Dear Abby: Should we remain here or move closer to our daughters?

Couple considers leaving longtime hometown, and all the friends and neighbors there, to be more involved with their children and grandchildren.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are contemplating moving across the country to be near our daughters. We have lived in our home for 45 years. We are both active and in very good health, but unlike many of our friends, we have no relatives anywhere near us.

We have friends and neighbors who are like family. We are also active in our church and community. Basically, our whole life is here. But we are very close to both of our daughters. We visit two to three times a year and Facetime often. They would be delighted to have us closer.

While we want to be more involved in their lives (we have four grandchildren), we always said the one of us left would be the one to move. However, as we age, we are thinking we might need to be near them. It has been hard watching all our friends be involved with their families, and we know we have missed a lot of seeing our grandkids growing up. We would welcome any wisdom from you as we try to make this difficult decision. — UNDECIDED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR UNDECIDED: Not every move of the kind you describe is successful. I have heard from many readers expressing that when they arrived in the new community, they discovered that the grandchildren were living full lives with their contemporaries, and the adult children were busy managing their own lives and couldn’t give them the attention they had envisioned.

You have lived happily as part of your community for nearly half a century. Because you feel you are missing out on your grandchildren’s lives, visit them a little more often. But do not expect to suddenly become the center of their and their parents’ lives or you risk sacrificing the happy life you currently enjoy and becoming isolated and disappointed.

A final thought: Before making a hard-and-fast decision about this life-changing scenario, consider RENTING an apartment in the new community for a year so you can see how well you would integrate into it before selling your home. It could save you a world of regret.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been dating a divorced man, “Mitch,” for nine years. We’ve been living together for the last two. He has a daughter and a grandson. Recently, while I was out of town for a week, he participated in the annual “family photo shoot” with his arm around his ex-wife as if they were one big happy family.

I feel betrayed by Mitch and his daughter. His excuse is that the photographer was unaware of the family history. The ex recently dumped the man she cheated on Mitch with, so her intentions might be questionable. Should I ask him to move out? — IN OR OUT OF THE PICTURE

DEAR IN OR OUT: Do NOT ask your boyfriend of nine years to move out based on a photo that was taken one weekend while you were out of town! However, DO examine why, after nine years, the two of you haven’t tied the knot, and how one photoshoot has made you feel so threatened. Then talk to him about it.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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