Help! My parents want to move near me. What do I do?

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My parents want to move near me
I’m one year out of college, one year married (thanks Offbeat Bride!), and six months into my first real adult job. We’re halfway across the U.S. from our parents, and that’s just fine.

Now that I’m “settled” and my parents are on their own (my spouse and I are both only children), they’re looking into leaving their house and home state (both of which they dislike) and returning to mission work. I’m really happy that they’re looking to pursue that again. Except. The mission they’re looking to work with is 30 minutes from my house. I’m still trying to settle into my own life here.

How do I tell my parents that having them live that close is stepping on my opportunities for growth and freedom as an adult? What is the best way to explain that living near my parents has to be as much my choice as theirs? -Maggie

What a good, difficult, and understandable question! Homies, how have you handled, or would you handle, this talk with your folks?

Comments on Help! My parents want to move near me. What do I do?

  1. Well in my opinion, others may disagree, 30 minutes away isn’t that close. My parents live a five minute car journey away from me and they don’t intervene in my life at all. I’m pregnant at the moment, not ready to tell anyone but am suffering from terrible morning sickness and they haven’t a clue! Having said all this, I do live in the UK so everywhere is quite close in comparison to the US.

    I do think there must be a reason why they’ve chosen to be close to you- and it may not be to infiltrate your adult existence but just so they’re near enough to see you a bit more. You are their only kid after all.

    I think rather than distance, what you may need to be thinking about is boundaries and just being open about your concerns. Maybe gently express what’s acceptable and what isn’t for you and your spouse- e.g. rules on turning up unannounced and the like. I think they’re perfectly within their rights to do mission work nearby, but just as it is your right to set boundaries about personal space. Asking them why they like this particular area so much might open up the conversation a bit. Good luck 🙂

    • Seconded- I live half an hour from my parents and generally only see them once every couple of weeks or so.

    • Husband’s dad lives so close we can walk to his house in under 15 minutes. One of his dad’s closest friends is actually our across-the-street-and-over-a-few-houses neighbor.
      Husband’s mom lives a 15 minute drive away, in the same town as my dad, actually.
      We did not plan any of this, but where us and most of our parents ended up finding work/housing ended up being in close proximity.
      My mom lives 2,000 miles away across the country.

      We see my mom about twice a year, his mom about 3-4 times per year for dinner (even though we live close), and we each see our dads about every other month for dinner or something. Even though his dad is a 2 minute drive away, we haven’t seen him for about 8 weeks.

      It’s all about setting boundaries. We love our parents, but they are just not a part of our daily lives as adults. And that’s fine; we understand that, the parents understand that. They know not to drop by our house randomly, and we know not to do the same. That’s not to say that if we see his dad walking as we’re driving, we won’t stop to say hi.

      If you think your parents moving 30 minutes away from you will be an issue, talk to them first and set some boundaries. But I don’t agree with the statement “living near my parents has to be as much my choice as theirs” because really, it is not your choice where other people end up living and finding work.

    • All of this^ I think boundaries are key. I worry about this a lot since the presence of my mom makes it very difficult for me to express myself – it squashes my internal voice, BUT also look further out in your life.
      As an only child, you are also their only caretaker. If they build a life with friends and jobs before they become elderly, in your community, helping them will be much easier. My parents are getting older and I will have to decide what to do when they need help, move them to me, a home, move to them.
      Also, if you have a good relationship and plan to have children, having them near is a huge help, particularly if you both plan to have careers and children at the same time. I don’t mind leaving my little ones with my mom but she has to drive two hours each way to do it.
      I think building an adult relationship with them, with boundaries, will prove rewarding – again assuming it’s a healthy happy family.

  2. I honestly don’t see how this is a problem. Proximity to your parents doesn’t affect your freedom or opportunities. If they’re 30 minutes away, it’s not like they’re going to be popping by your house every day for a cup of tea. I’d be absolutely thrilled to have my parents 30 minutes away; they’re close enough to come by if you need them or see them for celebrations, but far away enough to not see every day. I think you need to get over it… That’s probably not the type of advice you’re looking for, but I think making a big deal (out of something which really isn’t) has the opportunity to hurt your relationship with your parents, and really isn’t worth making a fuss over.

    • Totally agree with this. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want your parents in closer proximity any way!? I’ve just moved to Norwich from Essex after living in the same town as my parents my whole adult life and it has been such a shock to the system not having them there and be able to go round whenever. I speak to my mum almost every day!

