Q. I want a woman’s perspective.
My soon-to-be wife is now hesitant to marry me because I want to live elsewhere during the winter.
I’m a 30-year-old business owner and my company doesn’t really do work from Christmas to March. My fiancee and I have talked about how I will go on a three-week mountain trip in Belize, followed by a four-week hiatus trip to Costa Rica during the frigid months. We have decided not to have children, so we can travel and live a fun and stress-free life.
I have discussed buying a house in Belize this winter, for my future winter hideaway. Last night, her tone changed. She says I’m not allowed to go away longer than one month all winter. She has her own cleaning company so she can’t leave her clients for more than a week.
So here I am, 30 years old, on the cusp of marriage, with ambitions to retire before 40, letting her live rent- and expense-free in my house that I paid for. And now she says I can’t enjoy my winter months in a sun-filled oasis?
I would have arranged to pay for all expenses/mortgage/plowing/wood stacked in basement/etc. — but she’s still mad.
So now I have to put my life on hold and ride the couch at home all winter, or should I go and live my life?
A. Here are my thoughts: You are approaching marriage singing the “Me” song: “Me, me, me, me, me...”
Your thoughts of the future are all about you. You and your plans, your possessions, your property, and your sun- and fun-filled winters. (But at least you’ll pay to have wood stacked in the basement, so she can return home from her cleaning business and make herself a toasty fire.)
Your future wife does not get to tell you what you are “allowed” to do. But marriage is all about compromise — and you don’t seem capable of that.
Q. Our son and his girlfriend of five years broke up a couple of months ago. For the last 18 months our son has had a job in New York City, while the girlfriend stayed in his condo in Los Angeles.
She traveled to NYC every two or three months, and they talked to each other every morning and evening, with, “I love you,” starting and ending their talk time. Sometime after January, she broke off the relationship.
She refused to see our son as he arrived in LA hoping to discuss the relationship, with the hopes of rekindling it. Neither my wife nor I know why she has rejected him in this way. We looked upon the girlfriend as a daughter and future daughter-in-law.
She told us not to see, call, or continue the relationship, although she did say that we were like second parents to her. Are we supposed to simply forget her, or after some time should/could we contact her?
Our son never discusses her, as he attempts to recover from the end of their relationship.
TORN AND TROUBLED IN LA
A. Breaking up is hard enough, but for your son and his ex, the challenge of losing an important relationship is made even harder by the fact that you parents are so dialed in, bewildered, and upset. Instead of offering reassurance, you seem to be making this very tough time at least partially about you and your loss.
For parents, it is definitely tough — and occasionally heartbreaking — to lose an important in-law relationship abruptly and without explanation, and yet, that’s how breakups often work. When an unmarried couple breaks up, they frequently also break off their ties to one another’s families.
In short, you are going to have to tolerate this loss. You do not need to forget this woman who held such an important place in your family, but you do need to move on. You could contact her around the holiday season, but because she is asking you not to be in touch, you should respect her wishes.
You dwelling on this loss does not make things easier for your son. You should respect his wishes, and, if prompted, encourage him to look ahead with some optimism.
Q. “Confused in Kansas” was a political liberal who expressed concern about flying the American flag outside her home. Thank you for urging her to take back the flag.
A. If you don’t surrender the flag in the first place, you’ll never have to worry about taking it back.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.