Help me with life choices!
April 25, 2011 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Help me with my life problem! I want to move, my husband does not.

I grew up in the south and move to the Midwest where we now live. Every winter is like hell for me, summer I am a normal happy person. Once it gets cold, dark, dreary I have bad depression, anxiety, lethargy, ect. I am good from about April to October, but month after month of it I just can't handle! This past winter I really did try, tried to workout more, go outside during daylight hours, taking vitamins, eating healthy, ect. I am freezing all the time even when other people are warm. I know I have SAD and have taken lots of supplements short of anti-depressants.
When my husband got his bachelors he was willing to consider moving and applied for a few jobs out of state. He now has a good job at the University and doesn't want to ever leave cause he thinks he will work there forever and won't be able to get a job elsewhere. The job he has has nothing to do with his degree anyone could work there and build up to becoming a manager but because it is at the University the benefits and pay are hard to beat. I could move anywhere and make the same amount at my job. We are not making huge amounts of money but more than we have had, about $50k combined. He is just afraid of having to start over somewhere and build his pay back up, is not good with change either so the actual move would be stressful for him....
I like our town but feel like I shouldn't have to be miserable or on antidepressants the rest of my life just so we can be comfortable living here, I've lived here for over 10 years and I'm not getting "used to it" and can't "just get over it" which is what I'm used to being told by
everyone. We have been fighting about this constantly ever since he graduated 5 years ago, please help!!
posted by sadieglass to Human Relations (38 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Many people who live in cold climates vacation in warm climates. In theory, you might arrange an annual vacation that you would enjoy so much that it would offset the unpleasantness of getting through the rest of the cold season when your vacation is over. I also do not know exactly what your finances would permit. The alternative, if the two of you have been fighting constantly for the past 5 years, would seem to be a divorce.
posted by grizzled at 8:59 AM on April 25, 2011

Some observations: $50k combined is not a lot, and even in our wintry economic times should not be hard to match or beat in a more hospitable climate when at least one of you has a degree. Is there something else tying your husband to that area? (e.g. family, friends, is it where he grew up?) Regarding where you want to live: do you want to live anywhere warmer in the South or do you have a particular destination in mind? For example if you are focusing your desire to move by going back to your home town and he doesn't like your home town, some flexibility is in order.

There are not enough details to go on and I am not even sure what your question is -- if you are looking to overcome his objections to considering a move it would help to know where his resistance is. Can you give more details?
posted by contessa at 9:01 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

You have been fighting about this "constantly" for 5 years? From the sound of your post, you are fighting because your husband has done absolutely nothing to help your situation. I am not sure what help we can provide if he is refusing to do anything other than recommend marriage counseling and hope he realizes that he is not being a true partner to you.
posted by murrey at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: cause he thinks he will work there forever and won't be able to get a job elsewhere.

It sounds like your husband doesn't think he's really in control of his life: life is happening to him and he can't stop it, his job is what it is and he can't find a better one. Is it possible that he's experiencing depression or anxiety? If he hasn't considered that possibility, he should (and should take steps to address those issues).

If you've literally been fighting about this for five years, it's time to bring in some professional help. Have you tried hashing this out in a therapist's office? In a marriage, there isn't a formula you can use to tally up who wins an argument--plus 5 points per job, minus 10 points for winter, add it all up to see who is right. The right choice for your family (you and him) might not be "fair" to you as individuals in the sense of each of you getting exactly the same amount of things you want and each of you splitting the sacrifice 50/50. But there has to be a way to break the five year impasse. See a therapist and find a way to make goals together rather than taking sides and butting heads.
posted by Meg_Murry at 9:05 AM on April 25, 2011

Have you tried light therapy? It was recommended to me by my physician and has helped me a great deal. I use the Day-Light Sky light box in the mornings. I also have replaced my other light bulbs with daylight bulbs (6500k).

Once it gets cold, dark, dreary I have bad depression, anxiety, lethargy, ect.

These are the exact problems I encounter during the winter, and the combination of light therapy and counselling has been a massive help.
posted by Harpocrates at 9:07 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I remember another post like this about a year ago from a husband, not a wife. I hope someone digs up that link for you.

The problem here is really about your husband's willingness to take a leap of faith and embrace a significant change to make you happy.

So the question is how can you get your husband to embrace this adventure?