      • Well… I can think of an awful lot of reasons someone might want some physical distance from their parents…

        But I think 30 minutes will probably be ok. As another commenter said, this is more about setting up adult boundaries (call before you come over, etc) than about the distance.

        • Same. For all of you saying that this isn’t an issue and that the OP should just roll with it… you are thinking of how you would or did react in your own unique situations, rather than how OP is reacting to theirs. They obviously don’t want the closeness! They MAY have parents who WOULD barge in frequently or try to overtake OP’s life, and saying that that wouldn’t happen isn’t factually based.

      • Er… not everyone has the greatest relationship with their parents. Not everyone’s parents are wonderful and kind. Sometimes people can be actively hurtful to even their own children. Sounds like that isn’t the OP’s situation, but there are some of us who would have good reason to panic if we learned parents wanted to move closer to us.

      • I agree with Gemma and Katy. As a person that likes having distance between my parents and myself, I get frustrated when people react as though I kick puppies because I don’t love hanging out with my parents (I’m not saying that to describe you, I’m just exaggerating to make my point). Not everyone has a great relationship with their parents. Growing up my home life was extremely contentious and difficult, and I went to college on the opposite side of the country from my parents. Not living with/near my parents improved our relationship *significantly*. My husband is Asian American and sees his parents (who used to live down the street from us and now live about 20 minutes away) about once a week usually, which still baffles me, but his relationship with his parents is just different, not better or worse. If people are able to be friends with their parents as adults and want to hang out with them, great, that’s lucky for them, but not everyone has that kind of relationship. I’m perfectly happy seeing my folks a couple times a year and talking to them periodically. In this poster’s case, it seems like the issue isn’t one of proximity, but boundaries. Perhaps her parents previously tried to be too involved in her life and decisions?

  3. I understand. While I don’t think you actually can or should tell your parents that their presence would interfere with your life, (it’s your life, you are in control) I also don’t believe that they should be looking so close to you because that will also interfere with theirs. They may have centered their existence on you and may need to work on becoming separate people again.

    A gentle nudge in another direction can’t hurt, maybe showing them other places with interesting mission work opportunities could expand their horizons.

    No matter where you are you do need to start creating those boundaries now. Seeding information (my go to is making sure I schedule everything, I do not have vague appointments) and having conversations about appropriate involvement in each other’s lives. A half hour really is a bigger distance than it seems especially for busy people.

    I grew up next to my grandparents and Gram would just drop by whenever. This annoyed the shit out of my mom, but she also let it go for so long that when she did have a conversation about it, it hurt Grams feelings.

    Start the hard stuff now even if it is just scheduling your phone time and posting out appropriate behavior.

    • I strongly disagree.
      As someone having a very difficult relationship with my mother (I want to say she’s abusive, although I don’t know it for a fact), her being around, even if she is not with me, even if she doesn’t do anything, is enough to make me feel threatened. I can’t shrug it off and say that I am in control of my own life.
      And a gentle nudge in another direction CAN hurt. I did it when my sister (whom I then saw as an extension of my mother’s dark power) chose to go to college in my town rather than a college nearer to my mother’s place. I asked her why and she felt rejected by me.
      As for strict appointments, what if you are doing nothing in particular but still don’t want someone to come over?

  4. I live in Miami..so do my parents..however they’re 45 minutes away from me..so we’re near but with enough “personal space”.
    Don’t assume how your parents are going to be, how they’ll respond to living 30 minutes away
    Give them a chance..see how things unfold before discussing boundaries bc a defensive attitude and preemptive conversation may hurt feelings and create a strain. Remember, they’ve been adults far longer than you have
    Also you are solely responsible for your growth and freedom opportunities….Don’t blame them and see them as a hindrance

  5. Maybe space is what she needs to grow as a person being that she is all her parents have. They can’t know how you feel if you don’t tell them. Try helping them find a mission a little farther away. But close enough to meet in the middle.

  6. I think a good first step for you would be to think about why you feel that your parents moving closer to you would equate to them “stepping on [your] opportunities for growth and freedom as an adult.” What, precisely, is it you’re worried about? That they’ll drop in unannounced? Read your Facebook try to “fix” things for you because they’re so close by, when you’d rather do it yourself? Ask you to come to their place and help them around the house when you’d rather be living your own life? These are all valid concerns, but the answer isn’t necessarily to tell them not to live near you. Rather, as others have said, it’s to establish clear boundaries and stick to them.

