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threebyme

Family needs/wants & your opinions?

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I am not sure how to title what I am about to ask- and I'd rather not go into a lot of the detail and it may sound like an odd thing but am wondering...

Would you be willing to split up your family so that each spouse takes one child with them for job/ family...?

Basically, my husband and I agreed that in a certain number of years we would move to be closer to extended family,  but a job opportunity may be opening up for one of us there in the next few months.  The other one has a job opportunity opening up here in town this summer.  (Of course, nothing is guaranteed). One kid would stay to graduate from their high school- the other one would transfer (freshman).  

When we discussed this the one with the job here would stay with that job when the other moved anyway and the nature of the job would allow travel to the new home.  The job opportunity near extended family is a rare opening, so with this new information (just found out yesterday) we are confused, so just wanted to throw it out there.  And no we have not said anything to the kids, but will if we decide to pursue this further.

(I won't add details but basically, the younger child has had some issues and we are trying to address them but for certain reasons, we cannot in this town- and starting fresh while getting the assistance also sounds wonderful).  But, we are also torn about the idea of not being together.

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For a small amount of time, I would do it.  Are you talking a year or two or more?  For less than two years, the opportunity sounds really like a solid choice.  

 

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My husband is in the Army.... yes, sometimes families do this.  To allow a Junior or Senior to graduate high school can be a reason.  To avoid a known year-long move can be a reason.  

It is a choice people make sometimes for the best needs of their family, other times it may not be a choice.  

I hear it called “geo bachelor” or “geographic bachelor” sometimes.

I don’t know the grade of your high school student, but for a lot of kids, they don’t want to move Junior or Senior year.  

Sometimes kids may stay with a close family friend to finish high school, if a move has to happen then.  

I have only known very well couples who did this without children.  They video chat all the time.  They have had enough money to pay for plane tickets and spend one weekend a month together.  

I just realized I do know someone doing this right now!  She is keeping her son in the current school, while her husband gets established.  I don’t think they were100% committed to where he is living, weren’t sure exactly where they would live in that area, and didn’t want to have two moves or school changes, so they are doing it this way.  I also am not sure exactly when her husband moved, I think it may end up being more like 6-7 months they are apart, if she does move over the summer.  I think his job is going well and they plan to move.  (Edited)

Edited by Lecka

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No, not unless we were going to be destitute without the second job and there was a slim chance of other employment.

 

ETA: If it was a year or so, I could deal with the long-distance spouse, but not a long-distance child, unless maybe they were very close to 18.

Edited by Mom0012
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I think support systems are very important and if both people would have a good support system, that would be ideal.  

I would also worry about ending up moving the high school student before graduation, if that is something that might be an issue.  It is a big commitment depending on how long that would last.  If you committed to stay for a Junior, that’s different than committing to stay for a Sophomore, as far as the time commitment.  

This is something a little scary to me because I have known of a few kids who stayed behind with family friends to graduate, and most of the time the mom would not really want it but feel little choice, with the teen being very unwilling to move.  (Edit — i have only known of this with Seniors.)

Of course others move and do fine!  

Personality matters a lot.  Circumstances matter a lot, too.  

Edited by Lecka
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With my family at the age they are now, no.  Different people have different needs and relationships though.  If the kids are close to 18 and it’s short term to get them established in work or something maybe.

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In general, I'd be reluctant to split up siblings. However, there are many situations in which splitting them up might be the better choice, especially if it's only for a short period and/or they're very close to adulthood anyway. Based on the details you gave this sounds like it's probably one of those situations - I'm assuming the older child is a high school senior? Or, rather, would be by the time moves are happening?

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I'd absolutely consider it for a year or less. Before kids, dh and I spent a year apart for work reasons. For more than a year... it would start to depend more on the age of the kids, the quality of the opportunities, the cost of living apart and traveling, etc. But I'd still be open to it. I mean, two years apart, for the right opportunity, if the kids weren't just tiny and the "apart" was easy enough to travel on the weekends... would be different than two years apart cross-country with preschoolers in two high cola areas... just to give two divergent examples.

