Coping Question to Moms Who Have Recently Moved or Just Ponder It.

Updated on September 12, 2018
B.F. asks from Bear, DE
13 answers

For moms who have recently moved to a completely new area who live far away from any family and don't know anybody: How does it feel? Have you felt like a complete stranger in a foreign land? Maybe even invisible? (All this is speaking of times when your husband is working). Have you felt kind of afraid to do things because you feel like such a foreigner with no one (present) to stand up or be there for you?

For those who moved a long time ago and faced the same circumstances: how did you get over feeling so alone, away from family, especially? (Especially when you have always lived and FELT fairly close to SOME form of family.

Or maybe you have traveled alone to a different city and stayed there for a length of time.

I ask because any family I have is states away. I have my husband and kids here living with me, but on occasion I have had a strange feeling come over me as I realized and really thought about how I have no (birth) family in my state and that they are all far away. It wasn't that way for a long time, but my elderly parents were moved out of state to where my sister is. On the plus side for me is that I have lived in my area for more than 40 years, so I pretty much know my way around. But once in a while when I'm out somewhere it will hit me that I am ALONE, like on my own, out of range of my birth family, and it kind of makes me ask myself why I am even here when my family is all together so far away. My husband has family in this area and conveniently not that far away, but they are not my birth family and I don't feel as close to them. I'm sure he wouldn't be willing to move closer to my family, but he does encourage me to go visit them any time I want. Well, the distance.......ug. All other friends I had as a child have long since moved away and never keep in touch.

I have brought this all up to someone I'm in therapy/counseling with, but we didn't get very far into it (yet). The counselor came up with the term "marginalized". It's mostly not debilitating, but makes a weird feeling of being sad, out of place, and vulnerable when it comes over me. So I wonder if it has occurred to others too. And how they've coped with it or overcame it.

By the way, what may compound all this is that I am not exactly an extrovert. More like introvert, but I do have a couple of close friends not too far away. I have a small birth family and have been close to my mom and sister over the years. I went away to college and lived in a dorm, and being so far away from home bothered me (especially during breaks), until I transferred to some place closer. But that whole experience was different in that most other students were also far away from home, so most had that in common.
During a phase of wanting to get out on my own I had an apartment. That and the freedom of living alone was nice (but only for a while), but knowing that my parents were just a small drive away was comforting to me. I got married shortly after my lease ended, yet we were both close to family.

What can I do next?

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B.S.

answers from Abilene on

I hate where we live. If my husband died, I would call the painter and the realtor and move. I would not keep in touch with anyone. I would not even tell them where I moved.
I started going places alone including painting class. I enjoy that and I asked the owner to set me near the other solo ladies, not by a group of friends.

I am marginalized here. To be honest, I didn't care until it affected my child. We are not treated with respect or basic consideration. It hit me that I am not the only one who feels this way so I tried to make friends with those who had no friends. It has not worked out. They don't know how to be a friend. I am hoping to find one or two friends eventually. Hang in there.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

When I was 21 I got married and moved to Okinawa Japan. In the beginning I felt incredibly alone, my family was far away, my husband worked 12-15 hour shifts, and I couldn't even speak the language so I was afraid to go out and explore in case I got lost (we didn't have cell phones back then). But I managed, I made a community for myself, learned my new area, and I got to learn so much about another culture and way of life. 5 years later I packed up and moved to England, still very very far from home, and started my family. It has been hard over the years, I wish my mother could see my children more, but we make the best of it. We try to see each other once year, we Skype or FaceTime often, and we chat on the phone. After England we moved to Alaska and I had to really accept that I may never get to live close to family again, and we will continue to make the best of it.

4 moms found this helpful
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N.A.

answers from San Diego on

I move, by myself every few years to new states. It’s a strange feeling to think wow I am all by myself and don’t know anyone. Last year I picked up and moved to Boston. Trying to move next summer.

The way I handle it is to be a tourist, constantly exploring the new area.

4 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

I’ve lived a plane ticket away from family for 30 years.

When we first moved, we were newlyweds, daughter is now 23 and I was suddenly widowed in 2015.

I feel more at home here than I ever have when visiting any family,

I’ve made friends through neighborhood moms, PTA moms, volunteering in my community, etc.

I am not a social butterfly and I love being home with my dogs.

You need to find yourself and what makes you happy. Your parents, family that are far away won’t always be there and in my case, I was widowed. I have more support from my community friends than I do with any family that’s a plane ticket away.

