At some point, many people will face the life-changing decision to move away from extended family or to remain nearby. While incredibly beautiful and meaningful, family relationships can also get complicated sometimes — which is why the choice to move (or to stay) should be made thoughtfully, after you’ve weighed all your options.
If you’re currently debating whether or not to move away from your family, explore this in-depth pro and con list to help you weigh your options!
Comparing the Pros and Cons of Life Close to Family
For this pro and con comparison, try to objectively envision your family’s role in your day-to-day life. Like grandma’s free babysitting or watching your nieces’ ballet recitals, small, seemingly insignificant things can become major sources of homesickness once you move away.
Pro: Investing in your younger relatives
The importance of extended family is wide-reaching, and the ability to watch the younger generation grow up is truly a gift. When you live nearby, you have the opportunity to invest in their lives regularly. You have a chance to babysit them, attend their games and performances, get to know their friends, and create a bond that’ll truly last a lifetime.
Con: Having to establish clear boundaries
Boundaries are essential to any healthy relationship, familial or otherwise. And when you live close to your extended family, you may find that certain relatives abuse those boundaries by demanding too much of your time, money, or attention! Dealing with internal family politics and the uncomfortable process of telling loved ones “no” can be a significant drawback of living close to family.
Pro: Quality time with older relatives
If you’ve already experienced moving away from family, you know visits are sometimes few and far between. Being away from those you love can get emotional, especially with regards to grandparents and older relatives. Having quality face time with your elderly relatives allows you to share memories you’ll treasure forever, and being away from family means losing precious time to bond with them!
Con: Being subject to surprise visits
When you’re living close to family, there might be an expectation that you’re always available, meaning unplanned visits are subject to occur. While drop-ins from your parents or your siblings can be wonderful, at times, this could be more of an inconvenience than a welcome surprise. If you’re working under an intense deadline or just about to rush out the door, having a family member pop by unannounced may not be the best-case scenario.
Pro: Having a helping hand nearby
If your day falls apart, having extended family nearby means there’s always someone in your corner who can lend a hand, whether you need last-minute child care, or free roadside assistance! Without willing relatives nearby, you’ll have to outsource these “favors” to more expensive third parties like sitters, mechanics, and other strangers!
Con: Feeling guilty when you can’t help
With that said, if there are instances where you’re unable to help a fellow family member, it’s not uncommon for guilt to sink in. You might be held up at the office, or stuck in traffic, or simply burnt out from everything you have going on. Whatever the case may be, it could cause an unfortunate heaviness if you can’t return their favor or show up when they need you.
Pro: Never missing major milestones
If you’re considering moving away for work, it’s good to keep in mind how readily you’ll be able to return home to celebrate significant events. While it’s nowhere near impossible to request time off, it’s certainly easier to be there for your family’s graduations, birthdays, weddings, and more when you live only a short driving distance from everyone.
Con: The obligation to attend everything
Having time for ourselves and for our immediate family is a priority. Still, when you live near several extended relatives, you may be expected at every event — big or small. This could mean accepting invites to Sunday brunch, movie nights, gift exchanges, etc, even when you know your social bandwidth has reached its limit. The bright side is, living close to family can also help you learn to say no when you just don’t have the time or energy to extend.
Should you start or should you go?
Moving away from family can be an incredibly difficult decision, which is why you’re wise to look at things from all sides (and perhaps even create a pro and con list for your situation).
If you’re not quite ready to make the leap, you can always test the waters with a short-term move. Thanks to CORT, you can find low-commitment, all-inclusive furniture rental packages to help you decorate an entire apartment. This way, you won’t have to make a large investment, and you can take your time figuring out whether a permanent move is the right choice for you.