Thoughts on distant relatives that you've never met?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by glocke12, May 4, 2013.

  1. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    Jan 7, 2008
    #1
    I have some older brothers, at least one of which has undergone some effort to track down and connect with some rather distant relatives (most are 2nd cousins, though there might be one closer than that).

    I have never met any of these people (if I did was maybe 1 year old, I am 45 now), and to my knowledge he has not either.

    Opening up and maintaining these relationships is something that seems important to him.

    On the other hand, am somewhat ambivalent about putting effort into opening up relationships with people whom I have never met (or have no memory of meeting). If they were relatives with whom I interacted with as an older child and had some memory of, it might be different.

    Thoughts ? Anyone else feel this way?
     
  2. lelisa13p macrumors 68000

    lelisa13p

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    #2
    Some people find it deeply rewarding to locate & connect with distant relatives (2nd and 3rd cousins for example). I do not. To me, they are strangers and being distantly related isn't enough of a reason to interact. There is sometimes a large geographic disparity as well.

    In the end, it's a personal decision.
     
  3. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #3
    Well, if I was contacted by people who I haven't seen ever in my life, wanting to connect, I would just either rip the letter into shreds, or delete it from my inbox and trashcan. The same thing would be the case if people who I often saw sitting there at parties but never talked to me, ever, just now wanted to approach me.

    I don't think it's appropriate to do such things. I feel like there's a motive whenever people you haven't seen in ten years start trying to get in touch again. They use the "I'm related to you" card to make it easier to sway you. And then they get what thy want, maybe a few free meals, maybe some nice outings, some information that they can gossip about behind your back, among other things. Sometimes it all comes down to you having money, or a skill that they would like to have access to for free.

    And I say that from experience.

    It's cool to know you have an extended family, but leave them alone. I don't think you would want to be contacted by a stranger with their arms open ready to embrace you either.
     
  4. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #4
    Being the crusty, nasty, curmudgeon that I am, I avoid relatives, close and distant, like the plague.:(
     
  5. Grey Beard macrumors 65816

    Grey Beard

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    #5
    ^^^
    H'mm, Garlic, Wild Rose and Hawthorn anybody?

    KGB:rolleyes:
     
  6. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #6
    thanks for the replies...

    my brothers been putting pressure on me to get into contact with these people, and has been acting like I am the oddball for resisting this idea.

    Not sure what he finds rewarding about welcoming these people into their lives, but to me opening your life to a complete stranger like that because they are distantly related is just weird.
     
  7. lelisa13p macrumors 68000

    lelisa13p

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    #7
    You have to do what is comfortable to you, regardless of how your brother feels. If the shoe was on the other foot, he'd likely not appreciate pressure from you regarding same.

    Tell him that his decision is his own and you're happy for him if that's what he wants to do. And to lay off. ;)
     
  8. Roller macrumors 68020

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    #8
    It's entirely up to you to do what you're comfortable with. On the other hand, I wouldn't entirely dismiss the value of starting or re-starting relationships with relatives. I have 2nd/3rd cousins who live thousands of miles away with whom I now maintain close contact by computer, even though we hadn't been in contact for many years. With Skype, FaceTime, and email, it's relatively painless to keep in touch with people no matter how far away, even if you rarely or never physically meet.
     
  9. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #9
    I've met enough of my family to know I don't want to meet any more.
     
  10. davidinva macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Depends on your age. When you get older, meeting distant relatives can be a good thing. Both sides are usually not so interested in material things. I do family history and am naturally curious about people kin to me. My father had a sister who married and ran off with a traveling salesman (truth). I found where she died of complications after giving birth to her sixth child. I have five first cousins who I have never met and since they were either adopted or raised in foster homes, they do not know of our side of the family either. I would like to find out who these people are.
     
  11. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

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    #11
    lol

    ----------

    Ditch your brother, problem solved.

    I guess the next time I see my sister will probably be one of my parents funerals and I'm fine with that.
     
  12. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    #12
    I have a cousin who I've seen at funerals who has connected with relatives of ours in Germany. I've read dozens of e-mails, but have not sent any. These German relatives have come to the U.S. and visited with my cousin and his family. Though they were only 500 miles away, I didn't go to meet them. As others have said, they are strangers to me. We wouldn't be able to share stories about relatives we both know/knew.
     
  13. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

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    #13
    I'd like to meet distant relatives, but only continue the relationship(s) if we had some common ground or I enjoyed their company. I suppose it would be more like meeting a potential friend if I haven't seen them in decades.

    I would probably be more interested if I had more free time, however. I have a baby on the way and am imagining that s/he is going to be the only relative I see most every day for a while.
     
