He wants to move I don't.
January 13, 2010 10:41 AM   Subscribe

He wants to move I don't.

So my husband is tired of where we live and wants to move to a neighboring town but I don't. His reasons are completely valid but they aren't reason enough for me to want to move. So however this plays out one of us doesn't get what we want.

Is there a process that we could engage in that would bring both parties into agreement?

shouldwestayorgo@gmail.com < throwaway email
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Could you maybe provide us with some more details? Your husband is unhappy, you think his demands are reasonable. What's the problem?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:42 AM on January 13, 2010


Are there kids involved, e.g., changing schools? Is there an employment dilemma involved, e.g., facing unemployment if the move doesn't happen? What are his reasons versus your reasons? Do you own your home or rent? Is the move predicated on purchasing a home, or downshifting from home ownership to rental for financial reasons, or something similar?

There's unfortunately not enough info in your question to give concrete advice.
posted by December at 10:45 AM on January 13, 2010


Part of being married is making your significant other happy, even at the expense of your own happiness. Or, rather, simply doing something that will make your significant other happy can be experienced as happiness yourself, even if it's not something you "want to do." It's all how you look at it. Ideally, your husband realizes this, too, and you go about solving the problem as a team, and choose whichever options benefits your family as a whole.
posted by nitsuj at 10:45 AM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


His reasons are completely valid but they aren't reason enough for me to want to move.

Your reasons might not be convincing each other, but they might help us give advice about the situation.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:46 AM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's not a lot of meat on this bone. The best I can advise is to get a marriage therapist to guide you through the issues--therapists are not just for marriages on the brink.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:46 AM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is he bored of your neighbors? Does he find the surroundings dreary? Why is your current home not satisfying to him?

Try to find alternative solutions to those problems.
posted by rocketpup at 10:46 AM on January 13, 2010


I am experiencing the same issue. I don't want to move because all of my friends are here and it's relatively cheap to live here. That's exactly why she wants to leave. The biggest factor in our decision depends on who gets a good job first. So it's a bit of a competition to find a good job first. ;)
posted by schyler523 at 10:48 AM on January 13, 2010


Another thought, without having nearly enough info to say much about the situation... When a couple reaches an impasse like this, the default conclusion should be against acting, against change. A member of my family expressed this principle well through an example: "If only one person wants to watch TV, the TV stays off." (OK, moving to a different town is a far cry from watching TV, but you get the idea.) You're happy with the status quo, but he wants an upheaval. Therefore, if you don't make any more progress than you've already made (which, of course, would be unfortunate), then you stay in your current town based on this intertia principle. In other words, he has a heavier burden to make his case.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:53 AM on January 13, 2010


the best negotiating method I've found is to get at the WHY of each thing -- WHY does your husband want to move, and WHY do you NOT want to move?

Then once you get all the WHYS on the table, see if there is any kind of a solution that would satisfy all of the WHYS, or if any of those WHYS are negotiable. For instance -- let's say that one of the reasons you don't want to move is because you are concerned about yanking the kids out of their old school. Maybe there's a way to let the kids stay in the old school even though you moved -- if so, then you both have your WHYS satisfied. Or, maybe the reason your husband wants to move is because the new town is closer to work. If they let him work from home, then that's HIS "why" taken care of.

But you know what I mean. You both know WHAT you want, looking at WHY you want it may help you come to a conclusion - or help you come up with a third alternative neither of you had considered.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:58 AM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


This situation (on opposite sides of a non-essential decision) seems kind of like Relationships 101. The "process" you engage in is negotiation, you know, talking it out.

What are the substantial practical arguments in favor of either option - cost of moving, cost of living, commute factors, quality of neighborhood/safety/future retail prognosis, etc.? Do you simply not want to move (to avoid work/trouble or ?) or do you feel moving is going to create significant unhappiness for you (lose considerable access to friends/family, leave an area or resources you value highly)? Is he simply tired of where you live or does he have long-standing, material problems with it that he has put some effort into dealing with, getting over or working around?

Along the way you might run into deeper issues. Are you fundamentally resistant to change, maybe to the extent that you are missing out on a deeper satisfaction in life? Is he intrinsically restless, prone to making major life shifts with maybe dubious motivations and questionable benefits? To my mind marriage does indeed involve sacrifices to the whole, though I think in the spirit that sacrifices are reasonable, not capricious and that it is a two-way street where one person isn't carrying the major burden of sucking it up. I think the major thing is that both people feel like they signed on to and own the decision ultimately made because it will inevitably breed resentment otherwise.

One thing on your side (and the side of taking the decision slowly and carefully): you can always move later: it's a much tougher order to move back if it is not so great in the new town. In the immediate term at least moving is clearly the more costly, difficult option. If your husband is impatient to move without giving the decision a long, thorough vetting it suggests more that this is an impulsive, restless impulse rather than a well-considered suggestion for positive change.
posted by nanojath at 11:08 AM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am going to guess that the OP left out the reasons for and against moving, because the OP did not want a lot of answers that were basically "X is a valid reason for moving, so you should do it" or "You reason Y to not move is ridiculous".