    My husband and I have chosen to stay in our hometown of Montreal precisely so that we can be near our parents and the rest of our families. It’s really great to have a support network in place, and I think it will be even greater when we have kids. (“Mom, I haven’t had a shower in three days. Can you please, pretty please, come over and watch the baby for an hour?”) Despite that, we live our own lives. We do our own thing. We have as much growth and freedom as we choose to. So take heart! All is not lost, not even if your parents move nearby. You may even come to like it now that you’re on your own and can set the terms. 🙂

    • I second spending some time considering why this might bother you. After 9 years of living 1500 miles away from my parents I’m about to move 15 minutes away. I’ve actually surprised myself with the level of comfort I have, and I know boundaries are going to be a big piece of maintaining the positive experience I’m looking forward to.

  7. You could maybe kill two birds with one stone here: Make yourself too busy to host your parents by doing all those things you feel you need to to grow as a person.

    Use their relocation as the motivation to stay busy and out of their day to day lives. You both get what you want then. I live 20 minutes from my parents but I see them only once or twice a month. Theyve never seen any of the apartments I’ve lived in, I always go to them. I keep in touch via text etc but there’s enough separation that we aren’t in each others pockets.

    My parents live a mile from my grandparents. They see each other once a week only

  8. I totally understand where you’re coming from. My smothering, over critical mother moved to be closer to me when I settled.

    I agree with the other commenters that you can’t dictate where your parents move. The good news is, there will come a time in your adulthood, especially if you become a parent, when you’ll be glad they are close.

    However, until that time, you have every right to set clear boundaries. Do it firmly, but kindly and do it from the very beginning. The hardest thing to learn as an adult is that you can love your parents without letting them control you.

    Also make sure they know how serious you are about staying there forever. If you got a great job offer, would you move? Make sure they know that.

    Good luck and stand your ground. Your life belongs to you now. If they want to come along that’s fine, but it has to be on your terms.

    • Two things were hard for me when I was at the same basic life stage you seem to be in now.

      The first was realizing that I didn’t need to ask permission to do anything anymore.
      If I want to go camping, or get a dog, or do construction on my house, or skip mowing my lawn, I just do. It’s not up for conversation or debate and it doesn’t mean I need or want any help.

      And second, I didn’t need to do everything I was asked to do.
      No is a perfectly good answer – and it doesn’t require explanation, apology, or justification.

      Wanna come over for dinner tonight my darling daughter? No thanks Mom and Dad.
      Daughter can you come over to the house and help me pack/clean/dog sit/whatever? Not this weekend Mom and Dad.

      My plans (or lack there of) are my business, and nobody is entitled to my time.

      In the end, it was difficult for me to realize that my parents wanted to be around me because they love me. And that’s a really weird thing to say, but it’s true. They aren’t trying to smother, or control. They just love me that’s all. I’m not saying all parents are the same, but as other commenters have said, unless you have a Specific Reason to want them away from you, I bet they just love you too. Maybe they don’t express it the way you would like, but I think that’s what they are probably trying to express.

      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/99/62/95/996295f21b1d716ae85afbedfe5044f0.jpg

    • Just a couple of months after my fiancee and I got engaged, we learned from my FSIL that FMIL had already started talking about moving to our city to be closer to the grandchildren that she assumed would be on their way after we were married (news for her, that’s TBD, leaning towards never.) Even though we realized that this was pure fantasy, since FFIL would never go through with that move, it still freaked me out. Just the idea that she would conjure up such a plan without even stopping to consider, or idk…ask us if that would be something that we’d want felt like a major violation of our space and privacy. So I understand your response. When someone like a parent makes a plan to move near you, that carries a lot of unspoken assumptions and expectations. I think that you really need to have an open conversation with your parents about just what exactly they intend by moving near you, and then setting your own boundaries. After we got word that FMIL was already planning a cross-country move before we’d even set a wedding date, FH had a rather frank conversation with her about her assumptions and so far, we’ve avoided further such issues.