3 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

It's hard for me to relate because I don't have much family and some of the few I do have I'm pretty much estranged from. I've always kind of been "on my own" and honestly being somewhat of an introvert I don't mind a lot of alone time.
BUT, when my son left for college in another state, and then moved all the way across the country for two years I missed him like crazy! It certainly helped to stay in touch, not only text and social media, but real phone conversations where we could hear each others' voices. And of course getting on a plane whenever possible for a real visit.
Of course rationally you must know that you're not really alone in the world. Think about it this way, the love and connection is there whether you are sitting in the same room as your family or sitting two thousand miles away. Call, talk, face time or skype and go visit as much as you can. Also keep yourself busy with friends and hobbies and activities that will occupy your mind. Fill yourself up and you won't feel as lonely :-)

3 moms found this helpful

C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

I moved away from family right after college and have never lived close or even in the same state. But then all my siblings moved to different states. We went where we needed to for school and jobs. My husband and I have moved a few times as adults as well, so I'm very familiar with moving to a new area and not knowing anyone and starting from scratch to make a community. I personally am fine with living away from my family. I don't feel alone. What I do when I move is I make it my goal to start making friends and to slowly build a community. It takes a couple years to figure out who are the people my husband and I connect with and to start feeling like we belong. We go to community events. I volunteer. I invite over other people for dinner. I invite kids over to hang out/play with our kids. I help at the school. Then with time you start getting close to people. It just takes time. I like making my own community, but my parents are messed up so I don't get support from them anyway. My dad is an alcoholic and doesn't even remember what you said to him the day before. My stepmom is very controlling and does not like her husband's kids or consider us her family. My mom is very narcissistic and vain and likes to talk nonstop about herself. I love her, but being around her drives me completely nuts. I visit them with the kids and try to have a polite relationship, but it's challenging. Whereas my "family" of friends gives me much more. It's very hard to make good friends as an adult. You just have to keep working at it always and never give up.

3 moms found this helpful
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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I am an introvert.
I don't live near my family.
I've lived in several cities of varying sizes during my adult life.
But, I don't feel marginalized. I think it's because of two things. The first is that my nuclear family growing up did not live near much extended family. My maternal side of the family lived on the opposite coast, I saw them every 5 years. So, I did not grow up with an expectation of having my parents/siblings nearby as an adult. Since I didn't have this expectation, it doesn't bother me that they are not physically close to me (I am still emotionally close with them).

The second is that I have joined a few groups that make me interact with others locally. I joined a book club and a local women's group (check your local library for groups like this). The local bowling alley is also advertising looking for women for their league - I might join (I am a terrible bowler, but the ad says it doesn't matter and it looks like a great way to meet people without pressure). As an introvert, it would be VERY easy for me to stay inside of myself, on the couch with a book by myself, most of the time. These groups (plus my job) provide social interaction for me and the casual friendships that I know that I need, even though it's not easy for me to make those friendships on my own.

I really REALLY encourage you to find a group that looks interesting to you and join it so that you can feel more connected to your community. It could be a book club, bowling league, running group, dinner group, chess club, volunteer at the local food bank, walk dogs at the local animal shelter. If you don't have a job, you might get one even if your family doesn't 'need' for you to work - maybe part time in a small shop nearby. It doesn't really matter what the activity is - it's the connections to your community that you need.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

being a loner works for me. but we did move with kids, and i felt it imperative to help my kids form their communities.

and you do that by putting yourself and your kids out there. join groups. find meetups. if one doesn't work, it doesn't mean the next one won't. do it for yourself too. take advantage of the fresh new energy to try new things- horseback riding, scuba diving, oil painting, geocaching.

even introverts need and can create community.

and if you are grooving on the adventure of being somewhere new, your kids will too. you can keep each other energized and excited.

have fun!
:) khairete
S.

3 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

It never bothered me.
I moved far away from family after college for a job in 1986, had a roommate or two for awhile and then lived completely alone for 10 months before my fiance graduated college and moved in with me (he had a job he'd started through a co-op while he was in school).
It took awhile to make a few friends from work but for that whole time the apartment was all mine and everything was always exactly where ever I'd left it.
I took some time to do some crafts or if I felt like taking a walk I'd visit a park or a mall and window shop till I'd had my fill.
I didn't even have a tv till my fiance moved in.
Even when I've lived near family we never lived on each others doorsteps.and only saw then maybe a few times per year so I never really missed them once I moved away.

I've always been comfortable in my own company.
I've read, taken a basket weaving class, learned how to make stained glass lamps and grown small veggie gardens.
Why is being alone a problem?
You can vacuum your house naked if you want to (as long as you have curtains or blinds).
I've also worked from home - only talking to people over a phone, and now our son is away at college and husband sometimes travels for work and is away several weeks at a time - and I'm alone the whole time and it's no big deal at all.
Being alone can be freeing.
You don't have to cook or clean up after anyone and no one changes the channel when you are watching your favorite show.
You need to take a good look at the plus side of being alone and learn to appreciate it.

