Twelve years ago, my husband and I moved from my beloved West Coast to the East Coast, where he was raised. His family lives about an hour from us.
At the time, our son was a year old, I was in between jobs, and my husband got a job offer (procured in part by his family) for more money and a professional step up. The original idea was two to three years, but the recession hit hard, another baby was born, so we stayed.
Now, I desperately want us to return to my home to be near my mother and sister, friends, and the type of life I loved living out there. My husband says that he doesn't want to move, that there is too much at stake financially, that the schools are better here for our kids - one in elementary and the other starting high school next year.
He speaks to his parents occasionally but hardly ever to his siblings. I am very close with my sister and her wife, and my mom is widowed and aging.
Part of me feels like I have paid my dues back here (a decade longer than planned), and the other part thinks I sound like a brat. Although we both work full time, he is the breadwinner and uses this as leverage against moving.
I am kind of reaching a breaking point, and I resent my husband for reneging on the two-to-three-year deal. What now?
Answer: "Brat," really?
That's like calling yourself stupid when you don't understand something. It promotes a "shut up, give up" mentality exactly when you most need to trust your brain, work ethic, and refusal to quit.
So, first and easiest, stop negating yourself. You want something, you have good reasons to want it, and you were promised you would get it. By all means, sure, question and challenge your position in the light of your current conditions, including your kids' needs and husband's reservations - but if doing so brings you to the same conclusion of wanting to move back West, respect yourself enough to see that as valid.
Then, respect your husband and marriage enough to be completely honest about where your mind and heart are. Resentment might start with a wrong that's done to you, but harboring it in silence is a wrong you do to others. Air it, air it, air it: "This was supposed to be a two- or three-year move. A recession delay made sense, but now it's 12 years, and I am growing resentful that we're not even discussing what I would like to do." Own it.
Doing so won't guarantee your husband will agree to move, of course, but what it would guarantee is his awareness of the true stakes of his decision to dig in unilaterally: losing your trust in him as your partner.
In this conversation, also explain to him that you see his breadwinner argument as more dismissive than persuasive, as though earning less gives you less say in the course of your own life.
Being clear on the stakes here isn't just about emotional honesty, either. It opens a discussion of real options for getting past any resentment: Will only a move suffice for you, and only now? Can you wait X amount longer to achieve Y goals first?
You have important talking to do, and to encourage by listening as intently and openly as you're hoping he'll listen to you. Otherwise, resentment will follow wherever you two choose to go.
Question: I've been dating an (unhappily) married bisexual man for five years. I've allowed him to support me financially. His wife does not know about me, his sexuality, or my being male. I've urged him to come out, to no avail.
I've put up with his marriage until recently, when I found out he cheated on me with another man my age, who is married to a woman with two young children. It turns out he financially supports this man, as well. Am I right to feel jilted, or is this just the universe hurling justice at me?
Answer: I think you've made this about your feelings long enough.
Long enough, plus five years.
His actions are wrong, his silence is wrong, your bought-off complicity is wrong and has been throughout. His re-infidelity changes not a thing.
Please dedicate today and as many tomorrows as necessary to restoring your independence and integrity. "Put up with his marriage"! This is me having officially now seen it all.
Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.