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For a short and well defined time, yes.  When DH first got this job, he had to start right away but DD23 was in her last year of high school, with like 3 months to graduate.  So we got him a temp apartment, the kids and I all stayed home till DD graduated, then we all moved into a rental house that summer.  

But for something long term or with a very undefined term, no I wouldn't do it.  

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From what I have observed, it’s pretty hard to keep a family together this way. I have known people to do it when they are just 100% financially out of options and this was the only way to bring home the necessary bacon. But I have seen a lot of bitterness in those situations. So...I don’t know. I wouldn’t do it if I felt my marriage and relationships with the kids were not rock-solid. I maybe would if the plan was well-defined, the relationships were strong and both spouses really have their act together. 

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I wouldn't do it, as being together as a family is too important to me. 

I have two kids off at college and a 16 y.o. still at home, and it feels like our years of all living together as a family just flew right by in the blink of an eye. I wouldn't have wanted to miss any of it.

I also would hate to live apart from my dh!

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It’s not an uncommon thing for military families. Is it preferred, no, can it be done, yes.

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Have you ever been apart during your marriage?

Dh and I have done this, so have many of my friends.  But to make it work you need a firm support system, budget meetings that include frequent travel, date nights on Skype..you need to work through the possible loneliness if this is the first time you're considering it.

 

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LOL Well, it wouldn't be a big deal for dh and I because we are pretty much just roommates at this point in our lives.  But.....one catalyst to our marriage breaking was us being apart when dh was traveling for work or being a workaholic.....so.....well. there is that too.  My older kids weren't close growing up, but are getting closer now as adults. 

 

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We are a military family and I vote absolutely freaking not. I'd never leave my kid or send him away from me and his brothers without being under duress of some kind. Dad goes away...fine... whatever, he has to it's his job and it's how our family operates by default. Mom and brother going away is a whole different kettle of fish that alterns established family Dynamics and has a high chance of damaging relationships. Hard nope. 

If one.of these "kids" is essentially an adult who gets to go wherever they want to go anyway, then disregard.

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I do think the parent who isn’t with the oldest child is probably/possibly kissing their adult/parent authority good-bye.  Now that is a normal thing and can be appropriate for a lot of kids.  But do you have a more immature older child?  One who might be irresponsible or get away with things with the other parent, not acceptable to you?  

Well — it needs to be okay with the parent not with the older child.

For the parent not with the younger child — I think it is different, I think it can be re-established.  

But it is probably going to be a permanent change in relationship with the older child, and might not happen on the timeline you would prefer.  

At least I see this with deployments — it’s not exactly easy or always possible to come back to a 15- or 16-year-old who has been doing things a certain way with one parent, if you think there need to be some changes or don’t approve of choices etc.  

A lot of the time it seems to just be gone, where it wouldn’t have been.  

A relationship can still be good but the terms can be changed.

With younger kids I haven’t seen that.  

This is more my impressions of people with older kids who have had a deployment.  

An oldest child or older teen can become very responsible and independent (or independent but not so responsible) and it can just be too late to change that dynamic when kids are older.  

I think that can be okay but — it’s not like you get to press “pause” and then it goes back to what it is now.  That just isn’t going to happen.  

I think be realistic about things like that.  

Edit:  you would also need 100% trust in the other parent making parenting decisions, which is Not Easy.  

Edit:  I agree with pp about the older child being “essentially an adult.”  I do think this would need to be the case because it would be a move towards an essentially adult child/parent relationship.  If you think “no, no” then I think be realistic.  If you think “if it wasn’t this year it would be next year, the kid has a good head on his/her shoulders, my spouse can handle anything major,” then — that is more what you would need to think, in my opinion.  Your spouse will not do everything the same as he would if you were in the same place, it will be different.  That needs to be okay, or something you actively think would be good.  

Edit:  “actively good” could look like the spouse with the older child having a really quality year with the older child and deepening their relationship.  Sometimes an older child may want that and choose that.  

