DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Gregg," and I have been married seven years. We have two children. Gregg was recently laid off, and after doing some research, we decided we'd like to move to Texas where my brother-in-law and his family live. There is more career opportunity for us there, and we have been actively researching careers and housing.
The problem is my father and stepmother are against us moving even two hours away, let alone halfway across the country. We have not told them of our plans yet, but even a casual mention of a long-distance move brought my father to anger and tears for fear that he won't see his only grandchildren and me. His wife made it worse, claiming I was "selfish" for wanting to move away.
Abby, my parents have made their life choices. They have settled down and are happy with their small-town life. How can I get them to understand that this is what we need to do without them making us feel guilty? -- CONFLICTED IN SOUTH DAKOTA
DEAR CONFLICTED: As long as you allow your father and stepmother to make you feel guilty, they'll use guilt to influence the decisions you make. Having a spouse who has been laid off and having difficulty finding employment is a compelling reason to make a move, particularly if there are greater opportunities somewhere else.
My advice to you is to make a list -- as long as possible -- of the advantages your children will have in a larger community, with better educational and cultural exposure, family members around their age they can interact and bond with, etc. Refer to it when your father and stepmother react as you know they will. Let them know they're welcome to visit as often as they get lonely for the little ones, then follow through with your plans.