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I am nearing 62 years old, healthy and planning to retire this year after 26 years of highly stressful work. Our grown child is on his own, doing well and independent. My wife and I have dreamed of relocating to another state where we would be happier with more opportunities to pursue our interests.


My parents ages are 91 / 95, fortunately live independently in their own home and are in relatively remarkable health for their ages. My wife and I have lived fairly close and have been there for them over the past 30 years. They are financially secure as far as we are aware. However, our relationship has not been the best over the years. They have been very self-centered, secretive, cheap and refuse to discuss their future health plans with me or my wife. My Mother has had some mental issues, but has always been very manipulative, selfish and reacts very badly when we discuss our retirement plans and the prospect of moving away. She accuses us of being selfish and cries that she doesn’t know how she will survive once we leave. I have attempted to discuss my parents future health plans with my older brother but he backs away from any productive conversation.


My wife and I have both worked very hard and have been greatly looking forward to ‘our time’. I plan to help and see my parents as best I can from our new home. My parents have lived their lives on their own terms. Yet, I still feel a great deal of guilt about moving away. I am trying to determine what is reasonable regarding my responsibility to my parents, while my wife is eager to begin our new life. Any experienced input in this area would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

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Whey would you sacrifice your retirement plans to stay geographically close to parents who are not forthcoming with you about their plans for the future?

Folks who age successfully plan financially for their futures and genuinely do not want to be a burden to their children. They can hire a geriatric care manager. They can stay in touch with you via phone and email and if they sign a HIPAA release, you can be involved long distance on medical discussions and decisions. They can move to be close to YOUR retirement locale.

I would not fall for their manipulation.
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JoAnn29 Mar 13, 2019
I would not want them close. Looks like they could be demanding. Don't think at their ages a big move would be good for them.
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This was just discussed on another thread about the couple having to move 350 miles away for financial reasons and parents not being cooperative in their future care.

You said it "parents have always lived on their terms". Your marriage comes first. Make your plans and don't involve them until the plans have been made and you r ready to leave. Check out resources in ur area. Call ur local Office of Aging and see what they offer. Mine has a nice little booklet. Get one for you and brother if they have one. With modern technology you maybe able to do a lot from a distance. Coming home when you need to.

My opinion, if you don't do what you want, your parents will drain you. Sounds like no one has POA so this will make things so hard if they become incompetent. I would do what I wanted and worry about the rest as it happens.
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yes, your parents have lived life on their terms. You are entitled to the same thing. You can live your life on your terms. Please don’t feel guilty moving away. They have had time to prepare for this. They have had time to prepare for when the times comes that they can’t take care of themselves. If they failed to make plans and incorrectly m assumed you would give up your life for them, that’s their decision to live with. Not yours.
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Do not fall for the manipulation, she will live exactly like she does now, on her terms.

