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Expectations from relations

(81 Posts)
lincolnimp Sat 25-Jul-20 12:40:51

I will try to be brief
I came from a small family. 2 siblings, nether of whom have children so tend to have more in common, and still live reasonably close to each other. We are 200 miles away so only see them occasionally.
We have 3 children, with 5 Grandchildren between them. Due to my DH's work, while our children were growing up he was away from home all week, at home for most weekends.
Consequently the children and I became used to being fairly self sufficient. Since they have left home/married we have a good relationship with them, but equally we do not live in each others pockets, though the oldest 3 grandchildren have had us very involved. in their lives since they were born as they live nearby
We have also been Foster Carers for 34 years , yes, even when DH was working away from home, and this has obviously been a huge part of our and our children/grandchildren's lives.
So, a close but not claustrophobic family.

DH and I are now retiring from Fostering, though still have our 110th and last little one with us.
Because we do not need our 5 bedroom Victorian terrace house anymore we are selling and moving.
Our daughter with the youngest grandchildren are now, by chance, living in a town very near to where I grew up, and we have been able to afford the perfect house for us very close to them. Even my usually reserved sil has said how much he is looking forward to us being near, as they have never had any family living near them throughout their married life.
All good, we are all really looking forward to the move.

BUT, one of my 3 cousins lives in the same town. We keep in touch with all three, but this one reduced the contact to the obligatory Christmas card many years ago. He and his wife have lived in the same house for over 40 years---important point.
Their one son lives with his male partner over 100 miles away, and his relationship is not acknowledged by his parents.
Cousins wife has apparently caused a huge rift with my other 2 cousins, her husbands brothers, and is also is a lady who has a list of ailments as long as her arm and says that her husband is essentially her carer
Now she has discovered that we are moving to the same town, and on facebook is demanding that we make contact, and befriend them 'in their twilight years' as they are 'family'
She became rather passive aggressive when I tried to tell her that we lead our own lives, still have our FC with us---until she moves to her adopters, are used to being our own family unit, don't see my siblings very often because that is just the lives we lead. She is also offended that our daughter has not made contact, but that is purely because our daughter is busy with her 2 young children, being a Methodist Ministers wife and working---and has never met either of them

DH and I are really looking forward to spending more time with our youngest grandchildren, and with each other, especially when we do actually say goodbye to being Foster Carers.

AIBU that I do not want to be drawn into this woman's life, which I feel would be the thin edge of the wedge
One more point, I am allergic to cats and dogs, and they have both in their home.
I will suggest meeting in town, once we are settled and our Little One has left us

Sorry for the very long post.

Pantglas2 Sat 25-Jul-20 12:45:45

You need to decide how much contact you want beforehand and stick to that - she sounds demanding and will trample over any weakness. Stick to your guns on what works for you.

Lucca Sat 25-Jul-20 12:46:47

I think you have the answer yourself! Meet up in town when it suits you, see how it goes, but don’t feel obliged to be more involved than you want.

Grandmabatty Sat 25-Jul-20 12:48:42

Why would you want to resurrect a dead, or almost dead relationship? Don't get drawn in on Facebook to giving reasons why it won't suit you as she will have all sorts of reasons why it should. She's a cousin, not immediate family so she's being cheeky. You could block her on Facebook which is easy to do and she wouldn't know. If you agree to a meeting, you will be sucked in. You sound like a lovely person and if you don't want to hurt her feelings, be aware that she will have no compunction in hurting yours.

vampirequeen Sat 25-Jul-20 12:49:12

You're not being unreasonable. This woman has more or less ignored you for years. Now she sees a chance of using you. Keep your distance. If she takes a huff ...tough.

fiorentina51 Sat 25-Jul-20 12:55:24

Block her on FB and don't give her your new address or any other contact details. She sounds toxic!
Enjoy your new found freedom and twilight years.

Poppyred Sat 25-Jul-20 13:00:41

Don’t let her bully you! Avoid making any plans to meet up. Tell her you are far too busy, in the nicest possible way.

ginny Sat 25-Jul-20 13:39:25

I agree with all the above. Time for you to do what you want , you have had a busy and giving life so far.