From my perspective, if he isn't willing to move to a "better" place out of fear, that isn't a good enough reason to stay put. I don't think pointing that out to him will be very helpful, tho!

I agree there isn't enough detail here to go on. Marriage counseling will definitely help.

Ummm... How much of a deal breaker is this for your marriage? Is this argument a stand-in for other problems?

I hate LA compared to my life in Manhattan, but I won't move back to NYC because of the weather. I tell you this because I'm not necessarily suggesting you have deeper marital problems. I get how important environment can be and have weighed the consequences of my own choices many many times. Still. I think it's crap your husband isn't willing to do this with you.

You're right. Your combined salary isn't at all impossible to recreate, especially if he were willing to broaden the job search possibilities. Plus, I know from moving abroad once or twice that when there is a will, there is a way.

If you are at a true stalemate, I can only suggest opening up the dialogue to include why he isn't putting a premium on your well-being. Preferably, do this in counseling.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 9:18 AM on April 25, 2011

I don't think people who don't get depressed have any idea what it is like to live through November - March for those of us who do suffer. My wife is fine, had a great winter and was even in a play while it was all I could do to just wait it out. Still, we aren't moving because living here is where she has always wanted to live, have four grandparents to help with childcare, etc. We've got the whole catastrophe.

If we didn't have the kids, I'd be pushing very hard for a move to sunnier climes. There is no way I would want to suffer through another northeast winter. So, I would commence a six month plan. I would be adamant. We are moving. Here are your choices. I wouldn't make it an ultimatum, I guess, but pretty close.

Having moved a lot in my twenties, always finding a job when I got there, I would do it differently now and have at least some job leads before I left.

I guess I don't really get the question. Money isn't important. Health and well being are important. You aren't getting it where you are because of the lack of sun and cold. Instead of fighting about it, just do it.
posted by mearls at 9:21 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Would one of the benefits he has available at the university be the option to take an extended leave of absence? This is something universities sometimes allow, even for non-faculty. Suggest that he start applying for jobs elsewhere. When he gets a job, take a year leave of absence from his current job. In a year he'll be making the same elsewhere or seeing that if he makes a little less it's not the end of the world (especially if cost of living is lower where you move). If he doesn't, well you have a problem.

Another option is for YOU to start applying for jobs. If you have the skills to get a job paying $50K, then try to do that. If you're successful, then your combined income goes up if he gets a paper route in the new place.

Please note that both solutions depend on the idea that it's losing income that he objects to and not some broader generalized fear of making a leap. If it's the leap issue, then it's a bigger issue, that you can't and shouldn't try to ram through with mathematical/economic solutions.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:25 AM on April 25, 2011

Response by poster: I know $50,000 is not a lot, that is part of my argument. I guess I don't really have a question, just hoping for some imput from the outside that I can share with him..... I am very open about where to move to, the climate I want encompasses a large area, as close as 6 hours away ( so it would be easy to visit also) I told him we dont have to leave really soon and that we don't have to go there until he secures a job first. We both have family here but he only sees them rarely anyways and before acted like that wasn't a problem. I know relocating to a different place is a lot of hassle/stress but I feel for the long term it would be better to get it over with sooner than later before we get anymore attached here (if that is possible) He tries to bribe me looking at new houses in town we can upgrade to and seems hurt when I say I don't want to own another home here. The main thing he seems to have a problem with is finding a job and the hassle of applying/interviewing somewhere far from where you live, selling the house and the change of moving.
I haven't tried light therapy but will do next winter!!
Thank you to all your helpful responses.
posted by sadieglass at 9:30 AM on April 25, 2011

I think you should say something like, "this is obviously a really big decision for us, and I want us to come to a decision and stop fighting. So let's talk it through with the help of a third party," and go to a counselor.

His concerns make some sense to me. Some people have a very intense sense of Needing To Support The Family (or household) and a fear of not being able to do so. Job status = respect = self-worth for many people. So, really understanding his concerns, and helping him articulate and understand his own concerns, might help. In fact, being able to talk openly and be understood about something that's such a strong concern for him might help his mental health over the long term.

But for now, it sounds like he's not really negotiating and maybe even like he's assuming that he's the one who gets to choose. So, I don't think you should start the discussion by trying to be more understanding of where he's coming from. I think you should start by very confidently asserting that the time has come to talk about this with a third-party's help.
posted by salvia at 9:31 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Your update only further convinces me that you guys are talking past one another. You need to really understand all his reasons for staying, and their importance to him. He needs to really understand your desires for leaving. I don't think that one person can unilaterally make this conversation go well -- it's hard to be both a moderator and a participant -- so you need a counselor (or your faith leader, e.g., a minister, rabbi, etc.) to help you hear one another fullly.