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #14
    Having read the thread, I suppose I'm not really all that surprised at the content (and tone) of most of the responses.

    Many who post here on MR (myself included) are strongly introverted by inclination and temperament, and not really inclined to be social, especially in contexts where others seek to initiate a relationship; we dislike moving out of our respective 'comfort zones' - especially whatever comfort zones we have managed to construct around our private lives, and private space, and dislike even more, unsought (and possibly unwelcome) incursions into our private space, above all those who arrive there uninvited, unexpected and unannounced. If such unexpected invitations are to be issued, it seems to me that we like to be the ones who actually do the issuing.......

    That said, if a long lost relative turned up, I'd be motivated above all by curiosity (rather than fervour) and would usually agree to meet the individual (or individuals) in question. That does not mean admitting them into the privacy of intensely guarded personal space, but it does mean allowing that the possibility of a connection of sorts might occur. And sometimes it does.

    For, the odd thing about distant cousins is that they can be just that, distant cousins who share some percentage of a common bloodline, a kinship tie that one may prefer to disavow (as certainly happens), or, at its best, a connection can occur with a (long lost) cousin so that they can also turn out to be a bizarre mix of family and friend, someone who 'gets' you in a way that friends rarely do, yet accepts you the way family may struggle to.
     
  15. lelisa13p macrumors 68000

    lelisa13p

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    #15
    Exactly right, speaking for myself; I detest drop-in visitors. I'm not unfriendly, just reserved by nature. :)
     
  16. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

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    #16
    You mean you let them in? No appointment, no admittance.
     
  17. lelisa13p macrumors 68000

    lelisa13p

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    #17
    Not a problem, actually. After all these years, everyone knows not to do it. ;)
     
  18. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

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    #18
    Do you answer your landline or let it go to answer phone first? I hate not knowing who is on the phone before speaking to them.
     
  19. lelisa13p macrumors 68000

    lelisa13p

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    #19
    I check the caller ID & if I don't recognize it, the call goes to the machine. I get a fair amount of those robo-dialed Caller Unknown calls so I don't answer unfamiliar numbers. Later, I get the number from the incoming call list and Google it to see which type of bottom feeder the bogus call came from. :)

    To get back on topic, OP, feel good about your choice, whatever happens. :)
     
  20. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    #20
    It depends on your definition of "Family". You can be related to someone, but still not be family. Likewise, you don't have to be related to someone to call them family.

    Meeting a close relative at an older age or growing up with a more distant relative are an entirely different set of circumstances. In this case, distant relatives at an older age just seems awkward.

    That looks like the path I'm headed down with my sister, but I still have hope that we can reconcile someday before then. :(
     
  21. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

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    #21
    That's a shame. Nothing is more important than family. That being said, I would only get in touch with the long lost relatives if they're a sibling. Cousins, aunts, uncles...meh. I tend to ignore.

    He ain't heavy, he's my brother.:cool:
     
  22. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #22
    Exactly. I use a 4 letter word that ends with "unt" to refer to my mom's sisters and it isn't "aunt". They might be family by blood, but I hardly consider them family. They've done some horrible things to my mom and to me. They don't deserve to be called family.
     
  23. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

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    #23
    Agree, but my family is my wife and daughter. I never got on with my sister and never will. Do I have a problem with it? No. Just because we share the same parents should we be friends? We have nothing in common so why would we? I think a family group (people you love and care for, and people you support and they support you) does not necessarily have to be a family in the traditional meaning of the word. If I had an issue it wouldn't be my blood relatives I called upon but my really close friends who have been their for me through some really tough times.
     
  24. stonyc macrumors 65816

    stonyc

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    #24
    OP, I don't think you're an oddball... there are close friends that I would consider "family" before some distant relatives.

    For my wedding, I had a couple aunts and cousins that came from Korea to attend... and my mom was constantly asking "Don't you remember? She used to baby sit you all the time!"...



    When I was 1.

    For reference, my parents moved here to the States with me when I was was about 1.5 years old. I'd been back to Korea for a visit since then, but the last time was when I was about 12-13 years old. So the bare minimum length of time that I had last seen some of these cousins was roughly 15-16 years by the time I got married.

    Instead of arguing with my mom about how there would have been no possible way for me have discrete memories at the age of 1... I just got really good at nodding my head and saying "Sure..."
     
  25. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #25
    Is it? Just because you are related to someone does not mean they have to be your best friend...My one brother I like, and he is a nice guy, but we are so vastly different as people in terms of our beliefs and interests that I can only stand being around him for short periods of time..
     

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