She refuses to compromise

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I am 63 and my wife is 65 and retired about a year ago. I am thinking about retiring but we have one big stumbling block. She wants to move back to our home state to be closer to her sons and my stepsons. I am OK with moving, but not back to a cold climate.

Originally we had planned to stay in the house we built years ago, but the property taxes have doubled, and a once quiet area has become overdeveloped. It feels like the city is closing in on us. We talked about moving and even came up with a compromise – to live within a day's drive of the kids, and a milder climate than our home state offers. I have traveled a lot so I gave her some ideas of areas that I like and would move to. I looked up home prices, etc., and we talked about each area's pros and cons. I thought the issue was settled.

But recently she basically gave me an ultimatum and said she wants to sell the house and move back to our home state. Bottom line: I won't go. I have thought about talking with a therapist because I think I am being fair, but I don't know how to deal with this. She thinks I am being selfish, and that's hard for me to understand because I feel I went out of my way to compromise and she just wants it her way.

– I won't go


I love the therapy idea (everyone feign shock).

Start by asking her if she'll join you there – not because you're looking for a third party to side with you, but because you'd like to learn how to communicate more effectively about complicated issues. If you've landed on an ultimatum, something is missing.

It does sound like you've tried to compromise, but maybe you went in the wrong direction. Perhaps moving to a random middle place isn't enough of anything in particular. Compromise Town (that's what I'm calling it) is not where she has community. It's also not what you really want. I don't know who gets great joy from a move that and gives you just a little bit of warmth, and requires her to drive a day to see loved ones.

There are other options, so ask for a reset and brainstorm. What if you saved money on relocating and spent a few winter weeks somewhere sunny? Do your kids travel during the winter? Is that something they might do with you?

Affordability is an issue here too, for sure. Sometimes a financial planner is as helpful as a therapist, once you have a list of ideas.

The answer is that you're both being selfish, which is OK. You both want to be retired and happy. Very understandable. Tell her you want more help with the discussion – because you need it.

– Meredith

Readers? How can everyone get what they want? Who's being selfish?