Move and enjoy your hard earned retirement.
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If you haven't had the best of relationship over the years, don't expect that to change -- ever. That only happens in sappy movies. Not trying to be cynical. Just saying, you already have plans. If you give them up, you will become bitter and full of resentment.
Parents should not expect their children to care for them when they age; they should plan so they don't have to.
I've told my kids DO NOT take care of me when I age. I don't want them to have that burden.
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I think you should move. I would look into AL facilities near where you are moving. Since they are financially solvent they could afford this. This is what I did with my mother. She actually is much happier in this different state and facility as am I (different state not facility for me). If they want your assistance then that is what you can provide meaning proximity to each other. If not then they will have to figure out their needs for the future and since they don't seem all that nurturing you needn't be weighted down with guilt.
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My answer is short and sweet. Live your life with no regrets. You have earned it!
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You need to do what is right for you and spouse. I'm thinking when you got married there was some thing in the ceremony about "leaving your father and mother and cleaving to your wife". Good idea. How would things be different if you had been in this other state for the past 26 years? I guess they would expect you to move to where they are. Sounds like they didn't bother to make plans. I would say give them brochures for continuing care retirement communities, but I'm thinking at their age they won't be allowed in. That would have been a good plan. The way you describe your parents, particularly mom, I can see why your brother is backing away. You can read what we all have to say, but may I suggest a few sessions with a marriage and family therapist. A third party with experience and training in this area can really help your figure out what you want to do.
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Harpcat Mar 15, 2019
I agree with this advice. I’m a big fan of a third party who is objective and can help you see the big picture. And help you work through why you feel obligated or "guilt" as you are calling it.
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MumsHelper? You said it!!! I have a great relationship with my daughter, thankfully. But in NO way do I expect her to take care of me! Or want her to!  Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your wife Johnc. Easier said than done, I get that. And the guilt is just a burden that no one needs. Hope you get the peace of mind you guys deserve. Help them as best you can without sacrificing yourself.
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JesusLove1976 Mar 15, 2019
Lynn, you are like me! So sad it seems like we are in the minority!
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Just go
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Regardless of what the relationship has been, no one likes to disappoint their parents. Especially parents at an advanced age. While they haven’t been especially close, it doesn’t sound like they’ve been much of a burden either.
I wouldn’t expect anyone, especially brother, to be overjoyed that you will move away and leave him with the implied responsibility. These days if a parent has lived to 95 they could easily live to 100. Many do. Not so many to 110. So you run the risk of feeling guilty for a few years into your retirement. Or one or the other could have an event and be gone next week.
Im not saying not to do it but don’t expect it not to hurt your parents and your brother. That would be unrealistic.
Perhaps you have also planned to spend a month or more each year with parents. Alllowing brother a respite. Perhaps you intend to provide support in other ways. It sounds like your mom has had comfort in knowing you were near even though you haven’t felt connected.
I lived my adult life away from my family. My parents were surrounded by family but when it came to their final years I was their go to person. It can be done. You don’t have to abandon them just because you don’t live next door. How far away will you be in miles or hours? Many on this forum are long distance caregivers. You may even find that you are more connected than before after you move.
Dont blame it on your wife. That’s not fair to anyone.
It sounds like you may have been mom’s retirement plan. She might need a moment.
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This is not an all or nothing answer. Your parents are older and probably scared, If you can appease that fear, you will find your answer. There are facilities that send trained people to the home so your parents can stay in their own home. Or get a 3rd party involved to help communicate between you and your parents. Ask them what they want. If they won't talk to you , get that 3rd party involved. If they know that they will get a say in what will happen to them it might help. You don't have to give up the rest of your life to take care of your parents. Making hard decisions is part of it. As long as you do it with love.
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I took my mother with me. So I can say from experience: don't do that. Not even if they say they want to come. It will end in tears and everyone will blame you.

So. Your spectrum of possibilities ranges from "screw you oldies, we're off" with no thought to your parents' future at all; through to "oh well it was only a dream" and staying put until one or more of you dies, and it won't necessarily be your parents who go first.

Those are the extremes; what are the compromise options?

Can you ease into an enjoyable retirement that doesn't involve such a radical change of location?

Can you go ahead and change your location, but set up some kind of communication and visiting framework that offers support and reassurance to your parents?

I think: the really key resolution for you to make is that You Are In Charge. YOU decide what is the best and fairest way to carry out your plans for yourself and your wife while giving your parents the support YOU feel they are entitled to expect of you. It can be hard to remember this when you are hearing wails and gnashings of teeth and complaints and accusations, but stop and think - the fact that your mother says you are a wicked ungrateful uncaring child don't make it so.

Elderly people do not like change (neither do I, I'm not being critical). So keep them informed, give them time to adjust, and be ready to assist with any sensible plans they will consider. Just don't let them sabotage your own.
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I'm 67 and tried to move mom in w/ me. We never got along and it didnt work. She is legally blind and disabled in other ways. So I bought a place near her, just down the block. Hired a person who I knew and was in need to have room board and a minimal salary. She is her companion. I am there several times a week, give the girl a day off as needed. My own dreams and plans, well, I try to please myself when not with her with gym, swimming, my pet, etc. Indulge my self when not with her, that's my compromise. I'm an only child. I have no choice. Hope this helps.
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If your parents had no one nearby and had a medical emergency, the hospital board would convene to make the decision if the other spouse were incompetent. If no one is POA, an emergency guardianship can be obtained. There are plenty of ways for our parents to be treated without us being right there. You really can move.
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CarlaCB Mar 15, 2019
My experience with medical emergencies in my family has been different. The intake people always ask for contact information, names and numbers of family members, and I presume they would do that if a couple is both elderly. Then they contact by phone if any decisions have to be made. I doubt it would get to the point of emergency guardianship as long as there are adult children who can be called. At the same time, I'm assuming the OP would want to be notified if either parent had an emergency, and would make the decision then whether to travel to temporarily oversee the care. Just make clear that the parent can not be sent home WITH YOU as you live far away with no means of caring for them. You don't need to be nearby to make the decisions as long as the patient has designated you as next of kin. I've done it several times for one sister who lives far away with multiple addictions and related medical issues.
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Okay, I don't blame you for wanting to talk about your parents health, plans, etc.....but parents like your Mom are very good at one thing: being travel agents for guilt trips. Don't let them run your life. Live it! Love them from afar and visit when you can. If they refuse to discuss their health or any other aspects about themselves, leave them be. At this point in the game, they're not gonna change.....and neither should you. Good luck!
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Pandabear Mar 16, 2019
Another gem I am going to use. “ travel agent for a guilt trip”
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Hi John,