If he works at a university, you probably have good health coverage, which should include therapy. It's going to be a hassle to find a therapist you both like. Plan on testing out at least three.
posted by salvia at 9:35 AM on April 25, 2011

Response by poster: @mearls your situation is exactly where I DO NOT want to be and fear the most, I know once we have kids we will potentially make less money and be permanently stuck!
posted by sadieglass at 9:38 AM on April 25, 2011

I'm only playing devil's advocate here, and I really think the best solution for the two of you is to get someone from the outside (a therapist or a mediator) to sit down with you and talk this through.

Disclaimer over. For me, moving to the South would be hell. I hate hot weather. You know how you feel when it's winter (for the record, I, too, have SAD)? I almost feel like that in the summer. Being hot and sweaty makes me miserable. I burn if I'm out in the sun for more than 10 minutes, even with sunscreen on. The brightness gives me migraines on a regular basis. On and on and on. I really hate summer, and that's what the South is, for me, nearly year round. This is just to give you another perspective to think about.

Now, maybe your husband hates hot weather. Maybe he doesn't like your family (I assume you'd be moving closer to your family). Maybe he just doesn't like the South in general (I don't; my mother's family is from the South and I just don't like it there). Maybe a lot of things. You both need to sit down and really talk about this, because you're not doing that now. If you don't want to see someone, at the very least both of you should make pro/con lists regarding where you live now and where you want to live. Is there somewhere in-between where you could both be happy?

You both need to do more talking and less arguing, and you both need to see that there really is not going to be a win-win situation for either of you. Someone is going to have to give up something, but the benefits should ultimately be for both of you.
posted by cooker girl at 9:51 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are places with better climates than both the South and the Midwest. Colorado comes to mind immediately.

If he truly wants a family, you might make it clear to him that you would find it very difficult to be a good mother if you were suffering from depression for multiple months out of the year and for that reason and others, you're unwilling to get pregnant while living in your current city.

I helped my partner comprehend a move by finding excellent job postings in the region I was looking for. "Hey, this job pays this much, and they're looking for something with your skills!"

We also have a couples' counselor who helps walk us through the communication and is much better than I am at figuring out what he's feeling/afraid of/upset about when we get into these long, stubborn fights and I'm way too frustrated to be reasonable. I cannot suggest couples' counseling enough.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2011

Response by poster: @Cooker girl, I have no family left there so that's not the issue, I do understand how you feel about the sweltering heat but he has never mentioned anything about being too hot.....anytime the argument is brought up nowadays he says "well I want to be happy too!" yeah I think therapy might be in our future......
posted by sadieglass at 10:12 AM on April 25, 2011

anytime the argument is brought up nowadays he says "well I want to be happy too!"

It may be entirely unreasonable, but I've always considered the hallmark of a good, healthy marriage to be when you care about your partner's happiness equal to or more than your own.
posted by litnerd at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2011

(That explanation of mine was really just for illustrative purposes; I wasn't suggesting your husband feels the same way as I do.)

Again: therapy. There's something you're not hearing in his responses and there's definitely something he's not hearing in your desire to move. You're not communicating, you're talking/arguing. There's an ocean of difference going on there.
posted by cooker girl at 10:17 AM on April 25, 2011

You both need to do more talking and less arguing, and you both need to see that there really is not going to be a win-win situation for either of you. Someone is going to have to give up something, but the benefits should ultimately be for both of you.


Love means putting someone else's needs before your own. It may take a third party mediator to make this work, but ultimately, you need to find some middle ground here that will be acceptable to each of you.

On preview: I'm pretty much echoing what cooker girl and litnerd said, but add my voice to the crowd recommending that he wake up and see that your happiness is at least as important as his, and a middle ground needs to be reached. If it takes therapy or counseling to make that happen, then you need to find a counselor or a therapist, and he needs to become invested in this process.
posted by mosk at 10:20 AM on April 25, 2011

I actually don't think love is putting someone else's needs before your own. Otherwise, relationships are incredibly one-sided.

To me, love is compromise.

You want to move to a warmer climate.

He wants to stay.