In terms of a method for sorting out the problem (assuming your goal is to reach a mutually agreeable solution, not just harangue your husband into accepting your will), I would suggest the old standby of a six pack of beer (if you indulge) and a Pro/Con list. Give each person's pros and cons for moving full airing, no holds barred. But reasons like "I just wanna" are not really helpful. But some of the reasons can be silly, of course.

For example, a moving con you might bring up could be "Packing and moving is so much hard work and it seems overwhelming to me." Perhaps your husband would agree to use professional movers and a professional cleaning service. (I am assuming you rent, but this is just an example). By discussing the pros/cons in a friendly way, you might warm up to the idea of moving (because some of your concerns might be addressed) or vice versa.

I only suggest the beer because sometimes making the pro/con list a fun event to talk about together, rather than a Very Serious Spousal Meeting To Discuss Important Things (tm) takes some of the pressure off and results in more open discussion. Not to dispute that real and serious discussion needs to take place, but often the less pressure the better, in my experience.

If all else fails, meeting to discuss the issue with an independent third party (marriage counselor, priest, rabbi, respected-but-unbiased family member, whoever) will often help. I have resolved some very serious decisions using mediated discussion. But I might try the less formal way first, if you think you can do it without increasing the tension.
posted by bunnycup at 11:23 AM on January 13, 2010


How far of a move are we talking about? Is the neighboring town, say, 2 miles away, or 200? My initial thought is that moving ten minutes down the street will not significantly impact (a) your lifestyle or (b) your ability to stay connected with friends and acquaintances. A move of 200 miles might.

Do you have children? How does the housing compare? There are lots of unknown factors from our (Mefi's) perspective, that make it hard for us to answer your question with some accuracy.

As for engagement strategies: open and honest. It need not be "serious". Someone suggested a six-pack of beer. Or a dinner date. Find a time and a location where you can discuss this, and just bring it up directly, in a calm and reasonable fashion. Listen to each others' issues, and discuss. I find it easier to have serious talks about relationships issues and long-term goals while doing something a little bit nice and out of the ordinary, like dining out. This way, you've already injected a bit of romance and empathy into the situation, which helps smooth over rough edges.

Good luck!
posted by HabeasCorpus at 11:41 AM on January 13, 2010


You might check out the writings of Willard Harley, a marriage therapist whose main conceptual apparatus is the idea that we all have a "love bank" in which our partners can build up their accounts through acts that meet our needs (and how not everyone has the same set of needs--the subject of his book "His Needs, Her Needs") or deplete that same account through various kinds of negative acts (subject of the companion book, "Love Busters").

Where this might be especially useful for you is his "Policy of Joint Agreement" (don't make an important decision until you can get to the point where both partners mutually and enthusiastically agree), his concept of the "Giver and the Taker", and his "Guidelines for Successful Negotiations" (set ground rules to make negotiation pleasant and safe; Identify the problem from both perspectives; Brainstorm with abandon; Choose the solution that meets with mutual and enthusiastic agreement).

Harley, I'll note, is admirably generous in providing the basic outline of his principles freely available on the web, and so there's a lot more to explore on his site.

To use his "giver and taker" language, when you say "he wants X and I want anti-X, he gets what he wants and I don't" is a very "taker-y" view on the situation. Your giver would see your husband getting what he wants as something that you also want (and vice versa), and so either way both of you would get something that you want.

In other words: one of the things you want is for your husband to be happy, RIGHT? So if he's happy, you've gotten at least something out of the situation.

Well, ok, not so much that. But it does highlight that it's important to rank our partner's needs and desires very highly on our own list of needs and desires--such that when our partners needs are met and desires get fulfilled, we also feel satisfied.

(Warning: Harley rubs some people the wrong way for a variety of reasons related to his depiction of gender roles in marriage, and more recently his anti-gay marriage stance).
posted by drlith at 11:55 AM on January 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Of course, conversely, you might remind him that "If mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
posted by drlith at 11:56 AM on January 13, 2010


schyler523: I am experiencing the same issue. I don't want to move because all of my friends are here and it's relatively cheap to live here. That's exactly why she wants to leave

Hey, what? She wants to leave because all of your friends are there and it's cheap to live? That seems like a bit of a red flag to me when one person wants to isolate the other.
posted by barc0001 at 11:57 AM on January 13, 2010


You claim his reasons are "valid". Are your reasons for not moving "valid". If so, which side of the argument has more mutually "valid" reasons? That side should prevail.

And if your reasons (which you did not say anything about) are not valid, then you should move.

