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Struggling with Son living abroad

(85 Posts)
Jojo1515 Sat 07-Mar-20 21:25:33

I'd appreciate advice on going forward please?
We moved abroad when our son was a baby. We didn't get on with our families and for our marriage to survive, we had to leave. A job opportunity came up and the move was the best thing we did. It gave our children a relaxed upbringing. A great education and most importantly, two happy parents. Roll on to the end of our sons education and having met a girl online he moved back to the place of his birth. He is now with a new partner and they have a daughter of their own. He has a good job and is very close to his new partners family. He visits us maybe once a year and we visit him. His new partner is lovely and they are a lovely couple together. But we know he is settled where he is and will not be returning home. From being close to his siblings growing up, its like they are now strangers. Our extended family are smug that they have him back! We are struggling knowing we don't see him much or will be a big part of our Grandchilds life. We skype but it's not the same.
Please help.

Jane10 Sat 07-Mar-20 21:40:28

What can we say? Adult children do what adult children do. You moved away from your family he's done the same.

Jojo1515 Sat 07-Mar-20 21:56:10

Thank you Jane for your reply. I know he has done what we done. We are not upset that he has done exactly what we did ~(although he moved from a lovely family and we moved away from unloving families) I was simply asking for advice and tips on how to cope. Maybe someone else will be able to help me.

tanith Sat 07-Mar-20 23:06:26

My son also moved abroad 12 yrs ago and now has two adorable children with his lovely partner. He is very happy and I know will never come ‘home’ as this is no longer his home. I and his sisters and all the nieces and nephews miss him greatly but it is what it is. I visit when I can and he likewise it’s only once or twice a year and it breaks my heart but he is very happy and I have to content myself with that thought.
I keep in touch via FB messenger/WhatsApp with him and his partner and am content that she sends me pictures and tales of their life.
Be happy that he’s happy and you’ll find it gets a little easier.

Jojo1515 Sun 08-Mar-20 07:36:05

Thankyou tanith. Its reassuring knowing what I feel is normal. I feel happy knowing he had the confidence to move and is happy with it. His new partner is lovely and she does indeed send us regular photos. Thankyou again tanith for your wise word

Lucca Sun 08-Mar-20 07:42:31

The fact is nobody can actually tell you how to cope. My son lives on the other side of the world and I miss him horribly but he has made a happy life for himself and he makes it clear that he still loves me with texts calls FaceTime thoughtful presents etc and all you can do it let yourself be sad and have a good weep when it hits you hard but then get on with other things in your life.there is no magic wand.

BlueBelle Sun 08-Mar-20 07:52:26

My son moved away ( the furthest possible place😊) 22 years ago has two grown children and a brilliantly productive lifestyle with a lovely wife he doesn’t have a lot of contact with his sisters they ve not fell out but distance, complete opposite time difference, and thousands of expensive miles makes it difficult I only get to see him every few years we talk every week but of course it’s not the same but ....
It’s their life, their choices and I back them 100% and get on with my own life surely the very reason we bring up our children is to give them the foundations to fly for themselves in whichever direction they choose but to be there if their wings fail
I love my son as much now as the day he was born but my job of nurturing him is long over
jojo you don’t need help, feelings are yours we can’t erase them, but acceptance is also for you to discover and the peace that follows
Good luck you re nearly there x

Humbertbear Sun 08-Mar-20 07:57:07

I read yesterday that ‘our grown up children are people we used to know’.
Keep in touch with your family but accept that they have their own lives to live

Hetty58 Sun 08-Mar-20 08:01:31

My eldest lives on the other side of the world too. I am used to it and we Skype and email often. He visits once a year. His brother lives only a half hour drive away, yet I don't see him very often either.

I think boys tend to 'belong' more to their partner's families, as often it's the women who make arrangements for socialising. Of course, girls tend to be closer to their mothers. I see one daughter more often than the other, who lives further away.

They tend to miss me way before I miss them. I enjoy having the grandchildren (occasionally) but have my own life and no 'need to be needed' as I feel my role as mother of four is all done and dusted!

PetitFromage Sun 08-Mar-20 08:07:22

Could you move back if seeing your son and grandchild is your biggest priority?

sodapop Sun 08-Mar-20 08:27:49

BlueBelle has said it all jojo your son is happy and well so be content with that. So many ways to keep in touch now, my daughter moved to USA many years ago long before Skype, Facetime etc, we wrote letters, sent photos and visited when time and finances allowed. Accept things as they are and make the most of tech contact.
Not sure that moving back is the answer for several reasons.

blueflinders Sun 08-Mar-20 09:15:48

My son moved to Canada 7 years ago and has a lovely live-in girlfriend. We maybe see him once a year (if we’re lucky) but his life is in Canada now and he is happy (and safe!) there. We have a family Whatsapp group and are in regular contact with chats between the immediate family, so feel connected that way. Previously he lived in London and to be honest, although we ‘talked’ all the time, we didn’t see him that often then.
We usually book a house in France in the summertime, where any of our 3 children (and their partners and children) can join us for the price of a flight, so at least we regroup as a unit once a year. Is this something you could afford to do?

Aepgirl Sun 08-Mar-20 09:17:06

He’s just done the same as you did. You can’t complain - it’s not all about you.

Sue500 Sun 08-Mar-20 09:17:32

Both of our sons live the other side of the world, both happily married and have children. I know FT etc is not the same but I just feel glad that we are all in contact, thankfully able to visit twice a year at present. Yes sometimes are harder than others but compared to some who are estranged we’re very lucky. So count your blessings.

