Sage Advice: Wife Wants Roots, Husband Wants Travel

By Amy Dickinson | May 27th, 2020

How do you compromise on two very different opinions?

Man prefers travel plans over developing roots Image

Dear Amy: I have been happily married for over 20 years. I love my wife and our son and daughter.

My wife and I are on the same page on most things – except for one big one: She wants to establish roots and stay in one place for her entire life so that her kids have a place to come home to from college, and a place for our kids to bring our grandchildren (when they have them).

I am different. I want out of our homogenous bubble of a California beach town. Our friends are mostly my wife’s friends, because I have a Larry David kind of brain and oftentimes things come out of my mouth that tend to rub people the wrong way.

Both of our kids will be attending college in Georgia. In my mind, that creates a perfect opportunity for us to start a little adventure and move there for a few years. You know – live in Savannah, play some golf, do some fishing, play some tennis, etc.

My wife disagrees. She has her mother to take care of, but Amy, her mother could live for another five to eight years. And she wants roots, she wants to have our home become the one our kids will bring their children to.

I feel like I am stuck in a bubble-prison. My term keeps getting extended. The things that I would have liked to do in my life seem to be slipping away.

Is that just life? Do I have to give up on my dreams because they don’t intersect with my wife’s?

When I try to push my agenda, my wife feels like she has to make an impossible choice between her husband and her mom.

Of course, her guilt chooses her mom, so where does that leave me?

– Georgia on My Mind

Dear Georgia: Your self-identification as a “Larry David” type makes me want to applaud your honesty – and give your wife a medal.

I’ll be your (unofficial) adjudicator: Your wife’s desire/need to take care of her mother is more important than your desire/need to pull her away to hang on the golf course and play some tennis, Larry.

And please don’t start the clock on your mother-in-law’s life span.

You and your wife both seem to have unrealistic expectations for your future – you want to be footloose, and she seems to believe that your two children will quickly multiply and bring a passel of grandchildren back to the homestead.

This grandchild-centered plan of hers might be well over a decade off, or not happen at all.

You might be able to split the difference, however. If you have the means (it sounds as if you do), perhaps you could decamp for a few weeks to Georgia; rent a place; and see if your wife can join you for a week or two while you are there. Getting out of the bubble, even briefly, might inspire both of you to think about your options in a new way.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2020 by Amy Dickinson

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