" I have with my husband, but when that sibling birthday party is happening, and I am the only missing puts a damper on that day.

     We have skype, a webcam, and we use facebook fairly often. I even talk to my mom on Instant messager throughout the day while at work. But my family has always been a very "huggy" family...and to not have them in the flesh is sad!!!! 

    Whew I must have a lot of growing up to do. It sounds so much like a toddler screaming "I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!" haha!

  • Im in the same situation. My husband and I met when we were seventeen in NJ. Both of our families are in NJ but shortly after he got done school he got offered a job down here in West Palm Beach, FL. It was a hard choice to make but I knew I didn't want to do the long distance thing so I moved with him. I grew up very close with my entire family so being this far away has probably been one of the hardest things Ive had to deal with. I talk to my mom everyday and call my extended family all the time to keep in touch. I don't know what the perfect solution is. We have been in FL since May of 2007 and everytime I leave NJ after visiting I still get sad and usually cry! My biggest concern is about when we have kids. I grew up with family babysitting me and I was never in daycare. I want my kids to know and be close with there family like I was. We've talked about possibly moving back one day. But with the economy the way that it is right now it will probably be a little while before that can happen!
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  • i try and alternate holidays and encourage my family to visit us.  we are fortunate that they are only a five hour drive away but its still tough.

    good luck.

    i've also decided that we do not travel on christmas. i want our daughter to celebrate the holidays at her own house.  i've offered it up to all grandparents to join us and if they choose too thats great and if they don't then oh well.

  • I know the feeling!!!  I lived 3,000 miles away from my family and hubby's family were the next town over.  We rarely did anything with hubby's family, they aren't the best of people.  So I convinced hubby to look for work in AZ about a year ago and we moved 7 months ago.  Hubby is happy with the decision since I will have help once we have children and he got a great title and salary bump when we moved.  I, on the other hand, am still looking for full-time work :(  But overall, we are very happy with out decision to move to be closer to family.  Hubby kind of adopted my family when we got married so it wasn't a hard adjustment.  Just an expensive one :)

    I used to talk to my parents once a day (between the two of them) and we visited at least once if not twice a year.  And we tried to do a yearly vacation with my family to somewhere fun each year.  It's difficult though.....

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