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Ask Ellie: Age difference more apparent 40 years into marriage

Acknowledge that you have both changed, which has changed your partnership, but not your love for each other

Dear Lisi: I married a man 10 years my senior. At the time, we were both young and in love and didn’t think about the future. That was then. Forty years have passed, our children are all grown with families of their own, and it’s just the two of us.

And now the age difference is very apparent and hindering. I work from home and want to travel. Now that the panic surrounding COVID-19 is over, I want to get out of our house and do things.

We were fortunate during the pandemic that we live in a comfortable, cosy home, and we enjoy each other’s company. I still enjoy my husband — I just want to live larger. As with many older people, the pandemic aged him quicker. He’s slower physically, less tolerant, impatient and has no interest in leaving the house.

He doesn’t mind when I go out without him. He’s happy doing his own thing at home. But I want to go on a cruise for a few weeks, go to the mountains this winter, just get out and away. He has no interest in any of it.

What do I do?

Feeling Stifled

Compromise is the key to any relationship. And communication. You need to hear him out. Why doesn’t he want to go out anymore? Maybe there are reasons you don’t know. And you need to explain to him your deep desire to get out of your environs.

Express clearly how the pandemic has made you feel claustrophobic and clipped your wings. And now that you can fly again, you feel the compulsion to go. Acknowledge the elephant in the room – that you have both changed, which has changed your partnership, but not your love for each other and the relationship. Recognize that spending two-and-a half years together non-stop was also not the norm for you before the pandemic, but you made it through that change. And you can make it through this one.

Talk about all of the things you’d like to do, add up the time away, see if there’s one trip that maybe interests him, and compromise. You have too much to lose in your long marriage and family to throw it all away for an extra week in the sun.

Dear Lisi: I’m 24 and recently moved into an apartment with two good friends. When we moved in, we were all single. One of the guys started dating a great girl whom we roommates really like. She’s easy to be around, is respectful of our space and doesn’t act like she owns the place.

The problem is her best friend who comes over a lot. She’s loud, obnoxious and brings her yappy miniature Pomeranian. The dog jumps on everything, chews everything and pees on our house plant. We’ve spoken to our roommate about it, and he is in agreement with us. He talked to his girlfriend, but she doesn’t know how to talk to her friend.

I’m tempted to just start sneezing a lot when they’re around and create an allergy. But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up that charade.

Can you give us some advice?

Pesky Pomeranian

I suggest you, your roommates and the girlfriend all sit down and talk it out. You all like each other and get along, so the conversation shouldn’t be contentious. It’s not her, it’s her friend. And actually, it’s the friend’s dog.

You could say that the landlord has told you the dog can’t visit because it’s too yappy and other tenants are complaining. It may not be the whole truth, but it sounds like it’s not far off.

Dear Lisi: My brother is hosting Christmas dinner this year as I recently moved to a small condo that won’t accommodate everyone. Our other sister is recently divorced from a long-time marriage with a guy we all really like. He has no family of his own as he is an only child and his parents are deceased. They have older kids but both are out of the country this year.

My brother asked our sister if he could invite her ex to Christmas dinner, and she said it was fine. They’re still friends. But now my sister-in-law, my brother’s wife, says it’s awkward and she doesn’t want him there.

She’s the only one who feels this way, but it’s her house. What can we do?

Ungracious host

Your sister-in-law is being unkind, especially if your sister, his ex, is OK with him being there. Talk to her. If she doesn’t come around, you may have to move the dinner elsewhere.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected].