Dear Annie: I have given the past 10 years to a man I love very much. “Cliff” wants to marry me, but I’ve turned him down. The problem is, he wants us to get married and each live in our own houses.
We are both 67 years old. Right now, Cliff spends weekends at my place. When I suggest going to his house on the occasional weekend, he says no, claiming he hasn’t had time to clean or there are no groceries or my bed is more comfortable and my TV is bigger, etc., etc. When I suggested we purchase a house together, Cliff said he will never leave his house. Ever. He thinks I should put my stuff in storage and move in with only my clothes.
I feel so defeated. Cliff says he loves me, but admits he likes to live by himself. We tried counseling, but he doesn’t like what they say to him. I broke up with him and have even gone out on a few dates, but it only makes me miss him more. Any advice?
Dear Ohio: Cliff sounds set in his ways and nervous about changes to his environment. He thinks if he keeps his house exactly as it is, his life will stay exactly the same, and he finds great comfort in that. You aren’t going to win this fight without negative repercussions, so decide whether marriage is your goal. There is no reason the two of you cannot continue as you are and take marriage off the table altogether. But if you want to marry and actually live together, Cliff is not your guy.
Dear Annie: How can I get my wife to travel? We have been married for 55 years and have not taken any long vacations together. Years ago, I traveled for work and loved it. My wife has never held an outside job. She stayed home to raise our four children and now takes care of our great-grandson.
My wife inherited some money from a relative, but she hoards it for herself. We can afford to travel, but she won’t. Please help me out. I want to see places before I die.
— Sam in Atlanta
Dear Sam: You will have to see them without your wife. There may be myriad reasons why she doesn’t wish to travel. She could be afraid of flying or of unfamiliar places; she could find travel uninteresting or exhausting; she may not want to leave her great-grandson; she may think she is too old. You could ask whether she would take a short trip to a nearby place — say a weekend in Savannah or a mini-vacation with your great-grandson — and then perhaps convince her to travel farther afield. If she absolutely refuses, look into going on your own through group tours or traveling with friends. But don’t expect her to use her inheritance money for your pursuits. You’ll have to find another way to pay for this.
Dear Annie: Here’s my response to “Not a Lawyer,” whose family told him that lawyers don’t give out free advice:
A doctor and a lawyer were walking out of church one morning after services. The doctor couldn’t stop complaining that wherever he went people approached him asking medical questions and wanting free advice.
The lawyer explained that he, too, was once the target of people asking him for free advice, but he found a way to end it. “How did you manage it?” asked the doctor. “Oh, that was easy,” the lawyer replied. “I started sending out bills, and soon enough the problem was solved.” The following week, the doctor opened a letter from the lawyer that contained a bill for his services.
My wife and I enjoy reading your column every day.
— M.S., Montreal, Quebec
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