  9. I’m assuming that there is more going on here than the post implies, because the questioner makes this seem much more serious than it should be. If there are specific, important reasons that you need physical space from your parents, you probably won’t be able to discuss this without opening up about your real reasons. There is, literally, no polite way to communicate that you don’t want someone within a half hour of you on a daily basis. So either go there– “I can’t have you in my daily or even weekly life right now because _____” –or accept that you have no right to ask your parents to choose another place to live, and you’re going to see them more often (probably not more than weekly). Either way, good luck.

  10. First, I TOTALLY understand. I think the best way to approach this conversation, though, is to make it about your parents and not about you. Rather than “I don’t want you living that close to me,” I think the better approach is to set your parents’ expectations for what it will be like if they DO move near you. Emphasize that you’re busy and you have your own life, so they won’t see you all the time even if they’re just across town. Tell them they’re you’d hate for them to take a mission they’re not crazy about just to be closer to you. The idea is to make them realize that “proximity to offspring” should not be the deciding criteria for where they live and work, because you want them to be happy.

    Ultimately, you can’t control where your parents live. But you can control how frequently you see them, and if they do decide to move closer you’ll have laid valuable groundwork for maintaining your independence.

  11. It sounds great that your parents have a plan for their time. I’d be a bit more worried if they were moving solely to be near you without having a goal for themselves. Ask them if your area really can fulfill their goals; if it can’t, suggest they move elsewhere but still a bit closer to you (2 hours?) to a location that would meet their needs.

    And if they do move to your area, I second what everyone said about establishing boundaries early and firmly. Only you know your parents, so maybe you have legitimate reasons to think they would be intrusive. But hopefully you both will be so busy with your own lives that you won’t see each other too often. After living far away from my parents for the majority of my 20s, I’m definitely ready to be closer to them now that I’m in my 30s. You might feel differently in a different phase of your life, but I totally understand the need for independence now.

  12. I’d have to agree that what I’m hearing is boundary issues. If you are worried about them meddling is it because they have in the past? If so you will have to set and maintain boundaries. Now that you are a grown woman you have that right/ability in ways that you did not when you were a child at home. If they are going to be doing mission work, they should be busy with their own lives. It’s not like they are setting up next door with nothing to do but watch you and your husband. If they do give them something to talk about! lol I do understand where you are at. I have a MIL that may well move half way across the country to be near us once my FIL dies (end stage Emphysema) . I’ve read the letters she used to write my husband and boy howdy are there some boundary issues. It will be interesting but I trust myself to set boundaries and still leave space for her to be a part of our lives. Just be open honest and non confrontational with your boundaries. Now is the time to create the adult child/parent relationship. If they are still thinking of you as “just a kid” or something now is the time to develop the kind of adult relationship that some people treasure. I’ve had to set these kinds of boundaries with my in-laws. To get off the phone with my FIL I’ve had to tell him, “Tim I really love talking to you, but it’s Friday Date Night and we have Dinner and a Shagging to get to. ” His response was “Well don’t let me stop you. get to it!” See? setting a boundary and being an adult about it. they just need to know that they can’t demand your time and attention and you need to find ways to set reasonable adult boundaries.

  13. Want to share my experience. My husband and I moved 3 minutes away from his parents, and 9 hours away from mine. I was terrified his parents were going to assume that we were just as much their responsibility as my husband was when he was living with them, and I even cried about it to my husband because I felt like we weren’t really going to be our own family, we were going to be two kids basically living with (to me) new parents. However, they have been incredibly respectful of our space. We usually get one phone call a week from them (or we call them) and usually try to do brunch with them once a week. They don’t mind if we can’t make it every week, there are no expectations, it’s just a nice thing. They often skip, actually! If they start asking too many questions (“No, we just told you yesterday, I’m feeling fine, please stop worrying”), it’s good for me to remember that they would be just as concerned/involved if they were not living near us, and we can always ask them to stop bothering us and they will (or we can stop taking their calls).

    I guess what I am trying to point out is that it really will probably not be as bad as you think. Don’t let them step on your boundaries; SET your boundaries. Honestly, ask to spend the first few weeks of your parents being near you to not see them, keep doing your own thing. Then, IF you want, you can slowly start adding them into your life, as much as you want.