Unequivocally, no. I do not think you should give up your plans.

That said, without a plan for your parents, the chances that your future life will be derailed are very good. Yes, they may be functioning independently now, but you and I both know that can’t go on forever - one, or both are just one bad day away from needing LOTS of help.
You ‘Just leaving’ will not address this eventuality - they WILL need help. When that happens, you’re stuck no matter what.

So, my suggestion: do some research. Come up with a couple of plans for them that feel feasible and livable for you, based on YOUR plans - 2 or 3, based on cost. The top tier might assume a healthy budget for in home care, or a snazzy AL facility. A more moderate option might assume a less substantial sum - say, a more moderately priced facility, or a live-in caregiver who is working in part for a place to live, etc. only you know what might work. After independent living skills fail, what NH possibilities exist in their area? Which are the best choices? How and when would that transition happen? But work out the details, each and every one. Put it in writing.

They want your help, but at this point, it will have to be a reasonable scenario for both of you. They are ‘on their terms’ kinda folks - and that isn’t likely to change. But you can be too. Be very clear what you are, and are NOT willing to do. That’s the ‘on your terms’ part. You present the choices to them: plan A B or C. They get to pick. That’s the ‘on their terms’ part.

If, as you say, they for whatever reason, will not discuss their finances etc with you - the discussion still needs to happen notwithstanding, or you can not put a contingency plan in place for them when you move.

My thought is, might there be a trusted intermediary - a family member, friend, lawyer, financial planner with whom they WOULD have this discussion? They could talk with that individual, pick a plan accordingly, and get back to you. With that persons help, you could make the appropriate arrangements before you move. That way, you will not be moving back when a crisi occurs, or worse, moving one of them in with you in your new place.

Hope this is helpful. Take it from one who currently has a 92 yo at the breakfast table every morning perseverating about how many cars have driven by that day. You will not have the life you planned, if you don’t make plans NOT to have the one your parents have in mind!

-Andy
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JesusLove1976 Mar 15, 2019
Yes, your terms. Roles reversed. You are the caregiver now, and they want your help, even though they are bigger than you, your terms. They may be in their 90s, but we will always have someone to answer to, even if it is the electric company. Caregiving does not need to be harder than it already will be.
But what the Lord tells you, go with that!
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I would like to add that I believe at least part of my parent’s refusal to discuss future plans is their long-standing cheapness and reluctance to spend any money which they always brag that they have plenty of. I believe the mindset is that if I bring up the subject of their affairs, then I must want their money. Also, please note that my uninterested brother who visits my parents on the average of every 5 years, lives in the same home state that we are planning on moving to - approximately 1,200 miles away. I feel very despondent - as if I am in a no-win situation.

Any additional insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your previous input - it was so helpful.

Johnc1
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peace416 Mar 14, 2019
Assure them you will VISIT as often as possible -but don't postpone the plans you made for you & your wife.

If your parents really do have a nice nest egg saved they can certainly use this $ for AL , continuing care including at home care. There are communities for the elderly that include: Assisted Living, then when more care needed onto NH; Memory Care and Hospice (under one roof). Check for this type of community in their area. If they insist on remaining in their home, there are private agencies that offer 24 hour care and/or transportation to MD visits, and so on.
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One last thought - I have considered postponing my retirement to appease my parents. However, when I think about the prospect of delaying or possibly losing our dream, my wife’s unhappiness, remaining any longer on my stressful job and having additional conflict with my parents, it does not seem like a feasible or practical alternative.

Thank you you once again.

