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How to Handle Tough Family Topics

Q. My husband and I frequently talk about moving cross-country with our five kids, but my grandmother doesn't want to come and doesn't have other relatives nearby. I feel guilty for thinking about leaving town, but I don't want to look back one day with regret. What can I do?

A. I admire your willingness to embrace change, but I don't envy your conflict between family obligation and freedom. You may find an answer by examining why you want to relocate. If it's adventure you seek, perhaps a short summer excursion will satisfy your longing. If you're serious about creating a whole new life, put pen to paper. List the emotional, financial and physical pros and cons of moving to specific locations. Everyone has a stake in your decision—from grandma to your kids, who may feel rooted in your town. Whatever you do, avoid burning bridges should you leave. If things don't work out, you may want to return home. Best of luck!

Q. My husband hired his college ex to work at his office. I've told him I'm not comfortable with this or her constant calls about "work." What should I do?

A. A successful marriage is anchored in trust and commitment—two qualities you need to focus on right now. Although you may feel deceived, your husband had the right to make his own staffing decision. On the other hand, you have the right to be bothered by his ex working there. But focusing on her every move forces him to become defensive and push you away. Concentrate on communicating honestly about how each of you feels. And be prepared to listen without judgment. Re-establish trust by reflecting on what brought you together and the values you share. Fear is not a reason to end a union, but it can be a reminder to pay closer attention to your relationship.