  14. I think there are a few things going on that aren’t being said. 1 are your parents in the Marriage=Babies camp? This might not be about you but more about their grandkids. This is nobody’s business but yours BUT addressing it might help, especially if you plan to be child free or wait 10 years. 2. A lot of people boomerang back to thier home state… It just happens. I can see your parents upset… We sold our paid off house, we uprooted our lives…. To be near you and now you are moving back????? So even if these things are not true they are certainly plausible reasons to say ” Mom and Dad we think its awesome that you want to be so close to us and your future grandchildren but we want to make sure Xtown is right for us before you go uprooting your lives, we aren’t planning a family for a few years and we want this time to build our marriage together” So its not saying “No” its saying “Wait”. Give everyone a chance to get settled.

  15. Everyone in my family has moved around quite a lot but right now both of my parents are maybe 20 mins away. My mother has a terrible time with boundaries but even so we talk on the phone once a week and see each other about once a month.

    My mother would love to smother me, but even she understands the importance of having your own space as an adult. I would just make it clear to your parents that you are a busy person with your own schedule and they will need to plan visits if they want to see you. And that way you can control the frequency.

  16. I live 30 minutes away from my I’m laws and we seem them 1-2 times a month, however I know that if my mom were that close she would drop in every day or try to get me to come over.
    I think you need to talk to your parents before they move. If they’re moving because for work and it would allow them to see you more often then now, you might be ok. If they’re expecting weekly dinner, you need to be upfront with them and tell them that’s not the relationship you’re looking for.
    Growing as a person does require some space from your parents, some people need less, some need more and that’s ok.

  17. I am also an only child & I’m very close to my parents although I lived several states away. For me, I moved far from my parents not because they have boundary issues, but because I knew I would allow myself to rely on them if they were close, & would not learn to rely on myself. It would’ve much harder for me to establish my identity & solve my own problems if they were near by not because they would not take no for an answer, but because I wouldn’t want to say no & would want to take the easier route of always letting them help me. No real advice, just some food for thought for all the people saying there is no issue here.

  18. Hi! OP here. First, thanks for everyone’s responses! Second, I wanted to let everybody know that the immanency of my parent’s move is less than I thought when I first heard about it from them. So we’ve got at least two years to settle in before they start to really consider moving here. And at that point, I’d be willing to consider it. It was more the prospect of them arriving here within the year that had me freaked out. For those of you who are curious as to why 30 minutes feels smothering, it’s because where they’re looking at is essentially a non-town, and our town is pretty close-knit, so they’d be shopping at the same grocery store, going to the same concerts, and eating at the same restaurants as me and my friends and my coworkers. That felt a little to intrusive into my life, especially as I’m just starting out, and need some freedom without my parents knowing not only where I live but also my entire social circle. Boundaries are a great thing to set up, but they only help so much when everybody knows everybody else. (Also, spouse and I are childfree by choice and poly, and my parents don’t know about the latter, so that adds another level of awkward to them living in essentially the same community). Thanks for all your help, and please, keep posting responses. I can’t be the only person who will ever have this question!

    • Yeah, the poly thing can be weird when your parents stumble across you out on a date with someone other than your spouse (I live in the same city as my dad). Even if you play it off as just an evening out with a friend, suddenly the whole night comes about keeping up that facade. It happens and it sucks and I live in a HUGE city.

    • I live a mile from my in-laws and about 30 minutes from my parents. While we live in a big city, we go to many of the same places. I’m actually surprised we don’t run into them more often, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve run into the in-laws at the grocery store over the last 3 years.

      We set boundaries by keeping busy, but honestly our families are so busy themselves it hasn’t been an issue. I was really nervous when my parents moved up here because I’m an only child and they can be sort of laser-focused on me. But the change of scenery re-ignited their interests in other activities. On the occasion they want to get together and we’re not up for it we just politely decline. Since it’s a half-hour drive they’re not about to pop by unannounced.

      I don’t always get along with my dad, we’re too alike, and this is the first time we’ve lived in the same city since I moved out a decade ago. We actually get along much better now because I can hang out with him a few hours and then go back to my normal life, instead of a days-long visit where we’re both super fed up with each other by the end of the trip.

      • Yeah, the in-laws live 45 min away and we tend to see them briefly once a month when Grandma comes to pick up the boy for the weekend. MY parents on the other hand come in from Charleston, so when they come to visit they are there all weekend (I know I said my dad lives in the same city as me, but he normally weekends in Charleston with my mom so if she comes to town he’s staying with her with us). They try really hard not be disruptive to the normal flow of our lives, but they are.

        Which is to say, sometimes having your parents living nearby actually means seeing them less because visits can end in a timely manner.

        • Kellbot, I think we’re both just like our dads!! I get along with him much better in small doses.

          And Anie, I also built a better relationship with my parents when they were close enough to see for a couple of hours, and long visits weren’t necessary. Over dinner, there are fewer “parenting comments” and the conversation just flows nicely about the day to day stuff, rather then the big issues.

          It’s much easier to drop by for dinner, and then get on with your life. Planning an entire trip, and then being around 24/7 for however long that trip is made visits much more difficult.

    • My parents and my grandmother live in the same neighborhood. Less than a five minute walk between the houses. They don’t see each other nearly as often as you’d think.

      Here’s another way to to put a positive spin on it. If you were visiting your parents when they lived far away, you’d be a guest at their house and have to abide by their rules until you left. If you live close, you can just politely say you’re heading home when things get tense, and just leave. There’s a surprising amount of freedom in them living close!

  19. I see the question is less pressing now, but I was going to say that you already know what to say–exactly what you said. You don’t want them to move there because you feel it would intrude on your opportunities for growth and freedom. That’s how you really feel=that’s your boundary to communicate. I think the question of “how” to say it really boils down to “how do I deal with the uncomfortable feelings of setting boundaries and facing potential negative reactions?” What works for me: before setting the boundary, ground your body. Literally stand on your own two feet, feel your legs supporting you, do chair pose until your thighs burn. Also power posing: stretch your arms wide and high. Take deep breaths. Then when you are all charged up, loosen up: smile, laugh, shake your body–to get your heart online and to avoid feeling like you are going into battle. After setting the boundary, you might feel awesome and empowered but you might also feel guilty, awkward, worried, weird, sad, obsessive. If so, it’s probably because you aren’t used to setting boundaries. Don’t believe the bad feelings–tap all over your body and repeatedly tell yourself (out loud!) that your boundaries matter, you are worthy of the life you want, you are an adult, etc. (can you tell I have practice?! Haha) This helps you process the emotions and rewire your brain to believe you can have boundaries. Good luck!

  20. PS: I also recommend looking for opportunities to practice this in smaller/safer situations where you tend to let things slide to avoid conflict. It is like a muscle that builds.

  21. Thanks for the follow up. It filled in some blanks for me.

    I think that you could tackle it by approaching it in the same way you explained to us. “Mom/Dad/Parents, Spouse and I feel that with the tightness of this community, that our privacy and our lives would come to you in ways we don’t feel comfortable. I think it’d be best, since it is such a small town, that you may want to consider a closeby community that has its own center — this way you can feel the connectedness we have with ours, we aren’t too far away and we all can have our own lives and privacy.”

    I think presenting it as a win-win, as best you can, will help the most. I’m sure your parents would be uncomfortable if you knew every last thing about their lives, and so putting it as a mutual risk situation means that you’re looking out for both of you. You have plenty of time to assess and, who knows, maybe things will change, but it’s a strategy.

    Best of luck, though!

  22. I readily admit that when my parents moved to the city I live in, our relationship dramatically improved. After a rocky 20’s where I really didn’t get along with them, I settled in the same city as my brother and his wife and kids and so my parents figured they should retire here too. We now all live about 2 miles from each other.

    My relationship with my parents is SO much better being able to see them for three hours every 10 days rather than two weeks at a time once a year. They see me as an adult because they visit my house and know my friends (they’ve hosted birthday parties for me, and come to open houses at my house). They visit my work and see me as a professional. They spend time with my husband without me around, because they have common interests that I don’t. It actually is a wonderful and adult relationship. It has been excellent for support in health scares (both on their part and mine).

    I do have to set and reinforce boundaries with them. When they first moved here they asked for a key to my car so they could barrow it when they needed a second car (I was bus and bike commuting at the time). I had to say no, but that I was happy to arrange the car for them any time, as long as it was done in advance. We’ve gotten in the habit of calling before we stop by, even if we are calling from the driveway, so that the person has the ability to say no if necessary.

    My mom is DELIGHTED when she’s out and about and runs into me or my spouse or sibling. Nothing really makes her happier, so I enjoy seeing her at the grocery store, or wherever, because it gives HER so much pleasure. We weren’t close in my 20s but I would say now, after 10 years of living in the same city, we are. And it is wonderful!