I do think perceptions of your kids will matter, too.  Do they think it is worth it?  Would your older child rather move with his mom?  That can be a choice for a high school student to be involved in.  

Edited by Lecka
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I would consider it under certain circumstances

How close are the relationships with the extended family? Would developing these relationships provide a positive/supportive environment? Is it with grandparents. aunts, and uncles? Would there be a large cousin group?

If there are no previously fostered relationships or if there are no family members in the child's current generation, I would have second thoughts. DH and I moved to a town with a large portion of his family - his grandparents, his aunts and uncles, his cousins - but, since he hadn't not grown up around them, there was no shared history, no family traditions. We were more like strangers. It also didn't help when the older generation began to pass or move away within months of our move. We soon found ourselves in a town with no family and so far from our FOO that we couldn't travel for holidays, birthdays, or special occasions.

If, OTOH, you would be moving back to one of your parents, siblings, and their children, and have pre-established, loving relationships, I would do it in a heartbeat. That time together is precious. 

If the move would provide significant financial benefits or professional experiences that would be difficult to find elsewhere, I would consider it. I would not do it if we would have to double living expenses with no opportunity to earn or save more money than we would if we stayed together. I would want to see tangible financial results; ones that indicated we were either putting more in savings, 401Ks, IRAs, or paying off debt faster than if we were together. I would not do it if we would be maintaining the status quo. Unless, and this is a really big UNLESS, the job opportunity is unique and the experiences gained couldn't be found elsewhere. For example, if moving meant I could be a floor nurse in a hospital, a job I could easily find at home, then, no, I wouldn't move. But if it meant being able to work at a nationally recognized neurological research unit, giving me access to patients and colleagues I wouldn't be able to find at home, I would do it in a heart beat.

Also, would the potential job opportunity that might arise for the other spouse (the one staying at the current location) be a promotion? Would it give more responsibility and more money? Is it a potential career changing position or is it a lateral move? How long has the person been with this employer? Would it be easy to find another position with similar pay if this spouse followed the other?

About the children, it would depend on their ages and how close their relationship is. How often would the family be able to see each other? Would traveling every weekend be feasible? Are the children in activities that would hinder regular travel? If both are in sports, choir, band, clubs, or other activities that have weekend practices and rehearsals, those might conflict and make seeing each other regularly impossible. 

Would staying with one or the other parent provide that child a different lifestyle than the other? Any perceived imbalance in finances, lifestyle, or parenting style might cause issues and spark resentment, causing a rift that wasn't there before.

For the younger child who has had issues - depending on what these issues are, I would consider it. If my child were being bullied and despite my best efforts to correct the situation (which I would be approaching with everything I had before I moved) and I thought my child's well-being was at risk (failing school, ostracism, potential suicide), I would move. If being near family members would give my child a social outlet, a strong sense of self, and a support system that could not be found at the current home, I would move. If it meant my child would be happier, more self assured, and provide an opportunity for success, I would move. But only if these things would outweigh being removed from the other parent and sibling.

Another consideration would be how long the separation would last. I could do it for a year anything beyond that and I would have to think about long term consequences. Military deployments usually have a set term. You know that the parent will be gone for 6 months or a year. It is difficult at best but there is an end in sight from the beginning. Even with subsequent deployments, there is typically a stated term of service. Would this separation have an end date? I don't know if I could say "Let's try it for a year and see what happens." What if each of us loves our new job and becomes unwilling to leave at the end of the trial period? What if the newly found independence changes our relationship? How many years would I be away from my high school aged child? What milestones would I miss? Would I be able to trust the other parent to follow our previously established family rules and parenting choices?

--

OP - you have a lot to think about. Congratulations on the job opportunities, by the way. It must be exciting to think about the possibilities of what might be.

Edited by The Accidental Coach
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I think another thing to consider is your oldest’s situation wrt your hometown.  

How would you feel if he had no ties there and wanted to visit high school friends in your current town instead of visiting your family in your hometown?