What are his reasons for wanting to stay? You site all these great reasons for you to move, but why, other than resistance to change, might he want stay? Do you have a lot of friends? Is there an activity he engages in that would be more difficult to do in a new location --- and in a new location with hot weather (pick up ice hockey on an outside rink?).

Does he maybe really like his job? Has he reached a point in his job where a promotion is a real possibility?

Find out why he wants to stay in real, concrete terms. Stop talking about why you want to move for a bit. It may be that you can find a place that is an in-between for you. You may find something with a more temperate climate that will work for you.

I'm a born and raised New Englander. I love the four seasons. And even though this past winter has worn out its welcome at the end of January, I can't live somewhere that doesn't have leaves changing at the end of August, snow falling in December, the warming up of life in April (though not this April in particular), and the burst of sun and bloom of summer. And I also can't do heat above 90. I curl up in a wilted ball. Which is why I love New England summers.

But it definitely sounds like you two need to talk TO each other and not AT each other in order to find what compromise may work for your marriage.
posted by zizzle at 11:08 AM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

The problem is that your husband HAS a job. What if you move and both of you dont find jobs for 2 or more years? Wont you be even more angry and upset then you are now?

The job market STINKS right now.

Your not thinking of the future. Money problems are the biggest reason for divorce. Keep that in mind. So if neither of you finds a job when you move then you could actually be ven more depressed and more angry.
posted by majortom1981 at 11:14 AM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think "I want to be happy too" is an incredibly childish response to a real problem you have. You should ask him the following:

1. Is a not so well paid job what happiness is for him, for real?
2. If that indeed is his happiness. Can he still be happy despite your misery? Is having you subdued to his decision to stay for a mediocre job part of his happiness?
3. Is he utterly and tottaly convinced that there is absolutely no way to find a place in this huge world that will offer you both the chance to be happy together? If so, then what is his alternative? Make him say it. Make him say: "I want to stay here with my meh job even though you've been going through hell for 5 years." Because to me, that's what's happening. He has to acknowledge it.

Don't be fooled. If I was to chase my own happiness in total disregard for my husband I would be travelling around the world, getting a Master's in Europe and doing what I want when I want it, so I would be pretty much single with a fuckbuddy. But news to your "husband": marriage is about concessions. and what's funny is that those concessions are made because the other person's happiness is your happiness. Really, this should not be an issue. People make sacrificies for the people they love all the time, rational ones I mean. We're talking chronic depression vs. the drag of looking for a job here. It's not rocket science. He should not be demanding that you adapt to living in depression for him. He should be rational and compassionate (not to mention LOVING) enough to make the demand of moving of himself.

Please be tough. You're right on this one!
posted by Tarumba at 11:24 AM on April 25, 2011 [9 favorites]

With 2 jobs that combined make 50k, I am going to assume you're both making 25k. I make 24k with benefits, and we both live out of that salary while he is in school. If you say you can get a job somewhere else without a problem, you could support the family until he finds a job.

You can also plan to move before the next winter and start saving now in order to have some cash on the side. You can also use that time to find a job for him in a different area.
posted by Tarumba at 11:29 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nicer climates = more expensive living. Also, what majortom1981 said. If he moves, there's no guarantee that he can find another job, possibly for years. I have sympathy for all of the various Ask Mefi posts of people who want to move somewhere nicer and god knows I couldn't deal with living anywhere with Real Weather either, but... I don't exactly think the husband is on crack either to want to stick with a job while he still has it these days.

Would you possibly be willing to move alone? I don't know if this is divorce-worthy or not, but if you go find a job down there and move, might that pave the way a bit or motivate him to go? At least this way he's not quitting his job first and then freaking the hell out over a move.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:42 AM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am sorry about the multiple posts, I guess my point with all of what I have said is that if the issue really was the job, then you guys could have already started looking for positions somewhere else (you don't have to quit to look, you just need internet, time and a word processor). He maintains he could not find anything anywhere else, but as far as we know, he hasn't even tried. My husband is VERY conservative with money and risk. I know he would be contacting people, looking for transfers, alternatives, anything. Your husband is doing nothing but giving you an unproven opinion about that may happen. When I broke down because I missed my parents, my husband very clearly told me we could invite them to live in our place for ever and ever, which I k now would be really uncomfortable for him. That is what people who love you do.

tl dr

His disregard for your happiness and his unwillingness to make an effort are not the problem. They are symptoms. He should at least be understanding or empathetic with your plight while he tries to do something about it, but in reality he's pissing all over your misery with lame, unproven excuses.
posted by Tarumba at 11:46 AM on April 25, 2011

Please be tough. You're right on this one!