Patticake123 Sun 08-Mar-20 09:17:39

My son settled abroad around 14 years ago and initially I thought he’d come back ‘home’. However, he settled, married and has two gorgeous children. How do I cope? It’s definitely easier as the situation has become our norm. We do our best to see them at least once a year and in between we FaceTime. After we’ve visited, which we did last month, I am unsettled for a week or two until I settle back into a routine, but I really truly miss holding the children, hugging them and just being a part of their lives. You will, like me find your own way of dealing with the situation and I have to admit it has become easier as time has passed.

Roweenaa Sun 08-Mar-20 09:19:40

My heart is with you. Please be proud of the way you have raised him to be a strong and independent young man. He has found a path that is wonderful for him and his future.
The opposite to this might be a clingy son who relies on you for support snd decision making and cannot find his own way in life.
Good luck with the next chapter of your life.

Eglantine21 Sun 08-Mar-20 09:33:22

Possibly moving away from your families has meant that you have seen the family you created as a lasting unit.

But it really doesn’t work like that for the vast majority of people.

We are a family unit for as long as it takes for children to grow up and then they go off to make their own. Quite a lot of difficulties seem to arise when parents are determined and desperate to hold “their family” together and the pressures are often quite subtle and unacknowledged.

So congratulations you’ve avoided that trap!

I don’t want to sound trite but sometimes reframing can help.
From “he only comes once a year” to “he comes every year”. “My son has gone to live abroad’ to ‘My daughters live close to me”. (just an example). Putting it differently in words sometimes helps us to feel differently about things.

Decembergirl Sun 08-Mar-20 09:39:39

Goodness me JoJo15 you have virtually written my story! Certainly we took a job abroad for very similar reasons. You are not alone! I understand xx

Juliet27 Sun 08-Mar-20 09:42:15

My daughter emigrated to Australia 12 years ago and her brother followed 3 years later and of course empty nest syndrome was terrible. We meet up annually and you gradually learn to accept that life didn’t turn out the way you expected it to and slowly adapt to it. I FaceTime with one or other of them most weeks and there’s often brief text chats in between. It makes the distance seem so much less and you learn that that’s the way of life now and get on with your own life to add to the chats.

Suslane Sun 08-Mar-20 09:54:11

My son lives 5000 miles away and has done so for the last 17 years. I'm happy that he is happy with a lovely fiance but I do have times when I grieve for him, it's only natural. I have a family WhatsApp and keep in regular contact.

NotSpaghetti Sun 08-Mar-20 09:54:17

As others have said, yes, it does become easier. My son has returned to his birthplace and although I thought it would just be for a few years, I now don’t think he’ll ever come home.

I find that one thing I love and that makes me feel closer is being able to send little WhatsApp messages and videos. These, unlike FaceTime, Skype etc he sees and responds to when he happens to have a moment. We can both see if we happen to be online at the same time and then we often have little impromptu WhatsApp calls. These little chats are usually short but it does feel like touching-base unexpectedly is a bit of a treat! We do have a family group too and he often pops up there to say thing/stir things up a bit (😱).

Like your son, his relationship with siblings is altered. I know this is inevitable because we all “know him” and his life, so much less completely.
We see him maybe once a year. We have only visited once and he comes back here for weddings only. Once his “old” friends and family are all married I suppose he will come back even less. He has no time or inclination to visit otherwise and the costs, both financial and time-wise are considerable.

I love him dearly and am thankful that he has a really loving, smart and lively girlfriend as I think I’d worry more if he was alone.

Take heart. It WILL get easier.

Susieq62 Sun 08-Mar-20 10:00:02

You just have to accept that he has chosen to live somewhere else. I suspect you are more concerned about the smugness of the family he lives near now.
He is your son and keeping in touch is easier now than 40+ years ago when my only brother emigrated to Australia. Keep communicating, visit when you can as should he but be proud and content that he has done so well. The world is so much smaller these days.

Grandmaof2 Sun 08-Mar-20 10:01:00

My son moved to Belgium 2 years ago for work, before that t was Holland. Not too far away but far enough. I miss him terribly but he comes back home as often as he can. He is having the time of his life, has met a lovely girl and enjoying every moment there even though he gets homesick now and again. He is 34 and when feeling homesick he always sends me a loving message. We talk often and when he visits we make the most of his short time here. It is something in life we have to accept that our children will find their own way in life and do what makes them happy. We have to support them in their decisions, if we don't then we will have to accept the fact that they will stay away for good. I definitely prefer to support him every step of the way and see him as and when we can

BusterTank Sun 08-Mar-20 10:02:14

You made the right decision for your self and now he has made right decision for his self . Rather than look on negative side try and find some positives . When I lived abroad my in laws started by coming for 2 weeks , then they were coming for 3 months at a time . Also because they didn't see my children all the time . The time they spent together was quality time . What you have to remember is that your son is happy and that's all any parent can ask for .

Matelda Sun 08-Mar-20 10:02:52

My much-loved firstborn son reached middle life, loving, shy and moderately successful, but very much a bachelor. He was then swept off his feet by a girl from far, far away and he moved to a totally different culture where her family welcomed him in and taught him their ways. Four years on and he has a much better job, is quickly mastering the local language and is happy. All credit due to him, he has moved well beyond our family's expectations and, being a bit reserved myself and considerate of his feelings, I have let him go, although we sometimes speak on Skype. I concentrate on his siblings' lives now. Our old family life was good, but it's gone and the dynamics of my daily life are quite different now.