How do you define “family”?

posted 7 months ago in Relationships
Post # 2
4470 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

When I was growing up, it was blood/legal (marriage, adoption, etc.). You were related to family. My mom still strongly subscribes to this; my siblings do as well to some extent.

As an adult, I believe I get to choose “family.” The people I consider my family will have my back, care about me, and support me – and I will do the same for them. My family now includes close, long-term friends, some relatives, some in-laws, and, of course, my husband. I don’t think blood guarantees you a place in my family, nor does it exclude you. 

Post # 3
1465 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

My family teasingly calls it “adoption” – for example, my parents claim, teasingly of course since her real parents are VERY ALIVE AND FINE, that they adopted my best friend and that she is their fifth child. Makes everyone chuckle. My parents also have teasingly “adopted” my sister’s friend, the pets that live next door, as well as our young priest, and a couple of lonely, incredibly-elderly people that visit often. These are all people we see often, feed often, and laugh with often. We refer to this large circle of deeply-close friends as our family, along with all the people related by blood and all that jazz.

My dad also jokingly claims he adopted Peyton Manning, but that is a separate conversation…. 🙂 

Post # 4
998 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

Family is more than just blood relation to me. I consider my stepdad and his family to be my family, but I don’t feel the same about my biological father and his relatives. I also consider my SO’s children from his previous marriage to be my family, even though I’m not married to him (yet) and they aren’t blood relatives of mine.

Post # 5
10651 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I tend to think of it as actual relatives – whether that be blood or via marriages.

I do understand how there are people where there is no family tie becomes like family though.  When I was little there was a couple that I referred to as Aunt X and Uncle Y. 

I find with moves though, those relationships don’t stay as family down the generations.  My Aunt X was at my wedding and it was good to see her.  Her kids though I don’t even know if I would recognize and I haven’t met any of their children (I think they both have kids now, not even too sure).  The close ties were really my parents, that connection doesn’t continue to carry through generations.

Post # 6
453 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

Many different ways. My fiancé and my daughter and I have been a family for a few years already even though we’re not married yet. (I had her years before we met). But then there’s fi’s toxic sister who I had to cut out of my life as much as possible and even though she’ll technically be my SIL I’ll never think of her as my family. I think family is what you make it. 

Post # 7
1580 posts
Bumble bee

I consider my family to be my husband, my mum, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and their spouses, first, second and third cousins. And all those same people on my husbands side. And my dog 😜

Post # 8
206 posts
Helper bee

Family to me has NOTHING to do with blood, or even legalities… I think you know in your heart who your family is.   Family has beautiful love, loyalty and connections, people aren’t perfect but they care. If someone is my blood but has no care/respect etc., than they aren’t my family. 

Post # 9
773 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

Family is your dependents (by default) and the people you want to claim as your family because of whatever feeling you have for them and they for you. For me it is my nuclear family (husband, son, dog). Extended family includes blood/marriage relatives. We aren’t close to any of them but see the closely related ones often. I don’t love (or even like) them, but it feels natural to be obligated to go visit.

Post # 10
7278 posts
Busy Beekeeper

psyche1978 :  family is who I choose. Some of those are also blood relatives, but most are not. My best friend would go to hell and back for me and I’m pretty sure I have blood relatives who would happily let me die in the fire….so I consider my best friend “family” and the other people just an unfortunate accidents of genetic breeding. 

Post # 11
2909 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

psyche1978 :  I value my close friends more than I value a lot of my blood family, which probably sounds bad but just because they are my blood does not mean that I have to love them. So, I do not need to be blood related with someone in order to consider them my family.

Post # 12
1346 posts
Bumble bee

I feel similar to poster above: For me it is my family (husband, dogs). Extended family includes blood/marriage relatives. We aren’t close to all of them but see the closely related (mom/siblings) ones fairly often. I don’t like some of the further extended family (aunts/uncles/cousins), but i still see them a few times a year between weddings, funerals, grad parties, holidays, etc. and I don’t see that changing for many years. I still consider them family.  Family that I don’t like is still family.  

Very close, dear, long term friends I refer to as “like family”.  I say my bff’s dad is “like a dad to me” or that he “treats me like a daughter”.  I don’t say that he IS my dad or that I AM his daughter.  I don’t say my bff is my sister.  She already has a sister that she adores. And no matter how close & devoted we are to each other if her sister and I were both standing in front of an oncoming train & my bff can only save one of us, she’s going to save her sister, she’s biologically wired to do so.

My definition of family is blood, marriage, legal adoption or foster, etc.  

Post # 13
633 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Family is different than relatives. My mom has 50 cousins only one of which is family to me, not because the other 49 have done anything wrong, just bc I really don’t know them. Family is a step closer than relatives. I have friends who are “like family” but they aren’t family because they aren’t relatives (until I can get them married to my brothers anyway 😉). You don’t always have to like your family though, my husband can’t stand half his family but we suck it up and maintain a relationship…for now…bc that’s his family. I guess family is the relatives you know.

Post # 14
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Been having this conversation a lot more recently I find. To me family is defined as those that are truly close to us and in our most inner circle. Those that have a mutual love, care and respect for the other person and are not forced relationships by blood. They are genuine and true relationships. You can always tell genuine family from blood related persons. Its something you feel in your heart for my anyway.

D.H. and I have starting culling down our obligations since we moved away years ago. Ever since, we’ve been backing out of more and more obligations from blood related persons to actual family. It’s a huge hassle, and at the end of the day NONE of those blood related relatives actually CARE whether we were there or not, sadly in todays world they mostly care about proper etiquette or gift grabs. We saw a ton of true colors after our wedding and also who cared to keep in touch or not. Our inner circle is quite small these days, but quality over quantity.

Post # 15
1961 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre

When I was single I defined family as my parents and siblings. Now that I’m married I define family as my husband and I and our bundle of joy

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