But the thing is, she has been being tough. And she's right, but in some way, about his own feelings, he's right to. So she has to approach this smarter, not harder. Further entrenching and hardening the battle lines will only get more marital war and unhappiness. A peace treaty is necessary. She needs someone who can help her husband hear her, and also help her really understand her husband's concerns, so that they can approach this as a team. If it was about logic and who is "right," they would've already figured out "the answer."
posted by salvia at 12:24 PM on April 25, 2011

he's right, *too, I meant
posted by salvia at 12:25 PM on April 25, 2011

I would agree with you, Tarumba, but the OP has given no indications that she's even decided on a particular place she would like to move, much less checked out the job front there, much less checked out the salaries there compared to the cost of living compared to quality of life.

I think if the OP wants to make a change of this sort, it's on her to show her husband how it's possible make that change --- not to uproot his entire life just for her. No one should ever be expected to completely uproot their lives.

I sympathize with the OP. I really, really do. But as unreasonable as it is of her husband to expect her to continue living there, it's equally as unreasonable for her to expect him to want to move just because she says they should -- even if her reasons carry more weight.

OP, I think you need to make an economic case to your husband. And as someone working in academia right now, unless your husband is a high level administrator or faculty, odds are he'll need to be in the geographical area to be considered for a job unless he can, in his cover letter, provide a date about when he'd move to the area. Plus it's an especially terrible time to look for a higher ed position --- universities are cutting staff and programs left and right. If your husband is interested in staying in higher ed, then his concerns are incredibly valid. It may be in his best interests to look into a Masters of Higher Ed degree or some other relevant field to make himself more competitive and then to move after that --- maybe his current university has such a program and he could do it for free in two or three years, and then it'll be easier for you to move?

Or maybe now's the time to suggest he get that Masters degree so he doesn't have to worry about finding a job should you move --- there are some good schools in warmer climate environments that will provide you a break for two years from the terrible winters and may make him better qualified for other higher ed positions.

Come to think of it, you could do the same too --- go back to school to make yourself more competitive and use that as a reason to move.

But that's probably going to take some time as well. My point is --- this entire conversation may need to be about something greater than I-want-to-move-now. What about the rest of your life? What are your career goals? Is now the time to break from work to pursue a new degree or a new field?
posted by zizzle at 12:29 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: The problem is that your husband HAS a job. What if you move and both of you dont find jobs for 2 or more years? Wont you be even more angry and upset then you are now?

The job market STINKS right now.

Your not thinking of the future. Money problems are the biggest reason for divorce. Keep that in mind. So if neither of you finds a job when you move then you could actually be ven more depressed and more angry.

obviously I would be upset if we didn't get jobs for 2 years, we would be homeless. I said I wouldn't want to leave until one or both of us finds a job first, expecially since there isn't a specific town we need to go to, but its hard to get a job when you wont apply for one....

@jenfullmoon yes I have considered just going myself, getting a job first to smooth the transition and it might come to that...
posted by sadieglass at 12:43 PM on April 25, 2011

I think you should go ahead and start applying for jobs yourself. If you get an interview or an offer, it will force the issue and hopefully he'll start to realize moving is possible and not too difficult. In the meantime definitely get a SAD lamp.
posted by hazyjane at 12:54 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Colorado comes to mind

Colorado has a hell of a winter, from my point of view.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:00 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Have you had your thyroid checked? Have you discussed your SAD with a doctor?

If you are happy where you live during the summer you might want to at least consider there is a medical solution for your problem. Otherwise it sounds to me like there are other things going on besides your winter depression and those need to be approached in a marital counselor's office.

Because otherwise, it really sounds like you are heading for a divorce.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2011

One of the things you can do as you pursue counseling is to find out what is possible to change. Someone once told me that people make rigid and seemingly unfeeling decisions because they believe there is only one right answer, although most times there are about eight practically equal good answers if we are willing to open our minds to them.

