She Won't Agree to Relocate for His Job

Q: I've been out of work for 2 years and finally have a great opportunity to relocate my family across the country. I used to own a franchise store that went belly-up and have been trying like crazy to jump into something here. Nothing has panned out until now when my old college buddy is opening up a store and wants me to be the manager.

The problem is my wife doesn't want to go. She feels her family is here and our oldest is already in middle school. I'm trying to present this to her as an adventure and that hopefully we'll have a large enough place to have visitors. I assured her she can go back to visit. She won't budge.

Our savings are dwindling and I don't know how to impress upon her how terrific this chance is for all of us. I look at this as a matter of survival with the hope of getting back to the lifestyle we enjoyed. How can I get her onboard with this? — Ken, 44

Dr. Susan: You may be missing something here: if your wife sees a cross-country move as a major loss, and not as an adventure, then all your enthusiasm won't budge her. Try to see both sides. For you, it's a chance to regain your ability to take care of your family in the way you think they value. But apparently your wife values her family and the kids' stability higher than any "lifestyle" you can pay for.

It's also possible your wife isn't quite as trusting as you are that this old college buddy's plans will fully pan out. And if they don't? Where would that leave you all? Two years is a long time to be out of work, and I sympathize with your desire not to drain your savings totally. Is there a possibility of your staying with your friend in the new city for a while until you get a better sense of the reality of this plan? I would normally not suggest such a geographic separation, but your desires are so intensely opposed.

As a child who was moved a lot for a parent's job prospects, I found it very hard to adjust. Families do it all the time, of course, and with sensitivity, it can work out fine. You and your wife should be discussing options for your future in detail, perhaps even with a counselor or other third party who can help you stay with the practical, not the emotional. One man's adventure is another's horror story. But one person's "no" can lead to long-lasting resentment.

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