2 moms found this helpful
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M.M.

answers from Houston on

Hello.
Your post hit me since I've felt your way. I've now moved a couple of times due to my husband's work. I work too, but with youger kids I decided to take shorter-term roles making me more flexible. Anyway, what I've learned is that the process of moving is easy. People fret over it with all the logistics and details, but really it's not bad. The hard part is acclimating. For you and your family.
The first year is the worst. You need to find doctors, activities for kids and try to help kids meet friends. You likely meet people along the way, but I've found that doesn't mean you'll make your new good friend there too. To find that you need to put yourself out there. This is not easy. In the DC area I tried running groups since I like to run. The first one or 2 wasn't great.. I didn't feel like I fit. The 3rd had a better feel and after a bit it became my weekly social event. Remember, you need that too. The joy of finding a group is worth the time and some angst to show up the first time. I know for me as I get older I'm more of an introvert, but I also know I don't want my life revolving around my kids. Also, think outside kid groups too. It's good to have a mix of friends.
To get back to the first year, it stinks for me. The second year I try everything and the third year I'm in my groove. For some this may sound nuts, but I know I can't rush things and have to be patient. Friends are special and they aren't around every corner.
Finally, use Skype or whatever you have to connect with old friends and family. Make dates. Remember, though, to not get jealous they are doing the same things after you left. FB makes everything look great. Appreciate what you have and the new adventures you're having. For me I've met some great people I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Take care.

1 mom found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Houston on

I have never lived by family. My parents moved the day after they graduated from college and never looked back. We moved every three to four years growing up. I moved to Texas for college and never lived at home again. We have moved as a family (hubby, kiddos and I). We lived in Kentucky for 15 years so we made our own family. My folks moved around and brother settled in the Mid-West. I enjoyed not living near family as we didn't get dragged into all the crazy drama.

To me, you have to be a friend to have a friend. I put myself out. We were in a small town in Kentucky and I moved from Houston so it was a culture shock. The realtor didn't want to deal with me because I was a woman. Seriously, I would veto a house and he would call my husband to complain. My husband told him that I was buying the house not him. Dummy! So I get what you are talking about. I just didn't let it get to me and I just plugged along. It helped that I started working and meeting people there. You need to find what will make you happy.

1 mom found this helpful
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T.H.

answers from Kansas City on

We moved into a new town and state just over a year ago. I stay at home, my husband works long hours and our two kids are school age. Over the last year I have felt all the things you listed. I don't feel them always but some days are definitely harder than others. I am pretty extroverted so I usually just throw myself out there and make myself a presence. But, even that gets tiring after a while because you just want some reciprocation.

I will say that I feel like right around the year mark, things just sort of felt easier. I think it was mostly just a mental thing for me but even yesterday I was remembering a year ago what it was like to be brand new at the school and I really realized how far I'd come.

I think the key is that you have a couple close friends in your neighborhood. You said "not that far away" but I'm not really sure what that means. I think you need someone you can talk to about the every day stuff. The stuff that isn't all that important but sometimes you feel mad/happy/frustrated/curious about...like school stuff, neighborhood stuff, local politics, etc. If you can make a connection with just one or two people over that stuff I think you will feel less alone. It's not easy...and that's coming from an extrovert. But you have to find your niche and you have to give it your all. I try and embrace every situation I'm in. I miss home but I'm happy where we're at and I'm happy to have this new experience and a chance to build friendships into extended family-ships.

B.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi. We moved out of state when my youngest was 3, about 18 yrs ago. My husband's family is originally from around the area we moved to, and he had two sets of aunts/uncles 15 or so minutes from where we settled...I thought we would be spending lots of time with his extended family and that they would come and see us. That never happened. At first I was so busy getting the older two girls settled in school, putting the house together, getting used to being a stay-at-home mom from working 50+ hours a week I didn't have time to even notice I was lonely. But I did eventually notice, and it was awful. I became somewhat of a recluse for a time. But then I got a part-time job in the evenings/nights when the girls were in bed & hubby was home. Getting out in the world and meeting my co-workers, making friends with the ladies while the girls took dance lessons, and while they played softball, soccer, basketball, then marching band and orchestra kept me moving, helped me find a sense of community. The most influential thing that has helped me feel like this area can be home in the best possible way was going back to school to earn a college degree. I think it's because this is something I've dreamed of and am doing just for me. And I love every minute of it! Even though at my age, I am going to class with kids younger than my youngest, and sometimes things seem harder for me and I spend a lot more time on assignments than others.
My parents retired to another state, about a 12 hour drive from us when they used to be only a couple of hours down the turnpike...and my brother lives 10 hours in the opposite direction we keep in touch via email, text and phone calls...it works if you want it to. Life moves on and eventually we have to let go and grow. Best wishes.

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