What is his path after high school?  Do you think he/she will be ready to “go away” after high school, vs continue to have more of a family (mom and dad) support system?  

These are things to think of, too.  

But if he stays in that area after high school, and has things come up, that can be a hard situation too. 

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Short term, yes. It'd have to have a definite end time when the other spouse would join the spouse that moved. I'd stay for up to a year to let a child graduate. If they had more than one year, they'd be going to a new school. 

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I have known two families that have done this.

In one family, the father got a new job which started in January. He moved with the two younger kids so that they could start at the local elementary school. The mom stayed behind with the high school kids so that he could finish the school year. They also had some foster kids who were not able to move with them, so the wanted to take time to allow this kids to transistion slowly to a new home.

Another family (my SILs family) has a DS with a lot of special needs. When the special school he was attending changed its focus, the mom and DS moved to a different state to get better services for the kid. It was a location where they had already purchased a "someday" condo, so they just moved up the time line a bit. The dad dad and older DD stayed in previous location until the DD graduated from college two years later. The dad's job could be very mobile, so he traveled between the two. The DD has since graduated. She is off starting her own grown up Life some where and they have sold the first home. The DS has aged out of public school, but the services for special needs adults is better where they are than where they used to live. 

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18 hours ago, threebyme said:

I am not sure how to title what I am about to ask- and I'd rather not go into a lot of the detail and it may sound like an odd thing but am wondering...

Would you be willing to split up your family so that each spouse takes one child with them for job/ family...?

Basically, my husband and I agreed that in a certain number of years we would move to be closer to extended family,  but a job opportunity may be opening up for one of us there in the next few months.  The other one has a job opportunity opening up here in town this summer.  (Of course, nothing is guaranteed). One kid would stay to graduate from their high school- the other one would transfer (freshman).  

When we discussed this the one with the job here would stay with that job when the other moved anyway and the nature of the job would allow travel to the new home.  The job opportunity near extended family is a rare opening, so with this new information (just found out yesterday) we are confused, so just wanted to throw it out there.  And no we have not said anything to the kids, but will if we decide to pursue this further.

(I won't add details but basically, the younger child has had some issues and we are trying to address them but for certain reasons, we cannot in this town- and starting fresh while getting the assistance also sounds wonderful).  But, we are also torn about the idea of not being together.

 

It's tough. My parents did it when we were growing up. My dad moved (with me) to College Station to go to University (and so I'd attend a better HS than I would have in Houston). My mom stayed with the house and her teaching job and my younger sister.  We travelled back to see each other most weekends. And it still only lasted 1 year before my mom and sister moved up to live with us in College Station.

 

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Thank you everyone!  There are several questions, thoughts and ideas and different experiences shared.  I really appreciate that!  

The seperation would be two years, so honestly it will likely be too long.  Again the opportunity came sooner than we expected.  If it was a year or less I feel we could do it, but I am going to pose some of these questions to my husband so we can further discuss.  I do believe it would benefit our younger but the older one would benefit from staying.

thank you again!

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I'd strongly consider moving the whole family to get better care for one of my dc. High school moves can be difficult - I had to move in high school. But they can also be a great blessing.

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Also keep in mind that the job opportunity in the current town is likely to evaporate if the company gets any idea of your living situation (simply because they won't want to offer something to a person who will be leaving). 

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3 hours ago, Jaz said:

I'd strongly consider moving the whole family to get better care for one of my dc. High school moves can be difficult - I had to move in high school. But they can also be a great blessing.

Yes, I was thinking this as well. Our two ds were not in public school at the time, but we made a move when one was just starting 11th grade and the other just starting 8th. They came to visit the new place with us, were in on the decision making, and were in favor of it. We would probably have had to make the move anyway, but it helped us a lot to have them on board. It has been a good move, particularly for the younger one, but even for the older one. His path has been altered a little due to the move, and my dh and I struggled with that part some (ds is handling it very well), and now I am rather excited to see how it's all going to work out for his future. 

Edited by Jaybee

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