Conflicted. Choosing to live near her man or near her grandchildren and daughter. Should she stay?
By Tom P Blake of Finding Love After 50
A 71-year-old widow has a dilemma. She has had a relationship with a man of 85 for five years. Four years ago, he decided to move to another state and wanted her to move there also. She agreed. He bought two houses and she moved into one of them.
She said, "I moved because I wanted to get back into a house, and he offered to buy the house and allow me to buy it from him as I was financially able to. We preferred to have separate living conditions. Rent payments also go toward the purchase of the home."
She says they are both very active and healthy; they enjoy doing things together and share many of the same interests while still maintaining individual activities.
She said, "In the process, my feelings for him have grown, and the importance of owning a home has diminished. I love him in a deep friendship way because I can't imagine anyone taking my husband's place (40 years) in my heart."
She described her dilemma: "My daughter and her husband live in the place I moved from. A little over a year ago they had a wonderful baby girl, my one and only grandchild. I make the 4 to 4-1/2 hour drive to see them every two weeks (sometimes more). Besides being able to visit them, I also do work in that area and sometimes spend several days there.
"The drive is beginning to wear on me. I'm rolling the dice every time I make it. I am also missing my old 'home,' (which was only an apartment), the convenience of being close to the work I do, and mostly my daughter and granddaughter.
"My daughter is pregnant again. I feel I should be closer to help out. They don't intend for me to become the grandmother that raises their children, nor do I intend to. I have a life."
But what about her gentleman friend, who will be 86 soon?
She said, "I would have to leave him; I know he loves me and would miss me. He says he would not want a long-distance relationship; he doesn't have the time. I don't want to hurt him, I love him too much.
"His eyesight is failing, which he won't admit. Many other things I do for him-happily-but he has become somewhat dependent on me. He is a survivor and would do well without me."
And what about her investment, the home she has been paying on for four years?
She added, "He has willed this house to me, I would lose that. He has other family that would inherit his estate. I suppose I am conflicted as to whether I am staying with him for him or for the house.
"I have paid a good sum of money toward the house, which he has said he would give back to me if I decide to leave. I would never be able to afford a house in the city where my daughter lives.
"I also know that he may not live too much longer, although he seems healthy and active. It bothers me that I even think about inheriting the house when he dies. I don't want to be like that."
I reminded her that the house is why she moved in the first place, that it is not wrong for her to be concerned about losing it. After all, it was an investment. Is she certain he will return the money she invested? He might change his mind and keep the money, figuring she had free rent for four years.
And then there's the possibility that she would have to become a caregiver to him. What was their original agreement on that?
She concluded, "Here I am, wanting to move back to be with my daughter and her family, but knowing I would miss the life I have here--a lovely home that is paid for, a loving and generous companion, and many activities and interests I enjoy.
"This is really tearing me up. Do you have any thoughts on this?"
I suggested she fly between the cities instead of driving. She said she tried that once, but has to have a car where her work is. Maybe she could leave her car at her daughter's. Sounds like her gentleman friend would be happy to pick her up at his airport.
I also suggested she live away from him for a month or more to see how she feels about leaving permanently, that the decision might become clear during that time. She should think long and hard before giving up on him and the home she has worked four years toward. There must be a compromise in there somewhere.
"That's a pretty good idea," she said.
Why does the song “Stay,” by Jackson Brown, keep popping into my head?