I want to be closer to family, but he refuses to move

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I am a 64-year-old female married to a 69-year-old male. I happily moved to a different state to be with him many years ago. He retired due to a back injury 10 years ago and I am planning on retiring next year. The issue is that I want to move after retirement and he refuses. Any family and friends we had no longer live near us. I am afraid that if my husband gets sick, I will have no one to turn to for assistance - I want to move closer to my family for support.

He says "they are going to carry his body" out of our current house, his way of saying no way am I moving. I have tried to discuss this with him on many occasions and he refuses. I feel like my only option is to divorce him after 40 years. Any suggestions?

– Moving

One option is to spend part of the year with your people while he stays put. Some couples do well with time in different locations.

Perhaps it's also worth building new community where you are. It sounds like this would not be as urgent if your friends were still around.

Really, though, it sounds like you could use a session with a mental health professional, counselor, or retirement planner. At the very least, discuss this issue with a shared friend or family member who can be an impartial sounding board – maybe one of those friends who moved away.

I'm sure your husband doesn't want to redesign his entire life based on the possibility he might get sick. That's an unpleasant catalyst for making plans. This conversation might be more successful if you focus on what brings you both happiness, as opposed to your fears.

As you talk about what's next, consider all the things I wondered as I read your letter: What do you like about where you live? What would you miss? How do you think your husband would fare if you moved closer to your people? Have you been feeling that a need for help from family is imminent? Would it be worth waiting to see how retirement feels before making big decisions?

Maybe divorce is the answer, but there's a compromise in there if you both want to find it. It usually comes when two people really listen to the other's concerns. Do that with a witness who can help you make sense of it.

– Meredith

Readers? How have you talked about moves with a partner? Could this letter writer pull off spending time in two places?