Ask Amy: A family loss leads to a marital move

Dear Amy: A year ago, my mother-in-law’s live-in companion died by suicide.

He was 88 and had just gotten a terminal diagnosis.

My husband took a three-month leave of absence from his job and went to get his mother moved out of her companion’s house and into her nearby home. (The location is five states away.)

Her house is in an upscale neighborhood and is probably worth a substantial amount.

My husband had discussed either selling the house and having her move closer to us or getting an assisted-living apartment. (She does need assistance.)

I have two grown children and he has three from a previous marriage. We also have grandchildren. They all live close to our town.

I cannot retire for at least five more years.

Well, my husband got a job in his mother’s town and never left!

He remodeled the second bathroom of his mother’s home in the style I wanted our bathroom done. He keeps saying I could come there to live.

I have told him that I am not willing to move there.

Our home is here and so is our family. All our grandkids are here.

His youngest son still lives with me and helps out with home maintenance.

I have no desire to leave.

It has been one year now, and I am sick of this.

He will not tell his mother that she needs to sell her home and either come here or get an assisted-living apartment there if she wants to stay where she is.

My friends think I should divorce him, and some of my family have mentioned that as well.

I will never divorce him.

I will wait until she passes and then he will have no reason to stay there.

Is he being unreasonable?

— Lonely and Angry

Dear Lonely: You are focused on whether your husband is being reasonable, but that is beside the point. Reasonable or not — he has made a choice that affects you profoundly.

Your husband has a job and a renovated home in his mother’s town. Even after her death, he could supply reasons to stay where he is.

He has chosen to live elsewhere and to be with his mother in her elder years. Many couples do continue on in marriage through geographical separation.

I suggest that (if possible) you should have your own home renovated in the style you prefer. Give yourself that dream bathroom!

Down the road you and your husband can revisit the choice to live separately, based on your own needs and preferences. You have the right to make your own “unreasonable” choice, including — if you want — the decision to stay married through this separation.

Dear Amy: I’m a divorced male in his mid-60s who is currently involved with a woman of the same age.

We’ve been dating for about a year now and enjoy our time together.

We held hands and made out on the first date and began sleeping together after our second date and had sex that same night.

We have exchanged house keys and made room for each other in our closets and dressers.

Recently I’ve noticed that her kisses and hugs aren’t as compassionate, and we haven’t had sex in almost a month.

I’ve asked her numerous times if everything is OK and she’s responded yes every time.

She knows that there is almost zero chance of getting pregnant because my ex insisted on me getting a vasectomy.

Any thoughts on her sudden changes in behavior?

— Curious in Virginia

Dear Curious: If your partner is your age (mid-60s) and you’ve had a vasectomy, then yes — I agree that a fear of pregnancy is definitely not the root of your problem.

You can tell by her behavior that she is pulling away, but she isn’t brave enough to tell you why. I suggest that rather than pushing, you should give her some space.

Talking honestly about problems or issues in the relationship is an important aspect of intimacy. Without that, the space between you will only grow.

Dear Amy: Regarding people who are always late, we had very wonderful good friends who were always late to our parties.

I got the brilliant idea to ask them to arrive half an hour early.

Well, this time they made an extreme effort and were on time!

My husband and I finished dressing, and the party started with laughter as they told everyone about the joke played on all of us.

— Still Laughing

Dear Laughing: I love this one.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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