DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have a wonderful marriage, and we are very happy together -- with the exception of one argument that we continually have. Shortly after my husband and I married two years ago, he was offered "the opportunity of a lifetime" to help set up a new division at his company's office in Dubai. The assignment was supposed to last 12 months, and we agreed that I would stay in the United State while he was away. I recently spoke to my husband, and he told me his company is pleased with the growth of the new division, and it would like him to stay an additional five years. I do not know if I can move to Dubai for such an extended period of time. I know he will eventually ask me to be with him, but I do not know what I will say. How should I address this issue? -- Home Alone, Nashville, Tenn.
DEAR HOME ALONE: You two obviously need to have a heart-to-heart discussion about this. Being long-distance for one year is very different from extending it to a six-year term. You may want to ask yourself a few questions before you talk. Start with what your aversion is to living in Dubai with him. Do you believe you could find work based on your skill set? What do you feel you will be leaving behind to be with him? Is there a way for the two of you to use the five years in Dubai to make yourselves even more appealing stateside on the back end?
It's understandable that you could feel betrayed because the terms are changing based on his time in Dubai, but this is now a fact in your marriage. Change happens, and you must decide together how to manage that change. If this opportunity seems wise for your family based on a discussion that you have with your husband, you should go -- with the understanding that you and your husband will decide your next steps together. If you absolutely do not want to move there, then you will need to figure out together how to maintain a commuter marriage -- not the easiest thing to do, but it is possible.