There are lots of universities in the south and it would be very strange if your husband has a type of job at his university that is completely non-existant at any other university. Private universities and even some state universities usually have good benefits and working conditions. University towns are usually high on quality of life ratings, good schools for kids, cultural attractions, etc. One of the things you could do is investigate just how many similar jobs there are in target areas and learn something about those places. Maybe he is already in a position now that his experience would help him find a similar job in a better climate. If his initial job search seemed traumatic, maybe he doesn't know that it isn't always like that and that he doesn't have to settle for your being miserable in order to retain his ability to earn and his benefits and settled congenial surroundings.

You're presenting your idea of how to solve your problem and you might be perfectly right but this solution needs to be one that solves his problem also, and right now, neither of you really know what that is. That needs to be taken seriously. So, yes, counseling, talking, exploring possibilities, planning a better solution than either of you have imagined so far.

It's work and it takes time and attention but listening to each other and believing in each other is really better than not doing so.

(Have to add, I'm so subject to SAD I could not live in the North for any man. I do, however, like to visit.)
posted by Anitanola at 1:56 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ditto to those who think you should actually get diagnosed before you move and give up jobs to cure depression (have you? You say, "I know I have SAD..." is that a self-diagnosis?). Maybe you are actually depressed and it's worse in the winter. Moving may not be the solution.
posted by teg4rvn at 2:15 PM on April 25, 2011

" Colorado has a hell of a winter, from my point of view."

The sun is closer (and there's a lot more of it). Depending where you're talking about in the midwest, it's closer to the equator so the nights don't get as long. Both are important for mood and make it much easier to get outside and be active year-round.

I live in NYC now and the winters are warmer, I think, but I get very depressed by the long nights and seemingly endless cloudy days.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:04 PM on April 25, 2011

Checking in here to say that I read "Divorce" as I read your post. Just my initial read on it, for whatever it's worth. It doesn't sound like he gets what it is you are talking about.

I do.

I'm from yankeeland, the Chicago area, and I love love love the change of seasons, I love yankee summers and early autum and late spring blah blah blah but I go completely 'round the bend in November, and December, and January, and February, and March, and into April, and on and on it goes.

Ideally, I'd be able to summer elsewhere, as the summers here -- Texas -- are brutal and they do bother me as well. But I'd never, ever want to reside in the north again, never want to have a mailing address outside of Austin.

I feel your pain.

So it would not be negotiable for me, sad to say. Even the most amazing woman and/or marriage could not lift me in those grim, dark, never-ending winters. I truly do miss the turn of the seasons and all but come December I'd be gone.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:43 PM on April 25, 2011

I'm sympathetic and completely understand where you're coming from. I used to live in Boston and know the endless dark and gray winter you don't want to face anymore. And his reasons for staying, as you've presented them, don't even seem to be all that great. But I hate to say you come off sounding quite selfish here. If you didn't want to live in the midwest why did you marry someone who lives there, apparently likes living there, doesn't want to move, and then expect him to move anyway?
posted by 6550 at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

It may be entirely unreasonable, but I've always considered the hallmark of a good, healthy marriage to be when you care about your partner's happiness equal to or more than your own.


Love means putting someone else's needs before your own. It may take a third party mediator to make this work, but ultimately, you need to find some middle ground here that will be acceptable to each of you.

This might be true, but it isn't the kind of thing you can ask for or demand. It can only be given. Pulling that "you'd do this is you really loved me" game is manipulative and way worse than not doing whatever the "this" is.
posted by gjc at 5:40 AM on April 26, 2011

Also: moving will probably not solve your problems. SAD is SEASONAL affective disorder, not climate affective disorder. If that is really what it is, then winter just about anywhere in the US will cause the symptoms. The angular differences of the sunlight just aren't different enough. You are probably talking coastal southern California to actually have meaningful sunlight improvements combined with mild enough weather to actually want to be outdoors to benefit from the sunlight.

Plus, depression is sneaky in that it might just decide to have a different reason than the seasons to erupt. Depression comes from within, and external influences only trigger it.

My thoughts on uprooting are thus: there has to be a really good reason that can't be duplicated nearby. Or a shared enthusiasm for it. If one partner is against it, then staying where you are wins. There is no point in moving just to trade unhappiness from one spouse to another. There are really only two choices: sacrifice the move, or sacrifice the marriage.

Final thought: move to Louisville, KY. Not too far from anything, and a delightful blend of southern and northern, combined with being very far West in the Eastern time zone such that you get more evening daylight.
posted by gjc at 6:10 AM on April 26, 2011 [5 favorites]

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