Final years should be lived out somewhere a person is comfortable
DEAR ANNIE: Two years ago, I made a big mistake. I married a widower and agreed to move into his house in a large city that is a 30- minute drive from the small town I love living in.
I now realize that I absolutely hate living in the city and, more importantly, living in the home that he and his late wife picked out and decorated together. Initially, he said I could make changes to the house, but the only changes he is willing to make involve replacing worn- out things with newer versions of the exact same style and color. I thought I could redecorate using some of his things and some of mine to make a home of our own. Instead, I feel like a permanent houseguest.
I love my husband, and our relationship is wonderful except for this issue. Here’s the real problem: I recently learned that I have metastatic breast cancer. I cannot bear the thought of living what’s left of my life in his house and in this city.
Three years ago, he said he’d move into a condo in five years. Last month, he said the same thing. I know he’s not ready. But he is 81, and I am 70, and it’s time to downsize. He knows how I feel, because we’ve had quite a few discussions about it. But because he’s most likely going to outlive me, I don’t feel it’s fair to ask him to move to another place when he doesn’t want to.
He owns a condo in my hometown that he rents out. I own a house that is rented out, although mine still has a small mortgage on it. I’m thinking of asking him not to renew the rental on his condo so we can stay there some of the time and in his home the rest of the time. I am so torn inside. What do you think?
Dear T.: We think you have suggested an excellent compromise — live in the condo part of the time, and in his house for the rest. You also could stop renting your house and live there part of the time. Should your husband outlive you, he can move wherever he chooses. Right now, you should not be stressed about your living situation, and we hope your husband cares enough to make you as comfortable as possible. We think he will want to do whatever he can.