Ask Evie: Is it time to move on from one-sided family ties?

I come from a large family, I’m one of seven so used to large family gatherings with lots of nephews and nieces who are now all grown up and have families of their own. As time has passed it seems that we have all drifted apart. My problem is that I feel despite a lot of time and effort on my part to keep in touch, traveling many miles to visit over the years, I have realized that whether I keep in touch or not, no one else is all that bothered about keeping family ties, people just seem so caught up in their busy lives and don’t prioritize family anymore. Is it time for me to accept that family members are not willing to put any effort into keeping in touch and move on?

As the holidays approach, many of us will be wondering how to deal with family. These relationships are complex, and they don’t always play out how we hope they would. So let me begin by saying, I understand how hurtful it must be to feel like your family doesn’t make an effort, and I’m sorry you’re going through this. 

Unfortunately, though, diverging relationships are just a part of life. It’s not to say you’ve done something wrong, or even that they have. But over the years, people change. Their priorities change. And it’s only when both parties make an effort and commitment to keep in touch that the relationship withstands the test of time and distance. 

You’ve clearly made a big effort to keep in touch with your family, as you mention traveling miles to see them over the years. 

I can’t help but wonder, how often have they made the effort to visit you? 

Judging by the information you’ve given, it doesn’t seem like a lot. So I’d like you to ask yourself:

Are you maintaining these ties for them, or for an idealized notion of family that may no longer exist?

Once upon a time, you were obviously part of a large, close-knit family, and perhaps it’s those memories that drive you to stay connected. Which, by the way, isn’t a bad thing. But if your family doesn’t feel the same way, and they’ve clearly shown that they have little interest in making an effort, it’s crucial for you to accept this. 

Now, should you just move on? That’s a decision only you can make, but before you do, I’d like you to consider this:

Moving on doesn’t mean you have to sever ties or harbor bitterness.

You can’t get back the relationship and closeness you once had with your family, but you can redefine what they mean to you and how you interact with them.

And it’s important to know that while you’re not responsible for their actions, you are responsible for how you let this affect you. 

That’s why I advise you to pour your energy into yourself and those who do make an effort with you. You’ve clearly got a lot of love to give, and there are plenty of people out there who would love to receive it! 

Remember – family isn’t always about blood relations; it’s often about who shows up, who reciprocates your efforts, and who makes you feel valued. 

Sending strength and power to you!


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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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