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Q. I have been wanting to make a change and move closer to my husband’s and my workplaces for three years now. He has always said he is on board, but then he comes up with a reason to put it off, like kids finishing out preschool, mortgage interest rates or (now) that we should wait until we get a new roof on the house so that we can sell it for more. I am so frustrated with my commute and our neighborhood and I feel like I am ready to move now, no matter what. Now another year has come and gone. How can I light a fire in him?
Is he like this with other big decisions? If so, what typically works as a fire starter? If this is out of character for him, it’s likely that he really just doesn’t want to move. Whether you are able to push through that resistance depends entirely on what his reasons for it are, and how much wiggle room there is between each of your cost-benefit analyses. Some marriages are fine with (or even grateful for) one spouse starting a big process solo, to make the road more clear and less intimidating for the other: talking to a Realtor, researching neighborhoods, going to open houses. Whereas in other marriages, that would be considered a foul, if both partners aren’t equally ready to take the plunge together from step one. It’s time for you to get real with him. Is he on board in reality or just in theory? And what would it take for him to get going right now — roof shenanigans be darned?
I’d like to date my friend, but …
Q. My longtime close friend is newly single after a divorce — I’ve known him since high school and we “dated” for like two weeks as teenagers, but nothing real. I considered his wife a friend, though it remains to be seen if we stay in touch. The thing is, I am single too, and I have always thought he was a great catch. I would want to give it a try but I worry I would be seen as the “other woman” and people would assume I broke up their marriage. I know I shouldn’t care what people think. I also don’t want to wreck the friendship with him, if things don’t work out. And I don’t want to be a rebound.
Do you have any sense of where he is with things? That seems the most important question. We can hypothesize for months about what others would think, wax poetic about the perils of the “rebound” or calculate odds on the friendship tanking — but we don’t yet know what is actually a possibility at this point. That matters not just because there is no “dating” if it is just you (otherwise, it’s called “eating tapas and chatting with the waitstaff”) but also because the most important factor to determine what others would think — whether it is just a rebound, whether your relationship is framed as a betrayal of his past marriage, and whether the friendship would be in jeopardy — is him. You’re grown-ups; I promise you can talk about this stuff.