We’re stuck in this house

Chat with Emily at 1 p.m. (One of my best friends from high school is in town, so I'm going to show her Boston things this afternoon.)

I met my husband about a year after he broke up with his ex. We've been together for a few years and got married about a year ago. He's a wonderful man and a match for me in all the ways I want. There is an issue, though. I moved into his house about a year after we started dating with the understanding that there was an agreement to sell the house within a few months. His ex's name is on the house, and every year she comes up with another reason not to sell it. We can go to court over it, but it opens a huge can of worms since their children's schooling is based on the shared house.

The inability to move from the house has me feeling trapped and gives me anxiety. It seems there's a lot of talk between them about the house, but nothing ever comes of it. He needs her permission to sell, and she keeps coming up with things she wants before she will agree. The whole dynamic between him and his ex has pushed me to the point where I'm ready to leave.

I love my husband and have no plans to divorce, but I don't want to be in this house anymore. I want to pack up my things and move out until it is settled. I want our own place that we can build and grow together. Is this unreasonable? I can see that he's trying, but he's also very timid and afraid to push too far because of the possibility of losing primary residence for his children. Is moving out until the house is resolved a solution to end my anxiety? We've been to a marriage counselor over this, but haven't been able to get a solution.

– Stuck


Please do not move out. Living apart won't help you "build and grow together." If anything, it sets the precedent that you get things done as a couple by setting ultimatums. That's no good.

I understand why you want this resolved as soon as possible, but it sounds like you're being somewhat unreasonable. The man you married had no idea what he was going to do about his house. Sure, there was an "agreement," but it doesn't sound like there was a real plan in place. It's always more complicated when children are involved.

The bottom line is that you can't expect these problems to disappear so you can have the life you want. You say he's trying, and that means a lot.

Instead of a marriage counselor, it might be time to see another lawyer. Find out what other couples do in similar situations. Going to court might not be the only option.

Try to focus on practical solutions. Your husband is out of ideas – but he does care.

– Meredith

Readers? Unreasonable?