Posting relationship problems won't often get you what you need to win a battle. You really need to talk with your husband.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2010


You could try the good-old Pro/Con list. The catch is that you have to go through as a couple and weigh each pro and con and see if you can come to some agreement on how serious each pro or con is. You might find out how much he really wants to move, or he might realize that you have good reasons for staying put.

All else being equal, if one spouse is really motivated to move and one doesn't really care either way, I would say go ahead and move. Now if he expects you to do all the work and logistics to make it happen, then all things are not equal.
posted by parkerjackson at 12:16 PM on January 13, 2010


Hey, what? She wants to leave because all of your friends are there and it's cheap to live? That seems like a bit of a red flag to me when one person wants to isolate the other.

I'm guessing she doesn't like the friends. But "cheap to live" doesn't always mean that there's things you want to do, or jobs you want to have. Cheap usually means less urban, less resources, less opportunities.

Is there a process that we could engage in that would bring both parties into agreement?

Um... divorce, because then both of you could live where you want... or him living in the other town and commuting on weekends, assuming it's a short enough distance to.

But seriously now, I think you're gonna need to give us more in order to answer this question. But if every single reason he has to move is a good one, and all you've got is "I don't wanna," and if his reasons are especially practical with regards to money like getting a better job, well... you might have to move.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:19 PM on January 13, 2010


Um... divorce, because then both of you could live where you want... or him living in the other town and commuting on weekends, assuming it's a short enough distance to.

But seriously now, I think you're gonna need to give us more in order to answer this question. But if every single reason he has to move is a good one, and all you've got is "I don't wanna," and if his reasons are especially practical with regards to money like getting a better job, well... you might have to move.


The question is not "Should we move?" The question is "Is there a process that we could engage in that would bring both parties into agreement?" It's kind of callous to recommend divorce to someone who has come specifically asking for a dispute-resolution method to bring about agreement.
posted by bunnycup at 12:46 PM on January 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rent a small apartment in the neighboring town. Start spending some weekends there. You might find you like it more than you think you will. Or he might find he likes it less than he thinks he will.
posted by spilon at 12:56 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Default should be to NOT move. Moving is expensive and disruptive. "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" -- but once you get there, you usually discover that it isn't as great as you thought it would be.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:30 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


On spilon's idea, as an alternative to renting an apartment there, you could try restricting most of each of your activities for a month to that town and its close surroundings - this simulates both (1) what you'll have most access to, and (2) the kind of drive you'll face to access anything you presently like in your neighborhood. Maybe you'll find stuff to do there that's just as fun and nice as what you like where you are, and maybe you'll find you like the drive b/c you can listen to audio books etc... either way, could be a way to get some perspective. This is something you could both do together, and maybe even chat about pros/cons of moving in the car on the way to/from activities.

Depending on your budget and sensibilities, you could also see if someone on couchsurfing.org is offering up accommodation or offering to meet for coffee in the neighboring town.
posted by lorrer at 1:33 PM on January 13, 2010


Yes, there is a process.

First, you each express your feelings and opinions on the proposed change/lack of change to each other, so that you each know how the other stands.

Second, if your feelings and opinions are not in sync, you each present your feelings and opinions on how the proposed change/lack of change will hurt you in some way.

Third, you give each other a little time to think about it, agreeing to discuss it again on a set date.

Fourth, you talk to each other about changes in your feelings and opinions over that thinking time, assuming there are some.

Fifth, if you're still not at parity, you try to determine what it is that's prompting the change/blocking the change, and start exploring modifications that can provide the same benefits/remove the blocks for a net gain.

Remember, it's not "the next town" that he wants, it's something about the next town (or just change in general, or perhaps something he's trying to escape from this town.) And for you, it's either a happiness with the current situation that you don't want to put at risk, or an aversion to that particular town (or something that would come along with it.) Focus on the benefits/drawbacks of each position, not the specific means of obtaining those benefits/removing those drawbacks.
posted by davejay at 2:08 PM on January 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


When you look at his reasons to move, and your reasons not to move, you also look at ways to address the needs. If he wants to move so he can have a studio, you look at ways for him to have a studio, like building an addition, or putting an airstream trailer/studio in the back yard. If you want to stay because moving is such a hassle, you look at ways to reduce the hassle, like hiring good movers. Sometimes, you can both be happy-ish.
posted by theora55 at 4:08 PM on January 13, 2010


The important thing isn't the solution, it's the way you handle the problem. I know that sounds like a silly answer, but this problem isn't really one we can solve. It might not be one you can solve either, and that's okay. Read Gottman's books, specifically Seven Principles for Making Your Marriage Work.

If you stay happy and positive, and you both feel generous towards each other, you will be much more inclined to come up with a solution that will benefit both of you--you'll both want to give, and you'll both be able to do it happily.
posted by kathrineg at 9:15 PM on January 13, 2010


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