The family unit means a lot to most people. You might have a close family and enjoy growing up in that environment. Maybe you and your parents get along great. You have close sibling ties as well.
You might also grow up with another extended family member in the house, like a cousin, uncle, aunt,
or grandparent. You might love them and feel lost if they move away or lose touch. These close familial bonds can help you as you grow up. You have a support network backing you up as you face various challenges.
In your later life, though, you and your family members might drift apart. We’ll discuss how that happens and ways you can prevent it right now.
Families Sometimes Stay Close in Their Early Days
Family closeness often starts with a child’s birth. The whole family might feel included. You can pick out a popular baby name if your parents expect a sibling for you soon, and maybe they’ll use your suggestion. You can help raise the child and enjoy the big brother or sister role.
Even if you don’t have siblings, you might like growing up in a house because you have loving parents and other relatives. A grandparent living in the house might dispense wisdom and life lessons. If you grow up with a cousin your age nearby, you might become best friends.
Some families don’t grow up in the same house, but several grownup siblings live in the same town or city. They get together for holidays, but also on the weekends and other casual occasions. These close-knit family units might have the same beliefs and viewpoints.
You Move Away for College
If you attend college after graduating high school, you might choose a state school. You can live at home rather than getting an apartment or living in the dorms. That way, you save money, and you and the other family members can stay close.
If you attend college in a different state, though, you introduce physical distance. Maybe you miss your family very much if that happens. You may also find you can live without them easier than you thought, though.
If you stay away at college for four years, or even longer if you get a Master’s Degree, you might never move back. You may only see the family on holidays. That closeness you once felt might dissipate as you start a life without your old familial relationships.
You Move Away for Work
You might also graduate from college or finish high school and start job hunting. You may find something close by, but then the company offers you a higher-paying position if you move to another state or another country.
Pursuing a higher-paying job might introduce physical distance between your family members and yourself. You might feel career-minded and want the money more than staying in touch.
If so, you might quickly find you only contact your family members once each week, then even less. You’ve all started new lives, and you don’t feel the same closeness you did as a child.
You Have Different Viewpoints
You may also stay physically close. You might live near your parents, siblings, and other relatives you often saw as a child. You may get a job in the same town or city.
You start growing apart because you have different viewpoints, though. You might have different political or religious beliefs. Maybe you feel strongly about something, and your family members think differently.
You may also marry someone or have a significant other living with you, and they don’t like your other family members or vice versa. You want to play peacemaker, but your spouse or partner might insist you cut off contact and choose either them or your family.
These events happen far too often. You become estranged, and you don’t talk to your family much, or ever.
How Can You Prevent These Situations?
Staying close to family members might pose a challenge. As you all get older, you must prioritize family if you want to remain close.
If you want to keep family members in your life, maybe you won’t move far away. Perhaps you don’t get a job in the same town or city, but you stay in the state or move one or two states over. That way, you can get together with each other after a relatively short car trip rather than a long cross-country or international flight.
How Else Can You Stay Close?
You can also agree you won’t discuss politics, religion, or other controversial topics when you get together. If you think something, and you know someone in your family doesn’t agree, you can both say you won’t discuss it and keep the peace. You might know this person feels differently, but you avoid that topic and stick to safer ones.
If you have a spouse or significant other, and they don’t like your family, you can tell them you love them, but you also love your family and want them in your life. You can say you’ll still go visit them sometimes, and your spouse or significant other needn’t come.
You can have them both in your life, and if your partner or spouse won’t accept that, you can separate. They should respect your decision in this matter.
You can choose staying close or moving away. If you love your family and cherish them that much, you might take actions that keep you physically close. You won’t move far away where you can’t get back easily. You can make clear when you meet someone new that they must allow you this familial bond.
Family ties can bind us together and enrich our lives. If you cut off all ties since you can’t agree, you might have no family left. You may spend the holidays alone and have only memories. Consider what you prioritize as you get older, and your family should do the same.