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Dear Doctor Love,
For forty years my husband and I planned for retirement and by the time he left his long-time employment a few months ago, we had reached our goals. We raised our kids, paid off the mortgage and invested well and saved money. I need to work another three years, then I can also retire with full benefits. Life has been very good to us.
A problem came up when he decided he wanted to go to San Pedro for the summer to “relax and unwind.” I know he has been depressed and feeling adrift but an extended vacation without me seems unfair. First, the cost of maintaining a second home away from home was not part of our long-term plan and was not managed into our budget. Second, I feel out of sorts that he will be having fun in the sun while I slave away five days a week in Houston. I will shoulder all household responsibilities while he takes it easy on the beach, fishing, playing horseshoes and living the tourist life without me.
We don’t often fight, but we are very close to one with this issue. I think he should wait for me to be able to go with him. He says he needs the rest now after years of hard work. We read your column every week online and would like your advice on our problem.
/s/At Odds Couple
Dear At Odds,
Congratulations on achieving your financial and marital goals and working together to make your retirement dreams come true. It would have meant sacrifice, compromise and a lot of understanding from both of you. Don’t stop now. Understanding and compromise will help you achieve an acceptable outcome in this as well. Forty years is a long time to work on a steady path towards a goal without taking a detour and your husband is to be commended. He probably does need time to adjust to his new situation.
What would make both of you happier? Instead of him going for the entire summer, why not compromise on two months? Mid-July through August and early September are slower, meaning short/medium term rentals are easier to find. This will be easier on his vacation budget and let you splurge on airfare for a long weekend visit in the middle of his stay. Email, face-time and phone calls will let you keep in touch with him during his absence.
Take the time while he is gone to enjoy your hobbies, reconnect with old friends you haven’t seen in a while and look forward to your wonderful future together.