HI, CAROLYN: My husband will turn 50 in the fall. Now that I'm working at home alongside him, I see how truly inactive he is. He also has had a few minor back injuries. I've had a nagging worry over the past few years that if he doesn't take care of his back, he's going to end up unable to move much in his 60s. That worry has increased over the past few weeks. He came to one yoga class with me last year, and that was enough for him. He has talked about going to a chiropractor but never has followed through. I've been inviting him on my nightly walks, and he is sometimes coming along now, which is nice. What are your thoughts on whether I say anything about my concern ... especially in this moment when I might be overstressed about everything?
Learning About My Husband
LEARNING ABOUT MY HUSBAND: Since this is your life partner, it is totally appropriate to share your vision of that partnered life.
What you see now is the possibility his current choices compromise his future mobility — or, maybe more aptly, his current defaults. You are entitled to say that. Bluntly: "I worry that not dealing with your back now will limit you later." Or, more broadly: "I worry that your being sedentary now will limit you later."
You can also say nothing — yet — and keep inviting him along on walks. He's making progress, and lasting changes take time. Also consider expanding your activity portfolio to include things he'd actually like. Yoga is great ... for people who feel great doing it. It's not everyone's speed.
And you can postpone the conversation to think carefully about how you'll handle his limited mobility if and when it happens, so you can include that in a larger conversation. One you can start like this: "Have you thought about what you'll do if you're not able to move well when you're in your 60s, 70s? Or 80s, if we're so lucky? This is on my mind a lot."
Obviously anything can happen, to either of you, so he can lounge his way to an active retirement and your yoga-maintained body could betray you.
But it's also fair to consider the likelihoods. Someone doing nightly exercise is more likely to retain mobility than someone who only talks about calling someone about something. And the days of 10-sit-up damage control are behind you.
Presumably his post-retirement vision includes big travel or moderate hikes or general bustling around, with you, even though my only evidence for that is my inability to fathom anyone planning to be homebound in poor health. So leverage that without apology: "I want to travel with you. Walk with me now, so I don't have to globe-trot alone."
DEAR CAROLYN: OK, seriously, how do people stay friends with their exes? I broke up with my ex a few months ago, and they have wanted to be friends and do things together. I can't help but feel like it's a veiled attempt at getting back together, which I am decidedly against. How do you become friends after dating?
Friends with Exes
FRIENDS WITH EXES: 1. You decide this is something you want to do.
If this is not something you want to do, then there is no second step.