Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickie: “My Husband Wants to Move, But I Don’t”

I have been married twelve years and my husband is the stepfather of my now adult children. I adore my kids. But my husband wants to move up north to a warmer all-year-round climate. He is much older than I am and I am a young person by nature and I love young people. We are opposites in this way. The issue is I don’t want to move to the other end of the state, but he is adamant to sell the house and move up north, agreeing to visit the kids in the caravan occasionally. I am worried I will resent this move and him. I am hot and cold . . . I just can’t decide, and I don’t know if starting over alone with my husband is really what I want. We are both in limbo at the moment and cannot agree about this move. It seems to me that I would be sacrificing the time I have around my kids, who are in their early 20s and not married. I feel like a friend to them and enjoy their company more than I do my husband’s. I’m not really wanting to move and start again so far away from my family, who all live in the vicinity of one another. I know my husband will be very unhappy if I decide not to move. — Can’t Decide Where to Live

It sounds like you HAVE decided where to live. You want to stay exactly where you are, and you have good reasons to. What you can’t decide is whether you’re ready to let go of your marriage, and you think that, if you stay where you want to stay, your marriage will in all likelihood be over. And you’re probably right. But it might be over if you move, too. After all, you already think you’ll resent your husband for making you move. And you don’t enjoy his company as much as the people you’d be leaving behind. And you don’t really want to start over alone with him. In between the lines of all of that, I’m hearing you say that your marriage where it is now is, like, fine. It will do. But if you have to move and it is the main focus of your life because you have given up your family and friends and life where you are now, your marriage is not enough for you, even temporarily. And you are not interested in building a new life in a new place with your husband. Is that about right? If so, I think you already have your answer. Yes, you’re right — your husband will be very unhappy. But, will you?


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

17 comments… add one
  • Laura Hope January 22, 2015, 9:42 am

    How is moving up north warmer? The further north you go, the colder it is, right?
    If this is the real issue (and it’s true, the older you get, the colder you get), what about a compromise? Two apartments–summers near your kids and winters in the warmer climate?

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    • memboard January 22, 2015, 9:51 am

      Maybe the LW is in the southern hemisphere, (New Zeland or Australia)?

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    • snoopy128 January 22, 2015, 9:52 am

      Unless she lives in the southern hemisphere, then moving north would be warmer. Australia has states!

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    • mrmidtwenties January 22, 2015, 9:59 am

      I’m going to guess she is from somewhere in the southern hemisphere, my personal guess Australia. Depending on your financial situation, LW, is two places possible? Is there some form of compromise? Is there a reason your husband wants to move North that could be related to chronic pain or discomfort? I know my father was much more comfortable when they moved across the country and he got to have hot humid heat as opposed to dry warmth where I grew up.

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  • Laura Hope January 22, 2015, 10:05 am

    Guess I don’t know my geography very well. Thanks guys.

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  • RedroverRedrover January 22, 2015, 11:09 am

    What Wendy said. And also, consider future grandchildren. Are you going to be happy if your kids get married and start having kids and you can’t see your grandchildren on a regular basis? You sound like the kind of person who would want to be around for them. I mean, that might not happen for a decade or more, but still.

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  • Diablo January 22, 2015, 11:21 am

    Wendy is dead on, but here’s another twig for the fire. You say that your husband is “adamant” about selling the house and moving. Waitaminnit! How does he get to be adamant about such a big decision? My wife and I have to have extensive mutually sensitive negotiations about whether to watch Thor or The Grand Budapest Hotel. If I want to buy anything expensive, like a guitar, never mind a house, we discuss finances, fairness, how much noise she’ll have to endure etc, and then decide together. An ultimatum like that is not really something one should hand to one’s most respected and esteemed friend in the world, your spouse. Doing something like that might be a dealbreaker for a lot of marriages.

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    • MissDre January 22, 2015, 12:47 pm

      I need to find a husband like you!

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    • Sue Jones January 22, 2015, 12:48 pm

      It sounds like the husband is from that older generation of men who made all of the decisions and the women tagged along after them with no say in the situation. Could be cultural as well. Australian men often have that “macho” stubborn attitude. I have worked with some women like that, usually married to older rich men. The man decides to sell the house and move, so they sell the house and move, etc. The man decides to invest all of the money in an ice cream factory, so they buy an ice cream factory and the wife has to go along with it, etc. etc. etc. And the women are stuck taking care of all of the details of the move… My father was a bit like that, however, my mom usually got what she wanted by nagging relentlessly… though she never ever learned how to balance a checkbook. Ah, that older generation…

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      • Kate B. January 22, 2015, 1:20 pm

        That was my thought as well. Marriages like Diablo’s are relatively new. Like within the last 20 years. My parents were married in the 60s and theirs was (and still is) very much like that.

      • Diablo January 22, 2015, 2:36 pm

        My parents were married in ’65, and their marriage is just like mine, only with more flatulence. I learned this from my Dad. The marriage part, not the flatulence. That came naturally.

      • Cleopatra_30 January 22, 2015, 5:39 pm

        Oh geez Diablo, you’re like my dad haha Has to make everyone suffer with his flatulence haha!

      • RedroverRedrover January 22, 2015, 3:02 pm

        Mine were married in the 60s too, and my mom is definitely in charge. I think it just depends on the people involved. Although I agree that the type of marriage you’re describing, Kate, was MUCH more common back then, and even more so before then.

  • kaluu January 22, 2015, 2:34 pm

    Hmmm I’m in vancouver in canada and we are cooler than other coastal places south of us, like Oregon. But Maryland for example is much colder and snowier than it ever is here in the winter. Mountains, wind patterns and elevation also effect climate and that’s about the extent of my knowledge. But I’m assuming this is in the USA and therefore it’s not likely a huge long drive within one state. I don’t like that he’s adamant but I admit I’m a bit like that too. I sympathize with him because it sounds like he’s really unhappy. I think if you don’t want to give up your marriage you could try it. But he should be willing for you to visit the kids whenever you like, by yourself if that’s what works.

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  • hobbesnblue January 22, 2015, 4:04 pm

    The one thing I have to add is to express some concern with LW’s comments about her kids:

    “It seems to me that I would be sacrificing the time I have around my kids, who are in their early 20s and not married. I feel like a friend to them and enjoy their company more than I do my husband’s.”

    While she may very well have a totally healthy rapport with her kids, on the other hand, she might be depending on their friendship so much that she hasn’t been allowing them (or herself) to develop proper independent social lives outside of the parent/child relationship.

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    • Lyra January 22, 2015, 9:16 pm

      I have to disagree. Quite honestly, at this point in my life I have more of a friendship than anything with my parents, especially with my mom. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own friends because of course I do, but I really like living close to my mom and I know she also likes that I live close by. I lived 500 miles away from my family and friends for a year and it was really tough for me because of how close I am to them. Just because the LW doesn’t want to move away from them doesn’t mean that’s preventing her from having friends of her own. She simply doesn’t want to start all over in a new location, which sounds like it’s away from ALL her friends and family. That’s understandable, especially since she’s older.

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  • Nookie January 23, 2015, 5:05 am

    We have a saying in my house that I think I installed because I was beginning to forget: We are a team. It doesn’t seem like a team’s approaching this problem at the moment. Instead of saying ‘this is what I want and I’m not budging’, maybe you could be trying a ‘how can we both find a happy solution’ way?

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