  23. “What is the best way to explain that living near my parents has to be as much my choice as theirs?”
    Does it?? That’s not in my copy of the Constitution.

    All joking aside, I definitely understand what it’s like to have relatives uncomfortably close, however you define that. For my entire adult life I’ve lived between 3 hours and 3 minutes from my parents. They’re currently perched a mile from my house. When I look back objectively at conflict I’ve had with them I can recognize that some of it stemmed from my desire to put them in a box and say “You fit in my life just like this.” But parents are complicated organisms with thoughts and desires of their own and sometimes their dream to do mission work conflicts with your plan to see them only a few times a year. I struggled with this too and it ultimately comes down to owning up to the reasons you want to limit contact and at the same time recognizing they have the right to pursue their happiness too.

    But be of good cheer because this is an excellent opportunity accomplish at least one of your goals: to grow as an adult. Renegotiating your relationship with your parents, even at point-blank range, is just about the most adult thing you can do and good practice for future adult relationships.

    • Great comment, and it made me think of a different related point: Of course you don’t have choice over where someone else lives, but it is every person’s right to be free of stalking; for example, some people continue to have to move to escape abusive/dysfunctional family or exes. Not that it is the case for OP, but I had a friend whose family followed her to college, expecting her to continue supporting them as she had in high school. It really sucked to watch her start struggling, as she had purposefully left to better herself. At some point, as with all things, it crosses a line. It is only your right until it infringes on other people’s rights.

      Love this comment you made: “this is an excellent opportunity accomplish at least one of your goals: to grow as an adult. Renegotiating your relationship with your parents, even at point-blank range, is just about the most adult thing you can do and good practice for future adult relationships.” 1000xs YES

  24. At one time of my life I could agree with this feeling. I totally empathized with it. I kind of still do with my in laws from time to time. Wanting it to be just my husband and I. But, I will say this, I miss my parents. I wish I had more time to be with them. Having lost all 3 of them, I would give anything to have them around. Just because they move near you does not mean anything will interfere with the growth you and your husband want to experience. And you have the luxury of speaking to them and even doing things with them that you may not have now. Holidays, weekend trips maybe together, shopping, thrifting, etc. There are some pretty amazing reasons to have them around.
    I would look at it as why do they want to be so close? Maybe they want the same freedoms you feel but still be close to you. I would love to have my mom, who drove me crazy 99% of the time around my family now. Just think of it from a different perspective and maybe you can see the silver linings to having your parents close, no matter how crazy they make you.

  25. First of all, I will say it is not your choice by any means as to where your parents live. It would only become your choice if they were physically moving into the same residence as you, but they’re not. However, it is your choice on how you deal with the closer proximity.

    I used to live about 30min from my parents. And then they moved within a 10min drive of me. And I’ll be honest, it’s awesome. I have my parents within arms reach should I ever need them.

    The 30min distance did not prevent me from gaining my own independence or settling into my “adulthood” by any means. In fact, I think it helped. I could do as I pleased since I lived on my own, but should I ever need help/advice, my parents were close enough to give that help/advice. Given now that I live within 10min of them, I’m surprised I don’t run into them more often. I have a couple of times (once at clothing store and once at a café). And really, would it be SO BAD to run into them at the grocery store? I don’t have to do their grocery shopping, nor am I required to grocery shop with them…I can say hi what’s up, and then move along. They have lives too.

    Now if your parents have a history of boundary issues, then that is easily solved. With both sets of parents, they need to call before dropping by (you’d think that would be common courtesy with most people, and it is in our situation…except for my husband’s father)…because we might not be home, or we might be putting our kid to bed, or we might be in the middle of sex! And likewise we need to call them before dropping by. If you don’t want to see your parents a particular day (or week) or whenever…be busy. Or just lie and pretend you’re busy. There’s plenty of times when our parents want to get together or go out for dinner, but my husband and I are just want to sit at home.

    Now the poly thing could be complicated. I think I would suggest finding an online forum of people who are in a similar situation (close-proximity parents who don’t know you’re poly), and ask for their advice.

    And just remember, you’re their only kid. Is it so wrong to want to be near your only child? You are young and fresh into the “adult” world, so perhaps you’re just thinking about what it was like living at home. This possible move is two years down the road. Two years is a lot of time to gain and grow into your independence and adulthood. Think about that.

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