DEAR AMY: I never thought I would be writing to you. My wife and I are in our 80s, married for more than 30 years, with grown children from previous marriages. My wife came to join me when we were married, leaving her job and some family. She had lived in my area previously and we had mutual friends. Now she says it’s her turn: She wants to move 400 miles away to be close to her son. I get along fine with him and his family. That’s not the problem. The problem is, I like it here where I’m close to my family and lifelong friends. Where her son lives we don’t know anybody. She says I can stay where we are living if I want to, but she’s leaving. I don’t think she means it. She also says that if she doesn’t go, she’ll just stay here and rot, and I do think she means that. I would like to compromise: I’ll offer to get her settled in her new home, visit often, and be there if she needs me, but I want to live what’s left of my life where I am. I think I’m in a no-win situation. What do you say?
DEAR NO-WIN: I take it as a given that you two are longtime partners and parents, that you love each other and that, ideally, you would both be happy and also be together.
The equitable solution would be for you to honor your wife’s long-ago sacrifice and make a similar one now. But far be it from me to tell a man in his 80s how he should see out the last years of his life.
And so I see your suggested compromise as a rough fix for a tough situation. I think you should let your wife move, if she wants to move, and you should see this as a commuting marriage. You should try to stay open to more changes and transitions, depending on your health and other needs and requirements.
After a few months away, she may choose to come back to you. After a few months apart, you may choose to relocate permanently to be with her.
Whatever ultimately happens, I hope things work out for you both in equal measure.
DEAR AMY: My grandson, 10, and granddaughter, 7, spend the night at my house one night a month. They sleep together in a queen-size bed. (I only have two bedrooms.) My son-in-law’s mother clearly disapproves. The kids are fine with sharing a bed, except for having minor disagreements over who took more covers. I can’t seem to find any definitive guidelines about brothers and sisters sharing the same bed and would appreciate any insight you may have.
DEAR GRANDMOTHER: I’m not a big fan of opposite-sex pubescent and/or adolescent siblings sharing a bed. Both of your grandchildren are approaching the age where you will want to respect their privacy concerning their bathing and dressing habits. Sleep is an intimate state, and both children are entering a stage of life when you — and they — should respect one another’s privacy and perhaps not share a bed.
If I were you, I would have a sleeping bag and maybe one of those fun indoor tents for the children and simply have them switch on and off for who gets to sleep in the bed and who gets the floor for the night.
DEAR AMY: You dropped the beach ball on your reaction to “Lying on the Beach.” A guy in his 50s is not “dirty” for “checking out” the beautiful girls in bikinis on the beach. He is normal. It is instinctual, as long as he has a sex drive. You quoted your daughter, who called this “gross.” Of course, she would not see men in their 50s as sexual creatures. As for Wifey, well — her reaction displays jealousy, not righteous indignation. If she can’t handle the fact that she’s no longer a young babe, as it were, then she can stay home. Or get counseling. Old boy’s eyes are going to wander — it’s a fact of nature.
Just Another Regular Old Guy
DEAR GUY: In my response, I said that I believe most of us in middle age (women as well as men) enjoy the gorgeousness of youth. But this man’s reaction seemed much more active than passive, and I thought he could have done a better job of respecting the woman lying next to him.