Hithere Sat 25-Jul-20 13:55:29


Oopsadaisy3 Sat 25-Jul-20 14:17:12

Some FB friends should stay just that and not cross over into real life, even if they are distant family.
I have several cousins on FB who are so full of aches and pains, but I also have close family in real life that need my attention and care, not people who haven’t contacted me for over 40 years, if it wasn’t for FB we wouldn’t be in touch.
So no UANBU. Unfriend her.

lincolnimp Sat 25-Jul-20 15:04:50

Thanks everyone for your comments, and support. Perhaps I should say that I have blocked her for years, but she picked up the fact that we are moving from a comment on a page that she is also on---unbeknown to me, and started messaging me.
I have previously messaged her husband, my cousin, when I heard that he was unwell. He is far more understanding of our position, I think he knows just how demanding his wife would be

EllanVannin Sat 25-Jul-20 15:23:32

Give her as wide a berth as you possibly can, you don't want to end up a drudge.

geekesse Sat 25-Jul-20 16:15:35

Why can’t you just ignore them? There seems to be this huge sense of obligation, but it’s not based on any kind of meaningful relationship. If you don’t respond, what are they going to do - turn up on your doorstep and demand tea and cakes? I suggest you may be over-thinking this.

silverlining48 Sat 25-Jul-20 16:16:26

A move sounds a wonderful opportunity to be near your daughter and family. Do follow suggestions above re cousin, but i just wanted to say congratulations on all your good work over many years presumably as foster parents. In my work I was involved with fostering and know what a huge difference to children a good foster placements make. Well done to you both.

Nortsat Sat 25-Jul-20 16:31:04

Your move sounds as though it’s going to be a really good one. Wishing you every success with it.

I think your suggested ‘meet for coffee’ in town once you’re settled, is a good idea. You are right to protect your boundaries from extended family members, who are difficult. We do the same.

Having had a long, successful career as a foster career, you will be experienced at setting and preserving boundaries. I suggest you need to apply those skills to these circumstances. I am sure you’ll manage it well.

Wishing you a happy future. ?

Grandmabatty Sat 25-Jul-20 17:49:48

If she has found a way of contacting you then definitely block that way. You still have contact with your actual cousin. Given that you had already blocked her, I would think seriously about whether you wanted to have a coffee with her. What do you have to gain from that? She hadn't been a friend and is a tenuous part of your extended family that you haven't seen for years. She doesn't sound like she will bring anything positive to your life so you shouldn't feel bad at ignoring her. I had to do something similar to an awful ex colleague who cornered me in the supermarket and brow beat me into saying I would be friends on Facebook and wanted to meet up for coffee. First thing I did was block her everywhere and I've never seen her since! Slightly different, I know but it is possible.

Chewbacca Sat 25-Jul-20 18:23:24

Sounds like she's looking for a back up carer? I don't see any point in meeting up in town for coffee, or anywhere else for that matter. She's not been even the smallest part of your lives for 40 years and so there's not much to build on now is there? Don't bother making excuses why you can't see her, just block every avenue of communication.

MissAdventure Sat 25-Jul-20 18:29:25

I think the minute you respond, you'll have opened the door a crack and they'll slither in, so best not to respond at all.

Chewbacca Sat 25-Jul-20 19:07:21

opened the door a crack and they'll slither in

I can picture that! grin

Peardrop50 Sat 25-Jul-20 19:14:51


I think the minute you respond, you'll have opened the door a crack and they'll slither in, so best not to respond at all.

We all know a slitherer or two, beware, be strong, be happy.

Smileless2012 Sun 26-Jul-20 10:09:18

110 foster children! what an amazing couple you and your DH are linconimp. I agree with everyone who has responded.

Best ignored so you can enjoy this new chapter in your lives which is well deservedflowers.

Hetty58 Sun 26-Jul-20 10:25:35

lincolnimp, she's 'demanding' that you make contact? Alarm bells are ringing, so I'd just ignore her!

Froglady Sun 26-Jul-20 10:38:23

Seems to me that she may want you to be looking after them in their 'twilight years'. Meet in town if you really want to but. personally, I wouldn't go as far as that. If you do meet her, make sure you know what you are going to say: don't let her bully you into agreeing to things that you don't want or need. To me she sounds like a user of people who may bleed you dry and drag you down with her.
Good Luck.

Coconut Sun 26-Jul-20 10:40:34

She clearly has “issues” so don’t even think about responding anymore. Stay in control of your own life and don’t let others in who would attempt to manipulate and upset your happy balance, don’t even go there.

HannahLoisLuke Sun 26-Jul-20 10:41:21

Enjoy your move but don't, under any circumstances meet up with this woman. Cut all contact and don't let her find your address, difficult I know with everything so public nowadays. If you even meet in town for a coffee she will latch onto your good nature and wear you down so stay vigilant.
If you happen to run into her keep this in mind. You can't stop, got urgent dental appointment, whatever. Have an excuse, lie, ready just in case.
Good Luck and have a happy future.