Johnc1
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mally1 Mar 15, 2019
I wouldn't postpone; how do you know you'll live long enough to go later? Or that there'll BE a "later"; they COULD live to 100 or more.... It's totally unfair to your wife, too. Several good suggestions here to help from a distance; if they refuse to let you, don't feel guilty, and don't give up your life, please! You've spent 30 years already helping them; long enough, especially as they're uncooperative.
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"I have considered postponing my retirement to appease my parents. . ." 

"My Mother has had some mental issues, but has always been very manipulative, selfish. . ."

No appeasement! Reading this forum you'll see that you can never really appease, please or placate self-centered, unreasonable parents. More importantly, you can't make them finally give you the parental love you deserve by winning their approval. It's sad but true. Provide any assistance on your terms and with your wife's blessing.

I vote no to appeasement and yes to your sanity, marriage and a fun, healthy retirement!
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JesusLove1976 Mar 15, 2019
Sacrificing for parents and sacrificing for children are two different things!

While, yes, for people to take on caregiving if they can, but do not criticize those who do not for you may believe you know the whole story, but cannot ever fully know. With kids, they are smaller than you. With parents, they are bigger than you, and cannot do anything about it if they refuse to take their meds, eat right, etc. People do not realize how difficult to care for anyone bigger than you, especially solo.
What is right for you is between the Good Lord and you. However, your wife does come first, so if she is not on board, she may have her reasons, especially women being more of the caregivers. I hope in Jesus, you find the right answer for you. But if you do not sacrifice retirement plans, if the Lord is alright with your plans, who are we to tell you different. But if your parents treat you the way they do, then how can they expect you to sacrifice your plans?
No one likes to live in a nursing home or AL, but doing what you do not like is not just young people stuff; it applies to even if you lived to be 130.
If there are anyone under 40 reading this post, do not believe that breaking down as you get elder is inevitable. There are plenty still living on their own, and died living alone. You can better your chances by enough healthy habits. I am not saying you cannot once in awhile have that Whopper, or Banana Cream Pie, but how we treat ourselves now paves the way for later. Respect your body's needs now, it will repay you. Treat it like a garbage dump, what can you expect? A lot of people feel worse as getting elder cannot be blamed on age; it is too many bad habits catching up to someone. If you are passed 40, not too late to start. Have the instruction of Jesus in you, and make choices and new habits to get you to where you live on your own fully as a senior instead of having your children give up their lives. We should look to stay independent, instead of looking to eventually be waited on hand and foot, and it is disheartening so many people are like that, instead of being grateful they can do for themselves while so many kids may never get to find out what it is like to be independent, may never get to walk, or do all the things healthy kids can, even sadly, lose their lives to cancer.
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John, think back to when your parents were your age. My folks and most of their friends and neighbors were retired, kids were on their own, parents had passed away. They were healthy, they traveled, went out with friends. For most of them, they had twenty years of doing their thing. You’ve gotten some sound advice here on how to keep your own plan, while moving your parents to a plan for their care. Don’t postpone....we all know of too many dear ones who’ve been stricken with illness in their 60’s.
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kdcm1011 Mar 16, 2019
Very good advice! That was my parents when they were my age. My mom’s contribution to her mom’s care was a once-a-week visit that lasted 3 hours max. And it was around my parents’ life, not the other way around. My in-laws didn’t even do that for their own parents.
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John, just curious - is your brother older or younger than you? Has either of you been the more favoured child all along, by one parent or both?

It's that your retirement plans are along the lines of: you and your wife will move to where your brother has been living all this time. You are despondent about the prospect, you fear a No Win.

