Dear Carolyn: In three years, my husband and I will be empty- nesters. At that time, we plan to move back to our home state, where we've already invested in a house to retire to. We spend time there in the summer with family, and I get to know people in town.
This sounds great, but I truly love our current town of 15 years where I've made many good friends and acquaintances. How do I overcome my feelings of grief at leaving my current location? How do I stop feeling angst about something good we've planned for many years? We planned the other location because it's on a lake, which we anticipate will draw our kids to visit. I know having my kids leave the nest is an inevitable transition, but the added change of location has got my feathers ruffled.
— Fretting the Future
Fretting the Future: Is moving your only option? Just one of many possible alternatives: Can you rent out the lake house for break-even or profit, use it yourselves only for summers/holidays (i.e., when family would normally gather), and keep living in a smaller/less expensive place in your current town?
It’s risky to move for a reason that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe your kids would rather visit their town of 15 years than the lake you picked out.
Of course, it’s possible this is just typical transition anxiety, and you’ll be fine once you’re resettled; leaving any location where you’ve found happiness is going to be painful. But if you’re not as excited about the plan as you once were, then it’s okay to remind yourself that the plan isn’t in charge, you and your husband are, and to reopen the discussion accordingly.
To Fretting: Empty lake houses far away from family and friends, where working-age kids visit a few times a year, can be very lonely places. I found this out in my 30s when I moved to a picturesque isolation cell in a rural area, and I was working. Trust those second thoughts.
Dear Carolyn: My friend and I were both single and hung out a lot, and now my friend is dating someone and we don't hang out at all. I know this is normal, and I understand our time hanging out naturally has to decrease. My friend was in a terrible relationship before, and I'm genuinely happy she's found someone who is good to her — she deserves it!
But I'm hurt about being ditched, and I feel kind of used — like I was my friend's safe, platonic person to do stuff with until she was ready to date, and now she no longer needs that so I'm out. Is it unreasonable to expect an infatuated person to still make time for friends? This friend definitely has a pattern of wanting to hang out more when she is having a hard time, and I don't want to be friends only when she is sad and anxious. But I also don't want to make things about me!
— Sour Grapes?
Sour Grapes?: Just say: “I’m happy for you and hate making this about me. But I’m bummed we don’t hang out at all anymore now that you’re dating.”
Her response will tell you how good a friend she is.