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I have offered for us to periodically fly back to see family, or take 700-mile drives (one way) from neighboring states. I said that if we moved, she could take an easier job, retire sooner, and have more of what she wants, all while not compromising our standard of living and perhaps even improving it (with lower cost of living). She said “no”. She suggested we sell our house and buy two places, one for her near family and one where I want to be (not in CA). This is tantamount to ending the marriage since each of us would very likely spend 98% of our time where we live.
This appears irreconcilable, the gap between us Grand Canyon-wide in its breadth, too wide to meet in the middle and also because there is no viable “middle.” The marriage is suffering from other problems, but I never expected such a thing like “where to live” to be the wedge that could destroy decades of marriage. No matter if we live in or out of CA, resentment will live within the person who is not living where he or she wants. I feel very trapped, with no possible good “out”. — Looking for a Way Out
I like your wife’s idea of selling your house. Only, I wouldn’t buy new places just yet. I suggest you rent a small home for your wife to live in, near the family she wants to be close to, and you rent a small home where you want to live, outside of California. Give it a year, maybe two, and see if your hard lines in the sand wiggle a little. Your question, as any longtime reader knows, is one of the most asked about of any I get. Usually, the question arises early in a relationship, often before marriage or within the first couple years. What is different about your situation from most I hear about is the longevity of your relationship, and I would imagine that, after decades of marriage, if your foundation is not strong enough to withstand a year or two of living separately (with regular visits if you can manage) and your feelings for each other are not warm enough that you miss each other and feel more willing to find a compromise to be close again, then you will have a very clear answer about the future of your relationship and what the “right” path is for you. At the very least, you won’t feel trapped, you’ll gain a different perspective, and the distance — both literally and figuratively — should clear some of the confusion you’re currently feeling.
If you aren’t married after eight years together and three years of engagement, it’s not ever going to happen. My guess is he never wanted to get engaged in the first place but felt pressured into it (either by you and/or by having a child with you) and made some half-assed commitment of proposing/getting engaged, hoping that would be enough to keep you happy. He has no intention of actually marrying you. And if he won’t move to a place where both his fiancée AND his job are, then there’s something even more important to him keeping him where he is. Whatever that reason is, you can’t compete with it. It’s time for you to move on. The biggest challenge here will be figuring out custody and child support for your kid, and I strongly suggest talking to a lawyer about those issues as soon as possible.
My husband accepted the friend request, and it makes me feel very upset and uncomfortable because of the relationship that my ex and I had. I’ve asked my husband why he accepted his request, and he acted like I’m being silly about it. I feel like my ex is checking up on me.
What are your thoughts and would anyone else feel the same way? — Request Should Be Denied
I think if you have a problem with your husband being Facebook friends with your ex, you need to make that explicitly clear. Instead of asking why he accepted the friend request — probably because he doesn’t feel threatened by the guy, they were acquaintances in high school, and he didn’t see any reason NOT to accept the request — you need to tell him that it makes you uncomfortable that they’re connected in social media. Explain that the relationship was an intense one, the ending was sad, and the clean break you thought you had from your ex feels compromised when he’s able to indirectly follow you on social media through your husband. If your husband continues calling you silly, the real problem you have is with him and not your ex, and that needs to be dealt with (with honest and frank discussion and possibly a few sessions of marriage counseling, especially if you feel equally dismissed in other ways in your marriage).
I’d also urge you to consider whether you feel truly “over” the relationship with your ex. The way you write about him, your relationship, and the breakup sounds like someone who has some unresolved feelings. It isn’t fair to your husband — or to yourself — to simply brush those feelings aside. To build a strong and lasting marriage, you’ve got to confront any pain that might still linger over your previous relationship.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.