So... why is this absolutely fine for him but bordering on a crime against humanity for you? Why do you think you feel like this about the prospect?
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jacobsonbob Mar 15, 2019
Actually, nothing was said as to which state the two brothers would be living in. Particularly if it is a large state, they may be several hundreds of miles away from each other such that they wouldn't interact any more than they do now, and there may be no way that the parents, if they moved, would be near both of them. In addition, I'm curious as to whether the brother's being in the other state had any influence on Johnc1's (and wife's) decision to move there--perhaps it's actually in SPITE of the brother's already being there but, again, if it's a large state, it may be effectively coincidence.
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John, Carry on with your happy retirement plan! Leave the guilt behind. Make a plan for your parents to receive care when they need it. Figure out exactly how they need you now and arrange for that care.
If I have learned one thing from this forum and caring for my mil, I have learned I do not want my own children to go through this parent care.... I am starting t make plans for my own care when I need it.
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JesusLove1976 Mar 15, 2019
I want to do whatever I can now, even much more healthful habits that includes not so fun sacrifices, to greater my chances of my baby never needing to care for me. And if it comes, it be by his choice, not mine. If he chooses not, all I ask is call and check on me, and visit from time to time. We be hooked up over video chat.
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Make them happy
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jacobsonbob Mar 15, 2019
How?
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Is it at all possible to get them on board to move to an AL in the state where you are moving?
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My dad would bemoan the fact that none of his 4 daughters lived in the same state as he did. Well "news flash" dad...these days people are more mobile and move to where the jobs are. Not like in his days when all stayed in the same town. So when he was 92 and needed to move from his home he chose to locate in a retirement CC home near him. Fast forward he now lives in my state. I would never have dreamed of moving to his state and would have managed things long distance if he hadn’t finally moved here.
your retirement years are yours to do with what you want. Your parents merrily lived their lives and have no right to boo hoo and manipulate you to change plans for them. Your mom is trying to cross your boundary. Do what you have dreamed of and planned for.
many here have said that you can help be an advocate and get information and later line up things for them if that turns out to be the case.
Any parent who has children so that they will be taken care of them in old age is using children for the wrong reason. We are to have children, love them, and bring them up to be independent. We in return do for our parents out of love not obligated guilt. So move, enjoy the life you’ve been given and help from afar. We are lucky to live in a time where this is possible.
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Move away. Follow your dream. Don't look back. Period. That said, at their age one or both will likely have a "spell" or a set back that will bring you back -- not to live around them again, but to manage the problem for whatever time it takes. You didn't mention if your older brother lives close to your parents, regardless, he should take on some of the responsibility. They sound like my 86yo mother who never wanted to talk assisted living facilities or in-home care. She believed she would "die in her home one day." Of course that's the best case scenario, that didn't happen in her situation. I dealt with all of the emergencies, etc. My older sis lives two states away and was not interested in (capable of?) helping me make decisions. But after 14 months, it's settled and my mother is in a nursing home. Someone will have to make decisions in emergencies. That may have to be you. Nevertheless, move on with your life.
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John, you have great advice here. It sounds like your parents are manipulative and using your goodness to guilt you into doing what they want yet holding you at bay in terms of their plans. You need to set your boundaries firmly or they will reel you in and keep you and your wife from living the life you have worked so hard to achieve.
SO, make your plans and try your best to see that they are cared for and safe. Explain your plans to your parents and your brother and invite them to be a part of the solutions to make sure your parents are safe and cared for if they are willing to cooperate.
My 92 year old mother sounds much like your mother. She has been retired for almost 30 years and never had a concern for me (her only child) until she needed my help. I can't have a conversation with her about options for when she needs more care, and she also keeps me at arms' length. As a result, I established firm boundaries with her since my husband and I are both retired and want to enjoy our sons, their wives, and our grandchildren who live nearby. A friend (who is paid) assists me in helping my mother since she often wants to go out more than the two days a week I am willing to take her out for doctors, dentist, and shopping.
My advice is to sit down with your wife and figure out your priorities and how you can live your life while also having the peace of mind to know your parents are cared for when you move. If you can, talk to their doctors and a senior social worker for advice and insight.
This forum and my own experience have taught me that we each have a unique set of circumstances and we have to decide what is best for each of us and our own health and well being. Make sure you and your wife can be at peace with the decisions you make - wishing you and all here the best!
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Especially if you are not trained to deal with elder care such as toileting, enemas, changing diapers, showering, do NOT do it. Live your life. They lived theirs and you are lucky they lived that long. You do NOT owe them a thing as we were not asked to be brought into this world. If you choose to be their caregiver, you will live to regret it especially you will be sacrificing your own life for them. Well I care for my 89 year old mom who is at end stage Alzheimer's so I battle anxiety and depression every waking moment and even in my dreams are often nightmares of her dying. Trust me my life is a living he*l as I have no quality of life and when she dies I will be left worse off than she is.
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BadChoices Mar 15, 2019
I feel for you as I am in the same boat!
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johnc, you’re getting great responses, this is a great site for experience and input. I will echo a key suggestion - get to counseling/coaching if you haven’t already.
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